Free offer: the results

As you might have noticed — especially if you follow me on Twitter or on Google+ — for the last two days Till Undeath Do Us Part has been free to download on Kindle. At the moment that book — but not the other two — is signed up to Amazon’s Kindle Select programme, which lets me reduce the price of a book to zero for up to five days in every ninety, and gives a few other benefits — at the price of exclusivity. Currently Till Undeath is only available as an ebook for Kindle. (The others are still available as ebooks elsewhere.)

It’s an experiment. I generally favour making my books as widely available as possible, but a few fellow writers have experienced a decent and occasionally sustained bounce in overall sales after making one of their books free for a short time. I figured it was worth a try: evidence trumps dogma.

In advance I signed up to a few free services claiming they’d (try to) feature my book during its free period. I’m not sure if any did: I didn’t check.

I was tempted to give BookBub a go. On receipt of sufficient silver they will plug your book to some of their million-plus subscribers. Their Horror list has over 100,000 readers; at the time it would have cost me around $60 to include Till Undeath, with an estimated download count (from their tracking of previous such titles) in four digits. However, while my fingers hovered over the submission form, a line leapt out from their T&Cs: they don’t usually feature novellas. So I bailed out.

That’s the build-up.

On day one, Thursday, I posted to the usual places: here, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and even LinkedIn. I attempted to entice magazines such as Attitude, Gay Times, SFX and Starburst to retweet the offer (none did). I did receive a few retweets from friends and others, though: thanks to those who helped out. I tweeted in the UK morning, at lunchtime, and evening, trying not to over-spam.

On day two, Friday, I did virtually no promotion. The idea here was to see whether I could determine if tweeting etc had any measurable effect.

Anyway, here’s the chart you’ve skipped past the text to see.

tudup-free-2013-04

Total: 433 downloads, dominated by 269 from the US and 127 from the UK. Then a surprising (to me) 21 from Germany, 9 from Canada, 5 from France and 2 from Italy.

Am I happy with these numbers? Yes and no.

I had no idea how many downloads there’d be. Not even an order of magnitude. 1? 10? 100? 1000? My cynical, self-deprecating self thought I’d be lucky to reach one hundred. My over-optimistic engineering-estimate self saw the numbers BookBub tossed around and wondered if I might hit one thousand.

I can’t say I’m unhappy with 433. That’s potentially 433 new readers, who might like the story and go on to buy my other books. It’s more copies of the book than I’ve sold. The goal was to increase visibility, and I’ve made some headway.

The shape of the chart — especially the Total curve — suggests day two’s lack of promotion didn’t make much if any difference. Downloads increased, slowing as you’d expect. If I’d kept the book free for a third day it might have exceeded 450 downloads but probably not 500.

In summary: a worthwhile experiment.

Now for the next stage: with prices back to normal, will there be a knock-on effect on sales?

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Special offer: Till Undeath Do Us Part – FREE!

UPDATE: The offer is now closed. Thanks to all who downloaded. I’ve blogged about the experience.

How would you like a free copy of Till Undeath Do Us Part?

For a very limited time I’m making it available absolutely free for Kindle. To download it, please head over to Amazon where you’ll see a price full of zeroes. I hope you like it. And if you like it, I hope you leave a review!

tudup-free

Till Undeath: photos part three

Here’s the third part – the final part, unless anyone has any specific requests – of the photographic tour of some of the locations in Till Undeath Do Us Part. I don’t think the captions are spoilers.

Look closely and you can spot the faces used for the cover image of the book.

Click to embiggen…

Till Undeath: photos part two

And now the long-awaited part two of the photographic tour of some of the locations in Till Undeath Do Us Part. As in part one, the captions are excerpts from the story and I’ve tried not to make them too spoileriffic.

I took the photos earlier this year during a short intermission between month-long rainstorms. Click to embiggen…

Till Undeath: scene one in photos

In an earlier post I promised you a photographic tour of some of the locations in Till Undeath Do Us Part. Here’s the first post in that series. Expect further posts at highly irregular intervals.

These locations appear in the very first scene. The captions are excerpts from that scene and you might consider them spoilers if you’re particularly phobic (I know I am). In the scene the action takes place at night, but I couldn’t possibly visit the locations after dark, you know, in case of zombies.

Click to embiggen…

Coming soonish

Hello! I’ve been far too quiet here and on Twitter, so here’s an update.

It’s been a few months since the release of Till Undeath Do Us Part and I’m extremely pleased with the critical reaction. The book has some very complimentary reader reviews on Amazon and I’m proud that So So Gay magazine gave the story a five-star rating. Great incentives for me to tell more stories.

As for sales — well, for any new name, especially a self-published one, miracles are unlikely. Slow but steady is the best spin I can put on it. We can’t all be Fifty Shades of any colour. Self-publishing is a long game, and the book never goes out of print. I am nothing if not patient.

And nor am I inactive. Since the beginning of the year I’ve completed the first draft of a new story which is not far short of three times the length of Till Undeath. That’s heading into novel territory in all senses. The story’s called The Pink and the Grey, and it’s about revenge and truth. I can promise a lighter tone, some interesting new characters like Conor and Spencer and Dennis and Amanda, and precisely zero zombies.

To answer the most common questions: Yes, it’s set in Cambridge, and yes, it has gays in it.

To answer the least common questions: No, there’s no reference to Thora Hird, and yes, currently H&M, Zara and similar shops.

I’ve just started the second draft, so it won’t be appearing on Kindles and iPads for a time yet. After the second draft is complete I’ll cajole a friend or two into giving me some feedback, and that’ll probably lead to a third draft that — depending on the feedback — might or might not need further revision. In summary, then, don’t hold your breath.

And what have I been doing between drafts? There’s a tale. Several tales. Several unfinished tales.

It’s been a frustrating time. I’ve developed some promising ideas and characters but then, for one reason or another, stalled. Sometimes the concept doesn’t feel right: too familiar, or lacking a spark. Sometimes the concept’s great but the plot elusive, a head and a tail whipping around and refusing to join up.

None of it is wasted. The characters are still there, the ideas still fizzing away. And I do have a solid outline — well, pretty solid — well, an outline — for a third story. In fact, most likely a third and a fourth. But I won’t jinx it by saying any more.

I’ll try to post updates pretty regularly, and if you have any questions feel free to tweet me @anthonycamber or comment here and I’ll attempt to answer them. I also plan to revisit some of the locations from Till Undeath Do Us Part, and post a few photos.

That’s if the glorious English summer permits — out of my window right now it’s grey and damp and blowing a gale. There’s a draft/draught gag there, but I’m not going to make it.