As an experiment, I recently listed my novel The Nightmare Within for free on Smashwords. The sale lasted for about a week and the only advertising that I used to spread the word was through this here blog and Facebook/Twitter. I had no preconceived notions about how the title would move. This is, after all, a new world of publishing and experiments are used to establish the right and wrong ways of doing business in the digital realm.
In all, about 40 people took me up on the offer of a free copy. This seems like a nice round figure considering how I marketed my sale. I could’ve plastered the message all over the net, searching for venues to spread the word, but I chose to limit the exposure of my experiment. I figured, if someone would follow my links through my blog or Facebook/Twitter, they would be more inclined to actually read the novel than if I’d blasted the entire net about my sale and had 1000+ downloads.
I’m looking for readers at this point, not downloaders. There’s a difference. You can make a living by consistently building a reader base because readers will follow you from one title to the next. Downloaders, on the other hand, follow the trail of freebies; their only desire is to fill their new digit ereader with whatever cheap content they can find. There is no loyalty with downloaders.
So, now that I’ve given out some freebies, hopefully I’ve gained some readers. I believe in The Nightmare Within. The characters are well-defined and I put them through hell. There’s thrills and plot twists. Hopefully, these readers will seek out my second book, Where Darkness Dwells. And as I wrap up the seemingly endless draft of Nothing Lasting (more about this long, strange trip during an upcoming blog), hopefully they’ll follow me on to that adventure as well.