Tag Archives: readers

An Experiment

eob freebie ranking 9-30So I decided last week that I would conduct an experiment. The part of me that is a biology major is screaming, “Insufficient data!”, but I would still like to share my meager yet telling findings with you.

People buy more ebooks during the week than they do on the weekend.

On the 19th, I had made The Earl of Brass free for that Saturday only. I did a bit of hustling online, posting about my sale, making my little graphic for it, and tweeting it with tags to various retweet groups. I only sold 122 copies that Saturday. While that’s nothing to scoff at since now 122 more people know of my book, it isn’t that much. I climbed up the sales rankings, tapping out somewhere around #2,000 in the free Kindle store and #3 in free Steampunk. Not bad at all. I saw similar results when my friends/fellow authors posted about how they did with a Saturday sale and no outside promotion.

Then, I started to think about when I buy ebooks. Did I do it often on the weekend? Not really. When I checked my email on a Saturday or Sunday, I would scroll through my Bookbub or Ereader News Today email, only stopping if something really caught my eye. Most people are busy during the weekend. They’re running errands, driving their kids to activities, catching up on some Netflix. They aren’t scrolling through Amazon’s freebies to find the perfect book.

Well, what day would be better? Friday? Definitely not. People are out and about more on Friday than they are on Saturday. Monday? Nope. That’s the day where you’re all wound-up about work, school, the kids, getting to work/school on time, getting everything together. That left the middle of the week, Tuesday to Thursday. Checking my own ordering habits on Amazon confirmed that I did most of my ebook buying in the middle of the week (you know you have a problem when you can use yourself as a place to gather data). Mid-week you have gotten over the rush of Monday and now you’re thinking about how to escape boredom or even planning what you’ll do later in the week.

I decided to set my next freebie for a Tuesday. This time, there wouldn’t be any roof-top screaming about my book being free. I wanted it to all be organic downloads from people who weren’t influenced by my posts. Amazingly, it worked way better than Saturday, seven times better actually. As you can see from the picture at the top of the post, the best overall ranking I saw last night before I crawled into bed was #227 in overall free, #1 in steampunk, #2 in historical-fantasy. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw those rankings. I was sick as a dog yesterday, so seeing those lovely tiny numbers really made my day. This morning, I went and checked my KDP dashboard to see how many downloads I actually had. 902. 902?! I have never ever had that much downloaded on one day.

I’m sure some of you are screaming, “But they were free!” Yes, they were free because free pulls people in for the rest of your series. People are much more willing to take a chance on a nobody like me if the first book is free. Why pay $3.99 if you don’t know whether my book will suck or not? Free means they’ll download it and if they like it, they may move on to book two. Yes, there are people who just hoard free books. I’ve downloaded quite a few free books I haven’t gotten back to, but the thing is, the book is on their device. At any time, they could read it and discover that you’re one of their favorite authors. A loss leader can only help to boost future sales and hopefully generate a few reviews as well.

Right now, I’m working on my plan of attack for when The Earl and the Artificer is finished. Leading up to it, I’m going to be doing a few more freebie days to generate interest in the series. With Kindle Select, I get 5 freebie days to allocate as I wish, so I’m sprinkling them around. I’m not 100% sure when book 3 will be out yet, but when it gets closer to the release date, I hope to take out an ad in Bookbub or ENT about The Earl of Brass being free. Hopefully, that’ll drive sales toward books 2 and three. This plan won’t be implemented for a while, but it never hurts to plan ahead. I will update you as I go on experimenting with sales and marketing.

