KDP Select Addiction: 2013 365 Challenge #188

Promo figures so far

Promo figures so far

For the last 48 hours I have been checking KDP Select (Amazon’s program for self-published books) every hour or so (where possible) to make a note of my download numbers. In case you don’t follow Twitter, and therefore haven’t been bombarded with my tweets, I’m running a free promotion for Dragon Wraiths in an attempt to get back up the rankings, since pulling out of the KDP Select program at the end of May.

It’s addictive.

Particularly the random sites I seem to be getting good numbers and rankings on. For some reason I have three times as many downloads on the German Amazon site than I do on the UK one.

Artistic little lady

Artistic little lady

I am ranked #1 in the Fantasy genre on Amazon.de (Germany) and #11 in the Sword & Sorcery category on the Amazon.com site (what a great category to be in: it wasn’t one I selected).

Do you think that means I can call myself a #1 Bestseller? In marketing that would have been fine if I’d put an asterix with *in top 100 free downloads in Germany for English Fantasy books!

Frustrating as it is that there are few statistics available from Amazon.com, it’s rather fun collating my own.

Thank you to Rinelle, and her great posts on her last KDP Select promotion, for inspiring me to be a bit more organised with my record-taking (if not more organised at getting my book on free sites. It was a last-minute decision to run a promo). And in encouraging me (unintentionally) to extend my free promo from two to three days.

It’s nice to see the numbers climb, and interesting that the numbers have trotted along whether I was around to tweet or not (I haven’t figured out how to schedule tweets yet). Thank you to everyone who has re-tweeted me!

Sparkly Fingernails

Sparkly Fingernails

Anyway, this probably isn’t very interesting to anyone but me, but it has taught me to be better at collecting what data I can as I publish books, so I can understand what works and what doesn’t.

Even with the gaps from sleeping, painting kiddy fingernails and taking the children out to the Farm yesterday (so Daddy could build the new playhouse – pictures later) I have a really good idea of how the numbers, and my rankings, are affected by the promotion.

Whether it results in an increase in sales, as it did for Rinelle, remains to be seen! For now, I’m having fun! Ooh another download…


Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:


“Hey, Sky, how are you, poppet?”

“Auntie Claire! Mummy didn’t tell me you were coming to visit.” Sky threw her arms around Claire’s knees and hugged hard.

Claire dropped down to return the hug, surprised at how right it felt to pull Sky’s tiny frame into an embrace. Her niece smelled of chocolate and fruity shampoo. Conscious of tears tugging at her throat, Claire loosened her hold, and held Sky at arm’s length.

“Where’s your Mummy? How is she?”

Sky’s face fell into a familiar pout. Claire never thought she would find it endearing. “Mummy’s boring. Nana says she’s still poorly and can’t do anything interesting.

Claire wanted to sweep Sky up into another cuddle. For all her worldly-wise savvy, she was still only a little girl.

“Well, how about a visit to that Farm you talked about so much?”

The pout magically vanished and Sky’s eyes sparkled. She span in a spray of blonde hair, and pelted down the hallway.

“Mummy, Mummy. Auntie Claire is here! She’s going to take me to the Farm. Say I can go, Mummy, please.”

Laughing at the receding sound of joy, Claire followed in her wake, hoping Ruth wasn’t asleep. She found her sister tucked up on the faded terracotta sofa in the lounge. The TV flickered with what looked like an old Cary Grant movie, although there was no sound.

In the three weeks since they had last seen each other, Ruth’s face had filled out and regained some of its colour. Claire smiled as she met Ruth’s gaze, relieved that her sister seemed to have walked away from death’s door.

“Hey, sis, I hope I didn’t wake you.”

She leaned over and gave Ruth a kiss on the cheek. Her skin felt cold and papery. Now she was closer, Claire could see the marks of illness still ravaging her sister’s face. The black scarf tied around her hairless scalp had slipped, and Claire could see the bare skin beneath. The reality of her sister’s treatment swooped on her for the first time, and it felt hard to breathe. Suddenly, gallivanting round the country visiting hostels seemed a frivolous undertaking.

While the thoughts raced through Claire’s mind, Ruth pushed herself up on one elbow, and reached out a hand.

