I was never one to hold back on data, and this could be of interest to some folks here.
I was partly inspired to do my monthly short story thing after seeing David Hopkins set up a similar, subscription-based short story program. He’s distributing his stories via PDF and ePub. I decided on the Kindle so I could use Amazon’s existing infrastructure to reach a wider audience. I was a little worried about the distribution method because I would ostensibly be limiting my audience to Kindle owners. Granted, you can read Kindle books on your PC, droid products, and web browser but it took quite some time to teach my mom how to do it over the phone - it’s not an obvious tech for Luddites.
The other issue I had with Kindle distro is that in order to make the book free I had to give them exclusive digital rights for 90 days, and that’s just for five free days. After that I have to give it the minimum price, which is $0.99 with a 30% commission ($1.49 with a 70% commission but I wanted to keep it as cheap as possible). The Girl Who Could Live In Yesterday was designed to be an appetizer, of sorts. Getting an initial reader base so I can start getting out the illustrated and longer-form stories. If it was up to me, it would be free forever. But for now, it’s only free until Saturday.
Now, on to the metrics. I didn’t really beg for downloads and reviews all over the internet. I sent an email to a select group of people, made three posts here, and did some promo on Facebook and Twitter. The hope being I get 100 downloads over the first 24-hour period and then some turnover as people maybe talk up the book on their own sites, twitter feeds, etc. We are now at the 24-hour mark since I first started promoting the story and I hit 113 downloads so, mission accomplished, right?
Well…here comes my first miscalculation and it was probably warped by my experience in the book world. I really thought 100 downloads over 24 hours would place me in the top 100 list for free Kindle books, maybe even top 40. Getting that kind of placement would help the book get picked up outside of my circles. Do you know where 113 downloads got me? Ranked #1,450 in the free Kindle store. That is a scary, scary number. No one will “stumble” across the story with that rank. It got up to #7 on the children’s short story list and #28 on the mythology list. Those aren’t good numbers, in my opinion.
So, for this story, I’m hoping for a little word of mouth to pick it up. But for The Little Particle That Could (or whatever may come next), I probably need to do it proper and get some preview copies out ahead of time to potential reviewers. It’ll still be free for a week, but I would need a greater effort to get that initial burst I feel like the book would need.
Lessons learned - it’s the process!