Free love, Fanfic, and Pirates, Argh

Okay, so last week I posted about my move over to Amazon. It’s currently in progress, but some of these sites take a couple of weeks from when you edit your book to respond. Which, really, is a major indicator that Amazon has their stuff together way more than the other retailers. If I make a change in price, or an edit to the manuscript, Amazon has posted the new information within a couple of hours, 24 hours max. The other retailers, I’ll remind you, take a couple of weeks. That’s ridiculous. If the other retailers moved as fast as Amazon, you could do your low-price promotions without going exclusive. But trying to wrangle them into appearing all at the same time (a pre-announced time) would be a bit like trying to herd cats. Good luck with that.

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Now then, the results of my giveaway trial for “Corporate Zombie” using KDP Select. Prior to the giveaway, I had the story available for free on my website. Then I moved it to Amazon in August of 2012, to prepare for my future as a published author. I’ve sold a total of 27 copies at $0.99 since August. Last Tuesday-Friday, I gave away 128 copies for free in 6 different countries.

Three days after the end of the giveaway, I’ve not yet had any new paid sales. HOWEVER, you can see that my numbers are tiny. In a “real” giveaway, you need to give thousands of copies away in order to see a difference. I only spread the word on facebook and twitter, and even then using only casual posts. So — lesson learned #1 — you have to advertise your giveaway. Yes, you need to pay to spread the word about your free book. It’s counter intuitive, but it works. I’ve seen the numbers from other authors.

During the giveaway, I recieved a new 4-star review on the story entitled “Great short story”:

A great little short story that is a real page turner. A refreshing variation on a zombie story, from the corporate side. I don’t think a 6-page story is worth $0.99, but as a freebie, a very good read.”

First this, then lesson #2:

Soap Box
“Not worth a buck? What is worth a $1? A can of soda? A snickers bar? Let me guess, you assume I spent 10-minutes writing a perfectly edited, plotted out, final draft of the story, happened to have a cover already created, and spent another 5 minutes slapping it up on Amazon. Sound about right? Sheesh.

Alright, off my soap box. Lesson learned #2: Most readers don’t value individual short stories. I already knew this based on my previous sales, but the event & review confirms it. So, if you have short stories, go with an anthology. I hope to “replace” my individual shorts with an anthology some time around this summer.

I also haven’t seen any sort of boost in my other titles. Which, I realized a little too late, is lesson #3: Link your other titles at the end of your books. Don’t expect the reader to find them on their own.

Silver lining: There are 128 people out there who were introduced to my work. Though I love this story, I haven’t had a sale of “Corporate Zombie” since November. So I don’t really feel like I “lost” anything.

Recap: Advertise, Anthologize, Link-ize.

Now for the fanfic and pirates.

Pirate fanfic
I imagine the mashup something like this.

While googling to see if INFECTED had disappeared from other e-tailers (see what I did there?), I found out that I’m much more on the cusp of “making it” than I realized. I’ve been content thus far with relative obscurity. People read my book, like it, tell me so, I feel good, and I write the occasisonal blog post that maybe 10-20 people read. But now, I’ve been noticed: someone wrote INFECTED fan fiction, and (unrelated) someone has pirated the book.

Gasp!

For the fan fiction, I don’t want to embarrass the author too much, but sufice it to say that it exists. I’m flattered. If you really want to see the link, I posted it on my facebook page.

The piracy, however, is a different matter altogether. There’s a website offering an INFECTED  .doc, .pdf, and .epub rip at the low, low price of $Free-95.

Yes, I realize the irony that once I’ve considered book giveaways I discover that someone else has beat me to the punch.

But, obviously, there’s little benefit to me on the piracy site. According to the website, the book has been illegally downloaded almost 200 times since January 24th. Which is more than I’ve had in paid sales over those last two months. The wound is still a little fresh and has left me dazed. I’m unsure what I can or will do about it, but if there are any of you out there with experiences in this arena, I’d love to hear them. I’ll do some research and make another update in the next few days.

Hmm… not fun.

UPDATE: Part Two

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5 thoughts on “Free love, Fanfic, and Pirates, Argh

  1. I also had issues with piracy when my book was first published. I found out Christmas Day and I have to say, it sucked. I managed to get the majority of sites to take it down via an email stating ownership to the work but there may be a few still floating around. Since then I was weary with posting my book for free on Amazon but decided to try again last week. So far so good I believe but who knows what this week will bring. If you have questions, I’ll be happy to go more in depth regarding the content of the email.
    I’m the opposite and just recently placed my book on Kobo after having it on Amazon for three months. We’ll see how that goes having it on both platforms.
    Btw it does suck that $0.99 is apparently to expensive for a good (although short) read. I just paid over $1.00 for a chocolate bar which doesn’t take that long to eat nor last as long in my memory.

    • Thanks for weighing in. Honestly, I’m debating what to do because I feel like if I go on the offensive, I’ll end up a “half-victor” like you. I’m not sure I want to play internet whack-a-mole — They pop up, I hit them, repeat.

      So what made you cast a wider net? And why not wider still?

      • No problem 🙂 I haven’t had any major issues lately. The first time it happened, I was like “How dare they?” Something you’ve worked for so long just taken like that. The sites that truly suck are the ones that actually make profit from your book. For example, “For a faster download, pay x amount of dollars.”

        I actually wanted to put my books on B and N but need an American bank account (I’m Canadian). Wanted it on iTunes but I don’t have a Mac. I def need to look further into Smashwords because I know they distribute to the aforementioned and then some. I want to further my potential audience and that might be the way to go.

        • For sure, if you’re looking for wide distribution, go with Smashwords. Still, I found that all other retailers *combined* were only about 10% of my sales while Amazon was getting me the other 90%. Figured it was time to double down. I’ll share my lessons learned as they come. Good luck!

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