Feeling Free

If I had any doubts about the power of promotion, they were laid to rest this past weekend.

My crime fiction short story collection Three Shorts has been free since about the first week of February. In a month, it had been downloaded a respectable–if unspectacular–500 times. I had heard of other indie authors garnering thousands of downloads, but I’m a relatively unknown new-comer and I was more than happy to see hundreds of downloads fueled by little more than a change in price…I didn’t do any specific promotion beyond Twitter, Facebook, and a blog post.

Happy Accident
Last Thursday, however, I stumbled across a great article on Squidoo by way of Kindleboards, Going FREE! Kindle eBook Promotional Campaigns for Authors. I didn’t have any great expectations…so many Internet articles just recycle the same old claptrap that I was going to give it a ten second glance and move on.

I was pleasantly surprised at the summary of how to publish free (something I already knew, but didn’t just 4 months ago) and the pros and cons of doing so. By far, however, the most helpful section was the list of top sites to notify for a free promotion. It included several sites I knew of–Pixel of Ink, for instance–but I was unaware of how many of these same sites offered a free e-book promotion section. I spent about 2 hours visiting the sites on the first half of the list since every site wants the same information in slightly different formats.

Lightning Strikes
On Friday morning, after being accustomed to seeing 10 downloads a day, I nearly fell out of my seat when I saw Three Shorts had been downloaded 200 times that morning. I watched as it took off on the Kindle Free List, going from ~350,000 (paid list before going free) to ~3,000 after going free, finally topping out on Saturday at number 82 after 3,500 downloads in less than 24 hours. I actually beat out Ben Franklin 🙂 This is my first visit to a Top 100 list and I can tell you, it felt great. I never thought I’d be so happy to give something–a lot of something–away.

It took me almost an hour to figure out who had given me my ticket to ride, since I’d contacted about eight sites the previous day. Finally, my sleuthing showed that it was ereadernewstoday.com that had given me my shout out.

The amazing stat to me: I was just one free book in one email (of about six) to go out that day to ereadernewstoday subscribers. The same number of books and emails go out every day…stunning when you think of the potential impact for all the authors mentioned.

The ride has already ended, but I’m looking forward to doing similar promotions in the future…and you can bet I’m keeping my eye out to see if any of the other sites I notified will come through for me.

Now, if I can just get the same kind of boost for the titles I’m charging money for…


Writer of crime fiction, psychological drama, and dark humor.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in The Journey, Tips for eAuthors
9 comments on “Feeling Free
  1. yoga-adan says:

    big big congrats matt 😉

    can you say how you figured out which site (ereadernewstoday) it was that gave you such a big boost?

    either way, here’s wishing you all the best with continued efforts 😉

    • Matthew Iden says:

      Hi Adan! Thanks for your well-wishes.

      I had a tough time finding who my benefactor was. To be honest, I simply trawled the sites I had submitted THREE SHORTS to and combed through their “Free Kindle Books” sections until I found it.

      ereadernewstoday.com was a little harder than most because the individual emails where your book might be mentioned are listed as separate webpages. As I mentioned, mine was just one of five or six emails and there are six or so books per email, so it took a while! I’m still impressed anybody found me, let alone 3,500 anybodies… 🙂


  2. Hektor Karl says:

    Count me among the downloaders. Hope you catch a lot of new fans.

  3. Jeff Faria says:

    You’ve got a solid and honest blog, Matthew. I like it. Here’s wishing you best of luck with your burgeoning career.

  4. I noticed that you removed your story from Wattpad – is there a reason for it? Just curious as I’m wondering if you think it’s no longer a good idea to share your stories free on Wattpad.

    Elizabeth @ http://elizabethtai.com

    • Matthew Iden says:

      Hi Elizabeth –

      Thanks for stopping by. I wanted to experiment with KDP Select using my story Sword of Kings and had to yank it from both Wattpad and Scribd to comply with Select’s no-compete clause.

      I still think it’s a good idea to test the waters at Wattpad. But what I noticed (no surprise) is that Wattpad is a very social site and success there probably depends on getting involved in groups, with other authors, and contributing to discussions. I’m already doing that on many other sites and promo efforts and couldn’t justify the time…and without it, the numbers didn’t work for me. In several weeks on Wattpad I had under 100 reads. In a two day Select sale I had 417 downloads.

      I think there’s definitely a sweet spot of previous exposure, genre, and length combined with effort on the site that would really work for authors (DC scifi writer Bill Gourgey has 1.6 million reads of his work, David Gaughran has 500k, I think). I’ll be trying it again soon…I may put it back up there after the 90 days on Select (though i’ll be starting over..you have to delete your story to remove).

      Thanks for asking and noticing, though…I thought I was the only one who even knew my story was taken down!

  5. […] for authors just starting out who don’t have a robust personal network (read about the great success I had with one of them here). Many blogging and book review sites know that a huge number of their readers are looking for free […]

  6. […] last free promotion went great gangbusters when eReadersnewstoday picked it up, so I was hoping for great […]

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