Succeeding at Self Publishing – A Case of Trial and Error

ButtStorm700x700CenteredLast week I met up with local writing friends Elaine Jeremiah and Jade Reyner. All three of us have published our debut novels this year: Jade published Twelve Days – The Beginning in April, I launched The Butterfly Storm in June, and Elaine’s novel The Inheritance was published just last month. One of the things that dominated our conversation was how to get our books noticed on amazon. Visibility is the key but it’s a constant battle to one, get your book noticed in the first place, and two, to maintain a presence on amazon.

Eight weeks after I published The Butterfly Storm I did my first free promotion. As I wrote in a post not long after the promotion ended, putting my book for free more than exceeded my expectations and resulted in nearly 20,000 downloads in just three days. The post promo results and benefits that followed were incredible with The Butterfly Storm averaging 100 sales a day for around three weeks, making it into the ‘Movers & Shakers’ chart, and becoming a bestseller in the contemporary romance, literary fiction and women’s literary fiction categories. Of course I expected that post promo boost to die down after a while and although it’s been selling at least one copy a day since it dropped lower in the rankings, I’ve been thinking of ways that I can increase my visibility again.

On Friday I reduced the price by half to see if it would make any difference. Friday morning The Butterfly Storm was at about 30,000 in the amazon rankings and by that evening it had jumped to around 6,000. Although there’s not been a massive increase in sales since, there is most definitely an increase both on and (where it had pretty much being doing nothing). I have got a paid promotion running on kuforum all week but until today I’d done nothing to promote the fact that the book is reduced until the 31st October. My aim is to make it into the top 5000 over the next week or two. I will let you know how it goes.

What strategies have you used to help promote your book or books and how successful have they been?

So, After the Free Weekend This Happened:

ButtStorm700x700CenteredIt’s been an amazing week for lots of reasons and after taking nine years from starting to write The Butterfly Storm to actually deciding to publish it, it’s been very exciting to see its journey over the past two months since I launched it. The same way as I wasn’t sure what to expect when The Butterfly Storm became free last Friday, I entered unknown territory when it went back to paid on Monday. To briefly recap Monday’s post, The Butterfly Storm was downloaded 19,823 times over three days and ended up at #1 in the UK free kindle chart, which was so much more than I could have hoped for. Prior to the free weekend it had sold a grand total of 86 eBooks.


I knew it was going to happen but it was still nerve-wracking to see The Butterfly Storm lose its top 50 ranking in the US and #1 spot on the UK free kindle store on Monday morning and drop all the way to #292,711 in the US paid kindle store and #79,936 in the Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 09.34.56UK (lower than it had been pre-promotion). Needless to say I stat checked at regular intervals throughout the day and was incredibly relieved when it began to climb back up the charts. By 11pm it had sold 20 copies in the US and ranked at #13,062, and had sold 33 copies, plus had seven borrows in the UK and ranked at #987. There had been actual sales and my nerves began to calm.

The Importance of Categories

Sales continued slowly in the US and steadily in the UK throughout Tuesday but by the evening and into Wednesday morning sales had all but stopped in the US and The Butterfly Storm, although selling in the UK, was heading the wrong way down the rankings. I began to get a little worried as despite having had a massive jump from #79,930 on Monday morning to #926 on Tuesday morning it hadn’t appeared in the popularity chart.

What did happen though on Wednesday was The Butterfly Storm made it into the top 30 of literary fiction and women’s literary fiction in books and the UK kindle store. It’s actually thanks to Joanne Phillips that I changed the category the book was in from family life to literary fiction on Monday after she mentioned in a comment on my post that The Butterfly Storm had only been ranked in one category (romance) whilst it was free rather than two. This is when I discovered that family life is only a category in the US. If I hadn’t have changed the category to literary fiction The Butterfly Storm would have been far less visible and what happened next I doubt would have happened.

Women's Lit No. 31 20 Tues 13th at 12.07.55

Moving On Up

By Wednesday evening with The Butterfly Storm making it into the top 20 of literary fiction and women’s literary fiction (in books and the kindle store) the sales took off in the UK (it had pretty much stopped by this time in the US). The Butterfly Storm started climbing up the rankings again and by Thursday morning it had reached #225 in the kindle store and was in the top 10 of literary fiction and women’s literary fiction, plus it made it to #58 in romance and #7 in the movers and shakers chart.

So, by 9.30 this morning The Butterfly Storm ranked at #124 in the kindle store, #4 in literary fiction and women’s literary fiction (books), #5 in kindle literary fiction, #36 in romance and #43 in movers and shakers. And as for how many I’ve sold since Monday?

