Friday, December 5, 2014

I'm going permafree

I'm not sure if I have been telling about my free promotion experiments. If I haven't, then here's a short summary: A few times in the past I have made Witch Hollow Book 1 free as an Amazon experiment. The result is that I gave away almost 6000 books, but they didn't bring me much sales or reviews.
If you read my blog you probably know that my first attempts at writing in English weren't successful. Recently I've come to the conclusion that if I don't consider my first books good, then I shouldn't expect people to pay for them. And Ta-Dan!! From now on Witch Hollow Book 1 will become permafree.

But that's not all. I also don't like how the second book was written, so it becomes permafree, too!
I'd make the 3rd book free, too, but unfortunately I need to eat :) And pay my bills.

I can hardly wait to finish the 5th book and move to other things. I have so many projects at the moment; sometimes I wish there were 50 hours in a day or that I didn't have to sleep. The 5th part of Witch Hollow is almost done, but that doesn't mean it will be available in a week. Alas, there's still a lot to do: going through one more draft, editing, proofreading, beta-reading, then going through the whole book one last time, and proofreading one last time... Oh, boy! Who said writing was easy? No, seriously, are there still people who say that writing is easy?

Going back to the free promotion. I wouldn't actually call what I'm doing now a promotion. I don't think I have ever promoted Witch Hollow books, for obvious reasons. Yes, once again, I don't think they are very well written. When I had just begun, I had no idea what was popular in the YA market at the moment. If you read books on writing and publishing, you will hear lots of advice about checking the genre and the best sellers to see what people read today. I didn't do that. To be honest, I don't think anyone has to do that. You don't have to see what's popular and go in that direction; you can just sit in front of your computer and jot down whatever you have in your mind. But! This is not a very good idea if you want to create something popular instead of just writing down a story for yourself, which might eventually find its reader, but might also fail to bring you a penny.

What I did was just writing something, writing my way through the English language, learning how to use it, and also how to use it well. I didn't know anything about self-publishing; I didn't even know there was such a thing as beta reading. Want to hear something worse? I published my second draft without even sending it to an editor!!! Yes, I did that. I don't think many have been more stupid. Why on Earth did I think I could jot down a novel in Russian, Google-translate it into English, and publish it? Read the previous sentence and you'll know why. I wasn't just stupid; I was an idiot. But I'm glad for all the mistakes I've made. It's not the end of the world, and I've learned a lot. I know that smart people learn from other people's mistakes, but I've already proved I wasn't smart two years ago.

You'll probably ask me how did I end up with positive reviews if my book was so bad?

And now I will probably contradict myself, because I don't think that my first books were that bad. They were just different: not profitable and not aimed to be popular. But it happened that they found the readers who were into that not popular type of stories. At that time I was reading and loving Little Women and Anne of Green Gables, and it shows.

And while I was writing this post, great guys from Book Scream just twitted me about featuring Witch Hollow and the Fountain Riddle on their page. Talk about luck!

I am also experimenting with the Kindle Countdown. If you don't know, Kindle Countdown is a KDP feature that lets you offer your book for a discounted price for a short period of time, slowly raising the price back to the original. To use it you need to be involved in KDP Select, which means granting Amazon exclusivity and not having your book at any other retailer. I like to have my books at as many retailers as there are, but when I had just published Witch Hollow and the Spider Mistress, I signed up for KDP Select as another experiment. You can't leave Select for 3 months, and there's also this small box you have to tick so that you won't continue your time in Select after the 3 months. I had forgotten about that box, and after 3 months my involvement in KDP Select had been automatically renewed. I will leave Select in January, and while I'm there I guess I should use that Countdown feature. So, in a day or two, Witch Hollow and the Spider Mistress will become $0.99, then in another day or two it will go up to $1.99, then to $2.99, and will end up at it's original $3.99. This will take a week. I will tell you about the results.

Alright, time to go back to writing. And if you want to know when Witch Hollow Book 5 becomes available, sign up to my mailing list. Just click HERE and fill the short form. No spams! Never ever!
I plan to give away a gift card to one of my subscribers (or maybe two), but haven't decided yet for what.
Stay tuned to win the gift cards when I come up with an interesting idea. Or help me out and share your own ideas in the comments section below.

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