Monday, October 29, 2012

My Freebie Experiment So Far

A few weeks ago I whacked my book, Stealing Mercy, to free. I posted about this decision and you can read about it here.

This is/was an experiment. This summer I lowered Mercy to .99 cents when I participated in a group promotion. It took weeks for it to fall to .99 cents and then after the promo when I tried raising the price, again it took weeks and weeks. I honestly didn’t know if Amazon would ever drop the price to free even though it was free on all the other e-readers. But on Thursday morning when I woke up and checked my Amazon page, Stealing Mercy was not only free, it was also ranked #38 on Amazon’s historical romance list. I watched it throughout the day as it moved from 38 to 30 to 17 to 7 to 5 to 3. Currently, it’s #1 in historical romance and #7 overall.

I am not putting Mercy into the kindle select program, so I don’t know why Amazon would go out of its way to promote me. It had 12 reviews, but one of them disappeared. I don’t know why that particular review went astray, but since I have heard of it happening to other authors, I can only scratch my head in wonderment. I’ve been doing that a lot for the past few days. I now have 13 reviews.

I managed to let a few online promotional sites (like 3) know about Mercy’s freedom, but since we had out of town guests staying with us for the last few days I don’t know how, or if, they have featured Mercy in anyway. What I’m saying is—I really don’t know why Mercy is doing so well. I wish I could point a finger and say, ah-ha—well, no wonder. How did I miss this gem of marketing brilliance before? Now all of my books will sell like hot coals on a cold winter night because I’ve learned the secret.

But I haven’t learned the secret. Here are a few of my marketing attempts:

I have a blog

I participate on a group blog

Occasionally I make comments on the writer’s cafe kindle boards. I usually really enjoy this. I find the writers to be witty, intelligent and for the most part, generous, helpful and kind. To my amazement, I have found that when I start a thread (conversation) my comment will get thousands of views. The first time I commented in the writer’s cafĂ©, I had over 500 visitors on my blog that day. Go figure.

I belong to several online writers’ groups. I rarely comment on them, but I love to read and learn. I am lucky to “know” them, even if I wouldn’t recognize any of them if I passed them on the street.

I try to take advantage of every free promotional opportunity I stumble across. Today, for example, my novel The Rhyme’s Library is featured on Predatory Ethics.
In short—I’m lucky. I’ve always known this to be true. My husband claims I’m the luckiest person he knows. My three day ‘sales’ was at 9,000 when I left for church. I thought maybe I’ll be over 10,000 by the time I get home. I now have close to 20,000.

Why would I give my book away for free? Because I want readers to love Stealing Mercy so much that they'll rush out and buy my other books. Maybe that won't happen. Maybe there is a group of readers who only read free books. The proof is in the pie. (Mercy, my protagonist in Stealing Mercy, is a pie maker.)

Head scratching continues.

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