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Are Free Ebooks Good Publicity?

My three ebooks are currently being downloaded at a very satisfying rate from Smashwords. The later two, The Witch’s Dog and Escape the Volcano, have just had a very nice boost after appearing on www.getfreeebooks.com. That is definitely a site for indie authors offering free ebooks to know about. It certainly gets results. I’m hoping for another significant jump in downloads once the books get onto Barnes and Noble Nook bookstore.

None of the three books have made it as free books in the Amazon Kindle stores yet, which is a little disappointing. I hadn’t realised it would take so long for them to be distributed to Amazon from Smashwords.

However – despite people helping themselves to the freebies, they’re not splashing out 99 cents to buy my other books. At least not yet! As of Sunday evening, 746 copies of good old Oh Gran have been downloaded, but only 24 samples of Oh Auntie and 9 of Oh Grandad. I’ve yet to make a cash sale on Smashwords!

For me it’s not too drastic since these are backlist titles that I’m getting up and out there mainly to build my profile. I’ve already made some money out of these books when they first appeared in print back in Ireland. But I’d be very happy to be earning a little bit of money from them – as I’ve mentioned on my other blog, I need to keep my student son in pasta!

Then again, I’m just happy they’re being read. All we writers put so much effort into our work with the intention of entertaining and/or informing our fellow human beings, it’s nice to think it’s being consumed, hopefully with appreciation. It’s not an economically viable attitude obviously, but I’m not realistically expecting to make a living from my writing. And since moving to France and drastically changing our lives, taking downsizing to ridiculous extremes, we’ve got used to managing on not very much.

Readers are getting used to being able to obtain ebooks for free. It’s now an expectation. I feel I’m getting my name known, and I think that’s what other indies put their faith in too when they make their work available free of charge.  Will it pay off in the long run? Or we all shooting ourselves in the foot by being over generous and over-obsessed with counting our downloads.

Time will tell …

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Tweet and Buzzr Power

I’ve only just discovered the ‘view stats’ feature on Smashwords. (I’m not very tech savvy I’m afraid.) And I’m glad I have because it’s providing some useful info.

Now, I launched Oh Auntie for the princely sum of 99 cents on the world via Smashwords on 30 July. I Tweeted and blogged about it a lot and got a good initial response. Then on 14 August I joined Bookbuzzr and Oh Auntie’s cover and a hangman game I  made up using words from the book was included in their Freado book games. And then, again belatedly, I found that I could use Bookbuzzr to issue a daily Tweet about Oh Auntie, so I signed up for this on 11th August. As you can see from the stats chart below, Oh Auntie is getting plenty of regular hits.

Now let’s look at Oh Gran, which I put up for free on Smashwords on  11th September. Again I Tweeted and blogged at lot the first couple of days. That gave rise to the initial surge. I’m still Tweeting about it, but not regularly.

Now here’s Beat the Hackers that I admit I have rather neglected.

Again, an initial surge of people viewing the book, but it’s dwindled away, quite a contrast to Oh Auntie and Oh Gran, and this book is very temptingly priced at 99 cents.

Now, I appreciate that there isn’t such a demand for children’s books on ereaders yet, and that my Oh series books don’t include illustrations. The printed copies did, but since I don’t have the copyright for the illustrations, I can’t use them. I’ve had new covers done but it would be a prohibitive task to get new pictures for inside the book. So that’s a disadvantage to them. I’m putting them up at a very low price, or free, mainly to establish an e presence.

However, it would appear that Tweeting gets people to at least look at your books and download a sample. I’ve still yet to sell a single copy via Smashwords. People are getting samples of all the books, and helping themselves to the freebies, but reluctant to shell out for the 99 cent stories. And also it seems that Bookbuzzr has been useful in getting people to my books too. So, for what it’s worth, perhaps that’s a fairly good course of action to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Next Ebook Ready

Escape the Volcano will be hitting Smashwords tomorrow. This ebook has been a family affair. I wrote it, Benj scanned the out of print dead-tree version which I updated, and Caiti has done me a fantastic new cover, as you can see here.

It’s the first in the Escape series that did very well for me back in Ireland, despite little marketing and pushing by the publishers. The two main characters are eleven year old Tom Donoghue and his irrepressible friend, Kevin, one of life’s optimists and jokers. Tom’s Mum and little sister Anna play significant roles, and so does Alan, who they meet up with in this first adventure. (Tom’s dad is a no-show in the stories. I had to kill him off a few years previously since I needed an incomplete family for the series! It’s very hard to write interesting stories about perfect, happy families – sad but true.) This little crowd turned out to be great fun to write about and I enjoyed creating various adventures for them. They go on to encounter avalanches, floods and twisters in the next books.

It’ll be free on Smashwords, but you’ll have to pay for the rest of the stories in the series, probably 99 cents each, which I think is a fair deal.

So, please do check my Smashwords page out  in the next day or two and get yourelf a free copy to enjoy. And let me know what you think of it.

 

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Signs and Wonders – Book Review

Signs and Wonders by Alex Adena is a fascinating book. Annie Grace is a fraudulent faith healer, although when she was a young child, she once performed a miraculous healing. Her father, Daddy, exploited this and became a very rich man through healing roadshows.

Annie feels like a fraud. A ghost from the past rears its head – Annie faces prosecution for her part in a tragic incident five years before. Two of her employees turn against her. A client secretly taperecords her making tactless remarks. Her latest one-night stand kisses and tells. It seems everyone is trying to bring Annie down. But when it looks like things can’t get any worse, her amazing powers return. The question is, will Annie use them for good this time?

The characters in the story are all rounded and believable. The book is very well written. It’s hard to put down. And events most certainly don’t follow a predictable path.

But there’s more to Signs and Wonders than the story of Annie. As the author says, he wrote it “for everyone who has felt pre-defined by their upbringing and family expectations”. This comes across strongly in the book. Can we change as we grow up, or are we cast in permanent roles as children by the adults around us, whether rightly or wrongly? Should we try and make other people change?

Brilliant book, hugely entertaining and very thought provoking. A definite must-read. Available as a Kindle book from Amazon and from Smashwords. Paperback coming soon too.

Alex Adena has a website here and pages on Goodreads and Smashwords too. He’s a thoroughly nice guy and has given me plenty of useful advice on book marketing, which I’m very grateful for. Do buy his book!

 

 

 

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Smashing Afternoon at Smashwords

Yoohoo! I’ve finally got the hang of Smashwords. I uploaded Oh Auntie! at the end of July, but it had some Autovetter errors that I couldn’t seem to sort out, and then life got in the way. But today I sat down at the computer with Mark Coker’s Smashwords Style Guide beside me on my Kindle, and worked through it all step by step using Oh Gran! as the trial this time. It all made sense this time, and my MS went through the meatgrinder and came out with no errors. That was a real accomplishment. So now Oh Gran! is here. And it’s free.

Full of confidence, I tackled Oh Auntie! again and soon knocked her into shape! Here’s the link for that book which costs 99 cents.

And I also got to grips with Beat the Hackers which I’ve uploaded to Kindle but was too intimidated to try and get through the meatgrinder. However, I rolled up my sleeves, and through it went, again with no errors. This is 99 cents too and you’ll find it here.

My tips, for what they’re worth: I followed Mark’s advice to paste the original word file into Notepad, which strips away all the formatting, and then repaste it into a new Word file. I followed the instructions on paragraph formatting to the letter, and this time put my chapter headings a ‘heading 1’ format. I used Times New Roman 11 point for the text, and 14 point for headings. And I even put in hyperlinks which work!

I am a complete techno dodo so I am SO PROUD of myself at the moment!