30 November 2013 by Published in: Uncategorized 35 comments

Almost a year and a half ago, I posted a blog chronicling the death of Select freebies. My position was that the program had been gutted, and that free no longer was a particularly effective tactic to drive sales.

So what’s the state of the union, you ask? What’s changed? What does any or all of it mean?

Free still sucks. And yet there are still eager lemmings willing to give the Zon an exclusive for 90 days so they can run free days, only to see them generate few or no sales, and in fact hurt their ranking when they come back to paid. Amazing, but authors are desperate for visibility, so they’ll do things that aren’t in their best interests if they think it will get them somewhere. Sad, but it’s not my problem. All I can do is what I perceive to be best for my book selling business, and allow everyone else to find their own path.

To that end, I have books that are permanently free. JET, the first in the series of that name, and Night of the Assassin, the prequel to King of Swords and the first book in the Assassin series. And The Delphi Chronicle, Book 1, which was my experiment with writing a serial trilogy, which didn’t do so well, mainly because people don’t comprehend what a serial trilogy is. They see the word serial, and think it’s a breakfast food or something. I’ve explained until I’m blue in the face, the product description goes to great pains to clarify that the books represent one story arc that is told across three books, and that there is no satisfying conclusion to books 1 or 2 – that it’s the totality of the books wherein the story is told. All to no avail. I still get outraged reviews of it saying things to the effect, “Aw, man, this is a rip-off, it’s not a complete book, blech, this sucks and I hope the author dies of brain ebola – if I want to read the whole story of 160K words, he actually expects me to pay for the final two episodes.” Rather than continue to try to educate those for whom reading comprehension appears to be limited to text messages and smiley icons, I just ignore it all and mush on.

But I leave these three books free, and promote them, because the first book in a series free is the single best marketing tool I’ve found. Still. Two years after making Night of the Assassin free, it sees many thousands of downloads per month, as does JET, and the conversion rate to paid sales of the second book in the series is good – anywhere from 10-15%, meaning if today, 500 free downloads occur, I will see maybe 50-65 sales today of book two. From there, the conversion rate is more like 90%+, from book 2 to book 3-whatever. In other words, most who actually think it’s worth paying for book 2, go on to buy book 3, 4 and 5. Oh, and the reviews are generally more positive moving forward through the series, too, which is expected, as those buying the fourth book have already qualified themselves as believing the books are meritorious by their act of purchasing them.

It has never been harder to get noticed as an author. The golden years of self-pubbing are now behind us, when anyone who could fog a mirror could bang out a couple of hundred pages of dross, run a free promo, and then go on to write a book about how to become a bestseller. The glut of free books certainly hastened the end of that period, as has Amazon’s de-clawing free as a legitimate means of creating visibility – for example, free books won’t show up in the also-boughts, whereas before, they would, which would give the title visibility after a promo or a free download as a perma-free. Now, not at all.

I have mixed feelings about all this. On the one hand, I enjoy selling lots of books, and free was a marvelous tool I could use to increase discoverability. On the other hand, I do think it created an entire audience that views books as an entitlement – that books should be free, and that authors should work for free to keep their audience entertained. I’m still okay with the practice, because, as my conversion rate shows, it’s worth it to give away some books in order to familiarize readers with my work – because I believe that my voice is distinctive enough that, once exposed to it, a healthy segment of readers will want to read more of it. So far, so good. 2013 looks like it will easily exceed my goal for the year by 15%, for which I’m grateful. Next year, though, is going to be a bear, because if I want to double again, it will mean selling a big number – as in, a really big number. I have no idea if I will be able to do that, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve that should prove interesting. One of which will be stepping up PR – once I make my big announcement, the objective will be to ensure everyone on the planet hears the news, not that I write another 10 books in a year. With 25 novels out by end of December, I’d argue that there are sufficient Russell Blake books in the marketplace for readers to get an idea about whether I’m someone they want to read. I’m not so sure having 35 out by the end of 2014 is the answer. My approach will shift to fewer novels with more time between them, and more marketing of my existent body of work.

I will say that I believe 2014 will be my banner year – the year I break big. Call it a hunch. If not, boo hoo, poor me, but I really have a good feeling about it, and am optimistic.

We don’t have long to wait.

And for everyone who is wondering what my big November news is, consider it to now be my big December news. I’ll break it soon. I promise. And this time I’m not just lying for practice, as is typically the case.

