I decided to let The Usurper go free in November (and it’s still free, no thanks to Kobo not changing the price) with the understanding that I was going to get blasted by the perpetual Negative Nellies on Amazon (or elsewhere), but I thought it would be a good way to get my novel in the hands of readers who would have never seen it otherwise, and who may enjoy it. I had at least one person who did enjoy it, and she even sought me out on Facebook to tell me how much she enjoyed it. Another one e-mailed me, said they enjoyed it, but nitpicked a couple of things about how this or that was wrong (like the fact that Beatniks were in 1962, not hippies. I deleted that one line that was in the novel).
On a couple of those negative reviews on Amazon, I engaged the reader, asked them earnestly how I should fix a couple of issues they had, and they were surprised that I wasn’t flying off the handle, but that I asked and responded back in a positive way. Biggest issue was commas. Apparently, I had way too many. I was taught in college that more punctuation is better than not enough, (I’m constantly editing traditionally published novels in my head when they don’t have commas or periods where they should that should break up ideas, etc.) but people say it’s distracting. Ok, fine. Another issue was the character names, which I did to push buttons, and I’d say I did a good job of that, because it has pushed a lot of peoples’ buttons. So, taking all of this in stride, I spent a couple of days looking for too many commas in the novel and fixing them, fixing stupid grammatical mistakes that are made when you do make changes, and I also changed the characters’ names that were too similar to real life names because I felt that I had pushed enough buttons to satisfy my enjoyment of pushing those buttons.
For nearly a week, The Usurper was top 100 overall for bestselling free ebooks on Kindle, topping out at #21 ( I wish I had taken a snapshot of that), along with the #1 spot on political fiction free ebooks, while currently sitting 3rd in the same rankings (snapshot November 15):
I was stunned by the amount of downloads I had in a week. It amounted to double the amount that either of the other 2 books got when they were free for two weeks. The week of Thanksgiving, I managed to set the price to $.99 (after B&N had raised the price back up), and it stayed that way until the Monday after, when I tried to go to $2.99, then Amazon discovered it free on Kobo, and its been free ever since. I had a total of just about 12,101 free downloads(I can snapshot the KDP totals if anyone doesn’t believe me), but I had more sales of The Usurper at $.99 than I had for the whole year previous on Kindle, at right around 500 (totaling 12601 downloads). Unfortunately, I also had 16 refunds for this FREE e-book. I don’t know if that’s a statistically good thing or not. Yesterday, I got the stats from B&N through Smashwords, and I sold 140 free copies there (not sure how anyone on B&N sees free e-books that aren’t trad published, I must be blind). As a side effect of the e-book sales, I even had 22 copies of The Usurper in paperback sold, more than the whole year it’s been published. Very cool.
Thank you to everyone who bought/downloaded a copy of The Usurper, whether you enjoyed it or not.