by Christine Kling
I know I often write about my adventures with boats and bikes and my attempts to live simply, but tonight, it is another adventure that is on my mind. I haven’t written about the sales of Circle of Bones, and I guess the time has come to share that story with you.
I often refer back to the sub-title of this blog because it is the story of my life. I quit my job and moved onto my boat to become a full-time writer and sailor. It took a huge leap of faith to do that, and over the past few months, I’ve had many occasions to wonder if I’d done the right thing in taking that risk. I’ve written here for two years about my efforts to finish this novel Circle of Bones – in fact, it was the readers of this blog who helped me pick the title of the book. I wrote about my vain search to find a new agent to represent me and my new book, and how I felt that nobody wanted it (or me), not even my editor at Ballantine. I’ve written about my struggles with the decision to self-publish and the difficulties of learning how to format an indie book.
Finally, after five years of working on this book, I published the ebook of Circle of Bones on December 19 before I left to bring my boat down the ICW from New Bern. In January, I sold about 70 copies, and in February, it was around 90. I studied the market, and though I had no money for advertising, I found I had some free ad credits on Facebook and Google AdSense, and I created ads and worked hard at tweaking the book’s description trying to improve my sales. I wrote to book bloggers to get reviews, and I ran a contest on Goodreads. Then, having seen the success that Mike J and John Urban had with the Kindle Select program, I decided to give that a try in March.
On March 10 when I began three days of giving my book away free, I had sold a grand total of 62 copies so far that month. I had spent days writing to every site I could find that listed free books, and I bought one ad for $40 that was a Social Media Buzz package. I decided not to use this blog or the usual writers’ sites. Instead, I looked for sailors and readers, and I used Facebook and Twitter. Over the next three days, Circle of Bones was downloaded by over 37,400 readers. It made it to the #2 spot on the Amazon Top 100 Free list. Sales started slowly after the free days, but by the third day, my book had climbed to #20 on the Amazon paid bestseller list. By the end of March, I had sold 7,900 copies of the book.
It has now been three and a half weeks since my free days, and Bones is still ranked at #272 on Amazon and has sold 765 copies in the first five days of this month. Why? I don’t know. I worked hard to make my book the absolute best it could be, refused to be in a rush, and then I hired private editors and professional cover artists – but others have done the same and not had the same success, so I acknowledge that a huge part of it is just plain damn luck.
But you know, I’m not wondering anymore whether I did the right thing by quitting my day job and taking that leap of faith. I’m just wondering how long it’s going to take me to write the next book featuring the adventures of Riley and Cole – The Dragon’s Triangle.
Christine KlingAuthor of CIRCLE OF BONES Available for Kindle
p.s. I have also written about my Desire to Acquire new technology, and I’ll bet you’ll never guess what my first purchase was – yup, a new iPad.Share on Facebook