Testing the waters - Karen Bush

It Only Happens In Stories
  A short story that is growing into a long one ...
          Last year I wrote a longish short story and published it on Amazon as a free giveaway over the Christmas period. The idea was to try and use it as a way of introducing myself to potential new readers and hopefully regenerating interest in my (paid for) collection of short pony stories.

          I meant to take it off again after the five days free promo, but being busy with other stuff, I forgot until a couple of weeks later. When I remembered, I checked - as one does - to see if any had been sold, and was pleasantly surprised to see that far from sales plummeting after 400 odd freebies had been downloaded, it was actually doing quite nicely, thank you. And what was more, it had garnered more reviews than any of my other books, whether digital or paper. All of them nice: the only negative comments were from those who hadn't spotted in the blurb that it was a short story rather than a full length novel.

          So, dear reader, what else could I do? The reviews and sales have been positive enough that I am currently developing it into a full length book, expanding the original story a little, and then taking it on from the point where it stopped.

          It strikes me that this has been a useful lesson. As much as an advertising tool, it has been a valuable way of testing the market for my book. If, after devoting much time and effort to writing something, your book then languishes unloved and unread, it is not only depressing but also means you are financially losing out. It's also a way of getting an honest opinion - and possibly a sounder one than from agents and publishers who don't seem to have any better idea than the rest of us about what is or isn't going to sell. The opinions are, after all, coming from your target audience.

          Hopefully there will now also be a ready made audience of readers who will want to buy it to find out what happens next. And hopefully, they will like it just as much!

Haunting Hounds
LIVING THE DREAM - Coming soon to a Kindle near you ...

The Great Rosette Robbery
In the meantime you might like to try these ...  


Hywela Lyn said…
Interesting post Karen, and I love the covers (but then I would, wouldn't I, they feature HORSES! :))

Great idea to publish the 'teaser' story for free and then release a longer version - especially with reviews in place to give it 'lift off'.
madwippitt said…
Thanks Hywela - I actually changed the colour of the horse in the story to match the one on the cover - I just really loved this image and thought it summed up the content! I'll be interested to see how sales go when it's a full length book.
Lydia Bennet said…
this is an interesting strategy! do let us know how it develops. Will people normally pay for a longer version of something they got for nothing, even something that looks and sounds as good as this and features horses!? I wonder if there's any way of finding out, unless you ask reviewers on amazon by adding comments. or just try it and see!
madwippitt said…
Well they've been paying for it even after the free promo period, Lydia - on average 2-3 copies a day. And the extended version includes a bit more back story and will then take it all forward, so they'll be getting a lot of new reading for their money. I did respond to a lot of the reviews, explaining this and those that replied were very positive about it.

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