Okay, back again. *slurp guzzle*
I've learned a few things (my TOP TEN). Later I'll explore them all further as I need fodder for posts.
MY TOP TEN DISCOVERIES ABOUT KINDLE SALES
1. One bad review can drop sales and ruin the book's Kindle ranking for a really long time--until a few positive ones pop up to counteract.
2. Summer is lousy for book sales, except for the bestselling author releasing a long-awaited blockbuster in the making. Ebooks are no different. Fortunately, sales pick up come winter.
3. Christmas is great for book sales. Publishers will fund their entire year on what sells during this season. After the holidays is also fantastic for ebook sales as people with their new Kindles look for stuff to download. I guess what I'm saying here with #2 and #3 is that ebook sales are cyclical just like regular books, or any kind of retail sales.
4. Enrolling books in KDP Select brings higher exposure and greater sales that more than compensates from lost income from Nook sales and other venues. When WiDo Publishing put its titles on KDP Select, income from Kindle downloads and borrows increased tenfold almost instantly and has maintained a steady level even with the summer doldrums. Yes, it would be nice to accommodate people without Kindles, but when you're a small publisher trying to survive in a competitive market, you go where the money is.
5. Keep tweaking that book description. Imagine one million potential buyers viewing your book's item detail page on the Kindle Store. Getting it right brings immediate results, i.e. increased downloads.
6. Don't assume a book is being ignored because people can't find it. Hundreds of potential buyers are searching for something to read on their Kindles. There are reasons a book isn't selling-- fixable reasons. (See #7)
7. If a book isn't selling, it's most likely due to: a. Poor description (see #5 on this list) b. The sample chapters have a major problem with the writing, the editing, or the formatting, or perhaps all three. c. There's one or more reviews that are killing sales. (See #1.)
8. Covers can be changed easily on the Kindle. If everything possible has been fixed and it still isn't selling, try changing covers.
9. Low price doesn't guarantee high sales. Try giving away a book that has problems and you'll see what I mean. Dropping the price isn't always the solution. First, fix the problems. (See #7.)
10. Certain books sell better on Kindle than others and so what? I write contemporary women's fiction about family life. Am I going to throw that out and write erotica since it's selling like crazy right now? No, because I write what's in my heart. If I tried to write about a shirtless Scottish guy with a ripped kilt, it would come across as fake and lame and no one would buy it because readers can recognize false writing in the first paragraph.
This list can apply to both self-published and traditionally-published authors. Authors have a lot of power to impact marketing, it's not just the self-published who should be involved in improving their books' sales and visibility.
Please share your own ideas and experience! Feedback and sharing in the comments will make this post better, and I thank you for it.