I followed a good chunk of Jeff Bennington’s advice that he publishes in The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe. Some of it I didn’t largely for financial reasons. But, in terms of the shape of the event, here’s what I did.
“Sleeping Beauty” was free for two days — Tuesday, 18 September, and Wednesday, 19 September. In the weeks before the event, I focused on raising the story’s awareness.
- 4 September: I published a blog, detailing one of the darker aspects of Sleeping Beauty story — the princess is treated like an object and controlled by others.
- 6 September: I posted a third chapter of State of Grace and the first four scenes of “Sleeping Beauty” to Goodreads. Then I wrote a blog piece advertising the fact that I had lots of free samples on Goodreads for people to have a look at.
- 8 September: I tweeted the blog again under the #SampleSunday hashtag.
- 12 September: I published a blog post, announcing the free event, telling people how to get the story, and how to write a review, tag the book, and “like” it on Amazon.com. I also created an event on Goodreads and invited all my Goodreads friends to participate.
- 13 September: I published another blog entry on the surtext of “Sleeping Beauty,” once again discussing how she isn’t treated like a person. This time, I used the example of her mother in my version of the story. I also announced the free event on my Facebook page.
- 15 September: I tweeted the blog post about free samples on Goodreads again, using the #SampleSunday hashtag.
- 17 September: The day before the event, I published another blog about the short story, this time discussing the development of Carl, the Prince Charming character.
Perhaps most importantly, in each blog post, I pasted the image of the cover of the story. I created a visual brand image of “Sleeping Beauty.”
During the event itself, I engaged in a lot of direct marketing.
- Twitter: I tweeted the book’s free event three times a day, including a link readers could click on to download the story and a quote from one of its reviews — “. . . a fast-paced and truly enjoyable short.”
- Facebook: Not only did I announce the event on my business Facebook page both days, I also did so on my personal page. In addition, I posted notices on the pages of four different groups I’m a member of. Every instance had a link to where it could be downloaded and a copy of the book cover.
- Pixel of Ink: I informed PixelofInk.com about my free promotion. “Sleeping Beauty” did not appear in Pixel of Ink’s daily email, although it may have been listed on their site.
So with all that pre-work done, I tried not to hold my breath as I waited to see what the results would be. The raw numbers are these:
- I “sold” 522 copies of “Sleeping Beauty” in two days.
- My Amazon.com Bestseller Rank for “Sleeping Beauty” is now 287,679.
Those are both really solid numbers. Five hundred twenty-two is more units than all of my books have sold to date. I began this self-publishing journey in November of last year, so in two days I totally obliterated everything I’d done to date.
Likewise, State of Grace has an Amazon bestselling rank of 616,715. I failed to take note of “Sleeping Beauty’s” rank before I started the promotion, but for this short story to be ranked 350,000 places higher than the novel that’s been out for almost a year seems significant.
But do these numbers mean anything? How good is it that I gave away 522 copies of my short story?
Tomorrow, I’ll analyze the numbers and what they might mean to see if this promotion was actually good for my business or just a waste of royalty money.