Well, my Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday sales have finished. Tally? Only one copy of each book on Smashwords sold during the 3-day period. Lesson learned? When lots of books are available for free, $0.99 is not an appealing price.
Over on Kindle, 83 copies of "Left by the Side of the Road" were downloaded, along with 42 copies of "The Dilemma of Arnulf of Lisieux." That was enough to move Arnulf's story up to #2 on the 100 Free Bestsellers list and keep him there for two days, but when the sale ended, so did his reign. The book is once again unranked, but at least a few people may actually get to read the book. Not a wasted effort, in my opinion.
However -- and that's a big however-- the much-vaunted "bounce " that is supposed to happen once you offer books for free never materialized. What that says about the reading public, I would rather not speculate. I'm still not convinced that Kindle Select is a good way to go. I think I'd rather take my chances with wide-spread distribution.
Now for a word to the 125 people who took advantage of my free offer. I really hope you enjoy the books, and I do not begrudge you the free offer. But please remember -- whether we're talking about my books or some other author's work -- sales really depend on reviews, not price.
I know that word "review" scares a lot of people, but it shouldn't. Anyone can be a reviewer. And you don't have to write a lengthy description of the book you just read. Amazon only asks for 20 words (or more.) That's just a couple of sentences. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Finish any one of those statements, and you have a review! I can't stress enough how much it means to an author when you take the time to add a comment to the Amazon listing for her book (or Barnes&Noble, or Goodreads, or anywhere else that reviews appear.) It takes approximately 10 reviews before Amazon will start to promote a book. I find it terribly frustrating to have a reader tell me in person that he enjoyed the book. That's nice, but I already know the book is good. Please tell someone else -- someone who might want to buy it. You got the book for free. Perhaps you can afford to say thanks in public.
End of rant.