On January 13, 2012 I attempted an experiment to start the process of getting a free copy of Coventry House, my best known work, into the e-readers of as many people as possible.
In case you still want your own free copy, you can go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/79543 and use Coupon Code AR26U
On the 13th, 60 people went to the web site. Six people downloaded the book.
On the 14th, 80 people visited the site. NOBODY downloaded the book.
On the 15th, 28 people visited the site and once again, NOBODY downloaded the book.
On the 16th, 40 people visited the site and 7 people downloaded the book.
On the 17th, 20 people visited the site and 2 people downloaded the book.
By the 29th, site traffic returned to normal.
Bottom line, out of 228 people, only 15 people downloaded the book. That means out of all the site traffic over a five-day period, only 6.6% of the site’s visitors downloaded a FREE book with all POSITIVE reviews.
I consider this a failure. Why did this happen?
Thesis #1: Free equals junk. Nobody wants to download junk even if the reviews are positive. (1)
Thesis #2: Very few people want to go through the trouble of registering an account with Smashwords even if they get a free book out of the situation.
Thesis #3: ?????? Anybody got any better ideas?
In talking with a marketing buddy in Australia, he came up with two separate experiments that may show better results:
Experiment #1: Writing a braided novel (2), allow the first chapter which is a stand-alone story to be given away for free, but sell the complete novel for a much larger sum of money that is still competitive with the market.
Experiment #2: Writing a braided novel, allow the first chapter which is a stand-alone story to be sole for $.99, but sell the complete novel for a much larger sum of money that is still competitive with the market.
Fortunately, I am presently writing a fantasy braided novel and when my previous writing commitments are done, I will try the first experiment at a later date.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
(1) Marketers at Amazon have discovered that a book that has some negative reviews sells better than a book with no negative reviews as the group assessment takes on a more “legitimate” air.
(2) I first heard of the concept of a “braided novel” from Ken Pick, my writing partner, who may have coined the phrase though author Frank Creed has also used the term in his blog. A braided novel is a novel composed of individual stand-alone stories that when combined tell a much larger cohesive tale.