Nearly six months ago, I decided to publish my first novel. It was an intimidating step to take, not knowing what the response would be like. I chose to publish with Amazon's CreateSpace and Kindle Direct platforms, because I suspected that Amazon would give me the largest distribution. Even though I priced my paperback and Kindle versions as low as I could, ($8.99 and $1.99 respectively), almost all of my "sales" have been from Kindle downloads.... during a free 5-day promotion. In that period of time, a handful of paperbacks have sold, and there have been about 150 Kindle downloads. Four reviews on Amazon.com have done little to tell me whether the book is completely awesome, whether it's absolute rubbish, or whether it's so-so. Without much in the way of feedback, I have decided to make the book permanently free, and discovered Smashwords to be an excellent way to do just that. Smashwords allows me to price my e-book at $0.00, and then does the most amazing thing imaginable by pushing the book out to an incredible distribution channel, including Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and more. And users of these other services can now download The Orthogonal Galaxy for free!
And apparently, free may have been the way to go, because my total download count in just three days on Smashwords eclipsed Amazon's number over the last six months combined! It turns out that Amazon's price-matching feature can be used to now lower my official Kindle price from $1.99 to $0.00 as well. Here's how you can help me do that:
1) Point your web browser to the B&N listing.
2) Copy the link from your URL address bar
3) Head over to my Amazon listing and look for "Tell us about a lower price"
4) In the form, click on "Website", paste the link from #2 above, and enter $0.00 for both the price and the shipping cost.
It will be interesting to see if making the novel available for free actually increases the number of people who read and review my book as opposed to those who just download it... simply because it's free! But, over the next six months, I'll be curious to see if enough reviews come in to let me know whether my writing really is "Boring, Unprofessional and Insulting" or if readers really are "looking forward to book 2."