Monday, June 24, 2013

Free Kindle Days – Are they worth it?

My novel, COYOTE WINDS, was inspired by my father’s stories of growing up in eastern Colorado during the Dust Bowl years. In honor of my father, I decided to run two FREE KINDLE DAYS on Amazon starting Father’s Day, June 16, 2013.

For those of you unfamiliar with Free Kindle Days, if you sign up for KDP Select (Kindle Direct Publishing Select), you agree to offer and sell your ebook exclusively on Amazon for 90 days, and in return you earn higher royalties on some foreign sales.  Plus you may offer your book for free (or at a very low price) for up to 5 days during each 90 day period. 

The goal of Free Kindle Days is to get your book into the hands of more readers. Since nothing sells books better than word of mouth, these readers will hopefully become more mouths to spread the word.

The Free Kindle Day program has become so popular that there are thousands of free ebooks offered every day. I wondered if COYOTE WINDS would be discovered in such a crowd.

I choose my dates about a month in advance and contacted various websites which list and promote free books.  It helped that COYOTE WINDS had a number of 4 and 5 star reviews. I had also just won two prizes in book contests. Some of the sites I contacted were

Ereader News Today
Here’s a link to Galleycat's listing of more sites:

I woke up early on the first free day and emailed practically everyone I knew. I also posted on Social Media sites. Then I waited and watched. 

I got a few emails from friends and acquaintances saying they had downloaded the free copy.  (Ahhemmm, they waited until it was free?)

I searched and found that COYOTE WINDS had been listed as a “highly rated free ebook” on several sites including --

My “sales” started off slow, may 20 to 30 an hour.  By about 2 PM on the first day, the ebook had been downloaded about 190 times. The pace picked up to about 60 an hour. I was thrilled. By the time I went to bed, the total reached around 650, including sales in the UK, Germany, even one in India and one in Japan. Cool. 

The next morning I was disappointed that my sales had slowed back down to 25 an hour. I felt like old news on the second day.  I set my expectations at about 1000 total downloads and started my workweek.

Somewhere in the early afternoon, sales skyrocket. 
Between 1 and 3 PM there were more than 1000 downloads, and it didn’t stop there. COYOTE WINDS jumped into the top ten downloads for both Historical Fiction and for Teen—Literature and Fiction.  By 4 PM, it was number 1 in both categories and in the top 40 of all free Kindle downloads.  

It was exciting, mysterious and a little scary.  What had made the sales jump?  The NSA might know, but I certain didn’t.

By the end of the second day, free copies of COYOTE WINDS had been downloaded 4,465 times, including 14 in the UK, 8 in Canada, 4 in Germany and 1 in each of Spain, Japan and India.

Wonderful, but those were free downloads. The real question is what happened to sales since.

I decided to keep the ebook price low, at $2.99.  I had been resisting lowering my price because I felt it cheapened my work.  But my goal is to find readers, so I gave it a try.

In the week since the Free Kindle Days, I have sold more ebooks than I had in the four months before combined.

Two new 5 star reviews have been posted.

And maybe some of those other 4,465 downloaders will become readers and word-of-mouthers.

So was it worth it – those Free Kindle Days?  Absolutely yes. I am sure 99.99% of those who downloaded the novel would have never found it otherwise.

I will update my report again after 30 days.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Upcoming Events

Please join me at one of my upcoming events.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 6 to 8 PM, Wine & Dine with Authors – Readings by Five Local Authors, Redwood CafĂ©, 8240 Old Redwood Hwy. Cotati, CA 

Sunday, July 14, 2013, 2 to 5 PM, Redwood Writers Launch Party, Readings by 20 Local Authors, Flamingo Hotel, Santa Rosa, CA

Sunday, July 21, 2013, 4 PM, BOOK PASSAGE, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera, CA More information

Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 7 PM, Hot Summer Nights With Local Authors: YA/Children's Panel, Copperfields Books in Montgomery Village, 775 Village Court, Santa Rosa, CA  More Information

Sunday, June 16, 2013

COYOTE WINDS Kindle version free today and tomorrow

It's Father's Day.  Since COYOTE WINDS was inspired by my father's stories of growing up during the Dust Bowl, I want to honor him by getting the novel into the hands of more readers The Kindle version of COYOTE WINDS is free today and tomorrow on Amazon.

Yes FREE. $0.  

Please spread the word.  

There’s no limit on downloads, but the special will end Monday, June 17 at midnight.

First Place for Historical Fiction, Purple Dragonfly Book Award 2013

Honorable Mention, Green Book Festival Awards 2013


5 Star Review from ForeWord Reviews—“Sedwick … creates authentic moments that showcase the American West in the 1930s… Sedwick reminds readers that people are profoundly affected by their time and place, and many of her characters embody that…Part of the novel’s strength is how fluidly it reads considering its depth. This is no heavy-handed historical novel. Rather, readers will be drawn into an engaging story that broaches serious questions about family, the American spirit, and hope.” 

5 Star Review from Compulsion Reads –“Coyote Winds is a vivid and beautiful portrait of two very different worlds… Sedwick pens this story so well that I could see the Vincent farm, hear the chickens pecking at kernels and feel the coyote winds blowing across my face.  This book pulled me into its grip in the first chapter and didn’t let go…Coyote Winds is a must-read.  Its simple beauty struck a deep chord within me that is still humming with the sound of the coyote winds. 

“The story transports readers to a bygone day when dreams died hard and indomitable spirits struggled to endure.  You’ll taste the sand in the air and feel the heartache with these unforgettable characters shaped by a gritty American landscape that will linger in the memory long after the dust has settled.” --David Schweidel, author of Confidence of the Heart and What Men Call Treasure

“There are days when I tire of being a reviewer, but then along comes a book like Coyote Winds by Helen Sedwick that makes me feel excited about my role. Coyote Winds  is a bittersweet story, full of sadness and hope… Carry it with you. Make it a top priority to read.”  Allison Hunter, Allison’s Book Bag

“Coyote Winds is engaging and provocative.  The book tells the story of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl in a way that encourages readers to think and to want to know more.  It helps us to understand both the harshness and the beauty of farm life on the southern Plains.”--Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, History Professor and Chair, Iowa State University, author of Rooted in Dust and Always Plenty to Do, and contributor to Ken Burns’film, The Dust Bowl

Friday, June 14, 2013

First Place for Historical Fiction In Purple Dragonfly Book Awards

COYOTE WINDS won First Place for Historical Fiction from the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards.  I am all  smiles.   Purple Dragonfly Book Awards 2013