Giveaways. It's something that we're all doing in the kindle world.
I wonder about it. It's not that I think they're a bad thing, I just wonder if they achieve exactly what we'd like.
Over a 24 hour period, I gave away 132 copies of Beat On The Brat courtesy of the wonderful www.blastedheath.com and I'm delighted with that.
It fulfils part of my ambition in the sense that I want to be read. If half of those who downloaded read the collection, that's amazing.
It pulled in a couple of wonderful reviews from a couple of rather good authors.
Here's one from Richard Godwin, author of Apostle Rising:
''Beat On The Brat' is a collection of muscular crime stories by the talented Nigel Bird. Each tale takes you into his characters' world, and each character is sharply drawn. Nigel Bird could cut tins with his dialogue. He shows the men and women who people his stories reach for props in a soiled world. The author writes tightly structured realistic narratives. He strips his characters' props away, while maintaining sympathy with an assured narrative voice. '
The second is from the US and is from Katherine Tomlinson (former editor of Dark Valentine and author of Toxic Reality) who says, amongst other things:
'This collection is perfect for a pre-holiday read because it doesn't require a huge time commitment. If you know Nigel Bird's work, you'll devour these stories like chocolate-covered cherries. If you don't know his work, this selection of his award-winning stories is a fine place to star. '
I love chocolate covered cherries.
I actually sold a couple of copies over the giveaway hours as well, which was most unexpected.
That's all very positive indeed and is plenty for me. I think the reviews will help and the spreading of the knowledge through word of mouth (for I am confident that the word will be strong and good) will make a difference over time.
There was another ambition, too, if I'm honest.
I guess I hoped for a bump in sales of my other titles. As far as I can see, that hasn't happened at all.
That's OK, but it's not the end of the rainbow.
I wonder why?
One of the things I did was put myself on one of the many giveaway threads at Goodreads. Excellent thinking. Go where the giving is good.
Within an hour I'd had four more additions to the thread via my email. I checked them out and they weren't my cup of tea, so I didn't bite. And that's just one small thread in one small forum on one particular site.
There must be thousands of presents coming out all the time, enough for us to fill our kindles two-fold.
The mission, surely, is for us as readers to fill our kindles with good stuff. Work we want to read so we'll read it. I think this links with Steve Weddle's thoughts on pricing over at Do Some Damage http://dosomedamage.blogspot.com/2011/11/ebooks-bought-never-read.html a short while ago.
If everyone's giving stuff away, how can an author or publisher stand out from the crowd?
By writing great stories must be on the list. By working to the extent of our skill and then improving on that the next time. By getting hold of the best covers and the biggest social networks. Through advertising? Free sex with every copy? Trips to the moon if you buy-one-get-two-free and clean windows of a mansion every day for a year?
There have to be limits to how this all pans out. What the hell should they be?
I guess I'm asking for some help here. Point me in the noble direction. We are all prostitutes, but some sell their body more often than others. I'm happy to do the selling as long as I'm putting it about in the right places.
Back to my giveaway. I really enjoyed doing it. I'll be doing it again soon. I want to be read. It's my first objective once my writing's as tight as that mouse's arse (that's stolen, by the way).
I also picked up on a release from one of my favourite writers which I'd somehow managed to miss Dig Two Graves by Eric Beetner (probably trying too hard at my self-promotion to see what else was going on) and was sent a couple of new review copies which I can't wait to read at some point soon. It also put me back into contact with friends I hadn't been in touch with for a while. For all these reasons, it was a personal success. I'm looking forward to that next time. I'll keep you posted (naturally).