Hello, Universe. It’s been a while. I haven’t posted a blog in two months. What’s that? Have I been too busy writing novels to post in my blog? Pardon me while I laugh my ass off. But, no, I haven’t been too busy writing. To put it mildly, I’ve been doing my damnedest to keep life from punching me in the face. Repetitively. Also, I’ve been busy researching and wrestling with marketing ideas for the three books I already have published. Apparently, I’ve already written a bestseller. Watch me continue to laugh my ass right off my body.
You see, since I’m an unknown author (I consider myself this, the world at large considers me this, ergo…), I’ve come across quite a few articles and stories of writers who found success once they had several books published. In order to get people reading their first book, the made it available for free, which led to purchases of the second book, which led to purchases of the third–see the pattern?
When I was in KDP Select, each time I used my free days I had a surge in downloads and those bumps always pushed me onto one of the Amazon Bestsellers lists. I’m no longer using Select as I have decided to go wide (sounds dirty) with distribution. As I had nothing to lose, I got onto Smashwords (which will distribute your books to Apple, Barnes and Noble, etc.) and made my first novel free. Next, I asked some people to help me get Amazon to list the books as free.
Amazon won’t let you make the book free in KDP. You have to have clicks on the “Would you like to tell us about a lower price?” button and copy/paste a URL to other seller’s pages where the book is free. Eventually, Amazon will match the price. It took a week or two, at least (sorry, I didn’t track it, I was busy living life and re-grouting my shower). I noticed the change August 23rd. I noticed it because Working On It, the book I made free, suddenly jumped onto two Amazon Bestsellers lists: General Humor and Romance Sports (yes, that’s a thing).
Side note: I think it’s hilarious my romance novel made it onto General Humor’s top 10 list.
I was totes surprised and quickly logged into KDP to look at my numbers. I did see an uptick in downloads (see pic below). Considering I sold less than 10 books in August, the percentage increase was huge. But not what I consider bestseller-worthy. I mean, 600+ downloads in two weeks is great for this author. But it may be a fluke. Just look at the graph and the downward path those columns are taking. I’ve had over 1,000 downloads for this book. It’s nothing to write home about.
While I’m stoked I went as high as top 10 on the General Humor list, I don’t think I have the right to walk around saying I’m a bestselling author. Technically, I was on a list that said I was. But it feels like a lie. I’ve been on that list before. I’ve had better numbers than on this graph (but for a 1-2 day spike). Maybe if I had 5,000 in legit sales I would feel differently. And maybe if they were paid and not free.
Luckily, I’m in a position right now where I can give Working On It away. I am considering leaving it perma-free. At this point, I think I simply want to get it in people’s hands and give them some enjoyment (that’s what he said). If I can continue getting 600+ downloads every two weeks, and add that to my 1,000 downloads from prior months, I’ll have 5,000 downloads in three months. That would make me feel too-legit-to-quit.
Until then, though, I’d feel like a jackass walking around telling people I have written a bestseller. Stephen King writes bestsellers. Nicholas Sparks writes bestsellers. Cass Alexander’s measly 1,600 downloads for Working On It does not put her on that list. Yet.
You can find Working On It and download for free (and get me on a freaking legit list) in the following places:
Barnes and Noble