Free and Not So Free
Let’s face it. Kindle free ebook promotions are questionable. Yes, they can be great—really great—for luring unknown people in to at least considering your book. But the temptation to view them as review copies should be ignored. Reviews are often spammy and negative when they do occur, and usually they don’t because a lot of people download free books and never get around to reading them. I’ve done it plenty of times myself. I want to know if the book might be for me and free gives the feeling I can take a chance on it. But at least ¾ of the time I realize it’s not for me and I don’t’ finish it. AKA, don’t review it.
When other readers have the same approach—and when hordes and hordes and hordes of authors take the route of offering free books—free becomes oversaturated and useless. Putting down money for a possibility of getting downloads won’t bring back anything unless it generates READERS. And free promos don’t actually do that for most books. Plus, the exclusivity requirement for using Amazon’s free programs means being locked down away from other potential markets. For this reason, I don’t rely on free downloads as much as I used to, even as a gauge of reader interest. (More downloads = more interest, right?) But there’s one problem. Most of the freebies even from big publishers are from authors who are secondary or soon disappear. If people aren’t willing to pay for your book, maybe you should rethink the book instead of caving and offering it for free.
So now I only use freebies on Amazon limitedly and only for one KDP Select enrollment cycle, if I do them at all. After that, I do $0.99 deals. I don’t want to make readers lazy and think they can just get anything for free if they hold out long enough.
And there will be more updates.
The Alcazar at Midnight
Victoria: A Tale of Spain (which I now call informally “Victoria/Alyce” because it is a merge of both stories) is an updated version of two stories that used to be in a series. But you can ignore that because now it is one middle-grade novel set in Spain in the 1600s. In fact, I made a new listing for Victoria/Alyce—Victoria: A Tale of Spain (New Edition.) One issue with “Alyce” was that it really plunked down in the middle of the story and didn’t give a lot of background on the characters. Putting Victoria on the front end of it helps to explain how “Alyce” happened and what motivates the characters.
And the first part of this new story is set in The Alcazar, a real castle in central Spain. I visited it about three times, years ago. I’m grateful for being able to stand in a real building of this sort and not have to rely on my imagination. Being there multiple times, especially, helped me emulate the feeling of living in this castle. It’s actually someone’s home—home of the family of Duke Carlos with his many daughters—and it might be difficult for us to imagine, with our very different houses and conveniences, that it was a place to live. Not a historical set, with historical costumes—I wanted an unselfconsciousness about it that is a major part of being authentic if you describe any type of family life. Those little details like experiencing the climate of central Spain (it gets really chilly at night!) flesh out the world in a concrete way that I’m glad about.
Victoria has to run away at midnight after learning her older sister has disappeared. Although I always saw this castle during the day, it wasn’t hard to think it could be very spooky at night. And when you’ve got an intruder stalking her—who she doesn’t know yet is a friend in disguise—Victoria is going to be pretty upset and it makes for the kind of unsettling atmosphere that is a big part of the journey. She learns there are things she needs to know as she gets ready for the King’s ball.
And there will be more updates.
Young Adult Fiction Writer
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