About two weeks ago I offered The Sins of Acheryn for free on Amazon, using three of my five “free days” through KDP Select (for an overview of that, see my previous post here). I decided on using only a portion of my free days as a test, so that I could try and glean some lessons that will help me more effectively use the last couple of days. As promised, here’s the outcome of this first phase of my experiment with Amazon’s program:
The Hope: by offering a story for free to the largest online retailer in the world, it will
introduce a significant number of new readers to my work. Assuming the book (or in my case, short story) is well received, then these new readers will potentially leave reviews on the work’s Amazon page (always something to be coveted) or, even better, will purchase other works.
The Reality: My experience pretty well lines up with the experiences of a number of other authors who have written about using KDP Select. I did see a good number of free “purchases” of TSOA. Over the course of the 3 day give-away, TSOA was downloaded 75 times. That was enough to place it as low as number 2818 on the Kindle Free Books list. But it made it as high as 43 on the Kindle Top 100 Free Short Stories list. I was pretty thrilled with that.
What it means: Well, not much that I can tell. As I’ve read with other writers who have signed up for KDP Select, so far none of the downloads have resulted in new sales or new reviews. Even if TSOA was not being received well, I would have hoped for at least a mediocre or even a negative review or two. As of now, though, I have no indication that my story is even being read by those who downloaded it.
Remember, this isn’t a “woe is me” or even a venting session. It’s simply an observation that I hope other authors will take into account as they decide whether sequestering (the word of the month, if you’re following Washington) their work for 90 days into the KDP Select program is right for them. Since I’m not relying on the sales of my books to pay the bills, I’m at a point in my writing career where I’m still thrilled and humbled at the notion that people read my work at all. However, I can’t quite claim even that satisfaction since I have no notion as to whether the story was actually read.
Stay tuned as I try to crack the code on maximizing the benefits of this program. If anyone has any tips or advice, I’m all ears.