“I’m so pleased to see you. I’ve been following the blog. I have to thank you, it’s keeping me sane. You’ve no idea how boring it is, being stuck in here all day watching the same movie reruns, until I want to scream.”

Claire perched on the end of the sofa, careful not to sit on Ruth’s feet. She grasped Ruth’s outstretched hand briefly, before gesturing to Sky to climb into her lap. She could tell that Sky’s bouncing and urgent desire to speak to her mummy was irritating Ruth.

“Hush, Sky. We’ll ask Mummy in a moment. Let me have a chat with her first.” Claire saw the bottom lip begin to jut out, and she held her finger to her lips. “Would you like to borrow my iPad, while I talk to your Mummy?” Again, Sky’s face lit up in delight and she nodded.

Once Sky was curled up in the corner, happily painting imaginary nails and dressing digital princesses, Claire turned to Ruth.

“Can I get you anything? Tea? Something to eat?”

Ruth shook her head. “I can’t. I’ve gone off tea and mostly I feel too sick to eat. Mum’s always round here forcing food on me. Where is she? She should be here by now.” Her face creased in a petulant frown.

Claire listened to her sister’s words with a mixture of empathy and irritation. Her emotions twisted in her stomach, as she realised how inappropriate her irritation was. Of course Ruth is taking Mum for granted, she has no one else. And who wouldn’t complain when they had been through what she has.

Shaking off the black cloud, Claire shone her brightest smile. “Well, I’m here to take care of you today, to make sure you and Sky eat, and to entertain my niece so my lovely sister can rest and recover.”

She was rewarded by a wan smile.

“That sounds wonderful.” Ruth rested her head against the sofa. “Sky’s been driving me mental. She means well, but she has so much energy. Just watching her leaves me feeling wobbly.”

That much Claire understood, from her time travelling with Sky. Mostly she envied the girl her endless energy, but there was no doubt it was tiring to watch.

“Well, I will take her to this Farm place this afternoon, and to school in the morning.”

“There’s no school tomorrow. It’s May Day. Bank holiday weekend.” Ruth’s voice was low with exhaustion.

A jolt stabbed at Claire. It didn’t seem possible that it was only Sunday; that the wedding had been less than 24 hours before. May Day? M’aidez, s’il vous plais? 

Pushing her own troubles aside, Claire sat with her sister and concentrated on doing good where she could.


4 thoughts on “KDP Select Addiction: 2013 365 Challenge #188

    • Yes, I’ve had higher numbers in the past (when I ran the free promotion after I’d been on KDP Select for a month or two – I’ve only been back in the fold a few days) but this is the first time it’s gone big in another country. I don’t know what’s driving the traffic to the German site, but it’s great to be #1 in a category! 🙂

  1. Delighted to hear you’re getting downloads and I really hope it works for you. Nice job hitting number 1 on de.

    So great to hear about it working for someone, too, it didn’t really for me. I put a short story in. It had lots and lots of downloads. It was around 3, 4, 5, in comedy and was ahead of Michael Macintyre’s biography (which was out at the time) for several days but I’ve no hard evidence that any of those people actually read my book… apart from the chap who gave it two stars for the way I’d listed it. It was a useful two stars but probably not great publicity.

    What I’m saying is, I think there are a lot of people who only download free books, and there are so many free books that they’re never going to pay for one. And I think a lot of people have so many free books on their kindles (if one thread I found is to be believed the average is a to be read pile of about 300 or 400 books) that a book may never get read. I know someone who actually PAID for my book who took 2 years to read it. On the up side, some of those people may well take two or three years to get to your book but they may well review it.

    So good luck, fingers crossed but if it doesn’t work, don’t fret.



    • Thank you! I have different expectations this time. The first two times I did free promos it was for reviews. But then I started getting one-star ‘it wasn’t for me’ reviews and realised reviews aren’t everything. Now my aim is marketing: if lots of people have ‘bought’ your book (albeit for free) you start appearing in the ‘other people also bought’ at the bottom of listings. It can result in residual sales, which is more than I got when I dropped out of KDP in June. Before that I trotted along at 10 sales a month. In June I sold nothing. Ten sales a month will pay for my front cover by the end of the year! 🙂

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