These past few days, one of Miss Crankypants’ colleagues has been over the moon . Her novel, on one of those free Kindle download campaigns, has broken into the top ten. No wait! Top three! As this dear author goes giddy over Amazon’s biggest joke, it makes Miss CP wonder: Why do we authors get so excited when our books reach the stratosphere in the FREE Kindle download category? Nobody’s buying much, after all.
Oh sure. Miss CP knows the drill: If thousands of freeloaders get your book for nothing, they’ll help spread the word and boost your actual sales. In Miss CP’s case, it was boosted by twelve whole books bought with real American dollars! But what really happens behind the scenes? Miss Crankypants hates to burst any writer’s bubble, but the Truth is Out There.
- It sounds cool to say your book got 50,000 free downloads in a week. But what do you get? That’s right. Zippo. Nada.
- Many of these readers are on a hate crusade, looking for new unsuspecting authors’ books to download for FREE, then write horrible, scathing reviews. It doubles as primal scream therapy, where readers get free material to rant about instead of whacking that awful mother-in-law who never shuts up. Can you say one star?
- Number One on Amazon can mean anything, people. If your book hits #1, it could mean that there was either a country-wide brownout or a total site crash and only one little old lady in Iceland (probably your Aunt Hilda) was able to log on. Everything’s relative you know.
- If you reach the heights during a free campaign, rest assured that, while you may rub elbows with public domain classics such as Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, by the time the campaign’s over, your book will probably sink back into oblivion. You won’t be able to GIVE that puppy away. Miss Crankypants feels as bad for you as the next ruthless, cutthroat author, but suck it up.
- Next week your publisher will probably do another freebie.Then you can revel over your #1 free Kindle download ranking alongside Mark Twain. Oh wait. He’s dead. Well, now. Does anyone want a free copy of a terrific book? No? That’s what Miss CP’s talking about.