I know I’m going about this in the wrong order but I finally self-pubished my novel “The Broken Shield” as an eBook exclusively on Amazon for 90 days.
Very quickly, the reason for an Amazon exclusive was to have access to the Kindle Select features, which includes the ability to do a free giveaway for one to five days. This past weekend (September 13 & 14) I had a two-days-for-free giveaway of “The Broken Shield”. The book launched on July 21 for $2.99 and between then and August 23rd, a grand total of 22 eBooks sold. Then, for the next 20 days, not a single damned copy was downloaded. That’s right, not a one. But that’s okay, because 21 friends and family had already supported me. I bought the 22nd copy, back when it was the first copy. I knew the steam would run out on the book eventually, and it did.
So, zero sales for the 20 days leading up to this past weekend. The Kindle Select program requires a Kindle-exclusive for 90 days, but offers up, amongst other things, 5 days total of free giveaway. Not having done this before, I decided not to use up all 5 days at once, but rather go for the entire weekend. Two day of free. Another goal was to keep costs to zero, because there’s no point in spending a fortune in order to give something away. In order to promote this, I decided to only use social media. Facebook and Twitter are my go-to social medias, and even Twitter is seldom used, by me, at least.
This was my first post on Facebook:
Okay, Kindle-owners (and app-users)… My urban fantasy eNovel is now free! Go get it! If you read it and don’t like it, I will give you your money back, but only if you get it this weekend!
Where else will you find a history-bending adventure in which the hero has MS, hangs out with a whistling pixie, and can compare Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler and make sense? This is NOT satire. It’s a story of the battle for our souls, with plenty of fighting, some humour, and warning about all those security cameras you see around you.
From Lake Louise to Tasmania to Tokyo to London to Chile to Holland to Central Park and even Mecca… can you handle the adventure, the danger, the broken hearts, and the sacrifices made for us by complete strangers?
The response took a few hours, but then the downloads started. Throughout the course of two days I made 9 posts on Facebook and 4 tweets. I also kept FB friends, apprised of progress, and made sure to express all the gratitude I was feeling.
On Saturday, downloads kept climbing, andI kept posting. On Sunday, I cut way back on posting to see the difference between heavy whoring and mild petting when the price is zero.
So, what happened once the freebee ball got rolling? Saturday saw 79 copies downloaded. On Sunday, 29 kind souls went for the download thing. That’s 108 copies! But it didn’t end there, because wherever Amazon is based out of, there were a few hours of Monday which were still Sunday for everyone else. Three more copies were uploaded. 111 total. Wow.
That’s 111 new readers. One cool thing about Amazon is that it lets me get a breakdown of which Amazon online stores saw which numbers. It doesn’t tell if if two Amazon.com buyers were from the USA and one from Mexico, but it does tell me that two used amazon.com and one used Amazon.com.mx.
That said, here is how 111 downloads break down, by Amazon websites:
- Amazon.com: 57 Saturday + 19 Sunday = 76 Total
- Amazon.ca (Canada): 11 + 4 = 15
- Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom): 9 + 3 = 12
- Amazon.de (Germany): 2 + 3 + 1 Monday = 6
- Amazon.com.au (Australia): 0 + 0 + 1 = 1
- Amazon.com.br (Brazil): 0 + 0 + 1 = 1
And the next step is… Well, if this was just about selling/downloading, I’d move on to the next marketing tool, through Google or some such. But this is an experiment, a learning process. It’s sloppy experiment with no control group or true scientific method, but it’s still an experiment. The next step is to see if word-of-mouth can make any sales. Will anyone actually read it? Will they tell anyone else about it, and will any of those people buy the book now that the price has gone back up to the crippling $2.99USD?
“The Broken Shield” is a 101,000-word novel, so few people will read it in the next few days. When people do get around to reading it, not everyone will tell anyone or write a review. If they’re anything like me, they’ll take awhile to read it, and then they’ll forget to review it either on Amazon or on Goodreads, so I will remind them on a week or so.
My hope is that 20% will actually read it and maybe 25% of them will review it. That’s five or six reviews, and in the review world five favourable Goodreads reviews can start the ball rolling.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
In closing, here are the rest of the posts I put up on my Facebook wall and Twitter:
Ciao for now,