  • US: 37 sold and 1 borrow
  • UK: 480 sold and 57 borrows
  • Italy: 1 sold
  • Canada: 2 sold

This all means that I’ve broken even and have covered my proofreading, cover and promotional costs and The Butterfly Storm is now making money. It’ll be very interesting to see how things go over the next few days. Sales are definitely better in the evening, presumably because the majority of people are at work or have other things to do during the day than download books, so I’ll see what happens. Plus I’m not allowing myself to look at the stats until much later today. Well, I’ll try not to look at least.

Well I Wasn’t Expecting That – Results of the Free Weekend

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 09.34.56Around 9am on Friday 9th I watched as The Butterfly Storm lost its £1.98/$2.99 price tag and disappeared from the amazon rankings altogether. *Gulp* what had I done? But literally within minutes the downloads started and I breathed a little easier. I have to say though, if I thought I was bad at checking the sales stats before, I’ve been addicted to clicking on my ‘month-to-date-unit-sales’ over the last three days.

The very generous Joanne Phillips, author of Can’t Live Without and the soon to be published cozy mystery, Murder at the Maples, did a very helpful post after her first KDP Select promotion last year with a breakdown of how it had gone, so I thought I’d do the same. This weekend has surprised me in a very good way. I was hoping to achieve at least 1000 downloads over the three days; the final total has actually been a staggering 19,823:

  • US: 12,336
  • UK: 7,264

I’ve also had 79 downloads in Canada, 90 in Germany, 19 in India and a handful in France, Italy, Spain, Japan and one in Brazil. The really interesting bit will be to see what happens to the sales in the next few days now The Butterfly Storm has gone back to paid.

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 16.04.53So, over the past three days I’ve gained nearly 20,000 new readers, whereas there had been a grand total of 86 sales pre-promotion. There have already been a couple more reviews posted on amazon, including a 5* review from a ‘top 100 amazon reviewer’ who wrote ‘I Loved this read with a capital L.’ I made it into the top 20 of the US free kindle store, the top 10 of contemporary romance and was #1 in the family life genre on But the most exciting thing by far was from Sunday afternoon, right through to this morning, The Butterfly Storm topped the UK free kindle chart at #1. contemp romance Sun 11th at 16.06.48

A special mention has to go to my friends on facebook (Sam, Soula, Helen, Jason, Donna) who did an incredible job of getting the word out and promoting The Butterfly Storm to their friends, particularly the very lovely Paula who has been a woman on a mission helping to get as many downloads as possible over the past three days. Thank you!

The Butterfly Storm – Free for the Next Three Days!

ButtStorm700x700CenteredToday is the start of my first KDP Select promotion. As this is my first one it’s new territory and I’ve no idea how it will pan out. How many downloads do I hope I get? Well, loads please. I’m hoping to reach four figures, so if I can top 1000 downloads I’ll be happy. Since last week I’ve been submitting The Butterfly Storm to various promotional sites in the US and the UK but there’s no guarantee that any of them will actually feature my book over the next few days. Fingers crossed a handful of them do. I did opt to pay a couple of sites for guaranteed promotion, so we’ll see how it goes.

The Butterfly Storm went free at approximately 9am and so far there have been 9 downloads in the US, 27 in the UK and 1 in India! I’m just starting to tweet about it, add it to my facebook page and I’m now going to post about it on various forums and free book facebook pages.

I know many of you have already bought and read The Butterfly Storm – thank you so much! – but if you haven’t and would like a FREE read then you can download it on and between now and Sunday 11th. I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes from some of the very lovely reviews I’ve received over the past few weeks.

‘This was one of those rare books that when you get to the last page, you feel a loss – a loss of friendship and kinship with the characters that were written in such a rounded manner and in such detail that you lived the story with them.’ 5* review

‘I would recommend this book to anyone who has been in love, been or dreamt of going to Greece and anyone who has ever thought about changing their life. The descriptions throughout mean that you feel that you are with the characters, I could not put this book down and right till the last page I could not predict the ending, it was excellent.’ 5* review

‘The characterisation and scenes are brilliantly portrayed and you can easily find yourself drawn into the story, I found it to be very addictive, I couldn’t put the book down and needed to keep reading to find out what would happen next, it kept me guessing right up to the end as to what Sophie’s final decision would be.’ 5* review

The Launch Day Winners and Thanks Go To…

ButtStorm700x700CenteredWell, it’s been quite a day and I’ve been glued to my laptop since about 8am blogging, tweeting, replying to comments on my blog and messages on facebook. Thank you to everyone – friends, strangers, fellow writers and bloggers who have taken the time to stop by and read my posts and comment, and to post such supportive tweets on Twitter. A huge thank you too to those of you who have bought The Butterfly Storm; you’ve all helped to make a longstanding dream of mine come true and that’s to be a published author and to have people read my books.