BLACK Is The New Black is in final editing and should be out within a couple of weeks, and then JET VI is targeted for Xmas release. If all goes well, I’ll make it. Next up will be working on BLACK 4, for Jan/Feb release, and then another Assassin book, then JET VII while I’m still in that vibe, and finishing up 2014 with JET VIII. A much more sane schedule than 2012 and 2013. Of course, I’ll also have some collaborations to fill my time with, so it won’t be lounging around on beaches cavorting with nubile natives. Or at least, not only that.

In December, I’m also going to do a couple of interviews with noteworthy authors. One will be with the legendary Lawrence Block, whose first self-pubbed tome The Burglar Who Counted The Spoons releases on Christmas day.

Happy holidays, everyone. Remember, nothing says I love you like a stocking filled with Russell Blake crap, so don’t cheap out. My crap’s also perfect for weddings, bar mitzvahs, funerals, baby showers, a first or latest tattoo, an offering to a prospective mate, or really anything where you’re thinking about exchanging your money for something – preferably, my crap. And for a limited time only, I’m offering 10% more crap with every bit of crap you buy. That’s right. Just go buy it, and you’ll see. Even more crap for your valuable crap dollar!

Until next time, be nice to each other. We pass through this life way too quickly. Try not to break anything on your way, okay?




  1. Sat 30th Nov 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Fab update, thank you.
    If I ever have another bar mitzvah, I’ll remember your name when I’m looking for crap.
    Looking forward to your interviews.
    This is my kinda blog.

    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 30th Nov 2013 at 8:59 pm

      Glad you like it. No accounting for taste, I suppose.

  2. Sat 30th Nov 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Congrats on this year being better than the last. I’m excited another assassin book is coming out. El Rey is my favorite.
    I have followed your advice to never make my novel free because it’s not part of a series and so far that has been good advice because I’ve made money. But I would like your opinion on Kindle Countdown Deals. I am in KDP Select not for the free days but for the borrows, and because I don’t have a big readership I didn’t know if I’d make more money at Barnes & Noble versus the borrows from Prime. But now Amazon’s giving us the 70% royalty on the 99 cent days, and I recently did a 4 day Kindle Countdown deal and sold 1,200 books. (I had to pay for ads by the way. They didn’t do squat to help me.) Anyway, I’ve averaged 900 books sold per month since it came out, but the majority of the sales were during big promos, so now I’m thinking I should stay with Select and schedule Countdown Deals 4 times a year and make more money, then repeat with the second novel and so on. But I still don’t know if I’d make more by diversifying. What confuses me most is I sell really well on sale, get nice reviews afterward, then at full price it’s like the faucet turns off.

    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 30th Nov 2013 at 8:59 pm

      If your countdown deal did well, congrats, but you’re in the minority. There’s a long string tracking the outcome of countdown deals on the KB boards and the data basically says more have lousy experiences than good ones.

      The reason your book falls off a cliff on regular price days is that your readership has been trained to wait for the very regular promotions on price – if it’s not on sale this month, it will definitely be on sale next month. Also, you don’t have any visibility much of the time due to only having one novel out, so the only time readers are aware of it is when it hits a list because of a promo – and then it will fade as it drops off the also-boughts.

      Doing regular price promos on individual titles isn’t a super idea. I mean, once, around product intro, I can see, but if you use it as your primar, or only, mechanism for creating awareness, you’re just training your readership to wait you out and buy it on sale, IMO.

      • Kim Cano  –  Sun 01st Dec 2013 at 11:12 am

        Right now I don’t know how much of a readership I have to train. I think it’s more what you sad about they don’t know who I am until I have a promo. But yeah, I’d prefer to not have to run 99 cent promos 4 times per year and spend all kinds of ad money. Hopefully in the future when I have more books I won’t have to.
        I will check that out at KindleBoards. Thanks!

        • John Green  –  Wed 04th Dec 2013 at 11:00 pm

          I do price reductions but not on a regular basis and never for 99 cents or 1.99. 1.99 is one of the worst prices to use. I have reduced my book by 1.50 to 2.49 and got some sales that way. After Friday, I will raise it back to my regular price or close to the previous. And Russell, you are right about the count down experience. Several people in a group I belong to have not had good experiences with it.

  3. Sat 30th Nov 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Hey Blake,

    Great to hear the news on doubling your sales, and nearly finishing up a couple of other projects.

    I wanted to make one possible counter-point. You mentioned that if you give away a book for free, it won’t show up in the “also bought’s.” But I respectfully disagree with that.

