The Moon Coin’s Results in Amazon’s
Kindle Direct Publishing Select Program
First off, this was my first experience with Amazon’s KDP Select Program. And before listing my book, I read about a lot of other people’s experiences with the program in order to form some reasonable expectations. But I couldn’t find anybody reporting their experience who wrote for middle grade, tweens, or young adult. On the low end, I was bracing myself for as few as 500 downloads (over three days). On the high end, 2,500.
I’d been putting off entering the Select program because The Moon Coin had yet to meet two goals I’d set up for it. One, I’d wanted to have thirty or more good reviews on TMC’s Amazon page. Two, I’d wanted to have the print edition out and available for purchase on Amazon. Why wait for the print edition, you say? Well, the target audience for TMC still reads mostly paper, and not by a small percentage. According to industry stats, 80% of middle grade and tween still get their books in paper. So, logically, I wanted any parents previewing books for their kids’ summer reading list to have the option of ordering a print copy. I got the reviews I’d wanted within six months, but it wasn’t until June 20, 2012 that I had the print edition in place.
Next I had to pick the time and length of the sale. Given that it was late June, it seemed immediately obvious to me that I should wait until the Fourth of July weekend. The only problem there was . . . the Fourth of July was on a Wednesday this year! After thinking about it for a bit, I decided not to run it on the actual day of the 4th, since that’s a really busy day and evening, mostly spent outdoors with friends or family. So that meant I had to choose between the weekend before or the weekend after. In the end, I picked July 5, 6, and 7. My reasoning being that it gave me a bit more time to prepare.
Prep time. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something I knew nothing about, so I opted for free sites who advertise Free Kindle Books. There are lots of them, just Google: “Free Kindle Books” and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I did do one paid ad with Kindle Nation Daily for $30, which I believe got me a one day advert on the 5th. I really like Kindle Nation Daily; they run a really smart website. I’ve worked with them before and plan to work with them again.
On the night of the 5th, TMC’s ranking was around 370,000 in the paid store. I waited up until 1:30am, thinking I’d be able to catch TMC’s flip from the paid store to the free store, but no go. As near as I can tell, TMC went live on the Kindle Free Store sometime between 1:30 and 7am, which is when I first saw it in the free store, but with no ranking. I checked it pretty regularly after that. The first ranking appeared at 8am: TMC was #6,630 and had landed at #59 on the Action and Adventure top 100 list. I was shocked.
From that point on, about every two hours or so, my ranking cut in half: #3,525, #1,933, #842, #408, #218. It kept climbing on the Action Adventure list, too: #43, #27, #15, #8, #6. TMC popped up on two other top 100 lists: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, and Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Magic, and was climbing those lists as well.
When I hit #135 on the master Kindle Free Store list, two things happened: first, I entertained the idea, for the first time, that I had a chance of hitting the top 100 list for the entire Kindle Free Store; second, I didn’t have a heart attack, for which I am eternally grateful. You see, I knew if I could get on that master top 100 list, then it would be like, well, did you see that movie where Vin Diesel hits the nitrous oxide then holds onto the steering wheel for dear life?
Midnight of the 5th, TMC hit #117 on the master list. But for the first time since hitting the list, it had begun to slow, and it was slowing fast. At around 2am, I decided it just wasn’t going to happen. Then, just before I went to bed, I hit the refresh one more time . . . #98. The Moon Coin had hit the top 100 in the big list. I went to bed happy, fully expecting on waking to find that TMC had dropped off. But I didn’t care. My little book had made it to the top 100. I was very proud.
But when I woke up on the 6th, TMC was at #70, landing it in the top 10 on all three of the sub category top 100 lists. (I think, at that time, it was #2 on the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Magic list.)
I went to work as usual that morning, to our bookstore, where that paperback edition is selling like gangbusters. Over the course of the work day, TMC remained static on the list. After work, it rose to #46, then to #43, and finally to #42.
In the end, The Moon Coin was downloaded 8,981 times during the three days it was available.
It hit #1 on Amazon’s Best Seller Free Kindle list for children’s Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Magic list; #1 on the children’s Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror list; and #2 on the Action/Adventure list.
After the sale was over, The Moon Coin instantly flipped back to the Kindle Paid Store, right back to where it started: 370,000. Within an hour, it shot up to 70,000. Then it jumped up to 22,000. Over the next couple weeks, it hung out around the 20,000s, getting as high as 14,384.
In order to get on the Action and Adventure list for the paid store, it needed to get to 4,500. TMC wasn’t going to make it.
The Aftermath. TMC is sinking back down in the paid store ranking (currently 141,177). I know that many of the 8,981 people who downloaded it may never get around to reading it (there are just too many books and not enough time). And I know that 99% of the people who downloaded it were deep into a book already (or series) when they downloaded it. Realistically, over the next nine months, I’ll be lucky if a third of those people give TMC a shot, and read a chapter or more.
Happily, I received a flurry of attention and ratings from the fast readers who put TMC on the top of their reading list, and the response was unanimously wonderful.
So, ultimately, what did I get from Amazon’s Kindle Select Program?
Seeds. I’ve planted thousands of seeds. Will I get a forest someday? Only time will tell, but I can’t worry or think about that. I have work to do.
The Dragondain, book 2 in the Moon Realm Series, is due to publish as an ebook on September the 8th. And next year, The Murk, and the year after that, The Ninth Embasea, and the year after that . . .
Update: The Dragondain, book 2, has launched! And TMC will use its last two promo days Sept. 20, 21. I’ll report back on those numbers when I have them.