I really do hate promoting my books, but when you publish them yourself, you have to do what you have to do to get that little bit of market share. So bear with me: We have pretty much reached the end of the ‘honeymoon’ stage for The Novice Master, which has been out there a full six months, and I won’t be promoting it anymore, as I prepare for the publication of a new novel this fall. But before I send NM off into the night, we’re going to try one big crazy—indeed, utterly insane—move to get it out there in front of readers’ eyes. This is not a move I would recommend for most books, but then, NM is not most books. My goal here is not actually big money or sales, but hopefully to spread around my name as a writer of serious fiction.
So I will be giving away The Novice Master, in its Kindle form, for free this coming weekend, May 13 through the 15th, but in a big-scale way. Now, I did a small-scale version of this with my print edition on Goodreads—and I’m not doing that again! Not only was it expensive, with postage and all, but practically none of the cursed 30 winners reviewed or acknowledged it in any way! Actually one or two gave me a smattering of stars, and I ended up with over 340 ‘to-reads’ and some followers, but it was not enough of a return on my investment of time and money. This new giveaway will cost me absolutely nothing. But it’s not without risks. And it might turn out to be a big embarrassing flop. But so what? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
The Big Giveaway is a very controversial marketing move for a book, if you read a lot of author’s forums. The idea is not only to give away your books for free, but to give away as many as you possibly can—we’re talking numbers in the thousands. I’m hoping, modestly, for something between 500 and 1000 copies given away; that will be enough to generate some sales and an improvement in my author ranking. The magic number gets you to the top of the ‘Free’ bestselling list, and supposedly that can translate into very big sales. Not really expecting that. But it certainly puts your name out there. I’ve done limited freebies for The Raven Girl and other books, and they do indeed pull in some fans. But most authors who try this advise against it: They say you are basically giving up all the revenue you’d get if you actually sold those books. But…people who snatch up your book for free probably would not have bought it in the first place. For one thing, they have no idea who you are or where they might find you. They didn’t know they were looking for you, in the first place!
I suspect that the disappointed authors who did poorly with their giveaways did not have an optimum product to offer. Just because something is free does not mean it should be mediocre or hastily written. A book without good reviews will not do well, either. Also, I find that it doesn’t seem to work for specific genres, because then your audience will be naturally limited. I’m hoping literary fiction will prove the best genre to try this technique with, in terms of gaining greater visibility.
No matter what, I’m taking the plunge. I carefully chose a weekend, starting with a slow but gradual beginning tomorrow, on Friday (gulp! The 13th!) culminating in what I hope will be a big surge on Sunday. I’ll post results afterwards, but you can check the Novice Master’s page on Amazon to see how it’s going. And that’s where you download it, too: https://www.amazon.com/Novice-Master-Kathy-Cecala-ebook/dp/B01BLOZUOY So here’s your one and only chance to pick up The Novice Master for free, because I am not doing this again any time soon. Spread the word!