I did a freebie of The Gamblers recently and have decided to share a few thoughts:
a) I won’t be using a book publicity service again (I won’t say who they are). I paid $40 for them to notify a considerable number of free book websites about my upcoming freebie. I gave them a considerable amount of notice about this free period (almost three weeks), and yet they pretty much notified all the sites concerned at the last minute. Most of these free sites seem to require 48 – 72 hours notice. In most cases, the publicity service only gave them 24 hours notice, which means I know for a fact that many of the sites notified didn’t run details of my freebie as a result. If I pay money for a service, I expect that service to be undertaken properly.
b) There were more downloads of The Gamblers during this free period than there were last time. However, download figures were fairly poor until I started tweeting (and getting retweeted) early on Saturday evening, which is how I know that many of the free sites didn’t display my freebie at all. Many thanks to those who gave me a retweet.
c) The recent freebie has had zero impact (literally) on sales, which have been flat-lining in the UK for over a month. This means The Gamblers is probably not going to shift any more copies at full price, so I intend to make it a loss-leader when the KDP select exclusivity ends tomorrow. I will make it free on Smashwords and Kobo and hopefully Amazon will price-match it and make it available for free – permanently.
d) If I’m lucky I might get some new reviews from the latest promotion. The general consensus is that 10% of people who download a book for free will read it (though not necessarily straight away) and out of the 10% who read it maybe 10% of them will post a review. So if I’m lucky I might get two new reviews in the UK and maybe three in the US. I won’t hold my breath, though.
If nothing else, I have at least learned that my work is never going to make me a penny of profit. If I add the time I’ve spent on covers, formatting, tweets, blogging, Facebook posts, then I’m still making a loss on my work.
So be it.
Not everybody is going to be a success, not everybody is going to write commercial work. And as I’ve stated before, it’s not the money that keeps me writing (if it was I would have stopped long ago). All I can do is keep writing, hopefully keep improving, and at least keep my very small audience happy. And, on the subject of keeping my audience happy, Bone Breakers (a Stanton brothers novella set long before the events in The Hunters) is coming very soon, and The Glasgow Grin is still on target for a 2013 bow. Added to which, another Stanton brothers short I started recently, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to Billingham Forum, has since become a novella, and is also almost done-and-dusted.