01 October 2011

Guerilla Advertising

You can tell the Kindle has Arrived in Australia when they have demo models sitting at the checkout at Woolies (supermarket).  I certainly blinked to see them there.  And then, of course, I did what no doubt every self-respecting author does when they see a demo model unprotected:



I could only add the sample, but it gave me a laugh, and it fell in nicely with my Touchstone Promotional Month, just begun today in lead-up to me releasing Caszandra some time in November.  This will include a giveaway at Goodreads of the entire trilogy in trade paperback, a limited-run ad, and me hauling out the biggest gun in the self-published author's arsenal, known among Indie circles as "riding the free train".

You can't set the price of self-published books as less than $0.99 on Amazon, so to get it listed free you have to spark Amazon's competitive edge by listing it free on Smashwords (and thus on Barnes & Noble, Apple, etc) until Amazon price matches.  Stray went free at US Amazon around 3.00pm yesterday and just under 24 hours later I believe a picture will tell a few thousand words...



Of course, vast numbers of free ebooks are downloaded without being read, but if even five percent of those downloads translate into someone reading the book, it's still more success in a single day than the whole of the 7 months Stray has been out.  [And about half of those sales of Lab Rat came in the last few hours - which I guess means there's some astonishingly fast readers out there.]  It's all about visibility, about results like this:



Stray will remain free for approximately a month (I say approximately because all this secondary price-matching stuff makes it very difficult to be exact - it hasn't been matched on the UK or German stores, for instance).  It will be very rare that I'll ride the free train, so it's a good time for the e-curious to check out Stray!  [Pity it's so atypical of the rest of my work, but heck, I might get a few cross-overs.]

22 comments:

  1. Hey, you're kicking H.G. Wells' arse! Suck it Herbie!

    Seriously, this is great. I literally guffawed at the Woolies story - totally stealing that idea if I am ever in the same position (and in the meantime I will plug 'Stray' into any display Kindle I see, at least until I am thrown out of Dick Smiths).

    And the LR1 readers must be *very* dedicated (long weekenders in need of a fat stack of reading, perhaps?) - Stray is taking me forever in part because I am savouring it. So very many good ideas!

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  2. I am one of your new readers. Thank you for the free download of Stray - I got it yesterday, via Pixel of Ink, and just finished it this morning. I quite enjoyed it. I have business appointments in town today, however once I return from them I intend to purchase Lab Rat One.

    Regards, Peg

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  3. Hi Peg! I'm glad you enjoyed "Stray". I just love the idea of my worlds and characters being experienced by others.

    @ Dave - I think having a genre-savvy protagonist pushed me to be creative.

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  4. Hah, true! I was thinking just after I sent that last message that it's the sort of thing that Cassandra would do :)

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  5. The story about the Kindle demo is pretty funny!

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  6. Hello. I'm one of your new readers as well. I picked up Stray for my Kindle yesterday morning, started it last night, and didn't put it down until I finished Lab Rat today and went looking for Caszandra. I'm so glad to see that it's supposed to be available late November. You're a wonderful story teller and I really enjoyed it!

    Thank you for riding the free train this once. I love finding a new author to be surprised by and I'm excited to try some of your other books as well now. I guess all that HG Wells I downloaded is going to have to wait...

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  7. @ Jon Mac - Sadly I think those demonstration Kindles have an automated process to wipe out downloaded books. But it was fun while it lasted!

    @ AC - I'm glad you enjoyed them AV! That's a lot of Cass to get through in one session. [I just love reading books where finding out what happens next is all-consuming, so it's quite a compliment to me that you read both of them straight through!]

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  8. I stayed up way too late last night reading all of Stray, which I downloaded for free from Amazon. It is one of the best books I have read in a while. Sadly I don't get paid until tomorrow so I can't get Lab Rat One yet.

    Your writing is well thought out. I wasn't big on the idea of the diary format but you worked it wonderfully. The pop culture references were also worked in well. I even had to read the bit about watching for the Tarens eyes flashing to my husband, who got a chuckle out of it.

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  9. I'm one of those new, fast readers! Downloaded Stray for free with misgivings - so many free books are so "meh" - devoured it and bought/downloaded Lab Rat One. Devoured it, too, the same night. Speed it up with the release of Caszandra, please! Similar to Cass' frustration with her inability to finish the stories left behind on Earth, I want to know what happens next. Thanks for a captivating story. Pun intended.

