Dabbling in the dark arts.


Anyone seen ‘The Money Pit’ with Tom Hanks?

Lately I’ve been busy dabbling in the dark arts of being a CWAP – promotion.

cold-kills-mediumLast weekend I sent out my first CWAP Newsletter and made Cold Kills a free download with Amazon to celebrate.

My mailing list is up and running and I’m getting subscribers signing up every day. To encourage readers to sign up for the mailing list I’m giving away Three Short Blasts (three short stories – one in each of my series). olivertidy.com

Three Short Blasts  (Medium)

I hope I’ve been a bit ‘marketing savvy’ with one aspect of what I’ve done. I reformatted the front of Cold Kills before I listed it for free. Between the copyright page and the Table of Contents I inserted the following in the hope that while readers were still in the first flush of excitement having bagged a freebie they might see it and think, More free books??!! I’ll click on that link and subscribe to that good fellow’s mailing list and while I’m at it I might as well download those two other free books. What a great offer! What a brilliant idea! What a guy!!! Or something like that. By doing this I hoped to use the Cold Kills promotion to not just garner some attention for that one title but to increase visibility and download numbers for two other books that are permanently free anyway and attract subscribers to my website and mailing list. That was the theory.


Tap this link olivertidy.com or the image below to receive a free ebook.



The first book in my British police procedural series (The Romney and Marsh Files) Rope Enough Amazon UK Amazon US

The first book in my Acer Sansom series Dirty Business Amazon UK Amazon US

Rope Enough Final JPEGI also included the above at the end of the book, just in case anyone reads Cold Kills and thinks it wasn’t so bad that they couldn’t stomach another of my efforts.

Cold Kills was downloaded about 1450 times during the three day promotion. Rope Enough and Dirty Business did bump up the charts a bit, but not much. Thinking about it, probably not many of those who downloaded Cold Kills will have immediately opened it to read it, and so they wouldn’t have seen my ‘savvy’ marketing ploy. But, one day they might and the books will probably still be free. There might be a trickle of downloads. Anything that can lead to something else is better than nothing.

Having given away books with Bookbub before and seen the impressive numbers of dirty-business-final-largedownloads through them, I was keen to see what a one-off weekend simply listing it for free on Amazon would do. Both books I’ve promoted through Bookbub (Rope Enough and Dirty Business) went straight to number one in the Amazon free books chart. When I went to bed on Friday Cold Kills was up to #53. Saturday morning #39. It hovered between #20 and #30 mark all Sunday. Not brilliant. Not Bookbub. But then I wasn’t emailing the offer into thousands of readers’ inboxes.


One bit of advice I’d offer anyone thinking of starting up their own mailing list with the very popular Mailchimp is send out your first newsletter at the beginning of the working week early in the EST day. (Mailchimp are based in the EST time zone). Why? Because I didn’t. I sent mine out late on the EST working day, last day of the working week and wouldn’t you know it within seconds of pressing send I got an email notifying me that my account had been suspended for breach of use regulations. Panic ensued. And was then compunded when I saw from their website that they work 9-5 five days a week and that because of time zone differences the working week was almost over.

As it turned out things were sorted quickly – their automated systems suspected me of spamming because I’d sent out one notification to everyone in my mailing list. After checking by a human the account was cleared. But another hour or two and I’d have been in limbo all weekend with an Amazon promotion already running. Doesn’t bear thinking about. Get things in place early.


Something else I did this week – I re-enrolled all my books, except the ones I give away, in the Amazon Kindle Unlimited programme and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. I quit that ages ago because Amazon requires exclusivity for selling titles through it. I had ideas that I’d make the books available on other ereader platforms such as iBooks and Nook and Kobo. But I never got around to it, so I’ve signed back up with Amazon for another 90 days because I definitely won’t have time for all that in the coming 90 days.

All the above put together has seen a significant spike in my KENP figures. What, I hear you ask, is KENP when it’s at home? KENP stands for Kindle Edition Normalised Pages and it counts towards earnings. As far I as I understand it Amazon introduced KENP to combat the ‘writers’ who were uploading short books to Amazon (ten or twenty pages, perhaps) and charging for them and making money on them. KENP makes sure writers are paid on actual pages read. A fairer system. Anyway, whatever the ins and outs of that my KENP stats went from averaging a couple of hundred a day to over 3k a day (best day this week was over 6k). I have no idea what that’s going to mean in the long term or how it compares with anyone else. But my thinking is a spike in figures that contribute to visibility and royalties is something to be glad of.


