Notes from the Self-Pubbed (Issue #6)

For the Grant Scotland franchise, the 2015 holiday promotion season wrapped up in the first week of January with a Kindle Countdown Deal for Spy for a Wayward Daughter. After I tell you how it went, I’ll do a little retrospective about last year’s efforts and my goals for 2016.

So, what was the plan for Wayward Daughter? Well, I decided to play this one pretty low-key and use a shoestring budget. The last promotion I did for Wayward Daughter was perhaps my worst ever, but the conclusion I drew was that it still hasn’t received enough reviews for the better marketing sites to consider it and it’s at an awkward place in the series. Advertising the third book in a series with the first two at full price and an omnibus already released is a tough sell. Interested people who see it and haven’t read the others are likely going to wait for the first one to go back on sale or for the omnibus to drop in price.

Consequently, I didn’t do too much to promote Wayward Daughter this time around. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have promoted it at all, except there were a couple of decent no-review requirement marketing sites I still hadn’t tried and also I had to schedule the Kindle Countdown Deal anyway. Might as well give it a little bit of a marketing boost. Finally, I’m still fiddling with Amazon’s internal ad campaigns, so this gave me an opportunity to do that, too.

Here’s the set up and the take away:


Set up:

From list price of $3.99:

From 1/1 to 1/5, Wayward Daughter went to $0.99

From 1/5 to 1/8, Wayward Daughter went to $1.99 ad selected for 1/1: $0

eBookLister ad selected for 1/2: $25 (But I was never charged?)

Amazon DisplayAds campaign for 1/1 to 1/15: $100 cap with a $0.75 max bid per click. Also, I shifted the focus for this campaign to be “product-based” instead of “interest-based” which was what the others had been. This basically means that instead of firing the ad at people Amazon labels as “fantasy readers” or “mystery readers” it targets instead people who have bought titles that I specifically cite. So, I gave Amazon a list of books by authors I feel my stuff kinda-sorta resembles – Glen Cook, George RR Martin, Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, Jim Butcher… You know, the usual suspects.



It would have been really cool if I had photoshopped in the faces of the authors, but there’s no way you’re getting that kind of effort out of me.


Total ad expenditure: $0 (plus $22.82 in resultant Amazon click-charges from ad period)



Sales for 1/1: 1 unit of Wayward Daughter @ $0.99

Sales for 1/2: 1 unit of Wayward Daughter @ $0.99, 1 unit of Troubled King @ $3.99, 2 units of Dead Empire @ $3.99

Sales for 1/3: 1 unit of Dead Empire @ $3.99

Sales for 1/4: 1 unit for Wayward Daughter @ $0.99

Sales for 1/9: 1 unit of Dead Empire @ $3.99

Kindle Unlimited Page Borrows during promotion period: Dead Empire (413), Troubled King (446), Wayward Daughter (43)

Amazon DisplayAds pay-per-click stats:

Impressions: 59,740

Clicks: 44

Average Cost Per Click (aCPC): $0.52

Detail Page View: 49

Estimated Total Sales: (Resulting from same user clicking the ad and then buying) $0


Campaign Totals:

Expense: $22.82

Sales: $23 plus about $4.00 in borrowed page reads = $27

Net: About $4.00




Well, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. There never was much hope for… wait… what’s this? Is this a PROFIT I see before me? But what do I do with it? This can’t be right. I can’t possibly actually make money – this ruins my entire “struggling author” street cred!

But my rep is probably still intact. Truth be told, my real numbers aren’t exactly that rosy. First of all, my royalties are 70% of my sales, so that knocks actual profit down to an overall minus. Second… I may have accidentally charged my wife’s checking account instead of my own when paying for eBookLister, which would be why I can’t find a record of it anywhere. Sorry, honey! Hehehe… ermmm… Thanks for the kind holiday gift, I guess?





Regardless, I’m pleased with the progress here. I feel like I may be starting to home in on some generally effective marketing strategies. While my self-publishing business lost money last year overall, I managed to lose less and less with each promotion. I’m going to go ahead and call that a positive direction.

I re-enrolled all three books into the Kindle Unlimited program, but I probably won’t spend any money or time advertising them over the next few months. Instead, I plan to do a cross-platform promotion for the omnibus edition shortly before or during the launch of Book Four, which is coming soon. I promise. Some other plans for marketing in 2016 include some blog tours, some press initiatives and – finally – actual printed copies. I’ve decided it’s time to stop hoping a publisher will be interested in picking up my print rights and just commit to making Grant Scotland an all-self-published venture from top to bottom. So, look for that to happen some time in the later half of the year.

As far as writing plans for the New Year, obviously Book Four takes precedence. I’ve committed myself to getting it out the door by June 1st, but hopefully it’ll be sooner than that. I’ve also started writing some more MWO fan fiction, which I’ll be adding to the site soon and I also want to at least start on a draft of a stand-alone military sci-fi tale that may be a short story or may be a novel. Not sure yet. It’s just text-pad notes and images in my head at this point, but I’ll get something down soon.

That’s all for now! Thanks for checking in. Not sure when the next issue of Notes will be, but I promise I’ll keep the blog active with other fun stuff.

Speaking of which – this week’s winner of the Grant Scotland T-Shirt giveaway is… Tara Chase! Congrats, Tara! I’ll be sending out the newsletter soon, so be sure to reply with size preference and location.

Until next time, don’t forget:



“It orders the pizza and tips the driver. It does this when it’s told.”




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s