Friday, April 1, 2011

New Post: Promotion 101

c2011 Shalako

During E-Book week, we observed that page hits on our Smashwords e-books went up to eighty, a hundred, or even a hundred twenty-five per day. During a couple of short bursts of Twitter-feed promotion, again page hits went up, maybe in the twenty-five to fifty per day range.

The lesson is a simple one. When you promote the book, people look at it. When you don't, they stop! On our Smashwords statistics page, we can see that paid customers are in fact downloading books that they 'paid' for by signing in and typing in the promo code.

Now that the free book promotion is over, virtually no one is buying books even when the page hits are up due to links going out on Twitter and Facebook, etc. I still have one product for free on Smashwords. That is the short story, 'The Handbag's Tale.' People are taking this product, and I can see downloads on the stats page from time to time.

With the price marked at, 'zero,' rather than using a promo code, this does nothing to boost that all-important statistic, books that were 'sold' one way or another.

Right now my Smashwords total is only 135, so anything that sells or even just moves books is important. At some point, I have to put a price back on 'Handbag' just to make the counter move!

As far as pricing, any edge helps to move books. The funny thing is, people are buying my books from Amazon, and that number has bumped up since the promotion. In some crazy way, price doesn't even really matter.

Somehow promotion rubbed off...or something.

No one who isn't into self-publishing or writing really knows what Smashwords is. They don't want to sign up if they don't know anything about it, or its advantages, or how the system works. At that point price is meaningless.

Why I am selling more books in the U.K. as opposed to the U.S. is still a bit of a mystery. The ratio is 2.3/1 in favour of the Brits.

So for March, 'Heaven Is Too Far Away' is back in front, followed by 'Handbag's Tale,' with a surprising third-place resurgence of 'The Paranoid Cat,' and in fourth place is a steady 'Case of the Curious Killers.' Once again, 'Core Values' lingers in a distant trailing position, and maybe we should count ourselves lucky to have sold or given away seven copies of that book.

Promotion gives feedback, which means you have data you can attempt to interpret.

If I do something right, the numbers will climb...if I do something dumb, or just stop promoting...the numbers will fall.


First, I posted this at about noon on a Friday. There were virtually no page hits within an hour or so, yet when I made a post at about eight or eight-thirty last Thursday night, there were about forty page-hits. So time of day, i.e. 'prime-time' makes a big difference to a blog entry which cross-posts on Facebook or Twitter. In terms of technique, it's just dumb. However, I can 'share' it later or copy and paste the URL into posts on other platforms such as LinkedIn or Stumbleupon. It's all written up and everything. It's not a total waste, is what I'm saying.

By having a number of products and platforms, which is a lot of work to set up, it gives me the chance to experiment. By treating one book differently, or promoting one platform against another, I can compare results and try to figure out why one performs differently; or why it might be perceived differently.


While not exactly an expert, my mother is asking me to set up a free website for her.

That is so easy for me now, that it's really more a matter of her finding the time! If she had some short texts written up, and a few images, all I would really need is a little fuel and a couple of hours.

I started blogging in February 2010 and created my first website in August/2010.

I published my first two e-books last fall and I have seven or eight products in all, (some of which are experimental or promotional,) with a few more on the back burner.


If I treat it like a game, and enjoy it as a learning experience, I think we'll do all right, ladies and gentlemen.

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