Tuesday, October 21, 2014

To free or not to free? - Part 3

Two weeks have passed since the free promotion of my novel "Teaching Tori". Time to re-read my previous post and reflect on this experience.
Before launching into this post, I need to clarify the purpose of this promotion, which was...
  1. to increase my audience
  2. to gain new reviews
  3. to try something new in promotion my book
  4. to get myself out of a "help, nobody's buying my book!" mindset
So here are my thoughts...

1. My audience has increased, but I have no idea by how much. By the end of the promotion, I had 660 downloads of my book. How many people actually read the book will remain unknown. Haven't we all done it, downloaded a free ebook, only to never read it because we forgot about it, or we had other books to read?

2. I've had one review out of 660 downloads. Needless to say that I am disappointed with this result. Is it too early to make a call on this part of the promotion? Are people just super-busy, only just now remembering that they've read my book, but not posted a review? (Yes, off you go now, and don't come back to this blog until you've posted your review....)
From my own experience, it's easy to forget to review a book. I don't always do it, but I try to make time to write a review for the free downloads, at least.

3. I've enjoyed the excitement of the two day promotion. To see the number of downloads go up minute by minute was very rewarding, even if they weren't paid units. 
The thought that some authors have the same amount of downloads for paid books was mindboggling to me. I was tempted to start dreaming, to work out how much money I would be making if they were paid units, but forced myself to stop thinking like that - it's like imagining how you're going to spend your big lotto win. (I actually rate the chances of me making money through my writing as higher than winning a large amount of money in Lotto!)

4. Did I get myself out of a negative mindset? Yes, and no. I've had a few downloads from the Kindle lending library which I hadn't seen before, so that was a good thing. And I sold some books after the promotion had finished that I might not have sold otherwise. But the downside of the free promotion is/was the disappointment about the lack of reviews. 

Overall, the experience was interesting and new to me. I thought I didn't have many expectations going into this, but it turned out I had - more reviews.

But the best thing by far that came out from this experience is that it reinforced what I already knew - my precious and limited time that I can devote to this insanely rewarding hobby is best spent writing my next book, not fretting over number of reviews and downloads. 
So that's what I'm doing. Watch this space. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

To free or not to free - Part 2

In a few hours, my first-ever free book promotion will be over. I must admit I was very sceptical and didn't know if this promotion would be of any benefit to me. I also was worried that nobody would download my book, even when it was free, and the effect this would have on my motivation as a new self-publisher author.
This promotion was a last minute decision 24 hours before it started, so I didn't have a great lead-up to it. I listed it with as many free ebook sites as possible, but couldn't say how many of the emails and forms I filled in actually made it onto those sites. I did the same with Facebook, posting the link or asking for the link to be posted.
The only thing I have a clear idea of what happened was what I did on Twitter. And I think it was the Twitter 'campaign' that was the most successful because I gained lots of new followers and retweets.
It was exciting to watch the number of downloads go up over time, and to see which marketplaces they came from. I am happy that over 650 people have downloaded my book so far, with a few hours to go.
Even if the cynic in me says that a number of those people will not read it (I know because I've downloaded free books, and never read them), it is still exciting to know that somewhere out there in the big world, somebody is bound to be reading "Teaching Tori" right now.
Maybe somebody somewhere is tucked under their blanket and reading about Lana, the girl in Tori's class. Or somebody somewhere is sitting in their sofa by the fire, pining for Tom alongside Tori who has realised that she has made a big mistake. Or somebody somewhere is learning a little bit about Maori culture.
And this is why I started writing in the first place. Because I wanted to share my stories.
Hopefully, I will gain a few new readers who will come back for my next book. If only 1% of the downloaders leave a review, that would be 6 new reviews - I would be quite happy with that.
(So far I've had one new review - thanks Janelle Kahele 
If you happen to be one of the 649 others who have downloaded the book, have you considered heading over to Amazon to write a brief review?
So would I do this promotion again? Definitely. Just to see the numbers go up within a few minutes on the first day was so exciting.
And whether it pays off in terms of reviews, watch this space.

Monday, October 6, 2014

To free or not to free?

My first three months with Amazon's KDP are coming to an end and I have yet to use any of the 5 free days available to me. So I have been very indecisive whether to give this a go.
Part of me wants to scream and say - no way am I going to give my novel away for free. I have sweated blood and tears (and a bucket full of money) for this novel. Why should anybody be able to get it for free?
But then this other voice in my head pipes up and says - what can you lose? It's not like you're selling hundreds of books at the moment, are you?
In fact, the opposite is true. I am selling a few novels here and there, with long gaps in between sales, which can be quite disheartening.
So after hours spent online reading about the pros and cons of free give-aways, I have decided to give it a go. The best case scenario would be to get some new reviews out of this promotion and gain some new readers who will, in time, want to read my next book.
The worst case scenario would be (I can't even bear thinking about it), that nobody will know my book is available for free, and it won't be downloaded.
But I'm trying very hard to make sure that won't happen. So for two days starting from tomorrow, my book Teaching Tori will be available for free. Due to the timezone difference, this will actually only start at 9.00 pm on Tuesday if you are in New Zealand.
(And if you happen to download it, enjoy your read, and if you have a spare minute or two, please review it.)