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The Steampunk World’s Fair

On Friday, I attended the Steampunk World’s Fair for the first time and gave my first reading outside of the university.  The SPWF was a blast. It was like stepping into an alternate reality. There were fantastic costumes everywhere, leather, brocade, rainbows, tulle. Women in corsets, men in waistcoats and gauntlets. The gamete ran from highly realistic to fantastical, and I don’t think there was a bad one in the bunch. Along with the fair-goers, there were also bands, panels (I attended a fantastic one about Edgar Allan Poe, which makes me really want to go to the Poe Museum), and shops.  My boyfriend and I stopped at the haberdashery, and I finally got a pith helmet.  What I find funny is that I always wanted a white pith helmet, and it turns out that the white ones are from the Anglo-Zulu War, which is mentioned in The Earl of Brass.

pithI ended up not getting too decked out this year. I went as a hybrid between modern and Victorian instead of all steampunk because, as the Awkward Authoress, I was afraid being in a full, rather uncomfortable costume would set my anxiety off. It’s amazing how clothing choice can aggravate anxiety. Instead I wore my corset, black pants, and a biker jacket. Probably a bit more cyberpunk than steampunk, but I was comfortable in my own skin and actually enjoyed myself.

My reading itself went a little less smoothly. I ended up being scheduled at midnight as one of the last events of the night, and by then, most of the fair-goers had cleared out apart from the night-owls and revelers. It made me wonder if I screwed up AM/PM on my sign-up papers. Either way, I wasn’t expecting a crowd since I’m a brand new author with a small following. I knew three people were coming for sure, but I was quite pleased to see a few more come.  The weirdest part was that my anxiety really wasn’t too bad. I made myself a little outline of what I wanted to cover before I gave my reading, and while I didn’t have a podium, my audience was very attentive and forgiving of the late hour. Then, it got weird.

What I can only describe as a New Orleans style band marched past my door followed by a parade of revelers from the courtyard. I could feel myself beginning to sputter. The band was so loud that I had to stop and wait for them to pass and ended up losing my place. Of course my stress level jumped, and I was embarrassed that I had to stop my entire program for a few minutes. Then, I said to myself, “Would it be better to pretend the band wasn’t there and shout over them?” No, it wouldn’t have worked anyway. As my aunt said when I told her, this would only happen to me. If something weird is going to happen, it’s probably to me, and a brass band marching through during my reading was not something I anticipated. Oh well.

The best part of the night was that a reader vacationing from Canada came to the fair and attended my reading. I knew she was coming since we message back and forth on Facebook, and she brought me a bag of goodies from Canada. All of the nights woes and anxieties melted away. It didn’t matter that the band played over me because someone actually: A) cared enough to come B) wanted to hear me read C) brought me a present when she obviously did not have to. I’m eternally grateful to her because she was able to squelch all of my fears and regrets and ended my night on a high note. Thank you so much, Lois!

spwf goodiesEither way, if you ever want to do a reading or present somewhere, take a chance. Even if the night went a bit awry, it was worth it to get the experience under my belt.


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Why Buy Indie?

Department stores are to traditionally published authors as independent bookstores are to indie authors.

We are the small businesses of the writing world.  Unlike authors who have published through traditional means, we are often the editors, marketers, formatters, and creative directors of our work.  Our publishing house consists of one person.  This means every success and failure falls on our shoulders, but it also means so does every cost.  Our resources are our own, and especially in the beginning when we do not have many books or readers (remember book two always sells book one), most of our expenses come out of our pockets.  We pay for the cover artists, the editors, the box of books we lug to conferences and author events.  It can be a hard road, especially when we don’t tend to get shelf space at your local Barnes and Noble or Waterstones.  Just remember that for less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks, you are buying something someone worked on numerous hours to perfect. Continue reading

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The Importance of Being an Earnest Reviewer

five stars

Ah, book reviews.  The all too important yet dreaded rituals all authors dread.  Will they love it?  Will they hate it?  Will the reviewer absolute eviscerate me for seemingly no reason?

The thought of reviews for any author can be daunting, but to an indie author, reviews are one of the most important aspects of marketing our writing.  Currently, I am an unknown, a bit of krill in a ocean of whales and sharks.  Reviews are what often convince readers to take a chance on a newbie author, especially if they are more in depth than “OMG! IT WAS THE BEST BOOK EVER!”  Yes, I can convince my mom and ten of my friends to write puffy five star reviews, but does that do anything for me and what does that say about me as a writer? Continue reading

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