Wow! The KDP Select Giveaway Experience

I’m excited to say my first KDP Select giveaway experience was a success. It thrilled me, amazed me, astounded me, and left me dizzy. If you follow me on Facebook, you might have thought I’d been hitting the wine bottle after reading my frequent updates, but I promise no wine was involved. I was just giddy from following the download numbers for The Brevity of Roses.

I’m excited to say my first KDP Select giveaway experience was a success. It thrilled me, amazed me, astounded me, and left me dizzy. If you follow me on Facebook, you might have thought I’d been hitting the wine bottle after reading my frequent updates, but I promise no wine was involved. I was just giddy from following the download numbers for The Brevity of Roses.

I apologize for the length of this post, but some of you may be considering such a giveaway for your book, so I think it’s important to share my experience. Also, some of you invested your time to spread the word or cheer me on, so I thought you might be interested in the results.

I don’t know why I didn’t think to check the rankings at the Amazon stores in other countries, but I didn’t, so all the action I’ll cite was for Amazon US, and all rankings were for free Kindle books. Here’s how it went. The ebook’s price was supposed to switch to free at midnight PST on Wednesday, but I stayed awake until 12:30 am and it hadn’t changed, so I went to bed.

My promo blitz began when my pre-scheduled blog post published at 5:30 Thursday morning. When I woke about 7:30 I announced the giveaway on Facebook and Twitter. I forgot about Google+ until later. I had not arranged to have the giveaway promoted at any free Kindle book sites.

However, I want to say right here that I have the greatest “tribe” of supporters ever!!! So many of you shared my announcement on Facebook, Twitter, and I don’t know where else, that I don’t think I needed any help from strangers. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Seriously, THANK YOU.

I was afraid to check the stats at first, so I didn’t see them until 8:30 Thursday morning. At that time, Brevity had been downloaded 665 times, and I ranked #30 in contemporary fiction and #60 in contemporary romance. (I forgot to note the overall rank.) I thought those numbers were great. Little did I know.

All day Thursday, Brevity climbed in the ranks, taking a big leap around 2pm that first day. From 6-7pm PST, it reached its peak download speed, averaging 12 copies per minute! By 7pm, 6,623 people had downloaded the book. It ranked #5 in contemporary fiction and #6 in contemporary romance. The overall rank was #25, and it sat at #24 in Top 100 Kindle ebooks, and #20 in Top 100 Fiction.

I was exhausted from all the excitement and last checked the stats at 11pm before going to bed. At that time, it had moved up one notch in all those ranks, and had been downloaded 8,014 times! I truly couldn’t believe that.

The second day, I started tracking stats at 7:00 am. The first stats I recorded were 9,023 downloads, it ranked #5 in contemporary fiction and #5 in contemporary romance. The overall rank was #17, and it was #16 in Top 100 Kindle ebooks, and #14 in Top 100 Fiction. That meant Brevity finally appeared on the first page of free downloads. Yay!

In all, Brevity maintained its ranking at #5 in contemporary fiction and contemporary romance for nineteen—19!—hours! I can’t tell you how unbelievable that was to me. Trying to wrap my little brain around that literally made me dizzy. By 2:30 PST on Friday, the book had been downloaded 10,733 times! And then, in the next hour it took a mystifying leap to #3 in contemporary fiction and held that spot for five hours.

As the timer ticked off the final hours, Brevity descended a bit, settling back in the #5 spot in contemporary fiction, dropping to #12 in contemporary romance, then rising again to #8, and staying there to the end. The final tally for US downloads was 12,604. Add to that 1,184 in the UK, 58 in Germany, 2 in France, and 1 in Spain for a total of 13,849 downloads worldwide!

Since these were free downloads, I earned no royalties from them, but the EXPOSURE, oh my! I feel like Brevity finally got a chance to be a contender. Of course, the lure of FREE means that not everyone who downloaded Brevity will actually read it. But even if only 30% read it, that’s nearly 5,000 more readers! Can you imagine?

One thing I’d been warned about beforehand was that I might see a few bad reviews after the free promo, I don’t know why that should be, but on Friday morning when I saw that my review count had increased by one, I was afraid to look. My fear was unfounded; it was a lovely 4-star review. A bit later, I received an email from that person saying she’d bought the book on Thursday and stayed up until 2am Friday to finish it. Now, wasn’t that just the cherry on top?

Oops … I embarrassed my mother!

“Linda used the F-word in her book! And here I’ve already told my friends at church to read it.” This is what my mother said to my sister in a wake-up phone call yesterday. I had sent my mother a copy of Brevity, and she started reading it as soon as it arrived. My sister works nights, and I can imagine my mother watching the clock until she thought it was safe to phone my her.

My mother is 87 years old. She’s also forgetful. I warned her mine was not a book her elderly, Christian friends would like. (Though they probably all watch the same soap operas she does, and you can see and hear “everything but” on those.) But she’s proud of me and couldn’t resist a little bragging—at least that’s my take.

Once upon a time, I was in a critique group session when the topic turned to the advisability of using four-letter words in your writing. At that point, the most vocal opponents had read only chapters of Brevity that contained PG dialogue, so I cringed when I heard them express their opinion that only weak writers resorted to using curse words.

Don’t get the wrong idea. My writing is not rife with words to turn my mother blue. Out of 87,351 words, I used some form of the “F-word” 13 times. Even damn appears only 21 times. I don’t think that’s out of line for contemporary fiction aimed at adults.

I do not cuss—all right, I slipped once and said, “Damn it!” But I see nothing wrong with my characters using expressions that would come naturally to them. Renee, one of my Brevity characters, is a streetwise bar waitress. She’s outspoken and has a temper. I think it would be laughable if she said, “Oh shoot!” or “You darned jerk!” or even “That frickin’ idiot.” In other words, she wouldn’t speak like me. I don’t even use the euphemism frickin’.

So yeah, I embarrassed my mother, but she still loves me. I think.

Your turn: How do you feel about “street language” in fiction? And why?