Marketing and The Night Ones Legacy

I love my Amazon sales page. :)

I love my Amazon sales page. 🙂

Nearly two weeks ago now, I promised to post results from my most recent marketing lab. This time, it was a two-day KDP Select promotion for The Night Ones Legacy celebrating its two-year anniversary. Here’s what happened:

I requested free advertising on about 15 sites and received it on about five of them. I also paid for advertising ($20 for a package that included tweets) on eReader Perks.

I really didn’t know what to expect, since the book has been out now for two years and doesn’t seem to fit into any category very well. Under the circumstances, I was pleasantly surprised when The Night Ones Legacy reached #764 free in the Kindle store. My best stats included #25 in Kindle eBooks>Literature & Fiction>Action and Adventure and #61 in Kindle eBooks>Teens. (It’s nothing spectacular like what author Charles Yallowitz has experienced—see his successes here and in other spots on his blog—but I was pleased, anyway.)

I wondered whether the promotion would spark new reviews for it on Amazon, but I haven’t seen any yet.  The Night Ones Legacy currently sits at #553,140 in the paid Kindle store.

That’s certainly not a high number, but before I began blogging again around October 2012, sales numbers for The Night Ones Legacy hovered consistently just above #881,000. To that point, I hadn’t really done anything to promote it other than one quick banner advertisement when it was first published two years ago.

Since then, it’s been the focus of a contest, several blog posts, this KDP Select experiment and a rather quiet give-away (If people contacted me and requested a copy, I gifted them a free Kindle version—I’ve given away about 25 books this way over the past six months). Oh, and I did finally start tweeting about it a month or so ago, but I haven’t yet built a habit out of Twitter, so the little bursts there have been inconsistent.

What this means to me: my marketing experiments are paying off both in terms of what I’m learning and in my sales rank, but they’re paying off very, very slowly. This is a great exercise in detaching my emotions from the outcome and just enjoying the journey, and I can say, it really is a wonderful ride.

I’ve given a lot of thought to this book while I’ve been working on its sequel. For the following reasons, I think it may always be difficult to sell this series of books:

  • I cannot seem to find a category where it really fits. In the first book, the protagonist is too young to fit with young adult books, but the story is too…old?…to qualify as a middle-grade read.
  • Although it’s high fantasy and there is plenty of adventure in the book, it focuses more on Lily’s character development than anything as she is forced to participate in the events unfolding around her. One writing friend has told me this is kind of a literary device.  I’m sure every fantasy writer wants to be like Tolkien to some extent, but I have to wonder if contemporary high fantasy can be marketed as literary, as well.
  • At less than 400 pages for the first book and with only three books planned in the series, can it be marketed as epic fantasy? I’ve had mixed reports on that one, although I lean toward the ‘no’ answer.
  • Another problem: As I’ve been studying how to raise boys (yes, I really do read about that!), I’ve learned that girls often enjoy books with boy protagonists but that boys hardly ever enjoy books with girl protagonists. If what I’ve read is true, that limits my target audience even more than the age group thing does.

It’s definitely an experiment in the elements of writing. I plan to finish the entire series, mostly because I enjoy writing it. After that—and maybe during that, as well—I intend to branch out and try different things. I really, really love variety.

I know that goes contrary to the whole idea of branding. I’m not yet sure how I’ll address that. I’ll have to figure it out if I ever get serious about selling fiction books. For now I’m just learning and having fun. 😀

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31 Comments to “Marketing and The Night Ones Legacy”

  1. I’m not entirely sure of the definition of epic fantasy, but look at Lord of the Rings. It has been divided this way and that from the original book and still succeeded in many different categories. I believe those books are less than 400 pages each now as well, aren’t they?

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  2. Hey Gwen, do yo mind me asking how many sales you’ve made on this book? I’m really curious considering how long it’s been out. 🙂

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    • You know what? I don’t know! I’ll go through my records tonight and see what I can find. I know, it’s silly not to know the numbers by now…but I just haven’t focused on it much. Maybe now is a good time to start. 🙂 I doubt the numbers are very high. I’ll let you know tomorrow, if I can.

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      • It’s fine if it’s too much trouble! Just me being nosy. 😉

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      • No trouble! 😀 Actually, it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for quite a while now. And who was I kidding–I couldn’t wait until tonight. I went and looked.

        I sold 12 books total the first year. Total sales are still only at 71, but more than half of them have sold during the past seven months–about 8 per month now. The numbers are minute, but the increase is 800 percent. (Any reason to celebrate will do! 😀 )

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      • Increase is increase! In theory, if you maintain that momentum you’ll eventually get rich! 😉

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      • I like the way you think. 🙂

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      • It’s also way more than my 0! So you’re beating a lotta people that way too xD

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      • You are so nice! Thanks for the encouragement.

        I like the new theme on your blog, by the way, and I’m intrigued that you’re working on apps, too. Some people can do everything, and you’re one of them! Makes me proud to know you.

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      • Why thank you! I much prefer it to the old one. 🙂

        I’m not so much someone who can do everything, but I do everything! My brother handles all the coding aspects, I just do the story. I’m a good writer and salesman, just get others to fill in the void. 😀

        Still, you flatter me! Thanks!

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  3. Getting that high up the lists on a book that’s been around for two years is great. I’m here working and advertising every day, so I’ll admit to busting my butt more than if this was a 9-5 day job. You got very far without driving yourself nuts. So, take a bow and smile.

    Have you thought about the Epic Fantasy genre? It’s where you find series that have grand adventures and they turn into world spanning adventures. That’s where I am and it seems to be popular thanks to Game of Thrones.

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  4. Congratulations! It sounds like you’re finding an audience and it’s great to be able to do that and have fun at the same time.

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  5. Can I just say that you impress the HECK out of me! I’m new to the whole KDP Select only reading about it on yours and Charles’ blogs, but it sounds like you are doing a great job on this new leg of marketing! I’m learning so much by reading about you all’s adventures…thank for blogging this!

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  6. 400 pages is hard to gauge, are you talking paperback pages, A4 pages, ebook pages…? Easier to gauge in words, most epic fantasies sit at about 120,000-160,000 words (and upwards). Not that you should limit yourself according to genre. I’m certain you’ll find a market for your book. ^^

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