If I had any doubts about the power of promotion, they were laid to rest this past weekend.
My crime fiction short story collection Three Shorts has been free since about the first week of February. In a month, it had been downloaded a respectable–if unspectacular–500 times. I had heard of other indie authors garnering thousands of downloads, but I’m a relatively unknown new-comer and I was more than happy to see hundreds of downloads fueled by little more than a change in price…I didn’t do any specific promotion beyond Twitter, Facebook, and a blog post.
Last Thursday, however, I stumbled across a great article on Squidoo by way of Kindleboards, Going FREE! Kindle eBook Promotional Campaigns for Authors. I didn’t have any great expectations…so many Internet articles just recycle the same old claptrap that I was going to give it a ten second glance and move on.
I was pleasantly surprised at the summary of how to publish free (something I already knew, but didn’t just 4 months ago) and the pros and cons of doing so. By far, however, the most helpful section was the list of top sites to notify for a free promotion. It included several sites I knew of–Pixel of Ink, for instance–but I was unaware of how many of these same sites offered a free e-book promotion section. I spent about 2 hours visiting the sites on the first half of the list since every site wants the same information in slightly different formats.
On Friday morning, after being accustomed to seeing 10 downloads a day, I nearly fell out of my seat when I saw Three Shorts had been downloaded 200 times that morning. I watched as it took off on the Kindle Free List, going from ~350,000 (paid list before going free) to ~3,000 after going free, finally topping out on Saturday at number 82 after 3,500 downloads in less than 24 hours. I actually beat out Ben Franklin 🙂 This is my first visit to a Top 100 list and I can tell you, it felt great. I never thought I’d be so happy to give something–a lot of something–away.
It took me almost an hour to figure out who had given me my ticket to ride, since I’d contacted about eight sites the previous day. Finally, my sleuthing showed that it was ereadernewstoday.com that had given me my shout out.
The amazing stat to me: I was just one free book in one email (of about six) to go out that day to ereadernewstoday subscribers. The same number of books and emails go out every day…stunning when you think of the potential impact for all the authors mentioned.
The ride has already ended, but I’m looking forward to doing similar promotions in the future…and you can bet I’m keeping my eye out to see if any of the other sites I notified will come through for me.
Now, if I can just get the same kind of boost for the titles I’m charging money for…