Thursday, April 9, 2015

Is it a Race?

Zestful Blog Post #101

Usually I put up just one post here per week, on Thursdays. Last Saturday, though, I wrote a post about a promotion I was running for my novel Damn Straight, and promised to give you a report. I’ll do that, then I have something else to talk about.

I consider the promotion—five days free on the Amazon Kindle Select program—a  success. Data:
This was the second or possibly third time I put the book for free on Kindle. I know the first time, the book got between two and three thousand downloads, with minimal word-spreading. Subsequent free offerings of the same title never do as well, but I wondered what would happen now that a few years had passed. (The reason for the promo was the big LPGA golf tournament, formerly known as ‘The Dinah’. Damn Straight is set at that tournament, and I like to watch it on TV every year.)

The promo started at 12 a.m. Saturday, Apr. 4, 2015. I put up notices on Facebook, Twitter, a couple of Yahoo groups, and this blog.

Amazon Bestsellers Ranking: By 10:50 that evening, the book was at #665 Free in Kindle store, and #1 in LGBT Mystery & Detective, and #1 in Lesbian Fiction. It stayed at #1 in those two categories for four days, reaching #344 overall on Monday, Apr. 6. It might have climbed higher, but one can only spot-check these things. On Wednesday, Apr. 8, the last day of the promotion, the book was at #936 overall, and #1 in LGBT Mystery & Detective, and #3 in Lesbian Fiction. (9:34 a.m.)

During the first two days, the downloads were the most at 438 and 565, then dropping off every day thereafter. Total downloads: 1,446.

As I write this on the morning of, Thursday, Apr. 9, Damn Straight’s rank in the Paid Kindle store is 99,737, and #59 in LGBT Mystery & Detective.

What you look for after such a promo is a sales bump for that title and others. And in fact, the other four books in the series all climbed into the top 100 in LGBT Mystery & Detective at some point or other during the promotion. Holy Hell is #42, Easy Street is #60, at the moment.

So basically it’s worth it to keep the free promo going for the full 5-day period, because even though the book’s overall rank and number of downloads slipped dramatically after the first two and a half days, it went to and stayed at #1 almost the whole time in its narrowest category.

OK, now on to other stuff. Over the past few months, I've written about my publishing history. I’ll continue to share what I do, whether it’s a promotion and its results, a new published work, whatever. But I’ll also talk about discoveries I make in writing techniques, reading, and living. Like-a what follows.

[Photo by ES]

I once saw a photograph of two young girls poised on the starting line of a footrace. One girl's eyes were fixed anxiously on the man with the starter's pistol. The other girl's eyes were brightly locked on the finish line in the distance. Which girl do you think won the race?

One could say that micro story is about competition. But I see it as being, at its core, about performance. In You've Got a Book in You, I sought to help writers cast aside doubt and fear and just pour it out, trusting your own natural talent and creativity. If you’re anxious about the parameters—the starting gun, the query letter—that stuff’s gonna get in your way. But if you focus simply on the joy of doing—running fast, writing well—you’ll achieve. And you’ll be satisfied with your performance, whether you win a particular race or not.

In a way, the first girl was already running, while yet poised for the gun. The other girl wasn’t going to be really running even after the gun sounded.

It’s paradoxical, it’s Zen, and it’s true.

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  1. This is so good to remind oneself. The woman looking at the gun seems to be under stress. She's a reactionary; that's no way to write. Yes, we want to make money, but that can't be the reason to write. You have to like running your pen down the page. You have to have fun.

  2. Thanks for the reminder on Amazon Kindle Direct free promotion. I may even try it before my next book is released this summer, to see what happens. Zestfully yours, Tricia.

    1. You're welcome, Tricia. I might add that I've noticed a bump in the 'KOLL' (Kindle Owners Lending Library) free downloads, for which authors do get paid. It's been running about $1.35 per download, I think.


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