One thing I did differently with To the North was to set the eBook up exclusively with Amazon – for 90 days, at least. This is part of a program called KDP Select, and it has a number of potential benefits. One of these is Kindle Unlimited, which is a subscription program that people can sign up for that gives them access to eBooks for free (well, ” free”, since they’re paying for the subscription. It’s like Prime, where you get ” free” shipping because you pay an annual fee). By signing To the North up with KDP Select, people can add it to their KU library, and I get a royalty from every unique page read.
Another benefit is promotional pricing. In each 90-day enrollment period, I can make the eBook free for up to 5 days. I just used up 3 of them.
From December 25-27, To the North was completely free on Kindle. My reasoning behind this was that if people got gift cards or new devices for Christmas, and they logged into explore new books, mine would still be listed under new releases and they might take a chance on it since it was free. This idea kinda worked. I didn’t tell anyone in advance that I would be making the book free, and I didn’t mention it on the 25th, but I had 4 downloads. The next day I did a couple of tweets and one FB post about it, and over the next couple of days To the North was downloaded 12 more times.
It was kind of fun to watch my bestseller ranking jump around. I still never cracked the top 10,000 overall – but I did peak at #16 in the “Action and Adventure” category. There are so many books available (and so many self-published failures among them) that it doesn’t take very many sales to increase your rank substantially. I also got a new download of “Grime” during this promotion, which was unexpected.
I don’t care that I didn’t make any royalties off of these downloads – at this point, I don’t need them. What I need are reviews and ratings, and I’m only going to get those if people actually get the book.
That’s why I’m so happy about the Goodreads giveaway. I’m packaging up and mailing the books out to the winners today, and I really hope that at least a few of them read it and give it a rating on Goodreads.
Right now I’m working in an echo chamber. I have a few friends and family members who love and support me enough to read my stuff (or to buy it and promise that they’ll read it eventually), but the only way I will ever increase sales and exposure is by word of mouth from people outside of my inner circle. I can only beg my friends so many times to read my book (and I feel like an insufferable clod each and every time I do), but if even just a few randos get their hands on it and enjoy it, that will go a long way toward eventually getting things rolling.
So I still have 2 more days I can release the book for free until mid-March. Hopefully I can get a couple of ratings before then, because that’s going to be crucial to taking this venture to the next level.