Sunday, January 29, 2012

2,000 downloads. In one day!

I love Cabernet Sauvignon but my IBM laptop does not. The delicate nature of unshielded direct-current electronics is compounded by the aging circuitry in an IBM T-40 to such an extent that even a small amount of fine red wine may spell instant, irreparable disaster. This is one of many important lessons I have learned in the last week. In this case there was no pop, no hiss, no telltale puff of smoke. The glass tipped and the screen went black. And ten years of constant companionship ended like the dousing of a candle.

In retrospect it was probably time. This computer has had a hard drive replaced along with memory, a wifi card,  a keyboard, and a fluorescent back light for the screen. Most of this in the last two or three years. I'd say I have made a valiant effort to maintain the relationship, but at last it's time to part.Thankfully, I've learned from previous experience to keep most of my important files backed up. Even so, it's hard to count the toll of lost time and productivity when something like this happens. I've had to transfer the files I backed up on a USB drive to another computer, an old desktop in the back corner of my bedroom where I do lots of publishing work but I really don't like to write because it's at best uncomfortable. From there I have proceeded with the final revisions of Shadow Rising along with other work that I would have preferred to do from the comfort of my laptop.

Fortunately, I had the room on my credit card to replace the laptop, at about 30% interest- I'm not kidding! But I found a good deal on a new computer, which I have ordered after spending several hours shopping and another two hours in the local Best Buy only to learn it's only available online. But if anyone's looking, Best Buy has a great deal on a Samsung with an AMD quad-core processor, 4 gigs of RAM, and a 500 gig hard drive. It looks good in the reviews and I've had good experiences with Samsung in the past, but I'm used to names like Dell, IBM, and HP on my computers. And frankly, this computer is a little more than I was looking for. What I wanted was compact and light, with a great battery life. Turns out that costs $1,000. So my budget largely made the decision for me, but my initial impression is that this really is a great deal, if not exactly what I wanted. Time will tell...

In other news, The Tinkerer's Daughter had 2,000 downloads in a single day this week.

I'm just giving that a moment to sink in.

In my last post, I discussed the almost foregone conclusion that I might have to join Amazon's new Kindle library program. The explanation is fairly well covered in that post. I did so, with several titles. As an experiment, I promptly gave Tinkerer away for free, for one day. I just wanted to see what would happen What happened was 2,000 downloads in a single day. I'd heard of writers doing this, and of people giving away 500, 1,000, or even more. In my mind, 1,000 downloads would have been a success. But as the numbers kept climbing, I began to worry. As I approached the 2,000 mark I had to wonder if I'd just given my book away to the only 2,000 people who might have bought it.

The next day, it seemed my worst fears were confirmed. I had no sales that morning. I checked in at ten o'clock and had two or three. By that afternoon it was four. And I was pretty sure my writing career was over. But then I checked the numbers one last time before bed and found that I was up to fourteen for the day. That wasn't bad. Fourteen sales of Tinkerer was just about what I'd been doing since I raised the price. So maybe I hadn't destroyed everything by giving my book away. If nothing else, things seemed to be getting back to normal.

Then, the next day, I sold 50. That was more books than I'd ever sold in a single day. And at the new, higher prices. And that wasn't even counting my other titles. I'd sold 50 copies of Tinkerer alone! I checked back at Amazon and found that my book had reappeared on a couple of lists in the top 100. And I was feeling pretty good. Still, you never can be sure about something like this. Was it a fluke? Had I gotten my bump, and that was the end of it? Turns out it was not. The next day I sold 100. And today, as of ten o'clock in the morning, I've sold more than 50. If this pace continues, my numbers will double again before the day's out.

This is where Tinkerer is sitting at the moment:

  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754 Paid in Kindle Store
    • #4 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical
    • #5 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Historical
    • #18 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Adventure

 I'm feeling pretty good about that. I'm in the top 10 on two lists, very close to the top, and in the top 20 on another. But those are small lists; niche markets. The big one is the first one: #754 Paid in Kindle Store. That's 754 out of literally millions of titles in the kindle store. Tinkerer broke right through the top 1,000 and didn't even pause.

 Of course, I take all of this with a grain of salt. 100 sales yesterday does not guarantee 200 today, nor does 200 today guaranty anything tomorrow. I could wake up and find it's all over. But right now I'm praying it's not, because I've been waiting for this for a long time. And as far as the Kindle Library thing? Yeah, you could say I'm sold.

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