I have a somewhat troubled relationship with the Kindle Free Download system. On the one hand, I can see its merits – and certainly, when I did my first freebie with my bawdy erotic book ‘Come Laughing!’ I got a fair few takers, made quite a few sales subsequently and the book leapt, albeit briefly, to Number One status on Kindle Store for Erotica.
Equally successful was ‘Long-Leggety Beasties’ which once netted over three hundred downloads in five days.
On the other hand, no free download has actually improved my standing as a writer long term: Once the five days are over, my books slip back into the obscurity from which they were, oh so briefly and tantalisingly, rocketed.
If I say that sales peak after the five days, I am, sad to relate, exaggerating. I might sell one or two more than my usual one per month (and that’s all five books put together!) if I am lucky; but some downloads have been staggering for their lack of after-five-day sales!
So, I am very torn. I am a struggling writer – as so many of us are – in the financial sense. In fact, if I were relying on income from my books to live, I’d be dead/in the modern-day equivalent of the Workhouse by now!
I very much want to put ‘Lyre…’ back out there – because, as said in my previous post, the poor little thing had a rough deal immediately post birth and, what with one thing and another, only netted four downloads in five days. Oops! Not one of my finest hours, that!
But, the unconfident and shy part of me is scared. Scared of failure, of the book being ignored, of watching the stats daily, hourly, and seeing no takers.
I know, I know, I shouldn’t take it all so personally. I should detach myself and see my books simply as commodities, as things now divorced from me in the emotional sense.
But – now here is my difficulty: Each one was conceived in love, laboured over long and hard, birthed in pain and joy. They are a part of me. They, like my son, were once cocooned inside me.
I have twenty-five signed copies (spread amongst the five) in my Study at home – and, although I know I could organise another local book signing/sale, in truth I love their reassuring, and delightful, presence on my bookshelf. Although I can see myself selling most of them, I think I will struggle to part with the final one of each book!
Yes, I know I could order more copies from CreateSpace – but the ones I have are the ones I ordered as soon as the birth had happened, and, thus, they have special status in my mind.
(Note: a few have been sold since this photo was taken!)
So: To Free Download or Not to Free Download?
That, as Hamlet so famously said, is the question!