My book is up against mega-sellers like Wild, The Glass Castle, and Bossypants – and that’s just in the memoir category. Yet at this moment, Swimming with Maya has claimed the number one spot in women’s memoirs in the Kindle store. How is this David vs. Goliath story even possible?
My little indie publisher, Dream of Things, vies for attention with the likes of Random House. We don’t stand a chance in the world of printed books on store shelves. But in the virtual realm, the playing field levels out.
Mike O’Mary, owner of Dream of Things and intrepid e-marketer, took out an ad in BookBub, an e-newsletter targeted to readers in search of bargains. And for 3 days he priced Swimming with Maya at 99 cents for e-readers. Kindle and Nook readers are snapping it up. So far, more than 1,800 paid downloads on Amazon and 700 on Barnes and Noble. (You can still get yours until Saturday at midnight.)
It’s not just about sales, as Mike is quick to point out. All the downloads cause the book to move up quickly in the paid rankings in the Kindle store, and it is then featured on the pages of many other books under “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.” In essence, free advertising on Amazon. This, in turn, sparks more reader reviews on Amazon and more word-of-mouth marketing.
After the promotion ends, barring a miracle, Swimming with Maya will move back down in Kindle rankings. But Mike has found this kind of promotion has a “long tail” so the bump in sales will still continue at the full e-book price of $2.99.
Most gratifying for me as a writer is that I am hearing from readers who are in the middle of reading the book. Instant feedback and direct involvement all made possible by social media, my website, and email.
As I wrote in a previous post, “Reaching Out to Readers,” when a writer has poured her life out on the page as I did in this memoir, it is beyond gratifying to hear that readers are moved, or that their own lives have been changed. Not all readers react favorably, of course. Because of the immediacy of digital media I can hear exactly what they don’t like, which is valuable information.
If someone feels strongly enough to review my book – be it positive or not – I’m in the very privileged position of having readers who care enough to comment.
It’s every writer’s dream to have a bestseller. Even if it’s only for a few days, Swimming with Maya has achieved that status. Other small press and indie authors take note: We may be small, but using electronic channels, we are mighty!