Let me say right away that I was delighted. I gather some people aren’t when it happens to their books, but you can’t please everyone all the time. I subscribe to the Daily Deal newsletter myself, and I buy a lot of ebooks from the site.
The Physic Garden was published in paperback and ebook form, by the excellent Saraband about a year ago. Sales have been steady but not astronomical. Reviews have been good, but not all of them glowing. It’s the kind of novel, I suspect, that you either love to bits or don’t really get at all. It got picked by the Sunday Times for one of their historical novel choices last spring which was very cheering. And I’m working on something else for the same publisher – really got my head down and working, which is why this is going to be quite a short post.
The Curiosity Cabinet has more reviews - although it has taken longer to get them. It still sells well, mainly because of the Outlander effect, even though it was first published years ago. (I know that it's a very different novel but I’m happy to be swept along in Gabaldon’s wake.) The Physic Garden is newer and a beautifully produced book with a lovely cover. I certainly think that helped on the day. I’ve heard of indie published novels also being on Kindle Daily Deals but I think that’s entirely in Amazon’s gift. Sorry to be unhelpfully vague but that’s really all I know.
What I do know though, is that it worked and it was hugely enjoyable. I did some promotion throughout the day, on Facebook and on Twitter, and so did the publisher. Some kind friends shared the status update on a few groups. After a slow start, the book started to creep up the rankings. I watched it with interest and then a mounting sense of excitement. I had to go out during the day, but when I came back, I saw that in that large category of ‘historical fiction’ The Physic Garden had started to shift. It was like watching a race. It slowly but surely overtook books by Jeffrey Archer, Philippa Gregory, Ken Follett and – good grief – the Poldark opus. I’d just bought the first Poldark novel myself!
By 11 pm, the book was still creeping up and my publisher and I were emailing each other. ‘Have you seen it?’ ‘Will it get there?’ I made another mug of redbush tea. Sat with the laptop on my knee, partly watching late night television (those programmes about extreme hoarders are very therapeutic. You think ‘well at least I’m not that bad.’) and partly watching the laptop. And at ten minutes to midnight, it finally hit #1 in historical fiction. Cue slight hysteria and a bit of jumping up and down. Had to go and wake slumbering husband to tell him about it.
Of course the golden coach turns into a pumpkin at midnight. That’s how stories work. But it’s great while it lasts and the resulting visibility at full price is so good. I’ve seen a knock-on effect of some extra sales with my other books too.
One of the nicest things, though, was a long, long thread on Facebook that started to take on a life of its own, and eventually stretched to more than 130 likes and a long string of comments from interested friends and acquaintances with people keeping it going just for the hell of it. That was a lot of fun and quite moving as well. Thank-you to everyone who joined in. I’d be very happy to do it all over again, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Finally, because I’ve mentioned Poldark, here’s an otherwise wholly irrelevant picture of Aidan Turner for all his fans out there. Any excuse. Me, I’m back in the kitchen with the white mice, sweeping out the cinders. Jeff Bezos may be an unlikely fairy godmother but I hope s/he pays another visit quite soon.
|A wholly irrelevant picture ...|