Wednesday, February 1, 2012

#ROW80 Another In a Long Line of "I Screwed Up."

"Step right up, folks. This here's the rootin-in-tootin'est most AMAZONing ride we got!"

"How many tickets, sir?"

"Why just 90 tickets, there, young lady. You think you're strong enough to take on this here roller coaster."

::gulp:: "I. . . I'll do my best, sir."

::Maniacal laughter ending in a sneer.:: "Hold on tight, lovely....MWAHAHAHA."

On Monday, I took a spin on the FREE Rollercoaster Ride Amazon offers to indie writers called KDP Select's Free Day. :) Cancelled by the way, is now a Top Ten Downloaded Ebook. Here's how the ride went for me:

Got about halfway up the first hill, and I can't see the top. It just keep climbing! The rollercoaster didn't stop until my little ebook car reached #3 on the Contemporary Fiction free charts and #12 on the Free Fiction charts. Holy crap, the Amazon theme park stretches further than the eye can see! (I ended up with 8,250 downloads in 24 hours).

The Rock Bottom

Then WHOOOOOOOOOOOOSH. You hit rock bottom. And I panicked. You see, the rhetoric has been (from the complainers) "They go free, race up the charts, and then they're just right up on the best seller list. It's not fair!" I misinterpreted that. You see, there is no sideways "Everyday I'm Shufflin'" to the paid side of things. Nope. Amazon drops you right where you were BEFORE you went free (#249,227 for me). You have to climb your way back up! THAT'S why authors are saying they have "best-selling" status after going free (assuming they do). 

I tried out a higher price, $4.99, thinking it might help set me apart once the book came off free. Nah. It's sinking like a stone. I sold 20 copies yesterday (31 but 11 were returned), and made it as high as #4,760. That is still phenomenal. Highest I've ever been before that was #12,000 something, that was after selling 18 books at $.99 as part of a book launch in November. But I'm an indie, I can right a ship as it's listing.... I just lowered my price to $2.99. 

So, 8,000 downloads later, I'm feeling awesome! No I didn't have runaway sales success right after, but I sold more than 3 times what I had the entire month in one day. (I only had 6 sales in January before going free). 

I wasn't as productive, what with the roller coaster and all that. I did however work on my reader site, got the original first chapter back up as an extra. Also, I am getting WAAAAAY better at putting on my OWN oxygen mask before helping others. Because I do so many other things; formatting ebooks, helping with websites, etc. I managed to not stress myself out by remembering that *I* have to come first. A sick, frazzled Elizabeth Ann West helps no one.

So I am still at only 5,000 words on STONE. But don't worry, unless I can't make great progress before next week, I'm not panicking. It's written, it just really needs to be typed. 

I also need to finish those signed ebooks. 

I have two files to format. (one in my possession half way done, one on its way possibly, next week). 

And best of all, that roller coaster ride gave me a confidence that is going to help carry me through this tumultuous year of writing and publishing. Maybe I won't be a best seller this year, but I managed to beat out over 69,988 other free fiction books on Monday, and that's something!

UPDATE: Just got my first 1-star review. I'm very surprised. I thought I would be way more upset, but I'm not. I almost find it funny, as horrible as that sounds. I'm a little intrigued that it lifts some pretty unique phrasing from a 4/5 Black Dresses review I got on Chick Lit Is the New Black that I tweeted out while I was free. The first problem was the ending for the reader, but it's pretty clear in the reviews and product description it's not a formula romance. And the reviewer has no other reviews. If it's a real reader, I feel bad that they didn't like it, but it wasn't a craft issue, so there's nothing I can really do about it. The reader just didn't like the story line.

I got another 5 star review from another reader who made me laugh. I got bonus points for a MC carrying the "idiot's ball" not to just move the plot forward, but out of "human, understandable motives."

So going free brought a ton of firsts, and man do I feel awesome about it. I just wish I didn't have to go exclusive for 90 days with Amazon to gain this amount of experience in 48 hours.

A robotics engineer asks his business partnerI 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.

Don't forget, I have many, many friends who are also part of a Round of Words in 80 Days. Please make sure you visit their blogs and give them some comment love!


  1. "I am getting WAAAAAY better at putting on my OWN oxygen mask before helping others."

    I can't tell you how much I love that line. It's so hard to step back and say, "This one's for me" when the opportunity is there to help others. But if this is serious for you, then that's how it has to be from time to time.

    And I commend you for posting both the positive and negative with KDP Select. I sometimes get the feeling the only feedback ever given on the program by authors is positive, like the ones who had a less-than-expected experience are embarrassed by it, or wonder why they didn't do as well as others, etc. It's not for everyone, that's for sure, and you hit the nail on the head: "There is no sideways "Everyday I'm Shufflin'" to the paid side of things."

    I love your positive, going-forward attitude.


    1. Thank you, Steve, for your kind words. You are one of those authors in my circle of friends I look up to very much. It was certainly an eye-opening experience to the buying power Amazon reader have! (I know it was FREE downloads, but still, it's nice to see there is a possible reality of making one day to seeing your book downloaded hundreds of times in one day).

      I have a very hard time putting my writing first. First, I love the activities of marketing. I love chatting with people on social media. I just keep reminding myself that I will be in a stronger position to help others if my obligations to my own career are satisfied first. Not an easy thing to do, not at all.

      Had to work in "Everyday I'm Shufflin'" My stepson is playing that thing on repeat! Tried to explain to him, I used to dress like that! His response? "Why?" Ahhh the neon eighties.

  2. Sometimes it can be hard to remember that we need to put ourselves first and that we can't do everything for everyone. I know, it's something I struggle with at times.

    Good luck with meeting your goals. I know you can do it.

    1. Thank you for the vote of confidence, Fallon. We go by inches, not feet or miles. :)

  3. Congrats on your eBook successes. Maybe a good many of those downloads will result in future sales because they liked the story and want to see more of your work. Probably a lot more people saw your work than would have otherwise. And congrats on getting better at putting on your own oxy mask first. It's tough to do sometimes.

  4. Congrats on the success. My book will be out this month, and I'm holding my breath on all this 'stuff' that needs to be done. I won't be free for a while, but we'll see how it goes.
    It does open the door to new readers who will look you up and 'pay' for the next one.

  5. I'm always interested in hearing about the KDP Select results, both positive and negative. Thanks for sharing those with the RoWers. You sound very successful, even in getting your first 1 star review! Treat it like the little goblin it is, heck even a pet. We've all apparently got those to look forward to.

  6. I really enjoyed reading your blog, because I've been wondering about the experience of doing free e-books for a while and you have helped me to know a little more of what it is all about. And I'm super excited that you are putting on your oxygen mask first. I'm certain that if you keep taking care of your writing needs first you'll start meeting your goals and finding greater success! Keep up the great work!