Monday, September 2, 2013

Show your favorite authors some love!

Once again my publishers placed my first novel Rain Song as a free download on Kindle. The rankings on Amazon were great. For two months, Rain Song was on the top-sellers listings on Amazon. There were days it was at #34 and then at #53. It was even #1 in Christian romance and contemporary. Free, of course. So in reality, my novel wasn't "selling" at all because how do you sell something if it is already being given away for free?

As of September 1, Rain Song is no longer free. I was certain that it would no longer be on the top charts of Amazon either.

Because it's true, people love free. People will take free over paid.

So I wrote the following yesterday:

Some readers are only willing to "purchase" a book if it is free. I think the logic behind the marketing department of a publishing house is that a customer will get the free book, read it, like it and then want to read other works by the author. In theory that sounds great. Many wrote to tell me how much they enjoyed Rain Song, people I didn't know before. As a result I have lots of new Facebook friends. Some said that they would be reading my other novels, now lumped together on Amazon as the Heart of Carolina Series.

Reviews went up, too. There were only 184 reviews two months ago and after my novel's two months of freedom, there are now 291 reviews. I imagine some are good in order to keep it at a four-star rating, and I know some are poor. (I have given up reading reviews because my reactions to the bad ones made my husband crazy.) I have found that many times when a book is free, readers don't treat it as an investment (because it's not) and might lightly scan it, not bother to get into it, but feel free enough to add a "not so favorable" review based on the one or two pages read.

I like seeing my books on any top chart, free or not. I thrive on hearing from readers. I like meeting new people.

But when folks ask what is next for me and when my next book is coming out, I want to say, "You know, you can't keep writing just cuz you want to. An author has to make money with her writing in order to continue to be picked up by publishers."

If you like an author's work, why not help an author by actually spending money on a book? If you like her writing style and story lines, why not promote her so that others can also be introduced to her work?

Rain Song is no longer a free Kindle read on Amazon. Free is over and with it, all the hype it generated. Now it goes back to being a book that you need cash to purchase. Even so, it's only $2.60.

The way I see it, if a reader really wanted to show me some love, she or he could skip the second cup of morning coffee at Starbucks or at the Circle K and buy Rain Song. Or any one of my other four novels--How Sweet It Is, Hatteras Girl, A Wedding Invitation and Still Life in Shadows.

And I just might be able to continue to write and make my publishers (Bethany House and River North/Moody) happy.

Update, update!
Today I checked my babies (i.e. books) rankings on Amazon and lo and behold! Yes, lo and behold. What did I find? Rain Song is being bought! By Amazon readers! It is now on the top-sellers for Kindle Paid Books. #8 in Christian contemporary fiction. How Sweet It Is is at #13 in the same category.

Did somebody get the word out that writers need to make a living? If that was you, thank you!

I hope the great rankings continue, but I'm not holding my breath. For right now, I am surprised, grateful, pleased, and ready for another cup of Earl Grey tea.

Rain Song on Amazon.

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