Get ‘A Madness’ for free, Dec. 4-5

Get ‘A Madness’ for free, Dec. 4-5

As I’ve just announced over at my author website and Facebook page, I’m doing my first promotion for A Madness on Amazon today and tomorrow (Dec. 4 and 5, 2013).

Here’s a glimpse of what that means in terms of exposure. In the first week after I announced that I had books to sell, I sold 10 copies of A Madness at $0.99 a download. The week after, without any kind of push behind it, I sold one copy. That’s 11 copies of A Madness between Nov. 22 and Dec. 3.

In the first 15 minutes of offering A Madness for free, I moved five copies.

The way I figure it, those first five copies are probably friends of mine — probably from the group of 216 people who “Liked” my author page and get my updates. But the real purpose of offering the book for free is to expand my reach beyond my friends and into a world of readers I’ve never met. And that’s the exciting/dreadful part.

AMadness-web-600I think there will be people who like this book and its sequel. Certainly not everyone, but that’s not the point when you write in a genre.

Then again, I’ve reviewed fantasy novels that I’m still shocked that anyone bothered to read, much less publish and promote. I’m thinking about one in particular, of course, and this especially awful bit of prose — the first in a three-book series from a big publishing house — has 171 reviews on Amazon. Granted, 83 of them give it one star, but the point is that right now, I’ll be happy to get 171 downloads of A Madness, free or otherwise.

The reason exposure matters to me is that when a publishing house puts out a new fantasy series, the marketing department makes sure people see it and talk about it. It puts hardcover copies in the hands of reviewers like me, runs ads, talks it up at trade shows and whatnot.

My job is a bit different. Having written it, I now have to figure out ways to get people to notice it. And I understand that if you don’t like it — or, to be more honest, if you don’t love it — it’s probably just something I’ll have to file as a learning experience.

The early feedback I’ve gotten has been great, but that’s kinda what you’d expect from people you know. It’s like your spouse telling you you still look nice after all these years. Might be true. Might be just politeness. So what I’m really seeking are the reviews of people I’ve never met, who have nothing to go on except the words on the electronic page. No marketing departments squawking about “THE EPIC FANTASY OF THE YEAR,” no clever press kits and schwag for reviewers.

My hope here is that you’ll love it enough to talk about it, and that from you early readers we’ll grow something that lets me write more of these. But I can’t know that any more than anyone at the publishing houses can know. We all have our ideas about what’s good and what isn’t, but in the end, it’s up to the readers. They decide.

Granted, it’s harder to get the word out when nobody else is invested in you. And there’s always the risk that, in trying to find readers for your work, you become “that guy” who just bugs the hell out of his friends. But I figure, one way or another, I’ll get my answer.

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