Monday, June 20, 2011

Active Downloads

Following the successful experiment with releasing my short story SPIRITS direct to digital, I thought I'd continue to play around with that format.

So I took a collection of 3 stories I'd put together for an Espresso Book Machine experiment and uploaded that to the Kindle platform.   

To explain the EBM experiment a bit --> back when we first got our EBM at McMaster, there wasn't much content available to test the machine out, so we did a lot of experimenting.  I created a "chapbook" style collection of three of my previously published stories -- all "book-themed" which came to about 50 pages and called it ACTIVE READER: And Other Cautionary Tales From the Book World.

So I posted it to Kindle without any fanfare (unlike the noise I made when Spirits was launched) for $1.50 and a few sales started to trickle in. Neat. (At the same time, I revised the version of Active Reader that I had uploaded to Smashwords - the original version had some minor formatting issues, so I fixed them, updated the content a bit and readjusted the price on that to match)

I used the following description to summarize the three stories included in Active Reader:

Active Reader
Loyalty programs that track a reader's every preference are handy, save time and offer great discounts -- at least until your customer data gets into the hands of the wrong person.
A passionate book lover is drawn into a mysterious and eerie little bookstore the way a moth might be drawn to a flame.

How far might a desperate writer go when blinding following the advice of a popular self-help book to eliminate the distractions preventing him from completing his next novel?

Then, this past Saturday morning, I caught wind of the fact that Amazon had adjusted the price of Active Reader to 100% off (via Pixel of Ink) and the downloads shot through the roof.

By Saturday evening, over 1000 people had downloaded Active Reader, it hit #3 on the Fiction -> Short Stories list, #7 on the Fiction -> Horror list and #129 on the Top in Kindle Store list.

It has already received a favourable review and the downloads continue to fly - this morning the total is > 1500. 

So in less than 48 hours, the downloads through this single source surpassed the 600+ downloads I received when I made the digital version free through Smashwords for a much longer period of time.

Yes, if I were receiving the royalties based on the original retail price (about 50 cents is what I'd normally make on the sale of each unit), I'd be laughing my way to the bank; but it looks like due to Amazon discounting it to 0.00, my cut of the royalties are a % of the final retail price. 

At the end of the day, though, it means a lot of people are checking out my writing and might end up purchasing one of my other digital works which are available. So that's a pretty cool thing. Again, it's all experimenting - and this one seems to be going quite well.

And for those intrigued but who don't read on Kindle, Active Reader is available at Smashwords, Kobo, Sony, Diesel and a few other places like Apple iBooks.


Anonymous said...

I found your blog by downloading these short stories and then searching your name. I'll definitely check out your other works because of it and I told quite a few of my friends to download the book too.

Just wanted to offer a data point, I guess.

Mark Leslie said...

I appreciate the comment. It's nice to know that the free stories are enjoyed enough that people want to tell others or check out my other work.