15 Minutes of Fame

In an attempt to kickstart  some sort of sales for my newly released first novel, Rare Traits, I took advantage of Amazon’s KDP deal and put the book on free promotion for two days last week. My daughter sent notifications round her impressive network of business contacts and I contacted just about everyone I know via email, my new Facebook author page, a rising presence on twitter, and word of mouth, as did my wife, family and several friends.

Top of the Pops!

The result was astounding. From languishing in the depths of the various Amazon charts first thing on the morning of the start of the promotion, the number of free downloads grew steadily through the day and so did the book’s position on the Science Fiction and Thriller charts for free downloads.

By the beginning of the second day of the promotion, Rare Traits was in the top 10 of SciFi and the top 20 for Thrillers. The downloads kept growing and at one point the book hit number 1 in the SciFi downloads, number 8 in Thrillers and number 53 in the overall download list.

It was a pretty amazing feeling seeing my own novel featuring on the Amazon charts, especially when it was a number one. I think I took more screen grabs that day than ever before.

Bubble Burst!

Of course, the pop star feeling was only temporary; your book can only feature in the free download charts if it’s free. As soon as the promotion finished, the book disappeared from those charts and a feeling of anticlimax threatened.

However, the evening after the promotion finished, I noticed that the book was number 17 in the sold Science Fiction Thrillers list, so presumably a few people who just missed the promotion decided to fork out their £1.91 and buy it – these charts and figures relate only to the UK sales. It then proceeded to descend into the nether regions of the charts, in competition with the hundreds of thousands of other books on sale.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

So, what to do now? Well, since I’d put the book up for sale without any reviews, clearly I was going to have to wait until a few of the people who’d taken advantage of the promotion had read the book and then hope than one or two of them might be moved to write a review. That would start to get it noticed.

To my surprise, in the days following the end of the promotion – as I write, this is day four – the flow of actual sales has increased from something like the rate of water falling from a very slightly leaking tap to almost a trickle! Not big numbers yet, if ever, but enough to sometimes put the book back as high as number 20 in the Best Sellers chart for Science Fiction Thrillers. No indication yet of how it’s doing in the main Thriller charts, but it is hovering from somewhere around number 6000 in the overall fiction sales chart to around 10000. It seems to depend on the number of sales at any given time for my book compared with anyone else’s, and I take solace from the fact that there are literally millions of books in the Amazon catalogue.

I am sure that every new self-publishing author – every Indie – joining the Amazon scheme covers the same ground; we all get those fifteen minutes of fame and if nothing else, the satisfying knowledge that there are now many people out their with our books on their Kindles.

As more people read the book and more comments arrive or are posted, the next stage of the process will be very interesting. For now, I won’t be booking that Caribbean cruise just yet.

As a footnote, I will say that the three reviews for Rare Traits that have now been posted on Amazon have not only been five star, but also very positively worded. And other comments have been equally encouraging. For all of that, I’m eternally grateful.

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