And One More (Exciting) Thing

Beginning today, every day, some title from Exciting Press will be free.

We’re doing it with a schedule. For each title, Amazon allows us 5 days out of 90 to for giving away. With the right amount of titles and some advance planning, we can manage it every day.

So we are. But why, you ask?

Back in December, just after Amazon announced the Kindle Select program, I gave it a go with “Jamais Plus: Explorations in the Curious Case of the Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe”. It was a positive experience. It attracted hundreds of downloads, and I love knowing hundreds more people saw my name and picked up something I wrote. I don’t know that they’ve read it—I know I myself even sometimes download free books because they’re free and then shuffle them toward the back while I devote my attention to whatever I’m currently reading. My Kindle is my entire to-be-read pile and, being digital, is simultaneously both exponentially smaller while at the same time containing exponentially more books.

And the experience got me thinking.

To wit: I’d never sold many copies by way of either Barnes & Noble or Smashwords. Further, even when I made my collection free at Smashwords, I only attracted a little more than 100 readers over six months. Now, one could argue the possibility that was because my collection was, at that time, four years old, and 100 copies downloaded four years later is a pretty good amount, and maybe it even actually is, but I wasn’t yet satisfied. One could argue I may never be, but that’s neither here nor there.

What is here is that “Jamais Plus” was always intended to be exclusive to Kindle, and why not other stuff, too? Especially when I could set other stuff to free. My original plan was to keep my novels live on both Nook and Kindle and keep everything else Amazon exclusive, but a lot of decisions Barnes & Noble made following my formulating that plan persuaded me otherwise. I know B&N has been great to a lot of authors, and a lot of authors have sold a lot of books through them, but I’m not one of those authors. That’s okay. (I’m learning more and more that it’s okay to say “I’m not one of those authors,” regardless of the sorts of authors one is considering. I’m learning more what sort of author I am, and that’s a happy thing for me.)

In short order, all my work became exclusive to Kindle. It appears likely it will remain so, at least for the foreseeable future. The sort of reading experience I want to deliver to readers is best via the Kindle platform. When that changes, I’ll consider more options. Until then, I’m happy.

Mostly, of course.

Of course, the bonus of going Amazon is getting access to those free promotions, which I’ve made use of. Each one brought at least 100 new downloads. 100 new downloads is awesome. I was thrilled every time there were 100 new downloads. But Amazon only allows 5 days of free promotion per 90—

Wait, I thought. If I had enough titles, and planned the promotions strategically, I could use more free days. If I had 8 titles available, I could manage forty free days out of 90. That was almost half.

And then Nick Earls, with whom I’m working via Exciting Press, tried a free promotion, and liked the exposure, and was interested in using it more with the right strategy in place.

So we came up with a strategy.

Originally, I was calling it Exciting Summer. And originally, I’d hoped that every day, from June 20th to September 20th, there’d be some book free.

It looks, however, as though Exciting Summer is coming early. It looks, in fact, as though it’s already started. It sort of started on Monday, in fact, except, due to an error on my part, ReGeneration & other poems stopped being free yesterday. But that’s now corrected, and it will remain free an extra day as a result, and tomorrow a new title will join it.

Which one, you ask?

Well, you’ll just have to stop back to find out, won’t you? You’ll notice, if you click that Exciting Press link that opens this post, there are currently 19 titles listed. I was working from a list of 23. While that would seem to indicate we have four more titles on the way, in fact there are several more than that. We’ve got seven different new titles in the pipeline, including Nick’s novel Perfect Skin coming in May.

Which probably doesn’t quite answer why. But the why is easy. We think the most important people to connect with are our readers, and this is our way to both reward our regular readers and attract new ones.


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