    I recently gave away “Sold Out” and was super ecstatic with the results — it soared to the top of its genre and actually went as high as #87 Free in Kindle Store across all genres. Obviously, I was super ecstatic with that. UNTIL…

    After the sale, I noticed many of my “also bought’s” had drastically changed, and not in a good way. There were different genre books, books that typically sold for .99 cents. Pretty much, a big set back IMO.

    Slowly but surely, my old “also bought’s” (which are sniper related and very similar) are returning, but I learned a valuable lesson. And that lesson is this: I’ll never run a free sale for three days again.

    It’s great to make it to the top of your genre, but not great to make it much higher than that.

    Maybe I’m somehow wrong about how this happened, and if I am, I’m sure you know what went down, but I feel pretty confident this is what took place.

    Keep up the great work,

    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 30th Nov 2013 at 11:02 pm

      What I meant is that if you look at, for instance, book 2 of JET, where obviously the most purchased book would be Book 1, which is perma-free, you won’t see JET 1. It’s as though it doesn’t exist.

      Same for King of Swords. Look at it, and you’ll note the one book missing is Night of the Assassin – the free prequel that virtually everybody downloads before moving on to KOS.

      On paid books, free books don’t show up in the also-boughts. On paid books that were free for a limited time but are now paid again, what will show up on the also-boughts are all the other formerly free books that are also now paid again. Because they’re paid now. Any that are still free won’t show up.

      It’s a way to diminish the impact of free. It is deliberate. Amazon wants to sell books, not give them away for free. I anticipate they will continue coming up with ways to reduce the effectiveness of free as a tactic – I’ve been saying for years they should be focusing on eliminating free to the extent that’s possible. This is what they’re doing. I have mixed feelings about it, because I’ve used perma-free as a mechanism for getting folks to try my work, but I also recognize the destructiveness of devaluing books to where lots of people just view them as something that they don’t and shouldn’t have to pay for.

      What you’re describing is a different issue.

      • Stan R. Mitchell  –  Sat 30th Nov 2013 at 11:06 pm

        Oh, I see! Yes, you’re right. And that makes perfect sense.

        And dumb question, but how are you keeping your initial books in the series free? Are you giving them away somewhere else?

        (And my big fear on doing this was that at some point Amazon might get pissed that they’re hosting and allowing downloads of your free book when you clearly don’t intend to ever sell it from their site, but I’m assuming that doesn’t happen if they’ve left you alone. Do you mind saying how long your books have been free? We’re talking months and months, right?)

        • Russell Blake  –  Sat 30th Nov 2013 at 11:14 pm

          I have them free at all other sites, so Amazon price matches that.

          Night of the Assassin has been free for over two years. JET, for over one.

          Amazon has sold a lot of books of books 2-5 in both series, so in my case, hosting those free books (which is a sunk cost for them) has led to many hundreds of thousands of revenue for them – a pretty nice deal for having some server space and a site to click buy, I’d think.

          • Stan R. Mitchell  –  Sat 30th Nov 2013 at 11:29 pm

            A great deal indeed, and thanks for the info!

  4. andy holloman
    Sun 01st Dec 2013 at 11:43 am

    ….dude! love the post……most politely disagree about your comments on the value of free….you’re in the superstar status and your QTY of titles in such a short period of time is truly off the charts in this world of self-publ. so I would counter that your experiences are more applicable to those that exist in the upper stratosphere of folks who have self-publ. alot of titles….free is a KILLER promo tool for me (and others) who have just scratched the surface…I can’t fall back on a big load of titles to help boost sales….I have to use whatever I can to get above the noise…and freebie tools have worked for me…..I mean REALLY worked…now, there may be a long-term detriment, can envision that and concede your comments about readers waiting for a title to simply become free may have merit…..in the meantime, gotta get those sales and HOPEFULLY fans for future titles….broHug

    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 01st Dec 2013 at 11:58 am

      Well, free used to be great. Now, you run a free promo, what do you get out of it? No boost from the algos. So not post-free bump. At best your title shows up as an also-bought on the other free books, once yours and theirs are no longer free. Perhaps that’s worth something, but in my mind, not so much.

      No question they used to work. I used the hell out of them, running a free promo literally every 10 days for a year. But on a single title? Now? Mmm, not so much.

      On this, I’m afraid we must disagree.

      • John Green  –  Wed 04th Dec 2013 at 11:04 pm

        On a single book, I think free works to a reasonable degree if not over used. But I definitely think your approach to the series sales makes sense. BTY loved Jet and the Assassin Series I have read. You are one of my favorite action authors.

