When I published Antigone’s Fall, I basically blasted an email to everyone I didn’t consider a mortal enemy, published the same thing on Facebook and Twitter, and then sat back, waiting for fame and fortune to come knocking.
Incidentally, Fame and Fortune, you two are soooo late.
Sales were…modest, Barnes and Noble’s numbers even more so. Basically, my friends and family supported my efforts, but that was about the extent of the book’s reach.
For Stormcaller, I made a more deliberate attempt to spread the word. I didn’t push much while the paperback was the only version—it was intended for those who like paper and/or hate Kindle-formatted books—but with the ebook came the opportunity to try out KDP Select.
For those not familiar, KDP Select is Amazon’s way of saying “Publish your book only with us and our search algorithm will like your book better.” It also includes five days in which you can give your book away.
“But wait—isn’t the point of selling books to make money?” Why, yes, it can be, but giving the book away does two things for you. First, it broadens your exposure. If your first book sold 200ish copies over two years, you don’t have a large audience. Giveaways can help boost that. Second, everyone who downloads the book, for free or not, becomes one of those “People who bought Men Who Inappropriately Love Goats also bought…” ads. This gives you a much better chance to get your book in front of new eyes.
I documented the giveaway’s results in earlier blog posts, so I won’t reiterate those now. Stormcaller reached #1 on the Paranormal Fantasy list, and disappeared from that (and other lists) as soon as the giveaway was over. However, the sales rank stayed around 5,000 for the first week, 10,000 the second week, 15-20,000 the third week, and has fluctuated between 20-30,000 since. Ish.
Antigone’s Fall enjoyed a brief bump in sales, but since it’s not related to Stormcaller, there’s no real reason to expect a jump on that title. However, when Stormcaller #2 comes out, I suspect it will do better than Stormcaller, which will also see a bit of a resurgence as new readers discover it.
Was the giveaway worth it? Absolutely. From a purely financial standpoint, Stormcaller earned much more money—and continues to do so. Instead of a readership of hundreds, I’ve reached thousands, and received more reviews and exposure. If you’re an indie author, I’d say you could do a lot worse than enroll in KPD select. Use the giveaway days…and use them in a block. Let your title climb through the ranks.
Then do it all over again for the next title. Remember, indie publishing is a long game, not a quick fix.