A Tale of Two Book Sales by Mark Chisnell

Christmas has been rushing up like the light at the end of the tunnel (or more like an on-coming train) for a while now, so this was always going to be a short blog. The festive season focuses the mind of anyone in the book trade like nothing else.

It used to be that Christmas shopping was the key sales period for the whole year. It’s still really important for printed books as they make such great presents. And the village that I live in recently had ‘late-night’ shopping for a couple of evenings to cater to the present-shopping brigade. The local gallery, Sea Sky Art stocks my books, so they asked me to come in and do a ‘signing’.

This really is old school book selling – making a sale by hand, of an individual, signed 'spy thriller' to the person you have just spent five or ten minutes talking to about books, life and the universe. It’s a wonderful experience, and I had a great night. My wife, Tina is a photographer and she came with me to take some pics – there were carol singers, minced pies and mulled wine. It really felt like Christmas had started.

But these days, the peak book-selling period extends a month or three into the New Year. And that’s because so many eReaders and tablets are given as presents. All those new owners look to Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Apple to load up with something to read right after they unwrap their new toy on Christmas Day – and either that or Boxing Day is usually the top sales day for eBooks.

It was with this in mind that I have spent every spare minute over the last couple of months sprucing up my book pages on Amazon and the other websites. New book descriptionsjazzed up formatting, a new cover here, a change of category there... whatever seemed like it might help. I’ve also made The Wrecking Crew, one of my ‘Janac’s Games’ action thrillers available as a free download, the idea being that a good position in the ‘Free’ charts will help people find the others, and so boost sales overall.

I got a big helping hand on that front when the book was featured on the fabulous Ereader News Today on Monday, 11th December. The Wrecking Crew shot up the charts into the Amazon Top 100, and reached #1 on the US Spy Thriller Chart. This could not be more different from hand-selling printed books – in the time it takes to sell one paperback, tens, or even hundreds of eBooks can be downloaded. And I have no idea who those ereaders are, unless they pop back in a week, month or a year and write a review. It’s a very different experience of selling books, but no less thrilling when you see your pride and joy hit the top of a chart.

I don’t know where it’ll be when you’re reading this – hopefully it’ll stay high enough to boost the visibility of all my books right through into the New Year. So if it’s after the great unwrapping, go have a peak at the Spy Thriller Charts in the US, or in the UK, and see how I’m doing... 

In the meantime, I hope you’re not in the middle of a last-minute shopping frenzy, have your turkey wrapped, your presents decorated and your tree ordered. Or... is that... oh, never mind. Happy Christmas and Merry New Year.


Lynne Garner said…
Interesting post - may take a leaf out of your book (eBook of course) and spruce up my eBook pages etc. between Christmas and the new year to hopefully catch the eye of all those people wanting to fill their eReaders.

Hope you have a fab Christmas and make loads of sales in 2013
Ruth Harris said…
Mark, you're #1 in Spy Thrillers (as well you should be) & #1 guy with lots and lots of us on both sides of the pond. Great writer; even greater colleague! Merry Xmas & HNY to you & your talented wife!
Mark Chisnell said…
Thanks Lynne and Ruth - go check out their books, folks!



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all!
I'm going to have to start using Author Central to get italics and bold into the book description like yours, Mark...it looks much better!
All best for 2013!
Mark Chisnell said…
And season's best to you, John - it does make a difference, a little bit of formatting!

Popular posts

What's the Big Idea? - Nick Green

A Few Discreet Words About Caesar's Penis--Reb MacRath

The Splendid Rage of Harlan Ellison - Umberto Tosi

A Glittering Gem of Black, Gothic Humour: Griselda Heppel is intrigued by O Caledonia by Elspeth Barker

Misogyny and Bengali Children’s Poetry by Dipika Mukherjee