        • Russell Blake  –  Thu 05th Dec 2013 at 12:22 pm

          Well, thanks, John.

          But we have to disagree on free “working” on a stand-alone title. All you wind up doing is giving away your single book. The algos now don’t reward you with a post-sales bump of any note, and Amazon doesn’t feature free books in your also-boughts. So the best case is that you get some visibility once it goes back to paid as an also-bought, but then you’re going to be an also-bought for a bunch of other books that were also free when yours was, likely not in your genre. Oh, and of course, your ranking will tunnel, because you’re sort of starting back at ground zero when you come off free.

          The days of free being a good marketing strategy for anything but the first book in a series are long gone, alas, IMO.

  5. andy holloman
    Sun 01st Dec 2013 at 12:00 pm

    hi5….the post freebie bump still exists….i witness it regularly…the bump just isn’t nearly as good as it use to be….. broHug

    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 01st Dec 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Give me an example of what it gets you. Say you see 10K books given away during your free promo. How many additional sales do you expect, over and above your run rate?

      When I say it’s dead, I mean that if I have to give away 10K books to sell 20 extra, for a total profit of…$60…it’s not worth the damage to my brand, the time it takes, or getting it in the A on the reduced $ on a borrow vs. a sale (you see 20 borrows in a month, and those cannibalize your sales by 20, that is also a leveling factor). My observation has been that there’s no free lunch, and when you account for all the variables, there are very, very few things that make any substantial difference anymore.

  6. Elliott
    Sun 01st Dec 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Hi Russell,

    Thanks for the free books! No offense, but I never heard of you until I stumbled across the free Jet and Night of The Assassin books on Amazon. I’m now a huge fan of both series, but especially enjoy El Rey and the Assassin series. In fact, I just came on your site to check which Assassin book was next for me to download when I saw your post on the front page. Your marketing strategy definitely worked with me. Keep up the good work.


    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 01st Dec 2013 at 9:30 pm

      Thanks, Elliott, and I’m glad my evil plan for world domination, or at least the sales of a few books, worked. And no offense taken – I figure 99% of my potential audience has never heard of me, so the good news is I’ve got nothing but room to grow…

      I’ve gotten emails from a lot of readers, many of whom discovered my scribbling via the free mechanism, so I have no regrets.

      Obviously, nobody likes slaving away over a hot novel for free, but if one views that as a necessary means to an end, it makes a kind of sense. And frankly, I don’t think in the current environment that it’s too much for readers to ask to be able to see a long sample of the work before they decide to commit. My approach just takes that to its logical conclusion.

      Thanks again for the warm words.

  7. Mark
    Mon 02nd Dec 2013 at 1:30 am

    Sorry for the off-topic question but I am looking over your books deciding which one to immerse myself in. You mentioned your voice and how you believe people will like it and want to read more of it. Do you have any hard rules about your writing process? I know some writers make a habit of invoking all five senses every three pages or so. Do you do this? I am scanning the first few pages of Jet and sense you’re a “thick prose” writer.

    Lastly, do you add sex scenes in your novels just so readers can say, “Nice sex scene!” or do you tie it in with character or plot?

    Thanks for blogging.

    • Russell Blake  –  Mon 02nd Dec 2013 at 11:33 am

      I have no rules other than that I want to find it interesting when I read it.

      Really? Some writers make a habit of that? That’s got to get boring for them. I just use my imagination and relay whatever I think is material to creating the mood I want.

      I have very few sex scenes, and when they happen, it’s because the sex was essential to the plot – unlike real life.

      On action novels, I do try to keep it moving, whether via reversals every so often, or action beats, or whatnot, but I try to avoid a formula out of fear of becoming formulaic. I’m sure we all know the Dan Brown “end each chapter with a cliffhanger” rule or the “increase the tension in each act” rule so many use, but the problem is that discerning readers quickly become bored with that and will despise you if you adhere to it. My only rule is to keep it moving and make it entertaining. How I do so is different in each book. If you read the first few pages of any of my novels, you’ll find the prose thicker there than anywhere else. I do that deliberately, because I both want to fire a shot across the reader’s bow and alert them that this ain’t gonna be no popcorn, forgot about it two minutes after reading it, book, as well as because once you loosen up the prose some, it has the effect of accelerating the story pace. And perhaps most importantly, page after page of thick prose becomes exhausting to read if the whole book is like that. If you look at what Golding does in Lord of the Flies, or more currently, what an author like James Lee Burke does, it’s similar. He’ll give you richly atmospheric language to set the mood or describe the place or whatnot, and then loosens it up so the story can move.

