I reached a milestone today – one thousand Smashwords downloads for my three books in the Romney and Marsh Files series. That seems like a lot to me, if the Smashwords stats are to be trusted, of course. I have no reason to doubt that they can be, but one never knows. When I realised that I was heading towards that particular ‘magic’ number I began to think about whether I would keep the books on the site and for how long. The three books are on there for free. (If my Amazon experience is anything to go by where my books are 77p each I doubt that I’d have a twentieth of that number of downloads if they weren’t free. Seriously.) When I put them up I just wanted people to be encouraged to download and then read and feedback. That was the main purpose of listing with Smashwords and making them free. To date, I have received less than ten comments. I’ve written before about how disappointing that is and it could be for any number of reasons, not least of which is that people do read them and don’t like them, so don’t bother commenting – that’s my policy on books that I download. If I haven’t got anything nice to say I zip my mouth. But the fact remains that my objective is not being fulfilled and therefore nor am I.
I’m seriously considering pulling my books from Smashwords and enrolling on the Amazon KDP Select programme where they insist on exclusivity. It’s not about trying to make money out of the books – I just don’t believe that I will be one of those Amazon authors – but I think that throwing everything at KDP might provide me with another avenue through which to attempt to get downloads, readers and feedback. There are promotional benefits and opportunities that the Amazon Kindle select programme can offer that can’t be had just by listing one’s output on Amazon ordinarily.
In the meantime, while I ponder this, I’m trying something else for a little while. Harper Collins run a site called Authonomy. It’s a community thing and authors who get plenty of online support from other authors can find their work being reviewed by Harper Collins. I imagine that one has to get proactive to be successful (noticed) and that there must necessarily be a good deal of mutual back-scratching. Am I ready for that? I don’t honestly know. It’s enough of an effort to reach around and scratch my own back, literally and figuratively speaking.