And the above has also contributed to healthy spikes in my blog visitors and views. In the week since I posted my last blog post regarding the mailing list and free books, traffic has increased significantly – over 500 visits in a week amounting to over 1000 page views.

stats 1.jpg


Deep State (Large)Deep State (Acer Sanson #4) got a Kindle Daily Deal on Thursday in the Amazon Australia marketplace. See here for background on that Another Promotion. The book is published by Kindle Press, an Amazon imprint. They set the price. It was marked down from $4.56 to 99c. It got to #61 in the paid Amazon AUS charts. That was pretty good. I’ve never had book in a paid top 100 before. It’s not the UK or the US market but I’m not complaining (anymore). It gave the title and therefore the series some visibility and sales a boost.

Dirty Business #1 in the Acer series is also a free download in Australia and downloads for that got a good shot in the arm on the back of the promotion. Maybe I can hope for more knock-on for the other books in the series.

I wonder how many Kindle ereaders there are in Australia.

Amazon are also doing a Kindle Daily Deal for Deep State in the UK next Tuesday (Valentine’s Day). The price will drop from Β£3.38 to 99p. If it does half as well there I will be thrilled. I’ll post on the day to remind anyone and I’ve scheduled a newsletter to go out to subscribers, too.



Poor Hands (Booker & Cash #3) is ready for uploading to Amazon. Finished. So why isn’t it listed? More on that next time.

I’m back in the UK from Monday for a couple of weeks to catch up with the image below. ‘Bookers’ is receiving some much needed attention. I really hope book sales pick up soon. Has anyone seen The Money Pit with Tom Hanks? I can’t wait to try out the new slide.

I also can’t wait to drink real ale, ride my bike round Romney Marsh visiting pubs, spend loads of money in book shops, run on Dymchurch beach, watch crap TV with my sister stuffing my face with Viennese whirls, visit London, eat bacon and sausages and roast dinners and… I’m ready to go home.


13 thoughts on “Dabbling in the dark arts.

  1. You own bloody Bookers?! I recognise the roof line from my own research. Jammy sod, will it be a Bookers eventually or just a home?

    • Haha… if you knew what the refit is costing you wouldn’t say ‘jammy’ anything. Believe me. If I ever make it big financially it will be a Bookers. I have the books to furnish it. Thousands of first edition crime novels that I’ve collected over the years – they’re all in boxes now. And I’ll have posters on the walls of all my book covers. Maybe I’ll do signings…sigh. Look what you’ve done, Shelagh. πŸ™‚

      • Oliver, I am so excited that the place we’ve all read about exists and is yours. If there is a grand opening I will be there, standing shoulder to shoulder with David, Caroline, Jim, Jackie, Kerry, Robin and everyone else that has read and loved your books. You are making your dream come true. I think we’re all so very envious that you have been able to do this, but most of all, something we’ve read about may actually become real. More power to your Black & Decker, young man!

      • We must all have our dreams. That’s mine. There is actually a neglected builder’s yard out the back, too. πŸ™‚ In fact everything in the book geographically is authentic. If I ever have the chance for a grand opening I’ll put a coach on for you. πŸ™‚

  2. Remember Free books earn you ziltch, always agree with reduced price offers, you still manage to garner a few coppers… Hope the promotions do go well for you.

    • I’m going to have to disagree with you David. If I hadn’t done free books I would not have half the readership I have now, and therefore the numbers of downloads for the rest of my books that I currently enjoy. I think it’s a very interesting topic of conversation. Maybe I’ll do a blog post on it sometime πŸ™‚

  3. Hey, it worked! I clicked on your ‘free book,’ was taken to Amazon and got the book, actually it was .99 but I have Kindle Unltd so I got it for free….

    Your method of madness is working..

    Thanks much

    • Hi Tamara,
      Thanks for your download. If you signed up for the mailing list there should have been a trail of links for you to follow so that you could download Three Short Blasts from me for free. But you’d only get that option if you signed up for the mailing list. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s