Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Free Weekend Results

This past weekend I used the last two days of my KDP Select free days.  In my previous post I shared some helpful tips others had used to make the best of their free days.  If you are planning on signing up with KDP Select and you haven't read that post, go now.  Right now!

I came across many of those tips too late, and wasn't able to implement them, but you better believe I will with the next book.

I used the first of my five days at the end of January.  I did a moderate amount of tweeting, I did a blog post, and did an all out Facebook assault, hitting every book related page I could find.  The results:  221 free US downloads for Contemplations of Dinner and 740 free US downloads for Guarding the Healer.  I was pretty happy with that, though I didn't see very many paid sales follow behind.

I used two more days at the end of February.  I fell ill to a bad case of self-promotion remorse so I did a little tweeting, a blog post and very little on Facebook.  Self promotion can be a lot like drinking a gallon of castor oil, but it doesn't have to be that way.  If done right it can be an enjoyable experience.  I, however, didn't do it right.  The results:  23 free US downloads for Contemplations of Dinner and 346 free US downloads for Guarding the Healer.  Ouch.  And that was over two days.  That just goes to show you, if you don't care to spread the word about your books no one else will, either.

For the final two days I went all out.  I tweeted up a a storm.  I carpet-bombed Facebook.  I contacted all the places that mention free books.  I highly recommend you read my previous post and follow the links.  The results: 2,038 free US downloads for Contemplations of Dinner and 4,565 free US downloads of Guarding the Healer.  Wow! What a difference.  Contemplations topped out at #126 in the overall free rankings and hit #2 in Horror>Short Story.  Guarding the Healer topped out at #84 in overall free and stayed in the top 100 for a good while.  I've had a steady stream (albeit a small one) of paid sales and I've already received a 5 star review.

Although I'm not going to re-enroll these two books in KDP Select, I'm pretty sure that I'll be giving it another try with the next book.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another Round on Me

I'm here to announce my final two day giveaway for both of my books, Guarding the Healer and Contemplations of Dinner.  Both will be FREE from 12:00 am PST March 23rd until 11:59 pm PST March 24th.

Like most other writers I had my reservations when Amazon first announced their KDP Select program.  Then, like everyone else, I started hearing all the success stories of books coming off of their free promotions.  I wasn't selling much of anything on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords, so I figured what the heck.  It's only three months, after all, and e-books are forever.

I split my five free days into three sections: one in January, two in February, and the last two this weekend.  I wish that I could tell you that I am one of those writers enjoying an enormous sales boon, but alas, I can't.  My downloads were nice while the books were free, but nothing to write home about.  The numbers quickly dropped off once the books were no longer free.

But don't let that discourage you.  I made a lot of mistakes.

Kristen Lamb tackled the subject of FREE a while back in her post R-E-S-P-E-C-T isn't Free.  I really wish I would have read this before I joined KDP Select.  Would it have stopped me from trying it out?  No, but I would have waited a bit longer.  I don't agree with everything she writes, but there is a lot of good wisdom in this post.  She's a smart chick and if you don't already, I recommend you start stalking reading her blog.

David Gaughran is another intelligent writer that has been scrutinizing the Select program.  He has had many guest bloggers post about their KDP successes.  In his post Why Giving Away Thousands of Free Books is a Good Thing, author Tony James Slater lays out an amazing story: 22, 701 downloads!  Don't think it was easy, though.  He put a lot of thought and elbow grease into the venture, but it paid off.  I've often heard it said that "Preparation always precedes a blessing".

If you go over to Digital Books Today and read their post Maximize Your KDP Select Free Days you will find a cornucopia of great advice from author Ruth Francisco.  Once again, I wish I would have read all of these posts before I signed up.  Oh well.  There is always the next book.

So, while KDP has yet to lead me to large paying sales, it doesn't mean is has to be that way for you.  You'll just have to prepare a little better than I did.  I tried to implement as many tips as I could for this last free promotion, so hopefully this will be the one that brings me to #1 and starts bringing in the dead presidents.

If you haven't downloaded my books yet, then please stop by sometime this Friday or Saturday and take advantage of the free.  And don't forget to spread the word.  As always, I can use all the help I can get.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

A Note of Encouragement

 A few days ago I received an email from my wife.  You see, I've been a bit down about my writing lately.  The second draft of my current novel is taking longer than expected, and I've been having those neurotic writer's spells where I feel like every word I type is utter crap (should I use crap here?  Isn't there a better word I could use?  Stop that!).  And as always things are moving W A Y . . . T O O . . . S L O W for my liking.  As soon as I perfect my Straight-From-Brain-Downloading-System I should be able to pump out half a dozen books a month.  I'm almost there.  The test monkeys have stopped exploding and now only sizzle.

Sorry.  Back to my sensitive mental state.

I usually get this way when I read one of those ultra successful authors whose books are so good it should be criminal.  I start comparing my work to theirs and it's just an epic shame spiral from there.  In the past my melancholy has stemmed from King, Koontz, Rice, Saul, McCammon . . . you can see a pattern here.  Lately I've been reading the Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin.

Although I hadn't really said anything, my wife could tell I was down.  This is what her email said:

A Game of Thrones is a huge hit but it wasn't always that way.  It took almost 15 years from the time it was first published to the time it reached #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List.  It didn't happen overnight but it did happen. 

This is from Wikipedia: "
A Game of Thrones is the first book in A Song of Ice and Fire, a series of epic fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin. It was first published on 6 August 1996. The novel won the 1997 Locus Award,[1] and was nominated for both the 1998 Nebula Award[2] and the 1997[1] World Fantasy Award. The novella Blood of the Dragon, comprising the Daenerys Targaryen chapters from the novel, won the 1997 Hugo Award for Best Novella. In January 2011 the novel became a New York Times bestseller[3] and reached #1 on the list in July 2011."

If you keep going and doing all the awesome work you're doing I'm sure it won't take that long for you to see the success you deserve.  Love you babe!

Pretty cool lady, huh?

That's the thing about those divine writers.  Even though they bring an enormous pile of self-doubt to people like me, they simultaneously drive me to write better/harder/smarter (dang! what word should I use?).  And just because my novels aren't selling great today doesn't mean they won't be bestsellers tomorrow.