As many of you now know, my publisher reduced the price of my book The Skipper's Child to 99p for ten days after Christmas. This was part of a programme of promotions they are running to increase the exposure on many of the books on their list and to try and reach more readers in the hopes of garnering more reviews. We've all been told that more reviews mean better and more sales, and apparently this is particularly true when it comes to Amazon who (I understand) will only advertise books with over 25 reviews. Given that the vast majority of e-books are sold by Amazon too (unfortunate as I hate their monopoly, but true), this tells its own story about the future of books with no or few reviews.
The author makes virtually nothing out of such promotions, but I was curious to see whether the reduction would work in terms of reaching more readers. Well, I can say with a big smile on my face that it does! For the ten days my Skipper's Child was on special, it reached the number one spot in its category on several days on Amazon UK and went up and down in the top fifteen on Amazon US for the best part of a week. I don't actually know how many were sold (my publisher has those figures) but it was very gratifying and really exciting to see.
What has excited me even more - and yes I am a child about these things - is the number of new reviews I've had. Now bear in mind it's taken about three years for the book to collect ten reviews on each of the two main Amazon sites, the fact I've now got seven more in the space of two weeks is cause for lots of whoops and big cheers of delight. And I think my personal hope has been realised in that people now appreciate it's not just a teenagers' book.
It's about a family, yes, and there are no what you might call 'x rated' elements in it, true, but I really wanted anyone of any age to be able to read it. In so many senses, I wrote it for myself. The reader I was at twelve is to a great extent the reader I am today. My parents never restricted what I read and I could dive into any book on their shelves, so the Skipper's Child was the sort of book I would have read then and still like to read now - a period novel about a way of life I knew nothing about until I came here. Writing it taught me what I would have wanted to know from reading it.
So there it is - a ten day flurry of activity, promotion and sales that was fun to do and has produced some rewarding results. It worked! Like all authors, I love to know people have enjoyed what I've written and so far it seems they have. I'm prepared for those who haven't though, and my skin's been thickening up over time. That's something all writers have to work at, but for today at least, I am basking in the glow of knowing those who have reviewed it have liked my Skipper's Child and his stowaway friend, Dmitri. I've been asked if I will be writing a sequel, and the answer is 'maybe'... if I have time. But the prequel is coming first!