Down a bit


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.

12 thoughts on “Down a bit

  1. you can always give KDP Select a try – it’s not permanent – and Smashwords makes it easy to unpublish and republish later if you want, though I’m not sure what happens to the content you elected to have them distribute to their partners. I tried the KDP Select with a new book before I put it on Smashwords, and was disappointed with the (lack of) results, but others have had better luck, and I hope you do too, if you go that route. I’ve found, though, that comments/reviews/ratings etc are just as scarce on Amazon as Smashwords and anywhere else. It seems that other writers are more likely to do these things than non-writer-readers are. It might be helpful to keep in mind that ebooks have a much longer shelf life than physical books, so having a bit of patience can come in handy! best of luck to you.

    • Many thanks for the comment. You raise an interesting point about Smashwords’ partner sites. That will need investigation. And I take your point about the non-likelihood of increased comments through Amazon. Pro rata the statistics of my experience are just as lean as Smashwords. Same meat different gravy.

  2. Hi, a few years ago after knee surgery and time on my hands I started to read paperbacks starting with James Patterson, Simon kernick, mark billingham and Stuart macbride all of which I have enjoyed. Last year I got a kobo ereader and have continued to read the same authors but having read most, I’m looking to find similar authors of the same genre/style. Having got to grips with my kobo and not wanting to waste money on books I know nothing about I decided to search for free books and short stories to try and find new books by new authors, this is when I came across one of your Romney and marsh books, seeing that I was a series I searched and downloaded your 3 books.
    I am 80% through the first book rope enough and I’m really into enjoying it, it reminds me of Stuart macbrides Logan McRae series.
    As I’m enjoying it so much I’ve looked for you as an author and can only find the 3 books is that you have done? If so and if the rest of this book and the following two books are as interesting of what I’ve read I will Defo be looking out for your books in the future.
    Congratulations, and good luck for the future

    • Hi Christopher. Thanks for leaving a comment about the Romney and Marsh book. It’s much appreciated. Naturally, I’m pleased to read that you are enjoying it. If and when you get around to reading the other two I’d be interested to know what you thought of them. I’ve not read Stuart MacBride, but I know that he is well regarded. These are the only three books that I have on the internet at present. I’m working on others. I’ll have news here when they finally get put out there. Best wishes, Oliver

  3. I just finished reading your first book and downloading the next two at the Barnes & Noble Nook site. I was very surprised to find that you are self published. I really enjoyed the first book and thought I probably need to pay around $9.00 for the next book.(Had that been the case, I’ d have been checking my local library.)
    I’ve never written to an author, just assumed my opinion wasn’t important. Then I decided to ho to your blog site. I just watched a DCI Banks episode on PBS today and enjoyed your story almost as much. I have a love of English mysteries both on tv and in books and am really looking forward to sharing your name and book titles with other mystery fans I know. Unfortunately,some like my elderly mom don’t do ebooks. Good luck and please keep this seroes coming.

    • Dear Julie
      Many thanks for taking a chance on a Romney and Marsh title and then reading it and letting me know what you thought.
      It’s always encouraging, as an aspiring author, to learn that someone enjoys the fruits of one’s labours. Please, don’t ever think that as a reader your opinion is not important. Positive comments make my day, as yours did.
      If and when you get around to reading the other two in the series I’d really like to know what you thought of them.
      My mum won’t entertain an ebook either, so I have to print them off for her! What a chore.
      All the best

  4. I am a mystery nut and read upwards of 400 books a year. I saw your books (prob on site,) and downloaded all 3 of them. It’s been less than a week and i just finished the third book and i thoroughly enjoyed them! I read so fast and read so many books that i am really particular about which books i choose to spend money on. now that i have finished with this series, i can say that i would be happy to purchase any future works from you. Dont get discouraged about the reviews…..people are lazy! I am totally guilty of this myself, in fact, i prob wouldnt have written this if i hadnt clicked your link to see if you had more books that i could read! Keep up the good work, i cant wait to see what you put out next 🙂

      • Hi Jacqui
        Thank you very much for taking the time and trouble to comment. It is much appreciated.
        Four hundred books a year is a huge number. I can’t find the time for a tenth of that. I wish I could. I don’t read enough.
        I’m naturally really pleased to see that you enjoyed the Romney and Marsh books. Feedback is truly valued. Did I mention that? Maybe you are right; maybe people are just lazy about it. As someone’s who’s trying to ‘make it’ I can now understand how important to the whole process receiving feedback is and it doesn’t take long to type a couple of sentences, does it?
        Thanks again.
        Best wishes,

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