The Madness of Reaching

Three days tied to a computer; repetitive strain injury; severe ocular stress. Such are the joys of the long-distance book promoter. When the mad boffins at Amazon were discussing strategies for world domination, I wonder how the conversation went?

Chief Boffin: Okay, people. The topic is world domination. Let’s have your ideas on the table.

Boffin1: How about carpet-bombing Barnes & Noble stores? If that went well, we could move on to other outlets.

CB: Err. I can see some practical difficulties with that one. Apart from legal issues, there’s also the problem of getting hold of enough B-52s. Anyone else?

Boffin 2: We could ask people to sign up for a special program which would tie them to publishing their ebooks only on Amazon.

CB: Okay. Sounds promising. What incentive would we offer?

Boffin2: They could offer their books for free on a certain number of days. So, suppose we tie them in for ninety days, then they would have, say,  five days for giveaways.


CB: Let me get this straight. You’re suggesting that, as the biggest book retailer in the world, we GIVE AWAY thousands of books?! That must rate as the most cockamamie idea we’ve come up with yet. That sure as hell beats carpet bombing into a cocked bookshelf!

Boffin 2: Sounds like you’re not completely opposed then. Can I pass it on up to management?

CB: Do what you like. As long as it doesn’t have my name attached to it and you’re aiming to get yourself fired!

Well, we all know how that went down with management, don’t we? And here we all are (where ‘all’ is a large number but doesn’t necessarily include everyone reading this), throwing our ebooks at the reading public like confetti at a wedding (listen, it’s a humid eighty-one degrees here and the A/C is off and I’m famished – YOU come up with a better simile!). Why do we do it? Because it FEELS GOOD to see those sales numbers, which have moved in ones and twos for the past few months, suddenly shoot skywards. Not only that, but our ratings (lurking in the depths of the umpteen hundred thousandths) also leap to the fore. Of course, we got to #43 in FREE Mystery&Thrillers, rather that the more prestigious PAID version. But not to worry. It is great fun, those lovely folk on Twitter pulled out all the stops for us and we made a whole lot of new friends as well as further cementing existing friendships.

Most importantly (in my case) there are 1023 more people who now MIGHT read my excellent novel. Add that to the 1400 from the last promo, and it begins to look good enough for a toehold. After all, if we don’t reach, we will never be able to grasp.

Now, pass the muscle balm and pour me a glass of wine, please.


Filed under Writing

5 responses to “The Madness of Reaching

  1. Clive

    Part of me concurs with your implied scepticism and part with your perceived benefits but, personally, I’ve yet to assess the long term effects. Gut feel tells me it must be a good long term marketing investment, an almost free one if we assume downloads wouldn’t otherwise have become purchases, and the investment pays dividends as new readers.

    I suspect, though, that there are going to be so many complicating factors that drawing any conclusion is going to be an impossible task. I’m sure we’ll long be left to the vagaries of faith, long before the science of it becomes apparent. By then, if my books do do well, I’m likely to be making a damned good income postumously.

    • I agree with your push-me-pull-you thoughts on this one, Clive. I haven’t a clue what the long term impact might be and nor do I have any handle on what it is that actually drives downloads. I know Twitter has an impact only because a number of kind people got back to me and said that they had downloaded it. Barring someone funding a double-blind trial with full control over the variables, it may be that we will never know. I suspect that, at the end of the day, it is all down to luck.

  2. I’ve distributed almost 2000 books (out of 12 published) on the sites other than Amazon.. so KDP just doesn’t click for me at the moment. I’m suprised (and nervous) about Microsoft buying into Barnes and Noble as well. Whole thing looks like a disaster about to happen.. who knows.. glad it worked for you Stuart .. good luck.. but I’m gonna ride with the sellers outside Amazon a while longer yet. (just my personal preference and not knocking your choice) Chas

    • Thanks for the comment, Charles. I think you are right to stay with what works for you. I’m sure I will eventually go the same route. My original motivation for trying KDP was based on a number of authors who told me that they were selling very little through B&N and iTunes, and all their sales were on Amazon. It seemed to simplify my marketing options!
      I agree with you about the Microsoft purchase of B&N, but it may well save the old warhorse from extinction and I’m sure that’s something we’d all like to see.

  3. Best of luck with your novel, Stuart.

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