It’s been three weeks since we launched The Free Indie Reader #1 and I can report more than 500 downloads so far from the 4 distributors it’s currently available from, including, in order:
Feedbooks #1 with 172 downloads
Free-Ebooks.net #2 with 168 downloads
Smashwords #3 with a (fairly disappointing) 139
Obooko #4 with 35 downloads
The Smashwords numbers are disappointing for a few reasons, primarily because that is the link I’ve used the most in my (largely useless) social-media-marketing campaign, which has been posting on forums such as mobilereads and mobilism and various goodreads groups as well as sff.com and a few others i’ve quite forgotten, not to mention tweets and such.
I’m also a bit frustrated with Smashwords because it has yet to get “premium” approval for distribution into their channels, such as iBookstore and Barnes & Noble. Some of their rules are fairly silly, such as requiring the author name to be on the cover and the same as on the title page, which doesn’t make much sense for this particular book (being an anthology, more or less like a magazine, without a single author) and in general for their business model because it means they have people physically looking at each cover and matching the author names they see with the contents in the files – not a scalable practice at all. And a quite foolishly arbitrary rule in the first place, in my humble opinion. Why is the cover any of their business, other than size and a certain threshhold of quality? Most of the covers on that site are shite, in any case.
Also, they complained about links to author’s blogs and websites inside the book! This makes even less sense. Of course authors want to publicize themselves inside their ebooks! It’s obvious. Anyway, I’m still struggling with them over that. And to think they’re #3 anyway in terms of downloads, partly no doubt because there’s no spanking in the title or chestal regions on the cover.
Well, it continues to be a fun endeavor. I’m even toying a bit with the new “book referral” service called bookarma, which looks to be probably a useless spam machine. Also I wanted to try out bookbaby.com for distribution, but they came back with so many complaints about my Calibre-converted ePub files that I doubt I’ll spend any more time on them.
Last but not least, Amazon is unfortunately out of the question, because one cannot price one’s books for free there, and The Free Indie Reader would not be free were it not free. It’s been my experience that my books which have been made free on Amazon are downloaded at about twice the rate of those on feedbooks/smashwords/ibookstore/barnes&noble, which are all more or less tied for second place overall.
If anyone has any more suggestions on how to blab about The Free Indie Reader in a productive way, I’d love to hear them. The contributing authors have been great about blogging and tweeting and I have a strong feeling that many of the downloads are due more to their efforts than to mine.
Downloads are the goal after all. We want people reading this book so they can discover for themselves, like I did for myself, just how good these writers are, and by “these writers” I mean:
Lisa Thatcher, a writer and culture reviewer par excellence who maintains a most fascinating blog
Paul Samael, who also reviews free e-books and has introduced me to many great indie authors through his website
Carla R. Herrera, who has written several gripping SF books, all worth reading, and you can find her at her website
Giando Sigurani, the author of the dazzling novel “Mister Mercury” whose home can be found here
Willie Wit, the prolific author of tantalizing flash fictions
Michael Graeme, who has written many books across many genres and maintains The Rivendale Review
Judy B, who’s wide variety of works can be found online at Onze Productions