      The danger is of course becoming purple with one’s prose. But someone is always going to find your prose purple if you aspire to anything more than a Hardy Boys level of writing, so you have to use your best judgment. I know some can’t stand my writing because they feel the language too self indulgent at times, or that I’m not following their “rules” for how to write a “good” novel – not enough tension here, not enough of a character arc there, too many adverbs or adjectives, whatever your pet dogma is – but that’s okay, because the most accomplished novelists in the world have legions who think their work blows goats. It’s just part of the gig. Rather like being a hooker, I’d imagine that one man’s treat is another’s terror. The good news is that there are appetites for everything, even my work, so I’ll never starve. But I find myself writing books I would want to read, and I like my prose a bit more elevated than the typical fourth grade fare that’s so popular these days. Call me an anachronism, but I tend to enjoy books written by people who can really write, be it mysteries by a guy like Lawrence Block, or denser novels like James Lee Burke’s work, or literary fiction by David Foster Wallace or Thomas Pynchon or the like. But whenever I read them, I’m always, “this should move faster” or “I’d have cut this.” But instead of criticizing, I then go write my own, and do it the way I want to.

      If you’re looking for examples of “my” voice, you can try The Geronimo Breach, my second novel, or Blood of the Assassin, one of my better ones, or Upon A Pale Horse, if bio-thrillers in the Crichton mold are your thing. Or if you just want a breakneck-paced romp in the Ian Fleming mold, JET, or if you want something more substantial but still fast and action-packed, King of Swords. But if you were only going to read one or two, I’d say start with Blood of the Assassin, which can be read as a stand-alone, and then go to Geronimo for a completely different, and I think, unique, novel, that tries to combine current events (it was written a month or so after the big news hit – you’ll know what I’m talking about by the end of the book) with a unique take on character development. The goal there was to write the world’s most unappealing protag, and yet have the reader develop an affinity for him in spite of himself as it develops, until by the end of the novel, you’re rooting for him. Very difficult to do, and breaks about every rule I can think of, starting with beginning the book with a dream sequence and continuing to the character development, the use of elaborate language in a pulp novel, etc. And yet it hangs together and works. Go figure.

  8. Mon 02nd Dec 2013 at 12:34 pm

    It’s funny that you said you do that at the beginning and then taper off so the story picks up. I had no idea that was intentional. I’m surprised some readers complain because the beginning of your books are often my favorite part. I find myself reading slow, admiring a sentence, then a paragraph, and studying them in the hopes I will be able to do something just as good.
    Then before I know it I’m getting into the story and I don’t notice myself stopping all the time. I guess that’s a good thing though. Otherwise it may take me forever to read the book.
    I do enjoy when you sprinkle that stuff throughout too. I will pause and think “ooh. . .what a pretty sentence,” and then I’m ready for El Rey to kill someone.

    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 03rd Dec 2013 at 11:38 am

      I do aspire to writing a pretty sentence now and again. Glad someone’s paying attention.

  9. Dave
    Tue 03rd Dec 2013 at 3:39 am

    Just thought I would say I love all of your books.
    The writing , plots and readability seem to suit me . I am constantly on a plane for work and your books and my music make the time pass effortlessly.
    My fear is I may be reading quicker than you can write.

    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 03rd Dec 2013 at 11:38 am

      Gracias. Although most readers have the opposite complaint – that I write em faster than they read em. By year end it will be 25 novels in 30 months published, not counting two in the queue, so as long as I don’t run out of tequila we should be fine…

  10. David
    Wed 04th Dec 2013 at 12:18 pm

    I came to your site based on a review by Randy Ingermanson. Just read you blurb above. I have a question based on: “Two years after making Night of the Assassin free, it sees many thousands of downloads per month, as does JET, and the conversion rate to paid sales of the second book in the series is good – anywhere from 10-15%, meaning if today, 500 free downloads occur, I will see maybe 50-65 sales today of book two. From there, the conversion rate is more like 90%+, from book 2 to book 3-whatever. In other words, most who actually think it’s worth paying for book 2, go on to buy book 3, 4 and 5.”

    I suggest that your 90% sales from your second book is not because readers have already invested money in the second book. Rather, I believe it is because they have invested TIME in both books and now must justify their time by finishing the series. If that is true, then, economically it would make way more sense to offer both 1 and 2 books of a series for free. Then, you would be generating 90% sales for the third book of the initial 500 readers instead of a net 13% sales from the original 500.

