2017 So Far (or Six Months of Middling Success)

The last time I wrote an update here I talked about the promotion of Traveler in February and how it seemed to have a much longer tail than I had anticipated. I’ll update you on Traveler now, but I know that isn’t the book that people want to hear about…

Traveler continued to sell for a very long time (truthfully, it’s still selling, but in minuscule amounts), with about two weeks of 15-25 sales a day, then a month of 5-10 a day, and downward from there. It clocked in over 100,000 page reads from Kindle Unlimited borrows and generated a sizable amount of reviews. I can proudly say that most of them were very positive. February was by far the best month of sales I’d ever had, and March and April were very good as well. Traveler is going to get another promotion in a couple weeks and I’d be happy to get anywhere near that level of sales again. We’ll see.

Okay, so… Atlantic Island. While I was busy worrying myself about every ranking shift up and down with Traveler, my readers and marketing people kept telling me that I was backing the wrong horse. Atlantic Island, they said, is the mainstream type of book people are looking for. So I decided to give it a shot with a free promo in May.

Before that could happen, Amazon offered me a spot for Atlantic Island in their new Prime Reading program. I was honored to be asked and quickly accepted. The book got very little visibility in the new program and didn’t sell too much at all heading into May.

The day of the promo arrived, and the book took off quickly, outpacing Traveler in free downloads. It reached about 11,000 by the time the promotion ended, but strangely tied Traveler’s best free rank at #7 in the store.

The paid sales started to come in after the free deal was over, but they were surprisingly very slow. I attributed this to many people getting the book as a Prime borrow, but the ranking told a different story. The book got as far as #525 in the store and quickly started to head the wrong direction. I had no idea what had gone wrong but I accepted it.

Then, days later, Amazon’s mysterious popularity rankings updated and AI moved to near or at the top of almost every subcategory it was in, including first page visibility for all of Prime Reading. Over the next two weeks the book sold more and more copies, creeping back through the rankings. Finally, it surpassed its promo day best. Then it broke into the top 500.Then it beat Traveler’s record (#465) and went all the way to the 430’s. It took #1 in three different categories and for several days was outselling all the Divergent books and both Hunger Games sequels (but not anywhere close to the first book, damn it!) In the meantime, hundreds of AI readers went on to buy Rising Tide. All that momentum drove my author ranking to around #50 of all Sci-Fi authors.

I set up an ad campaign for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. I had originally envisioned a much more elaborate marketing effort for that weekend at the Jersey Shore but settled for a couple Facebook and Amazon Ads. I pushed the idea that if you were heading to the shore for the holiday weekend, well, the book of the summer is here and it’s called Atlantic Island.

It turns out that if people were reading on the beach that weekend they were not reading any of my books. Sales screeched to an abrupt halt over the three day weekend and by the time people went back to work that Tuesday, the book was ranked in the 900’s. It has dropped since, but sales do continue. At present the book fluctuates between about #1800-2800 in the store depending on the day.

I continue to be amazed at the support my work has received. Every new sale means so much. I have received quite a few questions about the third book in the trilogy (“Atlantic Island Trilogy third book” comes up as a frequent search on amazon even before the words “Atlantic Island” are typed). The book is in the works. There’s quite a bit going on in that story and many major characters to contend with. It is in part a continuation of the Traveler and probably the closest thing to a sequel that book will receive. Thomas has a bigger role than he had in Rising Tide, and the travelers in general are an important part of the tale. After all, the travelers and the super-powered orb folk are essentially two sides of the same coin. The main story arc is figured out and, thankfully, I know how it all ends. I just have to put the pieces together in a way that entertains my faithful readers. Rest assured, I will do my very best.

I have a few other stories in the works. I plan to start on something new as soon as the draft of AI3 is complete and off to the editors. I will update as soon as there is news to report. Thanks again to everyone who has read my work and supported this crazy endeavor.

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