The Grand Experiment – February update

Here is my first Grand Experiment update. Before reading on, to understand the background of the Grand Experiment, read this post. To read all Grand Experiment-related posts, click the Grand Experiment tag.

Grand Experiment sales and downloads for February (and the last week of January)

Book Price Downloads/samples* Sales**
The Smoke Dragon Free! (Smashwords)

99c (Amazon)

413 8
Shards $2.99 49 6
Requiem for the Burning God $1.99 42 10
Apocrypha Sequence: Deviance 99c 37 1
Apocrypha Sequence: Divinity 99c 27 1
Apocrypha Sequence: Insanity 99c 28 1
Apocrypha Sequence: Inferno $1.99 30 3
TOTALS 626 30
* Downloads/samples from Smashwords only. I have no information about samples from Amazon and other distributors.
** Sales date from Amazon and Smashwords. Either I have no data from other distributors or I have yet to make sales through these other distributors.


30 sales is modest, and to be honest, with all the hype about ebooks flying around (particularly in light of the thousands of people who dropped by to read the ‘Grand Conversation’), it’s a little underwhelming. However, I’m happy and grateful to know that thirty sets of eyes are reading my work where, without ebooks, I wouldn’t have had readers at all.

Mind you, I’ve not really thrown myself into the PR side of things, and the way it’s going, I’m unlikely to until my novel is completed. I have posted on some of the more popular ebook forums, mentioned my ebooks on Facebook, and organised a couple of reviews, but little more. A big part of me wants to see if word of mouth will snowball by itself. Given my dearth of free time, I might be forced to stand back and see what happens.

The breakout success is my Japanese fantasy novella The Smoke Dragon. It has rocketed up the Smashwords ‘most downloads’ fantasy chart and is currently sitting at #35 and climbing! Not bad after five weeks. The really interesting thing about The Smoke Dragon is that eight people bought it on Amazon at 99c even though it was free on Smashwords. This further reinforces my point that people want convenience over free stuff. Clearly, people on Amazon just click a couple of buttons and don’t blink at downloading a 99c book. Smashwords is really easy to use, but to get people to leave the comfort of their Amazon shopping, they need to be trained to do so. For me, I’m more than happy for folks to pick up a cheap and easy copy of The Smoke Dragon on Amazon.

The disappointment is the Apocrypha Sequence books. I think I’ll make one of them free as a sampler, and perhaps I might reword the blurbs to make them sound more appealing. Any feedback on this is welcome!

So that’s February. I’ll continue to post Grand Experiment updates on this blog every month for the rest of year.

Help me make this Grand Experiment a success by spreading the word! The more indie success stories there are, the easier it will be for other authors to make the transition into ebooks!


1 Comment

  1. I have a feeling that e-books will do better when released side-by-side with p-publications (p being for print), particularly if there is a theme or series attaching them.

    For example, if your novel is out and selling well on the shelves, then if you have e-books with additional stories set in the same world or with the same characters, then you might find that those are the ones that do well.

    I’ve noticed that Shards adn Requiem are the better sellers, and I’d say this is because they have been reviewed elsewhere in the p-medium, so that is your publicity.

    After observing everything you’ve done, I’m thinking about the value of releasing a Harrson Peel e-novella when my next Harrison Peel collection hits the shelves, and see how I go.

    Good luck