Monday, October 6, 2014

FREE Book Followup

One could say that last Wednesday, October 1, was a disaster, a collision of accident just waiting to happen.

First, I scheduled it for the first of the month which happened to fall in the middle of the week.  THAT was the plan.  BUT, plans get changed.  I knew that I'd basically be open and free that particular day to really keep an eye on what was happening.

Remember.  THAT was the plan.

I also scheduled myself for a coffee chat with an old friend.  I scheduled my car for an oil change, tire rotation, tune up and factory recall check.

My wife decided we should go camping that week.  That one caught me off-guard.  It would be fun to go camping, sitting in the autumn air, lazing by the lake, an easy life.  I could get some editing done on a book.

Oh, wait!  No Internet at the campground.  Okay, there IS Internet at the campground, right outside the main office on the somewhat covered patio.  No electricity, though.  Not that it really mattered, but if you were more than 20 feet from the front door, there was no Internet connection available... just an intermittent connection of one-bar strength.  Did I mention that the main office was on the OTHER side of the lake?  About a 3 mile drive.  Okay, not a killer-sized distance but still, not very convenient when forced to drive at the posted speed of 10 mph for about half of the distance.

So, I went into town (about 40 mi) and did the coffee thing.  The car dealership called late the night before to cancel my appointment since they didn't have a loaner car for me.  I was able to access the Internet at the cafe.  Yay!

I returned home from the camping trip late Friday night.  I have pieced together these figures.

I started a campaign one week in advance with some Facebook posts and Twitter tweets.

I posted at 15 social media sites via Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and GoodReads to get the word out the day of the free giveaway.

I tweeted during the day and had several (from what I can tell, about 30) friends also tweet, retweet the information both before and during the event.

I "sold" a total of 89 books.  That's right.  I gave away a whopping EIGHTY-NINE books.

No reviews... YET.  Although I have had one person tweet that she is reading the novel and has figured out just who she hates the most in the group.  At least I know somebody is reading it.

Of course, the book did make it up to #19 position at one point.  Since I was unable to check the Internet late at night, I didn't get to see all the numbers.  My wife's phone has Internet but I think the mobile version of Amazon doesn't have all the bells and whistles - I never saw a ranking position, even after the event until I got back home on my computer.  Unfortunately, that was real sales and now, it is sinking miserably into oblivion.

Now, I do want to mention one tidbit.  The book may have done even better, that I don't think I'll ever know, but for the ranking that was sent to me where I was in position #19, I could see 10 other books on the image and they all had one thing in common that my book didn't have.  They all had reviews!  Not just 3 or 5 but upwards of hundreds of reviews.

I feel that my unknown book was rubbing elbows with other books which had status reviews, most of them averaging well over 4 stars. For my book with 0 (zero) reviews to be in the top 20 books and #20 had 179 reviews - I think that is something to crow about.  #18 book had 342 reviews.

Perhaps if my book had had reviews, it might have done better.  Maybe not.  Who knows?

Will I put Pangaea, Eden Lost up for free again?  Probably not.

Why?  I wanted to get my name out there.  I sort of succeeded in that endeavor with 89 people now holding a copy of the book.  In addition, within that book, are sample reads of three of my other novels that are available: Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold, Ancient Blood: The Amazon, and 2012 Timeline Apocalypse.  Perhaps they will be intrigued enough to purchase those books.  Also, if I'm lucky, word of mouth will help the sales of Pangaea, Eden Lost and I'll see a profit from this endeavor.

So, with crappy planning on my behalf in so many areas, I would still say this could be a positive action.

Tell you what... In about two months I'll do an update to this and see where it stands. Call me Pollyanna but I'm hoping for great results of this adventure.

Until next I ramble on...


  1. You know, not for nothing, with such a small amount of marketing you did for this book, 89 "sales" is pretty darn good. I've done so much marketing for one freebie, spent $20 and got 54 downloads of a book with over 25 reviews. So, I'd be happy if I were you frankly.

  2. Wow, I think your sales is a great return on your efforts.

  3. I always find it amazing to see another person who gets over 1k downloads a day during their "free" days - and they do it without advertising. I read one guy's story how he had something like 43k downloads over 3 or 5 days and it was all just word of mouth - SUPPOSEDLY. Yeah, tongue in cheek for the truth in numbers, I'm sure. Okay, I admit - I'm greedy. I was hoping for more. lol.

  4. It's a good return, given the slow pace of sales for most indie authors. My advice would be to arrange some reviews of advance copies to post ahead of the giveaway. Although my experience has not shown me that is all that effective, either.

    Selling books is a hard job for an author.

  5. Actually, Scott, this book "Pangaea, Eden Lost" was released on April 4 to the fanfare of zilch. As such, it has lingered. Now, in May I did a release (actually earlier) with a big push in May. I had ARC reviews and the book made it to #2 in Editing. I was ecstatic, to say the least. You're right - there has to be fanfare with the release. I'm working to finish my 3rd book of the year and am planning a major whoop-de-doo to thrust it on the reading public. lol. Also, writing is the easy part, it seems. We're writers, not marketers.

    1. I should have mentioned that the book in May was "52 Weeks of Writing Tips" so it didn't get confused as being the same book as "Pangaea."

  6. Interesting stuff Bob, good to get an insight into what it's like to self-publish and the responses we get. Thanks.