Eighteen Hours with Amazon

Every so often you have a 24 hours that’s distinctly different from the normal course of your life. One little thing changes and it feels…odd.

Yesterday was a Tuesday. I did “Tuesday” things. We had made jars of yummy tomato relish the day before and I had a bag of ripe tomatoes left so I made some sauce, with garlic, basil and olive oil and salt and it’s perfect for pasta or pizza base and tastes lovely. We popped over to see my niece and her two lovely littlies for morning tea. And we got some of her wonderful big juicy lemons so we can make lemon honey later this morning. I left to pick up Lucas at about 2.30 and had a delightful afternoon of playing and chatting.

At around 6pm I checked my Amazon sale report for December, mainly to see how “Our Father’s War” is getting on, it’s rapidly closing in on 1000 downloads for December, which will bring it to around 4500 all told. What I did not expect to see was an extra 250 odd downloads of “The Secret Keeper” in what must have been no more than four hours.

So I went to the Amazon page and checked. Aha, it’s free. That explains it. Except it doesn’t, because less than three hours later it was back to 99 cents and yet it’s still selling and still climbing the rankings. As of a few moments ago it has sold over 400 copies and the rankings on Amazon are thus:

#443 in the Kindle store for all Kindle books, all six million of them
#14 for the genre of historical fiction sold on Kindle
#28 for historical fiction sold on Amazon, hard backs, paperbacks and ebooks

Yesterday morning it was simply ranked at around 55,000 in the Kindle store, it didn’t rank high enough for historical fiction rankings. SO what’s happened? The straight answer is I wouldn’t have a clue. Why was it free and then not free so quickly? Wouldn’t have a clue. Why are people suddenly buying it and will, presumably, read it? Wouldn’t have a clue.

I was told when I started this Amazon gig, and I read many many many forums, that it takes around 18 months for you to get a readership. If you promote and blog and keep posting new work you might eventually find people will want to read what you’ve written. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to buy a luxury yacht any time soon on my sales, but I’ve gone from less than a dozen in 14 days to over 400 in less than 24 hours for a book people are paying to buy.

On other fronts, the garden is growing and even the beetroot, who looked out for the count a few days ago, have perked up and decided to stay. Maud, Phyllis and Mavis are doing exceptionally well and will be ready to pick soon (they are the garen’s broccoli trio for new comers) and the blitzem does a brilliant job with the snails. The downside of so much lovely compost in the vege garden is the fact that it’s going to need serious weeding soon.

Lucas and I are preparing for our trip next week to see real crocodiles and alligators by playing with the toy ones in the wash basin. I asked what the crocodile said yesterday and he shrugged and replied, “I don’t know. I don’t speak crocodile. You’re the adult here.” Sometimes I wonder, I really do.

Today’s writing tips come from Joyce Carol Oates, an American author who has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize three times: 

1. Don’t try to anticipate an “ideal reader” – there may be one, but he/she is reading someone else.

2. Don’t try to anticipate an “ideal reader” – except for yourself perhaps, sometime in the future.

3. Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless!

4. Unless you are writing something very avant-garde – all gnarled, snarled and “obscure” – be alert for possibilities of paragraphing.

5. Unless you are writing something very post-modernist – self-conscious, self-reflexive and “provocative” – be alert for possibilities of using plain familiar words in place of polysyllabic “big” words.

6. Keep in mind Oscar Wilde: “A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.”

7. Keep a light, hopeful heart. But ­expect the worst.

(P.S. Today I have a ‘light, hopeful heart.’)



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