The biggest reason why I wanted to release a novella or two first before I released my first full-length book was because I wanted to learn everything I could about the process ahead of time. It’s been one week since “Grime” hit the digital shelves, and a few things have surprised me.

First of all, “Grime” has been downloaded a whopping 34 times.

I know. I’m turning the literary world on its head.

That’s actually right about what I expected, maybe even a little higher than I thought. I have done literally nothing, nothing, to promote this story. When I published it I didn’t have my author profiles or social media pages completely set up. I didn’t tell anybody ahead of time that I was doing it, and then even after it was released I only told a couple of people. So 34 downloads, of which I’m only certain 6 are from loved ones, is hardly going to cause me to turn up my nose.

One of the things that interested me was how the various platforms would compare. One week in, here’s where I am:

  • Smashwords – 22 downloads
  • Barnes & Noble – 6 downloads
  • Amazon – 4 downloads
  • iBooks – 2 downloads

Smashwords surprised me the most. Almost all (18) of those downloads occurred in the first 3 days, which makes sense as it shows the newest free releases. Until enough people published after me to bump me off the top of the list, I was the Smashwords queen.

I’m not entirely certain when “Grime” showed up on B&N, because they assigned it a new ISBN and I was using the original one to search (BTW – Smashwords does not notify you when your book shows up on their partner retailers’ shelves. Good to know for future reference). I believe it must have posted on Thursday, Nov 5, because that day it suddenly had 4 downloads and the fact that it would be listed as a new release would account for that.

The other place I’m surprised is the lack of downloads in iBooks. Both of those are from friends (as are all of the paid downloads from Amazon, but that doesn’t surprise me as much). I’ve also been informed that the iPad Kindle app had some problems. It registered the book as a document instead of an eBook, for some reason. I’m not sure what I can do about that, but it will require some research.

So, you know. There aren’t enough data points yet for any firm conclusions, but so far it’s a bit interesting.

One thing – I wish Amazon would price-match and offer my book for free. I can’t really compare otherwise. However, I’ve decided that the next novella (for which I have finally figured out a title, though I’m not going to reveal that just yet) will be 99¢ across the board. I want to see what charging a nominal amount will do at Smashwords and B&N. Likely it will result in big fat zeroes, but there’s only one way to find out. Plus, I’m going to give it another week and then submit “Grime” for consideration to the Kindle Singles store, at which point it will have to be 99¢ anyway.

The next thing I’m going to have to do is contact all my friends who I know downloaded a copy and ask them to please, please rate it. I got one rating/review out of my sister on Amazon, which is great. It means that right now, anybody who browses the Kindle eBook store for contemporary literary fiction, released in the last 30 days, rated 4 or more stars, will find “Grime” on page 3 of the search results. So, you know. It’s totally out there, in people’s faces, screaming for attention.

I know all of this sounds like a big whopping pile of nothing, but let me remind you: I knew this going into it. I’m a planner. This is all part of the bigger plan. Whether or not that plan works in the end is an entirely different matter, but I never expected to have runaway success with this story – so as of now, it’s all going accordingly.

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