Let me make one thing perfectly clear; I am a writer, not a book marketer, publicist or PR agent. I suck at the business angle of selling books and besides that, I’m probably the world’s worst Tweeter, something apparently very important in the world of selling books. That being said, (watch out for horn tooting) I can tell one hell of a story. I like creating characters and weaving them together in ways people wouldn’t expect. I like feeling those characters come alive and live beside me in my world.
When I was a kid, I didn’t like myself very much. I was made fun of by other kids and I never felt like I fit in. Books became my refuge, my safe place, where I could hide and find solace. The characters in books became my friends. To be able to possibly create a character like that today for someone to read and relate to is powerful to me. To me, one positive review is ten times more powerful than 1000 negative reviews because it means I touched someone’s heart.
A few weeks ago, my publisher suggested we run a sale on my book, The Before Now and After Then, for $.99, with a follow-up giveaway with the book being free. Now, I’m a storyteller, yes, but don’t get me wrong, I’d like to make a few bucks from my stories, even if it’s a dollar, so the idea of basically giving the book away terrified me. And then the day of the sale came and tons of people were downloading my book for $.99. I started getting Tweets and emails from fellow writers and people in Greece, France and all over the world telling me how much they loved my book and related to the characters. The book shot to the top of Amazon’s charts, both for Young Adult/Teen and Gay Fiction and held pretty solid at it’s core ranking too. That day alone, I basically made no money, but tons of new readers from around the world were reading my book.
Today was the free Amazon giveaway of my book. I was a little nervous to see what would happen and terrified of the idea of people thinking I was less of a writer for basically giving my book away for free until my publisher contacted me with news that thousands of people were downloading my book. Again, I started getting messages on all of my social networking sites and emails telling me how much they loved my book, asking for a sequel and wondering what I was writing now. At long last I felt like that author who I had always admired, even if it was just for a moment. My book was #2 on Amazon’s Free Book Bestsellers! Pretty amazing.
I hope that are sale strategy works and that people do start talking about my book and get interested in my world and what I’m writing. I hope that it wasn’t all a fluke and bunch of people downloading free copies for nothing, but I don’t think it was. I remember years ago when my husband and I had just started our entertainment website. We were the first ones to blog about Kanye West dissing Taylor Swift at the MTV awards. I remember how we excitedly sat by our computers that night, watching our views grow by the minute. Our final view count for that post is miniscule in comparison to what we get on a daily basis now. Looking back though, it felt more special. It felt innocent and raw and exciting. It felt real.
Today feels real. People are reading my book. And for a simple little guy like me who just always wanted to have a book published, well, that’s a pretty cool thing.