Anyone who has been following my writing journey over the past four years may have noticed that in 2018 I jokingly started using the moniker, Worst Selling Author, on my social media profiles. Obviously, the label was never intended to be taken literally; I adopted it primarily as an acknowledgement that I had yet to reach the level of sales I aspire to, and as motivation to keep plugging away until I do. Today, although I still haven’t reached the lofty heights of any bestsellers list, after the month I’ve just had I think it’s finally time for me to drop the moniker for good, and maybe come up with a different one.
If you are a subscriber to my mailing list, and read my most recent newsletter, you will already know that the September just gone has been my most successful month of sales since I became a published author. And what makes this accomplishment most noteworthy is that it was achieved with virtually no Amazon involvement. In fact, my Amazon sales were so bad that I failed to reach even double figures for the month, and given that Amazon is widely known to be the biggest game in town, you’re probably wondering how is it possible that I had such a good month without it. The answer is that I have Kobo, the Japanese owned ebook retailer, to thank.
In early September I had the good fortune of having the Kobo Writing Life team select my second novel, The Apprentice In The Master’s Shadow, for inclusion in a ten day sales campaign in Australia and New Zealand. To my surprise, this promotion almost instantly pushed my book into the top ten of the science fiction and fantasy category in both countries, reaching as high as #4 in Australia. It was so surreal to see my book trending alongside books from more high profile, well established authors such as Robin Hobb, Jay Kristoff, and Raymond E. Feist, even if only for a week.
So, it seems I’ve stumbled upon the key to gaining any meaningful sales traction for my books: get a retailer to put a spotlight on my work. In this instance, the Kobo promotion ultimately resulted in hundreds of downloads of both my novels, in a total of 37 different countries, and though sales momentum couldn’t be sustained once the campaign came to an end, The Apprentice In The Master’s Shadow remains in the top hundred of the Australian store two weeks later. Why this has come as a surprise to me, I’m not sure. Australia has consistently been my second most important market after the United States these past three years, though I’d never previously achieved the kind of sales figures that I had this September, not even on Amazon.
It’s also worth mentioning that September also saw an increase in my visibility as an author. At the start of the month I had 73 followers on Goodreads, 8 followers on Facebook, and 2 followers on BookBub. Today, I now have over 120 Goodreads followers, over 40 Facebook followers, and over 60 BookBub followers. It’s amazing how much difference a lucky break can make to one’s fortunes.
Now that I know my books can sell well, given the right circumstances, it no longer seems fitting to attach the Worst Selling Author moniker to my “brand”. In light of my recent sales success Down Under, I would have considered labelling myself the Wizard of Oz, but I think that title might already be taken. So, until such time as I came come up with a more original moniker, I will probably use The Philip K. Dick Of Fantasy, in the meantime.
Finally, this October will give me the opportunity to find out if lightning can strike twice, or if September was just a one-off fluke. I was recently notified by the Kobo Writing Life team that my first novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers, has been selected for an upcoming sales campaign in Canada, running for 5 days. As Kobo is the biggest ebook retailer in the country, and the overwhelming majority of my Canadian sales have come via Kobo, I should be able to match or even surpass the sales figures I achieved last month, with or without Amazon.
Thanks for reading,