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  10. @ Anon - I highly recommend checking for flashing eyes during _all_ alien encounters. :D

    @ Squeakpickle - Glad you enjoyed it! I am a total "want to know what happens next" reader too. Will try my best to get it to everyone soonest.

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  11. Hi Andrea,

    I just want to tell you that Stray (and Lab Rat 1) are some of the best books, especially free on Kindle, that I've read in a long time. I appreciate that the main character is so realistic (I think this is the first time the period question has come up in a stranded scenario) and mature. And so you know your sales strategy is working, I bought Lab Rat 1 immediately after finishing Stray (which I stayed up all night to finish) and am looking forward to the 3rd installment. Please keep writing!

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  12. Glad you liked it Anon! One of the reasons I kept "Touchstone" in diary format (something I debated a lot because I know it doesn't work for everyone) is because it seemed to add an extra touch of realism. I doubt I would have mentioned her period if I'd stuck with my usual tight third person narration.

    The freebie is definitely an effective sales strategy. I spent a long time with low sales and good reviews hoping word-of-mouth would kick in, but it seems giving a free taste of a world is vastly more effective. [Coming up on 10,000 given away and though I know most of those probably won't be read, it's still an amazing number!]

    It's pretty cool to hear that the books are causing a run of late nights. :)

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  13. Just finished lb1... I hate that strategy on Amazon because I get suckered into buying more and more books that I can't afford! I have actually found some of my favorite books this way and am waiting on 4 or 5 sequels to be released. Adding 'Caszandra to my list! I really dig this series because it's quite a departure from the things I normally read. Very refreshing! Although all that Setari jargon makes my brain hurt from trying to remember it all ( thank you glossary!) ah I'm rambling now but what i meant to say is, can't wait for the third and hurry it up! Please and thanks! The waiting is the hardest part!!!!

    Also, your name is beautiful!
    (mine is Andrea, too!)

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  14. I got Stray for free, and loved it so much I got Lab Rat One! Can't wait for the next book.

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  15. @ Andrea & Jo - glad you enjoyed them!

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  16. This entire thread is making me vicariously happy.

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  17. Andrea, the French Kindle Store is now open, and ... your books are of course in !
    http://www.amazon.fr/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_n_0?rh=n:672108031,k:Host+andrea,n:!672109031,n:695398031&bbn=672109031&keywords=Host+andrea&ie=UTF8&qid=1317973372&rnid=672109031

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  18. @ Dave - I'm getting a lot of non-vicarious happiness. :D

    @ TheSFReader - that's very cool! I can only hope I'm more "discoverable" in France than in the German store (where I think I've sold a whole 3 ebooks).

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  19. I really enjoyed Stray and Lab Rate One. I got Stray free on Amazon, and it's the only way I would have come across your works. Thanks very much for doing the give-away, and I am looking very much forward to Caszandra.

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  20. Hi Robin. I'm glad you enjoyed "Stray" and "Lab Rat"! And I put in a lot of work on "Caszandra" today, so hoping to get it out soonest.

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  21. Hi Andrea!

    I thoroughly enjoyed Stray and Lab Rat One. I, too, was leery about "buying" a free book and the diary format, but you write beautifully! I stayed up late into the night reading Stray and bought Lab Rat One the next morning. I'm also an avid reader of fanfiction, especially crossovers, and your writing is refreshingly original! As I get older I feel like it's harder to find books that I can relate to (and are still YA) so I really liked that your protagonist is in the upper teens. I love that you present and address the "real-life" issues that Cassandra has (such as missing her Earth, family, music, pets, etc.) instead of pushing them off to the side. It definitely makes the story more realistic, like you're really reading her diary. I even recommended this series to friends, and they're enjoying it too! While eagerly waiting for Caszandra to be released, I might delve into your Medair series. You did a fantastic job writing this!!! :)

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  22. Hi Brittany. I'm glad the diary format worked out for you! I've read a bit of fanfic myself - I'll be highly entertained if "Touchstone" develops enough of a fandom to have its own fanfic.

    Glad to see an example of the legendary "word of mouth" kicking in as well. All the anecdotes claim that's what really makes a book successful.

    Good luck with Medair! My fantasy is rather different from "Touchstone", but some things carry across (strong female characters having interesting times ;) ).

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