So. I conducted an experiment.
“You gotta have free stuff,” they said. “Folks love free stuff.”
My Indie Pubbing guru J.A. Konrath says it, too. More quality, more titles, more free. And Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt describe it thoroughly, using the concept of Funneling.
The Traditional Publishers still gnash their teeth, flap their tiny arms, and growl that not anyone can do this; that they have special services that guarantee quality and success.
They’re right; they do. But I say anyone can make their own success, if you learn the game, and demand quality of yourself.
Juris Lunence took only about four months to finish from initial draft, to polished, packaged, buffed, price on the windshield, and out on the lot. Plus, it was a lot of fun to write. So overall, not a loss of time in any way. It’s a short story prequel to Book 1 of my Trilogy, To Drown in Sand.
Kobo went live with Juris Lunence first, and that was intentional. We loaded it to Amazon, didn’t announce it, and read the purchased copy while Kobo chewed on the upload. Since Kobo takes considerably more time to publish a title, we used that to proof the digital copy that went live on Amazon that was still priced at Amazon’s somewhat silly $.99 price. We caught our glitches, re-uploaded to Amazon, and the final copy was live before Kobo hit the market. Then we uploaded the corrected version to Kobo. Kobo’s copy of Juris went up for free (because they do that), and we reported Amazon being undersold by Kobo. The $.99 still appeared on the Amazon copy for first three days, but buyers received it free because of price-matching. At the end of the third day, Juris Lunence looked like this:
Then, the FB group blitz. My poor followers. Their feeds must look like I’m a megalomaniac. Over 40 groups in one night, then roughly 15 more over the next few evenings. They were kind not to appear on my lawn with rage and torches.
I purchased a small bottle of Goldschlager (one of those tiny airplane bottles, I’m not a drinker), my favourite Victory Juice. Parked it next to my laptop on the kitchen table, and waited. I was only going to open it if I hit 10 free downloads.
Then this happened:
Those little buggers are hard to open when you’re excited. I had to use my pliers.
3 days later, there wasn’t a bottle big enough to celebrate cracking an Amazon Top Ten list, and the Top 100 in Kindle Books:
10 days later, here’s what the 4 months of work did for my Author rankings:
And here’s the total snapshot of Juris Lunence downloads, and what it did for To Drown in Sand (the little red lines at the bottom).
Did I sell a lot of copies of To Drown in Sand? Not really, at least not yet.
Did I sell more than if I hadn’t written and promoted a free release? Yeh.
Did I climb through the Amazon algorithm and increase my Author ranking? You betcha.
Did I gain new readers, and get over 100,000 new people looking at my title? Yip!
Is Konrath and Truant and Platt right? Absolutely.
The conclusion is pretty much irrefutable, which is rare in this Grand Indie Game.
Free works as long as it’s quality. And anyone can make that happen.