When Amazon first announced the KDP Select Program, I didn’t now if I should sign up. But since I’d just released a new novel, Letters on Balboa Island, I thought I’d experiment with the program with Real Women Wear Red, my first novel. There were only a few “borrows” and I was still selling, so I wondered if I should do the free promo thing, which is part of the Kindle Select program. During the 3-month period you sign up, you can offer your book for free for up to 5 days.

I’d noticed on a yahoo group that other writers were trying it out. And they’d reported downloads of about 300 per day. I thought about those numbers and how cool it would be to see such activity on my book. But I wasn’t convinced I wanted to give it away for free yet.

But as I thought about how I only sell about 1 book a day, I was starting to lose my passion for writing. What was the point really? Shouldn’t I get back to technical writing – it certainly pays more and maybe spending the money would be more fun than hand selling my books. Very few can make a good living writing fiction and more and more each day, there seems to be a glut of books, especially free books. Who’s going to buy books anymore?

I think it was watching The Voice and/or Smash, admiring the performances and those artists sticking it out, no matter how small the part or success and how overlooked their talent sometimes was. And how stiff the competition was. Something about that pushed me to say, “Hey, I’ve got 5 days left for this Kindle Select program – why not go out with a bang and activate the promo thing.” I also hoped I’d get those 300 downloads I’d seen other authors getting. Suppose I got 0 downloads? Yikes!

Well, the first 24 hours have just passed and there have been 2400 downloads! Whoa! That is freaking amazing to me! And it’s ranking at #120 – out of a million Kindle books. Okay, so it’s all free but perhaps new readers will discover me and that can kickstart things bigtime. Other authors have also reported that after the giveaway, their sales soared.

It’s all an experiment for all of us. In fact, it feels a whole lot like gambling in Vegas – it’s easy to obsess over it – should I cash out or let it ride? lol! But one thing it has done is spur me on to finish the sequel to Real Women Wear Red. And that’s what I need to get busy doing right now – writing more scenes. So, for that, my experiment has been a success.

PS – After 3 days, there were more than 13,000 downloads with a ranking of #13. I’m not sure how this will move things forward – have I saturated the market for this book? Will these readers become readers of my other books? What, exactly, is the benefit of doing these free promo days?

Note: Sales have, indeed, picked up after the promo period – I’m so amazed how this works.

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