I’ve finished with the revisions of my books. I’ve uploaded all of the new versions to Amazon. With most of them it was just a matter of updating the front and back matter and the blurb. With others there were some small errors readers had taken the time and trouble to point out to me (sincere thanks all). With the first three R&M Files I did some quite intensive editing. I’m quite happy to have done the job, and I’m very happy that it’s finished. I feel that I can move on. It’s all been hanging over me for too long.
Something else that I’ve also been meaning/needing to get more into is promotional work. It is something that I’d shied away from because of the way I felt about the first three R&Ms. They weren’t as good as they could be. They needed that work that I’ve done. Now that they are done to my satisfaction, I’m ready to do some promotion. My feelings for self-promotion have not helped. I still carry the mental scars from this episode: A Stab at Self-promotion.
I have submitted Rope Enough (R&M File #1) for consideration to Bookbub. Bookbub is a site that has a massive email list of readers. Authors pay money to Bookbub and Bookbub emails thousands of genre-specific readers with details of your book. As I understand it, one of the requirements is that the book in question must be offered at a reduced price. Rope Enough is free at the moment and has been for months. They accepted it anyway. It’s going to be live on their site today: Sunday 7th February.
It costs $50 for Bookbub to email UK readers. If you want them to email US readers as well it’s hundreds of dollars. I just went with the UK.
I’m really interested to see what sort of download figures this promotion generates and whether there is a knock-on for the other books in the series. That’s why I’m doing it, of course.
Recently, Rope Enough has been hovering around the #300 mark in the Amazon charts free books. Not good. No one sees it there. To be honest I could probably shift more copies if I started charging for it because it would be something new in a different chart.
A fellow writer also made me aware of a site called Bookhippo. They are similar to Bookbub, but they don’t charge for the service. I signed up Rope Enough with them a few days ago. They got back to me on Thursday with a message that my book was live on their site. I saw the message pretty quickly and was able to look up the current stats for the book so that I could have some figures to judge the promotional campaign against.
Rope Enough was #341 in Amazon free charts and #14 in free police procedural novels. Up until 2.30pm, which is when the message came through, I had given away 19 copies that day.
First thing in the morning the book had gone to #87 in the overall Kindle free charts. Signing up with Bookhippo had been worth it. Getting in the top 100 is an opportunity to get seen by other readers. The book had been downloaded over 200 times, which is about 150 more than it was downloaded the day before the promotion started.
Friday evening Rope Enough had fallen outside the top 100. It was at 104.
Saturday morning it was at number 133.
Sunday morning (now) it is a 226.
So the spike in downloads was effective but fleeting.
Let’s see what today’s Bookbub promotion does.
Sticking with promotion, because my books are in the Kindle Unlimited programme at the moment I have the opportunity to take advantage of Amazon’s promotional service. There is a choice of two options: give your book away or do a Kindle Countdown deal. I’ve listed Dirty Business as a countdown deal. I’ve never done a countdown deal before. This means that starting yesterday for a week Dirty Business will be 99p, the clock ticks down on the listing page and then it reverts back to it’s original price £1.99. I’m doing this because I think that Amazon probably highlight their countdown deals somewhere, so it’s an opportunity to get one of my covers seen, maybe some more downloads and some attention for the series.
When the Kindle countdown deal started, Dirty Business was at #15100 in the overall Kindle charts. One day in and it is at #3572. (I’ve only just this minute learned that and I have to say I swore, out loud.) That’s a big jump and I didn’t do anything other than reduce the price. I’ll be very interested to see if this is just a spike of if there is some mileage in the promotional tactic, maybe some knock-on for the series. That would be nice.
While following a Twitter thread last week I discovered that there is a crime fiction conference in Deal, which is just a couple of miles down the road from Dover where the R&M Files are set – about an hour’s drive from my home on Romney Marsh. I looked closer. It’s called Deal Noir. This year will be its second year. Last year they had some very well-known crime writers attend. Same for this year. It’s the kind of thing I should be attending, especially as it’s on the R&M Files doorstep. Maybe next year.
I can’t help feeling a little sad that the R&M Files aren’t at that party in an official capacity. Like I say, they are set in that area (Romney and Marsh do stray into Deal occasionally) and they have proven popular with a good number of readers. I suppose that it’s just another reality check for me – I joke about being a self-published nobody and the truth is that I am. (Tune up the string section.)
For anyone with Facebook who is interested in UK crime fiction there is a new FB group started up called UK Crime Book Club. It’s very supportive of writers like me: indie and self-published. It costs nothing to join (you need to be accepted) and they are a really friendly bunch. Please think about supporting it.
And finally: another reminder for me that you can’t please all the people all the time. This week I got a 1* (no comment from the reader) for Unhappy Families on Goodreads. The same reader had given me a 5* for Particular Stupidities (no reader comment). #justsharingmyincredulitythatanyonecouldfindUF4*worsethanPSWTF!