Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Experiment Gone Horribly RIGHT

In math class, we had these word problems about objects rising and then at what point does the object stop rising and begin to fall, where will the object be a t= some random number?

I sucked at those.

Yesterday, I made CANCELLED free on Kindle through the KDP Select program. I don't know if I caught a magical Monday of no competition or if the planets and stars aligned, but what I do know is that thing took off like a rocket!

I woke up, giddy, at 6 AM with my husband. I checked my "sales" had 250. I was ecstatic. Saw that I was ranked #11,309 out of #70,000. I thought to myself, "Yay, I might make it into somewhere between #1,000 and #2,000 FREE" That was my hope.

9 hours later, I cracked the Top #100 FREE by making it to #89. I was "selling" free books at about a rate of 4.5 per minute.

It is now 12:19 AM, there are 3 more hours of my "free" status. I am:
#17 in Free fiction.
#8 in Free Romance.
#5 in Free Contemporary Romance.
#4 in FREE in Contemporary Fiction.

How in the heck am I doing best in Contemporary Fiction?

The more startling aspect I learned from going free is just how big Amazon really is. Before this, I sold my 6 little books each month for the last two months and thought "Wow, I'm really lucky to have those sales." NOW I realize that thing is a behemoth once it gets going! I'm watching my "sales" jump 10-17 books every minute I refresh the page. Who are the 17 people who downloaded my book last minute? How on earth are there 10 more doing it this minute?

Sorry. I'm now #28 in Kindle Free (which also includes apps). Oh, and #15 in Free Fiction. 12:36 AM.

So now I know I wasn't a speck before, I was a speck on a speck. Possibly even a speck on a speck on a speck.

How did I do this?

First of all, I, didn't. Others did. I was listed on The-Cheap.net's Kindle streams, Pixel of Ink's Facebook streams, a few Chicklit blogs and Facebook streams, and who knows where else. I don't even know. I didn't plan ANY OF THIS. I put out on Facebook last night I was going free, talked with a few readers who got a signed ebook last month, and set up my tweets to tweet my book link as free once per hour from 4 AM to 11 AM.

The tweets helped get the ball rolling, but it was mostly other authors tweeting me. Having the tweets scheduled helped authors just click and RT. That certainly helped, but it's not where the lion's share came from....

When Readers Take It Personally

Reading is a very personal act. What we like, what we don't like reflects who we are as a person. Books we like we want to brag about. THIS is what catapulted me to the top.

I know you all have heard, probably a little too much, how I signed ebooks for readers. I know. However, it was two readers who received early copies, and NOOK owners mind you, that took it as a personal mission to make me a best-downloaded Kindle author in one day. How personal?

They sent me personal messages on Facebook of status reports all day long--messages telling me where they posted the links, who they told, who they got to share the link, and updated ME on my rankings. Seriously. I ended up with an army and I thought this was just a drill! I need to share something here for authors, and please don't go to Facebook and go after the two readers who helped me (a few have already tried). They aren't master marketers or even interested in marketing other books, they just wanted to help me because they cared about my book (not saying they won't care about your book, they have to read it first, and they aren't interested in being professional bloggers or reviewers, they're happy being readers).

So here's what you will all find fascinating. One of the readers took charge and informed me that she talked to the admin at Pixel of Ink and got permission to share my book on their Facebook wall. I chuckled and said "You did what? How? Do you have any idea what that means?" Of course she thought I meant she had stepped on toes. I had to reassure her, no, I was just shocked. THERE'S A WAITING LIST FOR PIXEL OF INK.... if you're an author, or if you know someone. If you're an author, you have to submit first (totally understand, agree 100% with that system, it's self-promotion). But readers truly have the power to walk right up that bouncer and say "Can I get in the club" and the velvet rope just unclicks in a split second.

I could sit here and say maybe I underestimated my own goodwill with others, maybe this would have happened if I had gone free last week. I don't think so. Certainly being someone few dislike in this industry helps, but I don't think it was me. I really think a handful of readers that wanted to see the book they enjoyed get "kudos" they thought it deserved is what happened January 30, 2012. It wasn't about me. It was about them. It was about social networking at it's most basic function, "Look at me, I like this, it's wonderful, therefore I'm wonderful." And I'm not saying that to belittle those readers who supported me. Not at all. I'd give them a kidney if they needed it! I'm saying that all of the broadcasting, tweeting, poking, prodding, begging, and and pleading isn't what propelled my book. It was a few people who wanted their network of friends to see that they had a book they liked, and they were going to make it a success. And I am 100% amazed at their magical abilities!

I think having a strong cover helped, and having a high overall rating caught people's attention as my book was free. But the real catalyst that caused this chain reaction was that I happened to make reading special for a few readers. Maybe through my writing, maybe through my personality, maybe both! I don't know exactly what I did, but I'm going to keep doing it!

There's 2 hours left in the promo. I've had such fun today. I've been truly touched at how many people came out of the woodwork to support me, some authors I haven't had a chance to pow-wow with in months! I can feel in my gut this is a big turning point for me as an author. This changes my perspective on many, many issues. I feel wiser. I feel more aware of my little role in this great big publishing machine.

I don't know if I'm ready mentally to read all of the reviews that will come in. I don't know if I'm morally ready to look at the sales that are going to come as my book falls back down the charts. I do know I'm ready to write that next book and get it into the hands it belongs in. A reader's.

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble 

WIP: STONE. Can Melanie Stone let her mother back into her life and kick out the creep trying to worm his way in? March 2012.


  1. So, are you gonna tell us how many got downloaded or what?! 0-]

  2. Sorry, 8,250. That's the number at 5AM this morning when the book was no longer free. I've since sold 21 more. :)