Ten days ago, I decided to try a promotion package for Devil’s Gambit to a service with an extensive Twitter presence (well way more extensive than mine anyway). Now bearing in mind, I’m a new to the scene writer. Twenty plus years of writing for film and TV doesn’t mean shit other than it does mean that I can write well enough for people to pay me. Which I’ll admit has always been a bit of a benchmark with me in regards to how seriously you take somebody. Yes I’m aware that’s not a great attitude but then film is not a very nice business.
Tempered by my years in film though, my expectations were low. Prior to the promotion my sales were about one or two books a day with a couple of three and five a day spikes. Low numbers to be sure but like I said, I’m new here and nobody knows me. However, once the promotion rolled out, my numbers dropped to zero. For five days, no sales at all. This may just have been a statistical blip, I don’t know but it wasn’t a welcome result. Right now, as you can imagine, I’m not super positive about the cost and effectiveness of online promotions. Then again, I’ll probably have to offer a price drop or go perma free down the road to generate more traffic to my next book. The promotion is winding down and my numbers are back to where they were, slightly higher actually but I feel this is more to do with the release of my second book, Two Wheeled Maniac, which covers the last eight years of me riding my motorcycle across the US and Canada.
Much like a race bike, Devil’s Gambit got drafted in its wake and sales picked up again. Now it’s selling at about two copies a day to Two Wheeled Maniac’s one, which is interesting as TWM is a very niche book.
The real issue I’m running into is getting reviews. I have three so far and they’re all good, which is nice. You do hope you’re not writing shit or your writing is shit and sometimes from the inside it’s hard to tell, though my editor was always positive and even though he’s being paid to do his job, I do expect him to be honest. The one real benefit of working in film is it does toughen your hide somewhat. Nobody has ever said something to me about my books where I’ve wanted to beat them to a pulp instantly. This has happened more than a few times working in film. Then again, sometimes people have an ax to grind and you just happen to be handy.
I know there are people who receive free books or payment for their review. The free book thing doesn’t bother me as much though their lead times to get your review out can be very long and if you have that level of workload to get through, how honest a review is being generated? I know when I was reading for a production company, you were so taxed to get through your slush pile that it was ten pages and out to pass something on up the line or in most cases, one page and a round file. Again paying for a review, makes you wonder how honest it is? I’m as guilty as the next person though, I prefer to give a star rating for the books I read, writing a review smacks of effort. Though I do rouse myself out of my torpor and write something if the book is very good.
So now I’m also trying to build my email list. If any of you guys reading this have some insight, I’d love to hear it. Comments are very welcome here.