- ISSUES AND IDEAS
- THE PACQUIAO FILES
- OLD PHILIPPINES
- THE AUTHOR’S STUFF
Here’s a great article — “34 Signs You Grew Up Filipino” – which, on closer inspection, should be entitled “34 Signs You Grew Up Filipino in Los Angeles”. (It eventually becomes clear.)
Now, I’m not Filipino. I can’t even claim to be an honorary. But but my wife is a Filipina, gloriously so, and one daughter is (well, she has an American passport now, but you now what I mean – she grew up Filipino), and I’ve had a running joke that I’m “kalahating pilipino ” for at least 25 years.
So, how did I score on this?
Not sure how to score it, but I guarantee you, I get it.
My comments (are in parentheses).
1. This is a perfectly normal breakfast.
Spam, good. Eggs, good. Rice, obviously good.
(Okay, I confess …. I never thought Spam was normal. But I ate far more Spam in the Philippines than I ever did in the United States. I guess I did come to think it is almost normal. Almost.)
2. But this was your actual favorite breakfast.
MMMM TAPSILOG. Nom nom.
(Yes! Now here’s the truth. Of all the breakfasts in all the world in all my life….this is number 1. Ain’t nuthin’ like it. And how come I can’t figure out how to make garlic rice like that?)
3. And when all else failed there was always this.
Sweet bread for breakfast? Yes, please…
(Nope. I guess all else never failed. Can’t claim this one as my own.)
4. You have no idea how to make rice on the stove, only in a flowery rice cooker.
(You can cook rice on a stove?)
5. This was your “ketchup.”
The spicy kind was the best.
(Yes — but why do they call it Ketchup? It’s its own thing. Love it.}
6. You had a hundred pairs of “tsinelas” spread around your house.
Because you immediately took off your shoes when you entered the house.
(Yes …. but I thought tsinellas were rubber flip-flops, not these.)
7. The only name you were ever called by was:
Like, you’re not even sure your parents know your real name.
(Nah. Heard that a lot around the house. But can’t claim it.)
8. Their names are lolo and lola, not grandpa and grandma.
(Well yeah. In-laws.)
9. You know you had to “mano” every adult in the house before you were allowed to go play.
(I have Mano’d more than any other Kano I know. That rhymes.)
10. Which was no easy task because you had approximately 15 “titas” and “titos” growing up.
And half of them weren’t actually related to you.
(By marriage. Yes.)
11. Every year you sent a giant cardboard box to your relatives in the Philippines.
The contents of which were 99% Spam.
(Oh yeah. But we send multiple smaller boxes and Spam is just a part of it. Also Corned beef. Chocolates. Asthma medicine. Blood pressure medicine. A nice mix.)
12. You immediately turn your head when you hear these phrases.
(Yes and yes. And a Filipino “pssst” is the most noise-penetrating sound ever.)
13. This is how your mom points.
Hand me the “ano.”
(Yup. Completely. Well, not my real mom.)
14. Your Thanksgiving includes a few unconventional items.
Note the lumpia, rice, kare kare, pancit, etc…
(Of course. And yes, we no longer have Christmas Dinner — we have Noche Buena.)
15. Nothing makes your mouth water faster than the sight of pan de sal.
(Only before 7am in the morning. Best ever.)
16. Your family does most of its grocery shopping here.
Or the local “Asian food store.”
(Absolutely — Seafood City IS our local Asian food store and we shop there all the time. Panorama City. Or the one in Carson with the statue of Jose Rizal in the parking lot. And Pompano and Yellowtail for $1.99/pound. Yeah! Real Philippine mangoes. Real Calamansi. And OPM playing on the sound system in the store.)
Okay — the rest are here:
11:30 PM Feb 5 (30 minutes before launch): We’ve laid as much groundwork as possible. My son and biz partner Patrick Sellers is helping me. We’ve signed up at all the major sites, set up Tweets with all the relevant hashtags to go out regularly; we have an email blast ready to go out to my list as soon as the promo goes live; and done pretty much all the things we have been able to figure out to do.
12:05 AM: Well, it’s supposed to be live now but it isn’t. Amazon says it can take up to half an hour or even longer.
12:30 AM: It finally kicked in. We’re live now. So we have just sent out the email blast and the tweets have started, etc. We are also patrolling Facebook and putting posts up on all the free Kindle book pages, and other pages that are relevant to the book. We’ve had 15 downloads in the first 10 minutes. It’s a start.
1:45 AM: Okay, I’m gong to turn in. Patrick will keep at it a while longer. Downloads are at 119 now.
7:32 AM: Back up. Downloads are at 448
8:32 AM: Downloads are 552. That’s 102 in the last hour. It’s up on Digital Book Today, one of the big three Free eBook promoters. Will check and see if we are up on all three, but I’ve got a bunch of other things I need to do first.
8:46 AM: We are
- #18 in Kindle Free Bestsellers in the category Nonfiction/Arts and Entertainment.
- #1 in Kindle Free Bestsellers in the category Nonfiction/Arts and Entertainment/Movies
8:52 AM: Downloads are 652. So we did the most recent 100 downloads in 20 minutes, whereas prior to that it took an hour, so it seems to be accelerating at this point.
