I learned some hard lessons in 2013, but hopefully I learned them well. One of the things I realized is: people really don’t get what a writer’s life is like. I’ll expound on that in a moment. First, let me tell you what else I learned:
– Sometimes, the people you meet online will have your back when the people you’ve known all your life, or at least met in person, are the ones stabbing you there. Sometimes your true friends are really your virtual ones. I’m so very thankful for my online Indie Author family.
– Of course, that’s not to say you should trust everyone you meet online. And sometimes the people you think you can trust turn out not to have your best interests at heart. There will always be cliques, and I will always be on the outside of them. But that’s nothing new to a loner like me, really. Sometimes it is surprising (not to mention sad) to discover who’s in the clique, though.
I kinda missed the freebie boat. I hadn’t got to marketing Trucking in English when the KDP Select model changed and the overnight successes weren’t happening any more. I’d not have been one of those anyway, you need a pukka novel for that, but reading what experts such as Martin Crosbie had to say, it seemed as though the era of nice sales spikes might have gone as well. Martin’s article How I run my KDP Select Promotions, concluded that freebies can still help but it’s more of a lottery than it once was.
I decided to try it anyway, not so much for sales but because I was struggling to get the review numbers I needed for some of the bigger marketing sites. I thought maybe people who downloaded a freebie would be more likely to write a review in return. I also had a more existential question to answer. My stuff isn’t obviously interesting to most people until they get stuck in. When you do mad things in case they’re amusing, and then write about them when they are, your titles can feel so niche as to appeal to almost nobody. I knew that once I persuade someone to try one, they love it and buy the other, so maybe if all it took was a click rather than the untrousering of a dollar or few, more people would dip toe in water.
So, I planned my freebie. I opted to run all my five days together, to give the book the best chance of gaining some traction. I used the excellent list of free book promo sites that Martin compiled for IU, giving each site a month’s notice of the full five days, to maximise the chances they’d list my book. I only used free listings, assuming I’d not recoup any outlay. I did not tweet or Facebook it (I’ve spammed my friends enough) but I did list it here on IU.