I've been remiss in posting here but I know I have to be more regular if I want to retain followers, so here's a short description of my Kindle Direct Publishing experiment.
I wrote a 6,000-word short story called Dead End for the Sisters in Crime L.A. upcoming anthology, but it was not one of the ten ultimately selected. The story is very dark. It probably didn't fit in.
So I was stuck with this story and it seemed obvious that Epublishing of one sort or another was in every author's future, if not present, so I decided to throw it up on Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing and see what would happen.
I worked up a cover (even a short story is a "book" as far as KDP is concerned).
I cleaned up the formatting of my story (basically, replacing all the TABs with indents built into the paragraph style).
And I published it for the minimum price allowed, ninety-nine cents. I didn't know what to expect, but I figured I'd just put it up there, offer it free a couple of times, and see what happens.
I announced the first free offer to my Facebook friends (of which I've capped out at 5,000 and can't Friend anyone anymore). I announced it on the SinC LA and SoCal MWA facebook groups and a few other small mystery groups. And I Tweeted to my 322 Twitter followers. That was about it.
Unsurprisingly, sales were pathetic. More surprisingly, when it was free, only about a hundred people downloaded it. You'd think, with 5,000 friends, more would have been curious enough to download it, even if they never got around to reading it.
But one person was gracious enough to write a review and it was positive, to say the least. It was someone steeped in the genre, author RP Dahlke who also publishes the All Mystery enewsletter and runs the AllMysteryNewsletter Yahoo! group. Here's her review:
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Brilliant Debut
By RP Dahlke
Amazon Verified Purchase
"When the author posted at All Mystery e-news yahoo group that this short story was Free for the weekend, I figured it would be perfect for an hour of bedtime reading.... and it was, and so much some. This very skillfully written short has all the elements that one would expect from say, Michael Connelly or Lee Child. Set in LA, it's at turns humorous, gritty, violent and poignant... with an ending that is nothing short of a gut punch. I really hope the author is writing a full-length novel, because I predict that once he gets the first one published, his fans will be howling for more."
RP Dahlke's Amazon review sparked a number (2) of emails requesting another FREE offer of my noir short story Dead End, (click on the link to get it gratis, Oct 6-7 only). So I decided to try another free offer, but this time I included the review (below). I pretty much marketed it in the same haphazard way through the same channels.
If you haven't already, grab the short story yourself and if you miss the Amazon offer... hey, it's only ninety-nine cents.
If you're a subscriber and don't have a Kindle, Email me and I'll send you a free PDF.
I'll keep you posted on the postmortem of the experiment.
To be in full compliance with this blog's full disclosure rules, I have to note that, while I don't know Rebecca Dahlke, I have had some dealings with her in my capacity as one of the organizers of the California Crime Writers Conference 2013. She will be a speaker there, on a panel called "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Marketing Your Book and Your Brand."
UPDATE (10/25/2012): Two more reviews have been posted. I did a second free weekend with the same minimal marketing and another 65 people downloaded. A total of 16 people have bought it. Granted, it's just a short story at the same price point as a book, but still...