9:02 AM: Downloads are 750. So that’s 100 downloads in 10 minutes. This is kind of thrilling to see it gaining steam like this.
9:07 AM: Downloads are 852. So that’s 100 downloads in 5 minutes.
This feels like it’s got a least a certain “viralness” going on and brings into question all the things I have left to do, and whether they are really going to make a difference at this point. I sent out an email to my author list of 1000 people but I’m also sending out emails to all my friends and contacts and have only gotten through the “B’s” . . . . There are a few hundred more to go but it seems like it would hardly make a difference. Similarly posting on Facebook, etc, doesn’t seem like it would really make that much of an impact now. It seems that we primed the pump adequately, it got off to a good start, and the Amazon machine has taken over. I think I will hold all the other “cards” in reserve in case it slows down.
9:10 AM: Downloads are 960. Last 100 in three minutes.
9:20 AM:Downloads are 1179
10:00 AM: Downloads are 1962. So that’s 1250 in the last hour. I won’t update again until 11 . . . . see what this hour brings.
11:ooAM: Downloads are 2831. So that’s 950++ in the last hour. It’s slowing down.
12:00 PM: Downloads are 3775. Holding steady for now.
1:00 PM: Downloads are 4768. Still running about 1k per hour
Comment: We crossed 5,000 downloads at 1:15PM, 13 hours into the 48 hour promotion. I’m watching it closely because if it the rate suddenly drops I have some contingency plans in place to try to goose it a little bit. But as long as it’s running at 1,000/hour, I’m going to just hold steady. I have tweets going on regularly with all the appropriate hashtags, and I think that’s fine . . . . but I want to give Facebook a rest before it becomes annoying.
Where will we land at the end? I just don’t know the pattern well enough to know. It seems logical that it would change incrementally at least until late tonight . . . . so even if it dropped 10% per hour it would end up around 10,000 for the first 24 hours. But maybe it will drop more precipitately than that. It’s just hard to say. It’s really great that Amazon has a counter that updates in real time so you can see the download count — but there is no way that I’m aware of to know where the downloads are coming from. It would be really great to know that, as it would really help us to calibrate our efforts in future promotions for my book and other books by other authors. Oh well.
2:00 PM Downloads are 5445. Dropping off a bit.
3:00 PM Downloads are 6,003. Definitely sagging a bit.
4:00 PM Downloads are 6,6610. Improved a bit this hour.
5:00 PM Downloads are 7,260.
6:00 PM Downloads are 7,997
7:00 PM Downloads are 8,538
8:00 PM Downloads are 9,106
9:00 PM Downloads are 9,633
10:00 PM Downloads are 9,930
11:00 PM Downloads 10,207
12:00 PM Downloads 10,438
And at 10:16 PM downloads hit 10,001, which seems a good place to stop for the night. Much to consider/ponder here, but this has definitely exceeded my expectations. Here are some screenshots which are self explanatory but important for the record.
Screenshot of Report Showing 1001 Downloads — Click to Enlarge
Screenshot showing JCGOH #1 in Arts and Entertainment
Screenshot showing JCGOH at #15 in Amazon Kindle Top 100 Free Bestsellers
DAY 2 SUMMARY
So, I continued to take hourly soundings throughout day two and I am compiling all of it into a spreadsheet that will show the pattern, but here are the main points. As noted above, we ended Day 1 at 10,438 US Downloads. Following are the final tallies after the full 48 hour two -day promotion was complete:
- United States – 16,048
- United Kingdom – 891
- Germany – 141
- France – 106
- Canada – 106
- Spain – 11
- Italy – 8
- Japan – 1
- Total: 17,206
So, looking at it in perspective, day 1 was 10,438 (65%) and Day 2 was 5,610 (35%) — and thus the big takeaway for me is that you need to have some plans in reserve to try and boost day 2. The reason for this is that on Day 1, if you do all the prep and make sure you are listed in all the “Free EBooks Today” websites, blogsites, and aggregators–then on Day 1 you get a really nice push. But on Day 2, those same outlets don’t list you again. True, on their day 1 listing they say you will be free for two days. But then on the second day, the only way someone looking for free books would know that is if they go back and read the “stale” yesterday version.
I should hasten to add that this trend is not a big problem . . . . it may be that it just ‘is what it is’ because one thing that was clear to me is that the power of these large “Free ebooks Today” aggregator sites is much greater than anything any author (maybe there are exceptions) could do with their own Facebook and Twitter following. (Although with Twitter, using the right hashtags can greatly expand the reach.)
The other thing — we reached as high as #10 overall in the Amazon Kindle Top 100 Free, so it would seem to me that our outcome was pretty good, not just average. When you consider that somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 books go into free promotion on any given day, there’s obviously a good bit of competition. From what I can discern, the key to getting a result on the level we did is:
- Don’t do it until you have 20 reviews and a solid rating because the aggregators use that as a filter — not enough reviews, or a so-so rating and you wont’ get listed. So work really hard to build this foundation. Give away books if you have to in order to get legitimate customer reviews. From what I can tell, having an astronomically high rating is less important than having a high number of reviews.
