The Select Experiment Continues and some of my thoughts about people downloading my books for free

It’s been a good couple of days for my books, Tag, and, Bangkok Burn.

Pixel of Ink was kind enough to pick up both books on the 7 March, and that boosted Tag’s sales tremendously. I also dropped the price back to the original US$2.99 price point. The result was pretty cool; shot up the rankings, made the best seller lists in High Tech, and Technothriller, and sold a bunch of books.

I’d be lying if I said I don’t get a thrill when someone shells out their hard-earned cash for one of my books – not for the money, but for the validation – show me a writer who says they have no ego and I’ll show you a bullshitter.

Bangkok Burn was free for the 7 and 8 March. The downloads were meager at 9am on the seventh. I thought, since this was the second run, and having read on other writer’s blogs, that the numbers would be significantly less than the first free run. On the first free run Bangkok Burn ran to over 10,000 downloads and reached 43 in the overall kindle store. And then Amazon’s back-end fell over… but that’s another story.

I had a busy day on the Seventh. Lot of running around, and my time zone is +12 hours on New York. Which of course means I’m always at least twelve hours ahead of what any of the Big Six are doing. Anyway, I digress, but the truth is I fell asleep about eleven pm i.e. 8am in California. The next day was even worse Day Job-wise, busy-ness reigned supreme, so I rigged up someone to handle some tweeting for me because by then  downloads had once again hit several thousand.

At peak ranking hit 64 in the free list for the Kindle Store. So very successful from the point of “getting the book in people’s kindles”, but what does it tell me?

It tells me that the genre is popular (yeah, call me Sherlock, but it’s a valid data point).

It tells me my cover and blurb work. How? There’re are a lot of thrillers, and there are a lot of highly rated books in the “hard-boiled”category on Amazon (the reason I chose to be there). Any given time, a “hard-boiled” is running free, so to be at or near the top in the category for free means more people are selecting your book over others (it’s the nature of the beast). Oh, and I think reviews are super important as a factor in downloads (some disagree with this, and I’ve seen books with 1 review have seriously great ranking free and paid – that’s just luck or a good cover, or a good blurb, or a good sample, or…, who knows :)), but that’s just a personal viewpoint.

What else does it tell me? Nothing else really. All it tells me is what I’ve stated above – I got a lot of people, with the help of Amazon, to download my book. My current estimate is that BB is now on about 15,000+ Kindles. It doesn’t make me a great writer, or publisher or whatever. It means I got a bunch of people to download the book.

And I think that’s pretty cool. Why? At a minimum, assuming there aren’t robots doing the downloading, people read the cover and my name. A few of those people will actually read the book. I know that already from CB Edwards who downloaded Bangkok Burn first time around, and then wrote a review.