They say don’t give your work away; don’t slave for months writing a novel and then give it away for free. Well, I’ve compromised a bit on this, and taken up Amazon’s free book promotion on three occasions, and as far as I can tell it definitely helps to attract new readers.
The first promotion was for my humorous read ‘The Pilates Class’, which was free for 5 days in February. I took some extra time advertising it on various free promotional sites, and had a total of 1087 downloads. The book made number 3 in the Amazon (free) Best Sellers and even now is selling better than it was last year. It gained extra votes and rankings on Goodreads and Listopia, and all in all I was pleased with the outcome.
The next venture wasn’t so good. There was a family crisis and I didn’t have the time to invest in advertising. My women’s fiction book ‘The Daughter-in-law Syndrome’ which was free for 4 days in March only gained 123 downloads. However, I did get a nice review on Goodreads (given below) and Amazon from Frank Parker, who was one of the 123, so thanks for that, Frank!
I can still remember my mother’s reaction when, aged 20, I announced that I was engaged to be married. It was my fiancee’s 17th birthday and I had made the proposal some six months previously. My mother believed I was throwing my life away, that the young woman she referred to as a ‘floosie’ was certainly not good enough for me. That was 54 years ago and ‘the floosie’ and I are still happily married. It took a long time for the pair of them to become reconciled to the fact of our love for each other.
I mention this to illustrate how easily I can relate to the problems faced by Stevie Turner’s female protagonist, Arla and her controlling mother-in-law Edna. After 30 years of marriage, Arla still feels ostracised by her mother-in-law and her husband’s two sisters. She is frustrated by her husband’s apparent indifference and his determination to support and defend Edna. Arla engages a counselor who helps her to analyse these feelings but it is only when her son, Stuart, introduces the woman he intends to marry that understanding begins to dawn.
I found all of the principle characters in this novel to be entirely believable. The nuances of relationships; the little irritations we accept rather than cause upset by pointing them out, the lies, not all of them little, we tell to justify our prejudices, are all well realised. I particularly liked Ric, the husband, and the way he and Arla interacted with each other.
Stevie has a section of her blog devoted to feminism and its heroines so it was a surprise to find that the woman in this story who plays the most important role in helping Arla and her in-laws to settle their differences is someone whose sole ambition is to be a stay-at-home wife. Stevie evidently believes in the importance of women being able to make such choices without being subjected either to peer pressure or financial constraints.
This is a book that will be unlikely to appeal to many men. Many women, on the other hand, will find much to enjoy in this perceptive analysis of contemporary family relationships.
Recently my other humorous book ‘No Sex Please, I’m Menopausal!’ has been free for 5 days this month. I was able to advertise it on several free promotional sites, and I was pleased to gain 802 downloads, bringing it at one point to number 1 in the Amazon (free) Best Sellers.
So, in short, I would recommend trying Amazon’s free downloads for 5 days. It certainly cannot do any harm! I’m going to put my new collection of short stories, Life, on for free at the end of June, so keep a watch out!