Saturday, 15 August 2015

Is it too soon to panic?

Last year when KOL was introduced by Amazon dozens of writers that I know said their sales had collapsed almost overnight. Nobody seemed to be able to give a sensible explanation for this sudden and catastrophic loss of revenue.
Some suggested that having part of your titles in the system and the rest out was the problem and there was a lot of moving backwards and forwards of titles in to Kindle Select and out again. Of course I was sympathetic, but as I wasn't effected by these changes, in fact my revenue doubled rather than halved, I thought I was immune.
Original Style
However, when they introduced the new 'pay per page' my sales which, up to this point had been no worse than they were last year, took a nosedive. In fact so poor are they now that I'm no longer bothering to check at the end of each week. I'm just looking at my sales dashboard and sighing sadly.
I don't know if this plummet is coincidental or a has been caused by this new loans system.
New Style
Any reduction in sales is always worrying. Actually I believe that there are now so many good books being published in my particular genre - Regency - that the competition has become even fiercer. The vast majority of  author-published books are now as good, if not better, than traditionally published books. They have professionally designed covers, had been properly edited and formatted and are sold at a fraction of the price of traditionally published books.
I no longer think that just being able to publish a new title every couple of months is enough to maintain my market share. Not only do I need to keep my existing readers, but I also need to attract new ones. I've tried advertising in a variety of places but this made absolutely no difference. I tinkered with my cover style, but this also made no difference.  I intend to stick with the original as at least this way my brand is easily identified. I love the new cover, but as it costs a lot more to have something as elaborate as this, and it made no difference to my sales, it doesn't seem sensible  to change.
I'm in the process of setting up an email list which I hope you will all sign up for when it's live. I'm also in the process of getting a permanently free book ready – one that hasn't been for sale for over a year - and I'm going to try Nick Stephenson's (First10Kreaders) suggestions and see if that works. I can have something free all time as long as I can manage to do the technical staff involved. All this is taking time away from my writing which is how I want to spend my time.
Is it too soon to panic that my career has taken a permanent dip? Has anyone else noticed their sales are continuing to go down instead of beginning to recover as they usually do  by the middle of August? I should be grateful for any suggestions.
Obviously I love having the royalties drop into my bank account every month, but it's not the loss of income that is causing me to panic, it's the thought that I'm losing readers that really worries me.
Hopefully there will be better news next time I talk to you.
Fenella J Miller.


  1. Good to see you are working hard at planning etc. Fenella. Frankly, I've almost given up. It's all got too hard now that pirating is rife.

  2. Don't give up, Vonnie. I'm sure pirating is not going to change things - after all we do 'free 'book promotions. Writing is therapeutic -so keep going.