    If you have committed enough time, energy, and thought to writing two books of a series, then most readers assume that the next 1 or 2 books of that series will continue the same quality that was invested in the first two. After that, there is usually a fall off in quality as the author stretches out the series.

    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 04th Dec 2013 at 1:25 pm

      Well, David, that’s possible. But I would say that if you have invested 10 hours into reading JET, you either know whether you want to follow the story, or not. Committing 20 hours to reading two books for free won’t, in my opinion, generate the results you think it will.


      Because after speaking to hundreds of readers, most free books don’t get read. As in, perhaps 5% do. In my case, more like 15%, because a certain segment has gone looking for the books because of good word of mouth. So, if you buy off on that idea, one might say that 80-90% of those that read the free book are then going on to buy the second book. Expressed that way, I think it’s more meaningful. Of course, as with so much in this business, there’s no way of knowing how many of 10K free downloads actually read em. So there’s purely anecdotal evidence. Of course, Amazon knows, and can just look at the kindle stats, but they’re not telling.

      The other part of this is that I’m reluctant to give away two full novels in a series, which required time, energy, and money to produce, to test your take on it. No offense, but at some point you need to recoup your investment and get paid for entertaining the audience. If they can’t tell whether my prose is good enough to pay for after 10 hours, I doubt another 10 hours will convince them it is.

      So far so good.

  11. Ken
    Wed 04th Dec 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Another great post. Since you’re wearing your publishing hat, a quick question if I may:

    Besides publishing on Kindle, do you publish directly to any other companies like B&N/Nook, Kobo, others, or do you simply upload to Smashwords and let them distribute your works to other platforms?

    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 04th Dec 2013 at 9:51 pm

      I use Smashwords, although it probably makes more economic sense to upload to each individually…

      • Ken  –  Thu 05th Dec 2013 at 9:01 am


        Thanks for the reply. A few follow-ups, if you would be so kind:

        Have you ever experimented with having the first book of a series priced at $.99 instead of free?

        Where do you get most of your sales (I would guess Amazon/Kindle, and then B&N/Nook)?

        Do you use a content editor or more of a proofreader for your works before putting them up?

        Thanks again.

        • Russell Blake  –  Thu 05th Dec 2013 at 12:17 pm

          Yes, I have, and it doesn’t work.

          Amazon is probably 85% of my sales. B&N another 10%, and then the rest.

          I use two editors and a proofreader. The editors do line by line edits, the proofreader tries to catch any issues that might have been introduced in the process.

          • Kim Cano  –  Thu 05th Dec 2013 at 4:44 pm

            I have another question based on what you just wrote. If 85% of your sales come from Amazon, then I’m thinking all I should do is look at my borrows and see if they are greater than that to decide if I should leave Select. But since I don’t do free, and only have one novel and no one knows I exist unless I’m on a big promo at 99 cents, and since the majority of the 900 sales per month I’ve averaged were on these promos, now I’m thinking I don’t know how to calculate the advantage of leaving. I’m going to make 70% with the Countdown Deal, which I’ve had great luck with. So I figured I’d schedule the promos and make double the money when I am selling. I’m looking at it as a raise until I build my readership and mailing list and have more books and can sell well at full price. Which I want to do, of course. Maybe it would be better for me to diversify at a later date when I have more offerings. Does this even make sense or have I spent so much time with my calculator that I’m just typing gibberish?

          • Russell Blake  –  Thu 05th Dec 2013 at 8:34 pm

            I think it’s purely a function of income. If your experience mirrors that of others, you will likely see 10-15% more sales from the other sites after the first four or five months. You will also have the chance to be discovered by different readers – more shelves to have your book on, so to speak. So if your borrows exceed 10-15% of your income from your books, then there’s your answer. Although when I pulled out of Select, my sales at Amazon increased (due to borrows not being able to cannibalize my sales anymore) AND I saw a 10-15% effect on my revenue from the other outlets.

          • Ken  –  Fri 06th Dec 2013 at 8:20 am

            Thanks for the reply. Your editors do a wonderful job. Your books read smooth and everything about them screams of professionalism. Besides Kindleboards, what other forms of marketing do you employ?

          • Russell Blake  –  Fri 06th Dec 2013 at 12:59 pm

            I run advertisements with Bookbub and Ereader News Today, as well as a few others. I maintain a Twitter account and an all too irregular Facebook presence.

            Mostly, my strategy involves sleeping my way to the top.

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