Free love on Monday

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We are now into the last day of the five day Amazon giveaway, and the pattern couldn’t be clearer:

Thursday 8 October – 2.664

Friday 9 October – 663

Saturday 10 October – 212

Sunday 11 October – 137

Monday 12 October (so far) – 3

That is a total so far of 3,679. I would have been overjoyed with this total if I had been offered it before the promotion started. But after Thursday’s magnificent start, the tailing off is a bit of an anti-climax.

I should still be happy. Even the lowly Sunday total of 137 is better than I had achieved on a single day in my last promotion. We are heading for a final tally of around 3,700.

There has been one interesting side effect. I can tell from my Amazon reports that at least two people chose to borrow the book on Kindle Unlimited instead of taking a free copy. I know this because Amazon helpfully tells me how many pages they have read:

Saturday 10 October – 10 pages read

Sunday 11 October – 424

Monday 12 October (so far) – 114

Of course, I don’t know how many readers there are hiding behind those numbers. As the book is 273 pages long, that could mean that one person has read it twice in a little over two days. Or, more likely, that two people have read it very quickly.

readers

It could mean that up to 547 people have borrowed it, read just one page, hated it and not read any more.

Or anything in between.

It is always a bit strange to think of people all round the world reading something that I have written. This Kindle Unlimited thing feels even weirder, as I can tell how many pages they are reading. Somehow it feels as if we are standing over the reader’s shoulder.

The other weird thing has been to watch the Amazon Bestsellers rank. Right now, this is where we are:

Amazon.co.uk: #19 in Kindle Store > Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Contemporary

Amazon.com:  #2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Humor & Satire > General Humor

Amazon.de: #1 in Kindle-Shop > eBooks > Fremdsprachige eBooks > Englische eBooks > Fantasy & Science Fiction > Fantasy

My German is a little rusty, but I think that last one means that I am number one in foreign language books/ English ebooks sold on the German Amazon site.

These rankings were higher over the weekend but have fallen back since. At one point we were number 1 in several categories. Woo!

But before we get too excited about the rankings, we do need a healthy splash of cold water across the face. Amazon now lists free books separately from paid books. So I am only #2 in general humour for free books, not all books.

Let’s have another splash. The Amazon algorithms are based on recent sales, not total sales. This means that a promoted book like mine can shoot to number 1 overnight, but then fall straight back down again when the promotion is over.

So I don’t think I will be promoting myself as a best-selling author. At least not just yet.

The Amazon ranking system is a clever old hector. If it was a traditional best-seller list, the same old same old titles would always be at the top. No-one would ever shift the Harry Potters, Fifty Shades or Jack Reachers.

But whilst that would be accurate, it would make for a pretty dull list. Leetle authors wouldn’t get their thirty seconds of fame at #1. More importantly for Amazon, the paying punters wouldn’t see many new books coming through. The Amazon store would be a pretty dull place if it gave too much publicity to the books that are already selling well.

So we have this slightly bizarre ranking system where a little unknown book like mine can temporarily be king for a day.

But there is another interesting thing that happens. If you can get your book into a top ten, even for a day or two, then there is a chance that you can get additional sales from people who are browsing the top ten. My friend David says that the algorithm also boosts your book by recommending it to people on a “If you liked that, you will also like this”.

Odd, very odd.

In the 30 minutes or so that it has taken me to write this, there have been two more downloads and my hidden reader/ readers have read another 23 pages. It is a scary thought that technology can link you to your readers like this.

The downside is that we haven’t yet had a single new review of the book. Hopefully it is early days yet and a few reviews will come later.

More updates to follow.

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