Selling Books In China
My regular readers will know that I spent a little over a year (14 months, to be exact!) having my first two novels translated from English to Chinese. Both novels, Bloodlines: Cove Point Manor, and Bloodlines: Of Noble Blood, have now been on sale in China for a little over a month.
So how are my sales going? I really have no idea, which is part of the frustration in my dealings with the translation/publishing partner I am working with, Fiberead.
Before I go any further, I would like to say that I am very familiar with working in China, not necessarily with publishing companies, but I have been working closely with many Chinese firms since 1997. I have also been visiting China several times a year for the past 21 years. I think I have a good handle on working with the Chinese, and I understand that communication can sometimes be a challenge due to both language and cultural barriers. However, I have learned how to effectively work with my Chinese friends, and understand that a little patience goes a long way in building lasting relationships.
For those that are unfamiliar with Fiberead, I have written a few other blog posts on their service, so I won't bore regular readers with a rehash of that. Once I finally had both of my books published in China, both in e-book format, I started to market the books to people that I knew who lived in China. The funny thing was, I knew that one of my books had been published on Amazon.cn before my translation team did! Since Amazon has a (pretty) good order and sales reporting system, I expected to be able to receive sales figures from Fiberead immediately. Unfortunately, for some reason that is still unclear to me, Fiberead delays sales reports by 2 months.
Amazon.cn seems to operate using the same ranking system as they do in other marketplaces, and my overall book sales rankings are published on their Chinese website. Fiberead does not do ANY marketing, even paid marketing (despite what their website would lead you to believe) and simply publish the translated books on several websites and, I suppose, hope for the best. I watched as my novel, Bloodlines: Of Noble Blood went from #3 on the Chinese best seller list down to #7800.
I even had a close associate of mine, who is a Chinese national, contact Fiberead and speak directly to them to see what could be done regarding marketing and reporting. They got the same answer I had received: nothing. I soon began to feel frustrated as I watched my sales rankings drop like a rock.
I eventually stopped checking my sales rankings on Amazon.cn daily, and now only check once or twice a week. When I checked this morning, I was pleased to see that Bloodlines: Cove Point Manor had gone from the #12000 rank all the way up to #1931, which means the book is selling, but how many copies of the book have sold? I still have no idea.
My other novel, Bloodlines: Of Noble Blood, has also improved in the Amazon rankings, sitting at #6048 today, which would also indicate at least some sales have been made.
Fiberead still has no sales information listed for either of my books, and I have no idea if either of the books are selling through their other sales platforms. I won't reach the 2 month anniversary of the books being published in China until September, so in the meantime I will have to wait, and wonder...