I’m taking this publishing thing sloooooowly. Don’t know if you noticed. I first published Mon Petit Ami in October of last year, distributing through Smashwords. I learned the ropes, trying out the coupons and reviews and changing the price. It was free through nearly every retailer—B&N, Kobo, Sony, Smashwords—and racked up about 400 views over the next 6 or 7 months.
Amazon, however, is the whiny, uncompromising kid on the playground who is ready to take his awesome toys and go home if the other kids don’t play his games. Ergo, Amazon doesn’t give you total control over your pricing when you self-publish and you have to like it or lump it. The lowest they’ll go on any publication is 99 cents, regardless of length, unless you cast some magical price-matching spell which I was never able to figure out. So my little 1500-ish word story languished with no sales, unsurprisingly.
So I started to wonder how the story would do on Amazon. I had a half a year’s data on Smashwords, et al, and several good reviews from complete strangers, so I thought it was time to play Amazon’s game. The only way I could get my story on Amazon for free was to give them exclusivity, so I did.
I found out a lot from my 3-day free promo. Before I did this, I’d thought the reader pool among my friends had already been exhausted. After all, MPA had been free and periodically promoted for many months. What I didn’t realize was how many of my friends have Kindles and would download my story once it was pretty much effortless. I ended up with 77 downloads over three days on Amazon, a number that took about a month to reach on all other platforms combined, maybe a bit longer.
How eye-opening is that? No wonder people play by Amazon’s rules. They have awesome toys.
Now that this promo’s over, I expect my new downloads to drop back to zero. A dollar is just too much for a story this short, especially since it’s my only publication and bears an ISBN from Smashwords—a bias I’ve seen in the Kindle forums that can’t be dismissed.
One anonymous person gave me my first review, for which I am grateful. Reviews are like currency, so every star, whether it be one or five, helps. This one happened to be a fiver.