#1, #2, #3…

Those of you who know me will know that Gisborne: Book of Pawns had its first ever free promotion last weekend.

So what, you might say?

Indeed, so what?

It was an enormous thing for me to do as an independent author. The KDP Select programme is a scheme devised by Amazon to potentially give a book high visibility – a chance to advance in the ratings. For the writer, (more so for me because I am essentially an anxious individual) it is quite nerve-wracking because one worries if anybody will download the book to their Kindle. Or if one will have any sort of ranking. Or if any sales will follow-on to other books.

And then there is this advice:

“CONS – Before you put your book out there for free, wrap yourself up in thick skin because the reviews are coming … It’s widely known that when an author gets hundreds or even thousands of … downloads on their book, then they are almost certain to get some bummer reviews. A lot of readers download free books simply because they are free. They get books they wouldn’t normally read in genres they don’t know. And then they review your book. Get ready for it…”

So one sits there tracking the results with breath in mouth, heart beating roughly, head aching.

Perhaps I was lucky. I had thousands of downloads which propelled the book to Number #3 in historical romance at the end of 2 days. I was pipped from advancing any further by fellow Australian and good friend Lucinda Brant, and by Jane. When Lucinda told me ‘Jane’ had beaten us both, I said Jane who?

She replied Jane Austen.

I sat reading and re-reading her message. Jane Austen was #1, Lucinda was #2 and I was #3.

Really? Yes!

It will never happen again. My contorted gut tells me this, which is why I have a screencap of the result.

Thrilling though and it prompts me to think about doing a similar promotion with A Thousand Glass Flowers. ATGF is currently one of five finalists in the international 2012 Readers Favorite Awards  Whilst the winners are announced in September, the actual awards are made in Miami at the humungous Miami Book Fair, which I understand is the biggest book fair in America.

It would be astonishing to win a gold award, but to have been nominated as a finalist is marvellous too and the book will still get the highly prized Finalist medallion for its cover. ATGF was the most visual writing I have ever done; it played through my mind in ‘3D and surround sound’ – like watching an epic from Indian cinema, and for me this is the reward.

Now you can see why it was more than a ‘so what’ weekend. They don’t happen a lot but when they do, they’re very special.