- You’ve got to really lay the groundwork by submitting to ALL of the aggregator “Free eBook today” sites and Facebook pages. There is no excuse for just slogging this out and getting it done. And you need to be doing it, ideally, a couple of weeks before the promotion runs — although we didn’t start until a week before. But I think we lost some important outlets because of that.
- You’ve got to be grinding, grinding, grinding on Facebook, Twitter, etc, especially on Day 1 from midnight on so that you lay a good foundation. It’s not clear to me how much the continued grinding on day two helps …. but it definitely is something that has to be attended to on day one.
And What About the Post Promo-Sales Surge?
There are two reasons for doing the free promo ….. one is to build your brand as an author by getting more eyeballs on your work, and more readers aware of you . The second is to stimulate a surge in paid sales in the aftermath of the free promo.
So, obviously I’m pretty satisfied with the first part of that. 17,000 downloads is, on the indie publishing scale, a pretty good number and even in traditional publishing modes where initial print runs are sometimes only 5,000 or so, this is a meaningful number. Something to build on.
But what about the Post Promo-Sales Surge?
Well, here is what I can say so far. It is now 1:30PM — thus 13 hours after the promo ended, so it’s a little early to be making any sweeping assessments, but there is some data, and there are some observations which I will make:
- First, when you go off the free status and back into paid, you go all the way to the bottom of the rankings — or at least pretty far down. We were ranked about 20,000 when the promo started, and after the promo was over, the first number that came up was 88,000. So you don’t get a fast start in terms of ranking. But as the day has gone on and sales have been registering, we have jumped up to our current ranking which is around 4,000, which is the highest we have been. And we’re now at #15 in Arts and Entertainment, which is the highest we’ve been there.
- However, the good news is that people do start buying We had been selling 7-10 units a day for a couple of weeks prior to the promo, with the price at $3.99. We raised the price to $5.95 a couple of days prior to the promo and our sales dropped a bit, so figure we were doing 6-7 units per day going into the promo. With that level of sales, we were #20,000 overall and somewhere around #5 in our subcategory of Movies/History and Criticism. So pre-promo–figure 7 units per day.
- Post promo, when I woke up at 7 we had sold 17 units since midnight. It has been picking up steam throughout the day and is now at 70 units for the day. My sense of it is that it should go over 100 units for the day, so …. 7 units per day before, then two days off the market . . . then 100 units on the first day afterwards. The math is pretty favorable and supports the idea of doing this.
I apologize for the fact that this is all just basically note-taking, and not a fully organized post. I will refashion this into something more coherent at some point. But for now, I’ve at least got the info here.
Below is the Original Post Written before the Promotion Explaining the Promotion and What We Hope to Accomplish, and How
This post is meant mainly for fellow authors who are waging battle, as I am, in the indie book publishing universe. It concerns what’s happening with my book John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood — a non-fiction book that is the true behind the scenes story of what went wrong with a film that is Hollywood’s biggest financial disaster in history — yet has spawned a global fan movement calling for a sequel. What gives?
Continue reading »
Continue reading »
On December 9, 2012 By Michael D. Sellers
My book — the Trade Paperback
- Thud on Remembering Cirio Santiago, a Filipino Pioneer and a generous mentor
- Lawanda Gabrielli on "Daughter of Lawaan" — a childhood in Eastern Samar
- Marylou Balicas Valenzuela on Remembering My True Friend Rufo Balicas
- Marylou Balicas Valenzuela on Remembering My True Friend Rufo Balicas
- Bobby Lokker on An American Discovers Freddie Aguilar at the Hobbit House, Manila
- 34 Signs You Grew Up Filipino (with commentary by a Filipinized ‘Kano)
- Live Blog of the John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood Free Kindle Promotion on Feb 6, 7
- Michael D. Sellers, Writer — or, the new me, sort of
- Cinemartini — a great idea off to a great start
- The Power of One Punch by Chuck Culpepper
- May 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- September 2009
- July 2009
- March 2009
- December 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
- November 2007
- October 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007
- May 2007
- 1. Before We Begin
- 2. Origins of Lawaan
- 3. An American Colony?
- 4. Before I Was Born
- 5. Earliest Childhood
- 6. Life Under Martial Law
- Best of MichaelDSellers.com
- BOX OFFICE CHATTER
- DAUGHTER OF LAWAAN
- DOLPHINS AND WHALES
- FEATURED POSTS
- FILMS I LIKE
- GRIST FOR MY MEMOIRS
- INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY
- INTRIGUING PEOPLE
- ISSUES AND IDEAS
- John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood
- MAKING MOVIES
- Michael D. Sellers Archive
- MOMENTS IN HISTORY
- MOMENTS IN SPORTS
- MOST READ
- Music Blog
- MY FAVORITES
- MY FILMS
- MY JOURNEY
- NEWS OF THE DAY
- OLD PHILIPPINES
- Philippine American Relations
- PHILIPPINE MEMORIES
- Philppine American War
- SONG LYRICS
- TALKING HEADS
- THE BALANGIGA FILES
- TRUE HEROES
- Writing/Author Experience