I've made a few changes in the past few weeks that have massively affected my sales figures.
CategoriesAfter watching my book get into the top thirty on the Post Apocalyptic and Dystopian charts on Amazon, I realised that the categories were so close I should probably change one of them. I figured that I'd be catching a lot of the same audience with those categories, so I changed Dystopian, because I was scoring slightly lower in this one, and moved it over to horror.
I also noticed that my sales had started to plateau. I decided that I want my first book read, and while I'm not prepared to drop it to free, I dropped it to $0.99. This made a huge difference. My sales figures took off. I've made more money than before over the past few weeks and my book is reaching a lot more people. In the past two weeks, I've sold over 100 copies each week.
I've obsessively watched my book climb into the top ten and it's into its third week and it's still there. My peak was chart position no.6. I'm currently at no.9 on Post Apocalyptic (Amazon UK).
This is predominantly UK sales. I've had a few negative reviews on Amazon.com that have almost ground my sales to a halt. I've written a very violent book so I'm not surprised that it's polarised opinion. Despite the negative reviews, I have been contacted by readers to say they enjoyed the book and can't wait for more.
I also did something I thought I'd never do this week. I responded to negative criticism. I've had several negative reviews and most of them have been the reviewers opinion. For me, it's fine if someone doesn't like the book. Everyone sees the world through their own lens and enjoyment of a work is entirely subjective. However, I received this review from one person:-
As I understand it, there should be a plot and a theme to a novel. This book had none and was also lacking in depth, meaning or reason. I get the impression that the author just wanted to get feedback (any feedback) to try and get his book spoken about...if that was the reason for it, then well done! If it was to write something worthwhile, then I feel this failed totally. Not an enjoyable read.
To which I responded:-
Thanks for reading my book and leaving your thoughts. I don't normally reply to reviews because everyone sees the world through their own lens and enjoyment is a subjective thing. It's not my place to tell people they are wrong or to defend my ego.
However, on this review you have asked if there is a point to this book so I wanted to take the time to explain why I've written it.
This book is about the social construction that is money and how insubstantial it is. The only value it has is what we attribute to it as a society and it could easily become worthless.
It's a look at how the poorest in UK society are being punished and blamed by the contemporary media for the state of things at present. Labels like 'Good hardworking families' are banded about as if those who can't be measured by their financial contribution are worthless. It takes this venom and turns it around on those they perceive to be the ones laying blame. Although the main looter, Dean, is a psychopath using a cause to vent his violent tendencies - Much like some of the EDL members have been doing of late and other hate groups.
It's also a look at how class identity isn't a reflection of those within the class, more a group identity that is based on judgments and prejudices - from both sides. It doesn't reflect the individual, yet sweeping generalisations are made. Those being punished - Like Michael - don't deserve it, but we live in a polarised society where these judgments are made.
Finally, the level of violence is a look at developing countries, such as The Democratic Republic of Congo, and the atrocities happening there on a daily basis (while I accept this book is very dark, I couldn't go as far as what's actually happening in places like the DRC). It's a look at how low humans can go when there is a motivation to control and dominate - as many wars have demonstrated. (See the UK and US bombing of Dresden as an example). In The DRC's case it's for minerals. In Crash's case, it's for food.
Again, I can't speak to whether you enjoyed the book or not but I'm thankful that you read it and took the time to review it. You asked the question, so I wanted to give you the answer.
Should I have responded? I don't know. It's not something I plan to make a habit of.
Sales Figures so Far - Since June 20th:-
Amazon - 446 copies sold.
Kobo - 3 copies sold.
Smashwords - 0 copies sold.
I'm pleased with my figures for less than three months. The negative reviews sting but I'm developing a thick skin pretty quickly. Again, I expected it with this book. My next one is much less violent, so it'll be interesting to see if it generates the same reaction.