my Smashwords promotion result and other publishing thoughts

A huge thank you to those who read my story during the promotion this last week!  I really appreciate your support.  If you’re curious how things went, please read on.

Okay, so, after making my book free for all of last week, I ended up with 75 “sales”.  I’m not sure what to make of it.  Compared to some other authors, 75 isn’t great.  However, there are some things to keep in mind with this number.

  1. It’s a short story.  If it had been a novel, I think it might have done better.
  2. Smashwords is not Kindle.  Amazon already has a broad built-in base, whereas Smashwords is still very much indie.
  3. I didn’t heavily promote it.  I didn’t go in search of readers looking for this kind of story.  All I did was announce it here, on my Twitter feed, and to a couple of groups on Goodreads where I was already a member and didn’t feel like I was spamming.
  4. I’m an untried author without a large fan base, or even a moderate fan base.  And I feel my writing is more of a niche in the larger realm of fantasy, so I don’t expect that fan base to be very big at any point in my writing career.

In all, it was a good promotion, I think.  I learned a lot.  One of the things I learned is that a week’s promotion is great for Smashwords, but not for me.  I had the greatest amount of downloads in the first day.  It dropped after that with the next four days holding steady at about 50% of the first day’s sales.  The last day, the number dropped again.  In the future, I think I’ll limit a sale like this to only three days.  That way, I get the spike on the first day, and a couple of days after that for late-comers.  The fourth and fifth days kind of peter out anyway, so lopping them off will enable me to focus more on writing.

Another thing I learned is that I won’t be getting reviews from these promotions.  That’s okay.  At best, I’ve gotten 75 more readers who, hopefully, will read my story.  I say hopefully because although I got 75 “sales”, the number of downloads is 59.  Now, there are stories I’ve bought that I haven’t downloaded for a few days, so I’m not complaining.  I do realize, though, there are some who will never touch my book after they’ve downloaded it.  It’s strictly an impulse item.  Still, the difference between the two numbers is less than I expected.  That makes me happy.  And maybe the ones who read it will like it and tell their friends and they’ll like it and tell their friends, etc., etc., etc.  Who knows?

As a result of this, I’m thinking about using Kindle’s Select Program for my novel.  This article here has some interesting thoughts on the program.  It’ll mean Kindle will have my novel all to itself for three months, but, from a promotional standpoint, I think that might work better for me since I can offer it for free, on Amazon, for up to five days during that period, and any downloads during those days will count in my ranking as paid sales (even though I won’t earn a dime from the promotion).  It’s something to consider.

I do like Smashwords.  I really do.  I like their business model and I like how helpful they are to authors.  I’m going to keep using them for my stories.  It’s just a question of when.



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