Free books promotion

This Christmas weekend I tried my first free books promotion. It was successful.

No, thousands of readers did not download my short story. (My free offering was my horror/thriller short story When Gymkhana Smiles).

No, after the sale was over I didn’t get lots of paid downloads. Probably nobody has read it and reviewed it from this weekend’s downloads. And the story did not stay in the 3,696 ratings range it got to while it was free. As I write this, When Gymkhana Smiles is now at 400,849 in e-book ratings for the Kindle reader and apps. Which is pretty close to where it started.

And no, the free downloads did not lead (as yet, anyhow) to the stampede to purchase any of the other three titles I have. The book that has sold well for the last six months continues to sell well (The Cowboy’s Baby) and the other three limp along. To paraphrase as famous song: some day their readers will come.

The promotion was successful because many more people than I expected downloaded my free offering. When they finally get around to reading it (Hey, I’ve got some free titles on my Kindle I haven’t taken the time to read that have been there for almost a year. But I will read them.) they may be intrigued enough to check out the rest of my work. I’ll really never know.

But because of the free promotion I now have pages and pages of  “people who bought this also bought this” declarations where before there had only been two books to toggle between. This is how books get sold.

And I learned a bunch. Like, don’t promote something free over a big holiday weekend. Why? Because everyone does it. You should read the blog Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote yesterday about it. (  “The Holiday Surprise” article posted December 28). People downloaded free classics that will always be free because they are in the public domain instead of free current books that will only be free for a day or two. They’ll learn soon enough.

And like, don’t promote for more than one day at a time. Almost all of my downloads came on the first day. (But I love you few guys who downloaded on day two and day three just as much as the hoard the first day.)

I’ll do this again. With another of the stories. Stay tuned and I’ll let you know when.

Find my books at B&N for the Nook reader, and at Smashwords, and find both my books and stories at for the Kindle reader and Kindle apps.

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