Archive for the ‘campaign’ Category

So the promotion is finished, the stats are in. Let’s see how I did.

As discussed last week, I ran the promotion for three days over the bank holiday weekend: friday to sunday. I submitted details of my free book promotion to 16 sites – almost all of which said in their blurb that they ‘may’ feature your book – or, of course, you could buy guaranteed promotion for a small fee of generally $5-15. I elected not to buy any guaranteed promotion, but to see what I could actually get for free.

I'm a featured author at Freebooksy

Of those 16 sites, as far as I’m aware only FreeBooksy did feature Darklands, and I’m pretty sure I have them to thank for a large percentage of my total downloads.

Friday started fairly slow, but suddenly began to gather pace around 3 o’clock – presumably when FreeBooksy’s email alert came out (I had subscribed to many of the sites I submitted to, but somehow neglected that one. However, I did get an email from them at 4.30 advising me that my book was featured on the site). For the next several hours my download stats jumped by about 100 every hour.

I had intended to keep a close eye on precisely how it all panned out. However, a family emergency saw me instead having to suddenly go spend the weekend with my poorly mum, with only my laptop and intermittant internet access :-/

In any case, there wasn’t much to see after that. At six pm friday my downloads stood at around 300. At 9pm, 600. By 9am the next morning I was very close to 1000. But it all tailed off from there. My tally for the three days is 1135.

The vast majority of that total came from, which I am very pleased about. Although I have several excellent reviews on, I have so far failed to make the slightest impact on the US site. I also had several downloads from other territories which I wouldn’t necessarily have expected to reach at all. Breakdown below:

US UK Germany Italy Canada Japan
1095 115 13 1 6 5


I estimate that my own efforts via Twitter, Facebook and generally being chatty and personable to anyone I met online over the weekend resulted in between 100-200 downloads.

My conclusion? If I run free days again I will pay for some promotion. I think I was lucky to get the freeBooksy promotion, and without it this would have been a bit of a wash out. It’s a lot of trouble to go to for possibly only 100 downloads. The promotional ads for these sites are not expensive, typically between $5-15. Extrapolating from my miniscule sample size of one, my best guess is that you could expect perhaps 1000 downloads per promotional site feature.

I wonder how many of those downloads will ever get read? I know from my own behaviour that I will often grab a free book while I can, without even reading any reviews or the sample. I will skim the description, and if it sounds even vaguely intriguing, I’ll have it. Then it sits on my kindle untouched until I happen to find myself with some time to kill and no current book. I generally read through a few samples/free books, scrapping them for not being good enough/not being my thing – until either I find one to settle with and read, or just weary of the whole proceses and go do something else.

So I know there’s a good chance that many of those downloads will never be looked at again. But I have no idea how many. From those that do get read I should hopefully get some new reviews. They may not all be good reviews, of course, but that’s all part of the process. I guess it will take weeks or even months to see what I reap from this promotion. All I can tell you right now is that four more people have added Darklands to their lists on Goodreads.

I’d be interested to hear what experiences others have had with their KDP Select free days. Similar to mine, or vastly different? Did you pay for adverts or just try to go it alone? And did you ultimately reap the increased reviews/eventual sales you were hoping for?

Save Wootton Fields LibraryYesterday I visited Caroline Chisholm School in Northampton, a modern school incorporating primary and secondary. After giving a talk to the creative writing students, I was given a tour, and dropped into the library (Wootton Fields) to donate a couple of copies of Darklands.

It’s an excellent, large, well stocked library, serving both the school and the public. Whilst chatting to the librarians it transpired that they are under notice of being closed down within a couple of months, as a cost saving exercise. The large book stock will be replaced by a temporary mobile library.

Really? This is what the council wants to save money on? One large library serving the public, a secondary school and a primary school? Which was shortlisted for Library of the Year by the Bookseller Industry Awards 2012? Which as well as the usual library services also provides many events and activities throughout the year?

Astonishing. And utterly depressing. Surely no one doubts that childrens education is one of the last places cuts should be made? And surely no one doubts that a library is absolutely crucial to providing education?

Libraries matter – and none more so than school libraries. One of the campaign’s supporters told me yesterday,

“The library is used by people of all ages – all members of the community. Families use it together.”

Wootton Fields Library only has a few weeks to make its case. They’d really appreciate anyone helping out any way they can. You can find them on Facebook, and on Twitter, @woottonlibrary.

A rally is planned outside the library building for Sunday July 8 at 2pm. I won’t be able to go, as I’ve returned home to Derbyshire now. I hope it doesn’t rain on them :-S

*UPDATE: 80 supporters turned up for the rally on sunday afternoon, despite the weather AND the tennis!*

Many dozens of authors have already given their support to the campaign to save Wootton Fields Library, including Anne Fine, Julia Golding, Malorie Blackman, Meg Rosoff, and Marcus Sedgwick.

You can add your support by signing the e-petition here.

You can also contact members of the County Council to register your unhappiness about the proposed closure:

Councillor Heather Smith (Cabinet Member responsible for Libraries)
Councillor Joan Kirkbride (Deputy Leader of the Council)
Countillor Phil Larratt (County Councillor for our ward)

Or you could contact the local press in Northampton to tell them how you feel about the proposed closure. Contacts below:

The Northampton Chronicle & Echo, Callum Jones,
Anglia TV news. Katrina Rattigan, Please also CC in
BBC Radio Northampton, Willy Gilder, Please also CC in
BBC Look East TV news,

Thanks for any help.

Today I’ve been to visit a creative writing group at Caroline Chisholm School, Northampton.

I had prepared plenty of material in advance. I wrote myself crib notes on index cards. I found a short passage to read from Darklands. But I had no idea how long it would actually take me to deliver it all. Well, that’s not entirely true. The one thing I knew for sure was that my reading took three and a half minutes. I did a lot of timed readings when I was preparing for my talk on the radio a few weeks back.

I was given an hour, just before lunch. I had fifteen cards filled with subject headings and cryptic notes. A sample index card:

Writers & Artists Yearbook
Listings. Articles. Publishers > Slush pile > Agents (short cut?)
Agents > slush pile! But get help.
Submission criteria.

I knew that the length of time I could talk would very much depend on how much I relaxed into my role and became garrulous. It might take an hour – or maybe I’ll whizz through it all in ten minutes with a terrified rictus grin frozen onto my face?

After a slightly shaky start, I relaxed sufficiently to discuss most of the stuff on my cards. Though I somehow managed to miss out the whole slush pile bit from the card quoted above.

In the end I spoke for about 35 minutes, then invited questions. The teachers had primed the kids well and they had plenty to ask. What’s your favourite book? Do you find it hard to get ideas? Did you always want to be a writer? Nice easy stuff.

The scariest bit was right at the end. With ten minutes to spare I was invited to mingle and chat with the kids. Freestyle? Off-piste?? Unscripted???

*The cold, cold fear*

Some of the kids showed me stories they had written – a surprising number had written horror stories about killer clowns, one of which had ‘mouldy looking teeth.’ A nice detail, I thought.

I’ve also donated two copies of Darklands to the school library – which is in danger of being closed down by the local authorities.

Really?? Schools don’t need libraries now? (You can find out how to help their cause by visiting their facebook page)

One of the kids asked if I’d had any bad reviews, and I said that I hadn’t, but kind of wished I had. “It doesn’t seem like you’re a real writer until you’ve been absolutely slated.” Hmm, that sounds dangerously like an invitation, doesn’t it? I wonder if I’ll come to regret it..? :-S