That's the good news. The other news (it's not bad news, but more on that later on) is that 98% of those downloads were for free (not the $2.99 that my new eBook normally costs).
Why on Earth would I want to give away nearly $2,500 worth of my writing?
Kindle Desktop Publishing (KDP) has a program that allows authors to schedule free giveaways of their books for promotional purposes, and that's what I did...the 'why' is a little trickier, and only time will tell if it was a sensible or foolish move on my part.
The idea behind the giveaway is that in the sea of self-published books, it's nearly impossible for any single new author to stand out. Promoting your book by giving it away for free does (in theory) a number of things...all of them good for fledgling authors:
- it gets your book in front of lots of readers' eyes, and if they like what they read they may buy the other books that you have for sale...within 4 hours of the giveaway ending, I had sold 3 additional copies of my novel "Here Be Monsters".
- it pushes your book up the charts on Amazon...by the end of the sale, "Mickey Slips" was the #3 crime bestselling book on Amazon's free list, and the #30 mystery book.
- it may end up yielding some reviews for "Mickey Slips" which would be good...although apparently people don't tend to write reviews for books they've gotten for free, I'm hoping that some of the 800+ will write a review if they liked the book...(I've already gotten a couple of nice new ones on GoodReads)
- while $2,500 sounds like a lot of money to give away (and it is...don't get me wrong...I can picture myself taking a money-bath in the money from those missed sales) it was never in, and thus never came out of, my pocket...there are millions of people who read the kind of stuff that I write, so if giving my writing to a minute portion of them for free allows me to reach more of them in the end, it's worth it
- an unanticipated bump came in the form of more traffic being driven to my blog and FB and Twitter pages, likely from the links on the Amazon page for "Mickey Slips"
Time will tell whether or not the strategy worked for me, but it seems to make sense, and I did enjoy seeing my eBook climbing the bestsellers charts on Amazon over the last few days.
My current plan is to run a similar giveaway on each of my future short works, and to leave the novels as a straight-up 'for-sale' item.