This morning I said that I would add the names of anyone who bought The Butterfly Storm, followed this blog, left a comment, or tweeted about my book into a prize draw to win amazon vouchers. I put all the names into a hat (metaphorically speaking) and here are the two lucky winners:

  • Helen Hart
  • Bec Jones

Congratulations! A £5 amazon voucher will be winging its way to each of you.

There’s one other amazon voucher remaining and that’s for the most romantic story left in my blog’s comments. The stories can be found here (scroll to the comments at the bottom) and you’ll read about a Florida beach proposal, a romantic dinner in Paris, the start of something special in Russia and a cycling trip for two on Kefalonia. The stories are uplifting and heartwarming and each of them deserves to win. The one that I ultimately felt was the most romantic and also very appropriate for the launch of The Butterfly Storm was Debbie Young’s Greek romance with her Scottish husband. Thanks for sharing your story Debbie and a £5 amazon voucher is on its way to you. I have to say though that Kate Sparke’s tale about her husband sticking by her through thick and thin was the most moving (I had to whip out the tissues) and so I’m going to send Kate a copy of The Butterfly Storm as a runner-up prize so to speak.

There have been many people over the last nine years who have been instrumental in helping me to see The Butterfly Storm through from initial idea to today’s launch. My fellow MA workshoppers Judith van Dijkhuizen, Paul Dale, Tamsin Reeves and Andy Warburton were invaluable in giving constructive feedback on what worked and more importantly what didn’t in those early drafts. My mum and dad have always supported my writing dreams and have encouraged me throughout (I even got a butterfly themed card and present from them for launch day). My husband Nik has stood by me through all the ups and downs over the last nine years and couldn’t be more supportive of me pursuing writing as a career. He’s not read The Butterfly Storm yet (he only reads computer books – I know, scandalous!) but he might have to now it’s published. Even the process of submitting to agents and publishers and getting the feedback from those that read the whole novel helped shape it into the book I’ve just published. Kate Haigh proofread the book and did a fabulous job of making it as good as it could be. Lastly thanks to all the lovely and talented writers I’ve met via Twitter and the bloggersphere over the last year (you know who you are). You’ve all been so encouraging and supportive and have made me feel confident that self-publishing The Butterfly Storm was absolutely the right thing to do.

Thank you everyone! This Friday I kick off my blog tour with a guest post over on the wonderful Joanne Phillips’ blog, so if you do have time to stop by please do. That’s it, I’m signing out after a very lovely and memorable launch day. xx

You’ve Got To Be In It To Win It…

ButtStorm700x700CenteredThink you can top the romantic, moving and heartwarming stories that Debbie, Kate and Sam have already left in the comments section of my Official Launch of The Butterfly Storm post? If so I’d love to hear it and you could be in with the chance of winning an amazon voucher.

Also, in case you missed the earlier post there are other ways of winning too just check out what you need to do here.

The Butterfly Storm is currently ranked at #6,435 on, which considering there are more than 400,000 books on amazon I’m over the moon with! Thanks so much to everyone for your support so far.

Official Launch of The Butterfly Storm!

It’s been a long time coming – nine years to be exact – to see The Butterfly Storm finally published and here it is in all its eBook glory:

That’s the plug for the book over and done with so now on with the celebration! There will be music and cake – well I’ve treated myself at least to a little cake from our local artisan bakers and I’ll have the radio playing along while I blog and tweet throughout the day – but there are prizes that you have the chance of winning.

I’ll be doing a prize draw for three Amazon gift cards (£5/$5 depending on where you live) and announcing the winners at 8pm today (BST). So, to be in with a chance of winning all you need to do are one or all of the following: buy The Butterfly Storm; sign up to follow this blog; leave a comment; tweet about The Butterfly Storm (make sure you add my twitter handle @Kactus77 into your tweet so it shows up in my mentions).

If you buy The Butterfly Storm just email me the amazon receipt to kactus (at) kate-frost (dot) co (dot) uk and I’ll add your name five times into the draw. Sign up to my blog and your name will go in three times. Leave a comment or send a tweet and I’ll add your name for each and every time you comment or tweet. My lovely blog followers will automatically have their names added to the draw.

The Butterfly Storm is ultimately a love story and one which sees its protagonist Sophie move to Greece from the UK to be with Alekos her boyfriend of just six weeks. Some may say that’s a pretty rash decision to make but it’s also pretty romantic. What’s the most romantic thing you’ve either done for someone or someone has done for you? Let me know in the comments and the most romantic story will win one of those amazon vouchers.

Thanks for dropping by – I’ll be posting updates and special posts throughout the day and I can’t wait to read your romantic stories!