Report on the Giveaway Weekend for Nine Best Poems


It’s time to report on the free week-end for Nine Best Poems by Judy Ferro.

Sixty-eight Kindle copies were downloaded and two PDF’s sent to people who didn’t want to add Kindle to their systems.  (I had sent out six PDF’s as advance copies.)  Two downloads were from Amazon-India and one each from the U.K. and Canada!

The poems received four highly favorable reviews.

Judy Ferro, Author now has 10 new Facebook fans.

And there were two downloads of Agnes—an outcome I had not anticipated at all.

Another unforeseen result–Sunday afternoon I totally redesigned the cover.  I started the weekend happy with the cover, but after seeing 15+ posts, it seemed totally boring.  The new cover needs some work—I’m still learning the technology–but I think it conveys the light nature of the book better.

What I’d like to add to that list is a number of readers dug poems out of drawers and published them through Kindle.  I won’t know if I’ve inspired others unless they tell me, but I am hoping some are looking over their poems and wondering how much work it would be.

While the results were nowhere near the 2100 downloads for Garth Wright’s Broken Things when it was a giveaway, they are all positives that would not have happened otherwise.

Garth suggested that Nine Best Poems didn’t reach greater numbers because poetry is not a hot-selling item—or even a hot giveaway item.  He pointed out that only poems by Edgar Alan Poe were downloaded from Amazon more frequently that weekend.  Really?  What about Emily Dickenson and Virginia Wolff and Shakespeare?  (Of course, they didn’t publicize a giveaway weekend on Facebook!)

I put five posts on my personal FB page, ten on my author page and two on Idaho Authors’s Community—a group of 50+ authors who hold book signings together.  I saw about ten shares.  Two positive posts—one reporting the great review from Lamos and one pointing out it was easier to hawk free items than paid ones—reached twice as many viewers as the others.

I didn’t make Amazon’s list of the day’s 100 top giveaway.  That’s right—Amazon has a DAILY list featuring 100 giveaways.  That couldn’t have happened with print copies.  We have really entered a new age of publishing.  We may have no more authors making a living from writing than we did when the only route to the public was a handful of print publishers, but readers do have a lot more choices.

Three on-line sites featured Nine Best Poems—Book Goodies, Free and Discounted Books, and Free-book Dude.  The last was a one-hour listing starting at 6 p.m.  I noted that Pixel of Ink and E-Books Habit listed only three books each and Bargain E-Book Hunter, only five.  Hey, if I didn’t make Amazon’s top 100, I could hardly hope to make someone’s top five!

In mid-September I’ll push Two for the Show, a play that takes place in “once upon a time.”  I may discount it to 98 cents rather than have a giveaway weekend. Then I can invest my imagined profits in a paid listing on a website for one day and ads on FB for one day.

Marketing resembles driving in that I’m not good at it, but no one is offering to do it for me!

Promoting a Free E-Book

Nine Best Poems1. (989x1280)        One amazing development since the onset of e-books is the popularity of free books.  One might expect readers to like giveaways, but the authors?

They have their reasons.

There are now more than 24 newletters or blogs that list free e-books.  Authors can get on-line publicity for giving away a digital download that costs them nothing.

That’s the reasoning, but I have reservations.  I don’t worry about those who might have paid for my book and now won’t.  No, I worry about those that have paid and will feel a cheated to learn they didn’t have to.

But what if it works?  Two new writers in the area claim to be making good money off books after a free offer.  They’re talking quit-the-day-job “good money. “

So I decided to publish Nine Best Poems just to give it away.  Yes, it’s listed on Amazon at $1.98, but anyone can get it absolutely free July 20 and 21 on Amazon.  The book contains my best poems—nine of them—with illustrations from   (A one-week subscription giving me permission to use images in print cost $13.95.)

From Garth Wright, a sci-fi author from Buhl, I learned that Author Marketing Club has links to the sites that provide notices of e-book giveaways.

I was ready to begin.

Ready, that is, if I could find a way to tell Amazon we were going to give my books away.  Kindle Direct Publishing flouts these promotions as a reason to publish through them,  but I explored every nook, cranny and link at  without finding that elusive check box. Then Jane Freund, Boise author and publisher, showed me –I had an account there, with check boxes, that fed off my Author Central account.

Once Amazon agreed that the giveaway is going to happen, I tackled that list of 24 newsletters and blogs.

I soon learned that most aren’t looking to feature a 25-page self-published poetry books.  Who would have figured?  Some will mention only books over a certain length; others, only kids’ books or Christian romance books.  Some don’t even recognize poetry as a genre—I told them Nine Best Poems was a humor book.

Some sites say they will feature only books of quality UNLESS you paid them $5, or $10, or even $15; in which case, you were guaranteed space and the readers would never know that anything but your breathless poetry or prose had earned the posting.

Several sites require that a book have three reviews on Amazon and a rating of four stars or above.  Others wanted a real review, the kind in magazines for librarians.

A few sites wanted notices 14 days in advance of the free promotion.  One, however, wouldn’t accept a listing until the day the book was available free.

Most wanted authors to sign up to receive their publication. So that’s one more thing I will be learning.  How will receiving 12 daily e-newsletters about free books affect my productivity as a writer?  Can I keep the fact that there are thousands of writers vying for readers’ attention from discouraging me?  .

Learning is what art–and life–is all about.

Writers Must Learn a Lot!

Nine Best Poems1. (989x1280)I am grateful to have the opportunities to learn fun skills during this time of life.  Some weeks I seem to vegetate and not care if I finish anything.  This week I published two e-books.

Here are some of the things I learned this week.

  • How to upload e-books with images.  Although artwork and color make print books more expensive, they don’t add to the cost of e-books.
  • That one must reload the entire book to correct entering the title wrong (and that Amazon answers Author Central calls quickly).
  • That I can make myself reformat a 70-page book when necessary..
  • That downloaded data files are less apt to crash a program if you hit the “extract all files” button first.
  • How to open a google doc all the way so others can enter data (thank you, Brian Perkins).
  •  That new software does make extracting an image from its background so easy that I can do it.
  • That is fun and can make creating e-book covers a snap.
  • How to access the two blog sites that will get the most results when promoting free books (thank you, Garth Wright)
  • How a professional must feel when one has an editorial due and nothing to say.

Of course, I also discovered some things I don’t know.

  • How to get the correct formatting to show up on an I-phone or i-book.
  • How to format a cast list with names against one margin and description against the other for an e-book.
  • How to change margins for an entire book when Word indicates it has done so but has changed nothing.

I love life as an author in control of producing my own books. And it is great to be a member of the Idaho Authors’ Community and have the help and friendship of forty other authors facing the same challenges.

Now if I just had time to write!