I gave away 93 copies of my new novella, “The Man Who Ran from God” this past weekend. It was a bit of a disappointment, after my 400-download day for The Library of Lost Books.
There may be a couple of reasons for this. The first thing I asked myself was: What did I do differently from that first giveaway? Here are the key differences I came up with:
- The giveaway lasted two days, so people might have felt they had more time to download and forgot about it.
- The book has the word “God” in its title. Face it, it’s a loaded word. It may have turned off more people than it turned on.
- It’s a novella, not a novel. And so, it may have been less enticing: a free NOVEL is a easy choice, more free content. A novella, less so.
- It’s not a new world/universe, but the retelling of an old, well-known story. The ‘Library’ had more of an obvious hook. The hook here is subtle: an old story, told in a fresh way with a familiar character, reimagined.
- I did the giveaway the first weekend the book was out, before reader interest had a chance to build or word of mouth developed.
- It’s historical fiction and not fantasy. It’s simply a less popular genre (I’m guessing here) with fewer readers. Hilary Mantel’s popularity notwithstanding.
I’m not too worried about it, though. I always figured ‘The Man’ would fare a little less better than ‘The Library’ because it’s shorter. I mostly attribute it to the relative popularity of the fantasy versus historical fiction genre. I know, I know. You historical fiction readers are pretty voracious (I think of Mantel’s Wolf Hall, Shogun, other historical fiction tomes), but those fantasy readers devour long books. The A Song of Ice and Fire and The Lord of the Rings epic cycles are nothing to sneeze at. (By the way, they’re histories, too, just of imaginary worlds).
Anyway, it’s early days yet. I think with time, once this book finds its audience (I see indications of this already on Amazon), it will do much, much better.
It’s all about expectations. Two years ago, I would have been thrilled to give away 93 books. [“Almost 100 people could be reading my book!”] Now, I know I can give away hundreds in a day if everything goes just right. Maybe I should just relax and enjoy the ride.
So that’s what I’m going to do.
PS: For those wondering, these are the country breakdowns for the giveaway:
- 72 in USA.
- 17 in UK.
- 2 in Germany.
- 1 in Japan.
- 1 in Canada.
PPS I would be interested to know any other Indie writers’ experience with giveaways, in numbers. Feel free to leave details in the comments below.