Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lending Enabled: the sport of kings.

All of my titles on Amazon have lending enabled as far as I know, and currently my new thriller 'Redemption: an Inspector Gilles Maintenon mystery,' is free for Kindle from Amazon. I am not however enrolled in the new KDP Select program, which is where Amazon has a fund to pay out to authors who make their book available for free.

The offer has some rules. Authors may promote their books free for five days, and it must be exclusive to Amazon. The prize kitty is divvied up based on the percentage total of books loaned out monthly, according to stats kept by Amazon.

Fair enough. I didn't enroll, and I didn't really have any good reasons. Maybe just caution, or a wait and see attitude.

When 'The Handbag's Tale' went free a few months ago, it was because I was giving it away on Smashwords and Amazon has a price-matching policy.

I wasn't even online, being in the midst of 'temporarily transitioning between places of abode.' I was signing onto other people's computers and basically just trying to maintain some sort of a web-presence.

Imagine my surprise to discover that I had given away about 800 books and it wasn't even nine-thirty on a Monday morning. During e-book week on Smashwords the previous March, I worked my butt off to give away 130 e-books, and thought that was doing okay, right?

Over the course of two or three months, I gave away about 7,800 copies of 'The Handbag's Tale.' When 'Core Values' went free on Amazon, we gave away something like 6,300 copies of that e-book.

Since 'Redemption: an Inspector Gilles Maintenon mystery' went free a week ago Monday, I've given away less than 600 copies in a week. This is probably due to the fact that a lot of authors have clued in on the value of giving away free product, and have signed up for KDP Select. Essentially, there are a lot more people doing it, and Amazon promotes those books in a separate area, and my book is not in there.

'The Handbag's Tale' was as high as #7 in its category at one point, and spent a fair amount of time in the top 20. 'Core Values' made it up into the top 20 briefly, but even then, it was quickly apparent that once she starts to fall, there's not a whole lot a relatviely unknown author can do about it, bearing in mind the limited audience I have so far managed to build.

It's quite a kick to see a book flying out the door, even when it's free, yet the second time the rush was somehow diminished...I wouldn't say it has become routine, but maybe our expectations are a little more realistic. That's not to say we won't keep going, because we will. Right?


As far as 'Redemption: an Inspector Gilles Maintenon mystery' is concerned, it got up to #450, and then quickly began to plummet once more. Now it's around the #1500 level, and seems likely to keep on going.

Other than that, lending is enabled and so is 'text-to-speech,' a feature that I consider a wonderful option if you're considering e-books for the elderly or the disabled.

This really is the sport of kings.

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