So here’s the skinny on yesterday’s free promotion. I’ll start with the cold hard numbers, and then I’ll break it down and give the blow-by-blow, and my final impressions on the whole thing.
- Total Free Downloads: 518
- Amazon.com: 486
- Amazon.co.uk: 27
- Amazon.de: 4
- Amazon.it: 1
- Highest Sales Ranks Hit (in free e-books)
- In Epic Fantasy: #7
- In General Fantasy: #31
- In all e-books: #587
It’s sobering to put all that into numbers. It makes it seem much less exciting than it really was.
To clarify: At the start of yesterday, Deep Sounding was in almost total obscurity. The promotion started at 3AM yesterday morning, and ran until about 4AM this morning. Over the course of the day, Deep Sounding climbed the lists pretty steadily, until finally breaking into the top 100 in epic fantasy and general fantasy.
Needless to say, I was ecstatic, and ready to call the day a win.
But then something strange happened. Or rather, kept happening. That is to say, the book kept rising.
As the day went on, I thought for sure the momentum would even out, but no. The train kept right on chugging. Soon I was in the 60’s. The 40’s. The 30’s.
Would I make the frontpage on epic fantasy, by breaking #20? At that ranking, I would actually start showing up on Amazon and on people’s Kindles as they browsed the fantasy lists for something to read. It seemed like a hell of an accomplishment to hope for.
By the end of the day, I had hit #7 in all epic fantasy, #31 in general fantasy, and #587 out of all free e-books.
To put that all in perspective:
There are over a million free e-books on the Amazon store.
Overall, the day was a rousing, monumental, colossal, Olympian, impossibly super-massive success, whose sheer scale must surely have registered as an astrological phenomenon and set off alarms at NASA.
Now the rational part of my brain knows that this may or may not have much of a tangible effect on sales. The rational part of my brain knows that, now that the promotion is over, my book has clicked back over into the Paid category, and has slid lackadaisically back to #69,888.
But how can I be rational at a time like this? The book is now in more than 500 pairs of hands. If even one tenth of them were to come back and leave a review (let alone a positive one!) — I mean jeeze, I couldn’t PAY for publicity that good.
In addition, a great deal of the downloads I’m almost certain came from threads on message boards in the Dwarf Fortress community and a tabletop gaming forum, with whom I hung out most of the day, and made a pretty solid connection with. I don’t know much for PR, but I’ve been told that’s the best way to do it: find your niche audience, dig in deep with them, and grow from there. We’ll see what the days ahead have in store.
At the end of it all, I am thoroughly convinced of several facts:
- Amazon might get on my nerves, but their system works.
- Free promotion days work, and I will be doing them again in the future.
- Giving your book away for free is a very good way to get people to read it.
- People who frequent tabletop forums are completely insane.