SIX months ago if my sales graph had been a print-out from a life support machine doctors would have pulled the plug. To say things were flat lining would be like suggesting the Alps were “a bit hilly”.
Tonight I am basking in the heady atmosphere of being no 43 in the Urban Kindle sales rankings, having tried every trick in the book to resuscitate my baby.
Well, as an Indie Author, you can never give up hope, can you? The traditional publishers might whisk the plug out as if they had finished the ironing, rather than destroyed a promising career. We have a greater emotional attachment to our sickly child.
In the case of Crossing the Whitewash it had taken me four years hard labour to give it life and I wanted it to have every chance of succeeding.
To be fair I had plenty of advice about how to revive the patient, but the trick is deciding what is genuine help and what is designed to make a quick buck out of you. You have to wise up to those blowing on your neck telling you a hurricane is on its way, and it isn’t easy.
Still, by experimenting with Twitter and Facebook ads, changing categories and key words, and enlisting help from Social Media experts claiming to have hundreds of thousands of followers, the recovery has been a steady one.
The problem is I have no way of gauging what has worked and what has not. I just know that over the last month or so sales of my beloved novel have looked much rosier – in terms of Kindle anyway.
The fact none of the big bookshops will stock my novel, even though I emphasised my connections with Bristol, Wales and London and made a big selling point of the fact the Rugby World Cup – a backdrop for the novel – was taking place last September and October, has been hugely disappointing.
Tonight, though, I am pretty happy. In the hourly Amazon rankings I see that in this country my novel has reached an all-time high at no. 10,508 of all Kindle paid sales, fiction and non-fiction (and if you knew how many people are trying to flog books in this format you would know why I am so impressed). In the Urban category I have broken through the top 50 barrier. Admittedly it is one of the more “niche” genres but even so it gives my heart a flutter to see my baby actually featuring in one of the best-sellers charts.
Of course, the spin off of this is that my novel is likely to be seen by more potential readers. With 24 reviews, 16 of which are 5 stars, it should begin to feature much higher on the search engines, which will improve its visibility for potential readers.
At £1.99 Crossing is still in the virtual bargain bin, of course, so there is little hope of making any profit or giving up the day job. The first ambition, though, is to establish myself as an author and with the latest news I think I can say I am starting to do that.
I’ve got some new marketing tricks to try out over the coming months in the hope of raising sales even further. An audio book is in production and there are plans to promote it through a video in conjunction with my narrator and producer friend Samuel Haskell.
The key, eventually, is to establish a fan base and hopefully then those four or five sales a day will multiply handsomely.
Meanwhile, the current Facebook ad seems to be the one pulling them in. I’ve made a strength of the fact the American eBook competition judge described Arnie Dolan as terrifying, and I’m delighted to say it must be working.