The other day I was mooching around Smashwords, checking my downloads, smug at the fact I’d reached over 2,000 downloads for all my novels (admittedly most of these are for free books), when I thought I’d check my sales for other channels. Not expecting much, I got a wonderful surprise to discover that I had 499 downloads of Maudie on Barnes and Noble. I guess it’s being a Brit, but I’ve never given much thought to B&N, it’s not a site we use – it’s all about Amazon to us. So I thought I’d check B&N and was delighted to see that I was indeed high up in the sales rank, not only for Maudie, but for Winner Takes it All, and even better – for Summerset. It seems those who are downloading freebies of WTiA are wanting to read the novel from which it spawned. People are also downloading Two Become One as well, and hopefully this will lead to other sales. On Diesel, another ebook website, Maudie is at 312!! Not sure what their ranking system is like. 312 might be really low, but I’m kidding myself that it’s high!
Either way, the giving away of free books certainly seems to work. It’s fairly lazy marketing, but I can only shout out how good my books are, so often and also people need to see proof of the pudding, and the only way they’re going to do that is by reading them. Facing redundancy, it’s good to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and just maybe, my book sales are on the increase. It’s a slow process, because unlike a song which is instant, books take time to read, and a thousand other things get in the way. I wouldn’t recommend offering free books if you’ve only published one book, because by the time people have read it – if you haven’t got another one to offer – they’re likely to forget about you. I would say it’s only a good idea if you have a whole arsenal of books on offer, and also the ones you do offer for free, try and link them to something else. I’m giving away Maudie, which is book one of a trilogy (the other two aren’t free), or Winner Takes it All, which is the sequel to Summerset, and as I said before, more likely to entice people to buy the original book.
Sceptics will laugh, but many years ago I went to see a palm reader, who told me that my success in life would come overseas and I poo-poohed it, not being one of life’s travellers. But of course, the whole self-publishing phenomenon has been driven by America, and so my outlets have become mainly based in the US. In America I have had thousands of downloads, and lots of people know my name. Here in England, I still have work colleagues who don’t even know I write! Maybe the psychic is right and my literary success will be in the States. Whatever happens, I feel more positive about the future, and this is down largely to giving away free ebooks. And for anyone who has more than three books to offer, I would say certainly consider it. But please, make sure you edit the book first, one thing I have come across, being a Kindle owner is the awful amount of typos in self-published book, making the most well-written book appear shoddy and un-readable.