Picture this: That feeling you get when you give away almost 700 copies of your book for FREE, you rocket up Amazon’s free charts, you hit #1 in a few categories, everything is going amazing and according to plan, then you flip a switch the wrong way behind the scenes and it all comes crashing down on you? Yup, that was me just a few hours ago! Woo!
So my new book Write Short Kindle Books: A Self-Publishing Manifesto for Non-Fiction Authors launched a few days ago with a limited time FREE promo. People were downloading it. It’s received really positive reviews. And best of all, it pushed me to the #1 free bestseller slot in three different categories (note: not the same as #1 paid bestseller, which I probably could have hit if things hadn’t faltered). But yeah, that’s still AWESOME!
The idea, was to give away copies to boost the book’s ranking on Amazon’s free charts, then at the end of the promo (basically when the downloads started to wane and before the rankings started slipping), the plan was to flip the switch during prime time hours — jumping to the paid charts and getting a nice boost of actual paid sales to make all the hard effort put into this launch worthwhile.
Everything was going great! Until I hit the goddamned SELF-DESTRUCT BUTTON on the whole thing. #facepalm
DANGER! RED ALERT! AWOOOOGA! WE’RE GOING DOWN!
You see, I flipped the wrong switch at the wrong time, ending my free promo instantly rather than having it kick in at the end of the day. This happened only moments after sending out a few tweets and Facebook group posts about the free promotion (I figured it’d take a few hours to kick back to the paid price). Yeah, NOPE! Not good!
Once you end your free promo (which you can only do for a few days every 90 days), there’s no going back or resetting. I also made a slight downward price adjustment to $0.99 try to ease the strain of the slip-up — a price adjustment that prob won’t kick in until some time tomorrow, sadly. Apologies if that irks anyone who bought it at $4.99. I’m happy to kick you something free or one of my other books if you’re feeling exceptionally disgruntled.
So the other snafu is that my book was sitting at the #1 free bestseller slot in its categories on the FREE charts, but showing a full price of $4.99. Here it sat in limbo for about two hours — killing all downloads and sales (and the ranking momentum too). There was absolutely nothing I could do but watch the screen in utter horror and wait, trying not to vomit in the process.
I sensed that I had royally effed up, but didn’t know how bad the damage would be.
Then it finally flipped over to paid, but by all sales and downloads had been null for a few hours. This basically bumped me off of all the charts. Meanwhile, I’ve burned through 3-4 solid days of social media cheerleading and promoting (something I always feel reluctant and awkward about doing), likely burning out most of my core audience on that in the process. It’s a thing you have to risk with a product launch, because no one else is going to do that grunt work for you (at least not until I get my author collective project off the ground). But still.
So where does that leave me? Ergh.
I gave out close to 700 copies of the book for FREE. Yes, cool, because hopefully those people will read the book, like it, and give enough of a crap to come back and leave a nice Amazon review. But also not entirely cool, because the prime directive was to use that momentum to help drive actual paid sales when it hit the paid charts. That isn’t going to happen, at least not the way it was supposed to.
As of this writing, I’ve sold 4 paid copies? I’m hoping that changes in the days to come. I expect it will, but I basically have to start my book launch again from scratch — only this time at a setback because most folks aren’t going to want hear me yapping on about the book AGAIN for another run of consecutive days, and I can’t use my free promos or special KDP tools for another 90 days). Lame.
It’s a sucky place to be in. I’m feeling pretty rankled by the whole thing. But I’m not giving up. In the grand scheme of things, this is only a minor blip — no matter how agonizing and catastrophic it feels at this very moment. I’ve had worse launches for sure.
Ready, Set, Reboot!
So Tomorrow (Wednesday), I’m going to start again. If you haven’t checked out the book yet, I’d certainly love it it you do so. I won’t feel bad if you wait until then to grab it. If you did pay $4.99 — thank you for your support, and yes, you can get a refund if you’re pissed about paying a few bucks extra. No hard feelings.
If you did grab a free copy and enjoyed the book, that’s awesome thanks! I’d love it you’d stop by and leave a short review on Amazon.
So that’s that! Why am I sharing this utter colossal eff-up with you all? Because why not? Every new book is a chance to experiment. This one was going well but went off the rails. Maybe I’ll try it again with another book in the series. Or maybe I’ll launch the next one at $0.99? Who knows, right? It’s all part of the (sometimes effed up but always enlightening and informative) self-publishing adventure. Cheers!
Also, my new best friend Puppymancer and I thank you for your support!