Today marks the first anniversary of the publication of Healthy or Else. It was my first and, so far, only ebook. It was listed as an experment not too long after I discovered self-publishing. I think I tried to list it on one site, but nothing came of it. Then I discovered smashwords.com and listed the story on that site. I didn't expect very many people to find it, but the number of downloads in the first couple of days was slightly better than I expected. My initial expectations were soon borne out, however, and the story sank into oblivion. I tried to promote it a bit, but nothing happened. I assumed I had done something wrong in the applications, did a little more research and found manybooks.net and feedbooks.com, and listed the story on both.

The initial response to the new listings sections was better than Smashwords. The reason being that the story was displayed in the new listings section for a longer time. Smashwords publishes so many new stories every day that they get buried quickly. Soon after the listings in manybooks and feedbooks Healthy or Else was listed in Barnes and Noble and other ebook stores in Smashwords' distribution channel. Barnes and Noble has a good free ebook program, and my story did pretty well there.

About two months after the story was published downloads from Smashwords took off. Over the course of one weekend there was close to 300 downloads. At the time that was a lot. Up until then there had been about 120 downloads from Smashwords, and I hadn't yet received the first reports from B&N. I had to search the Internet to find the reason for the surge of interest, and found the story was listed on getfreeebooks.com. It was one of the directories I thought I had made a mistake on the application form or misfiled. At the time I was not aware it had a long waiting list for applications. The wait was well worth it, getfreeebooks kept it on the front page for four or five days, and downloads continued to be strong for weeks afterwards. Smashwords became the best site, in terms of number of downloads, thanks to getfreeebooks. It also prompted me to put some more work into finding ways to promote the story.

Three weeks later Healthy or Else was listed on memoware.com, the first site I had tried to list it on. Memoware must also have a long waiting list, or not approve many stories for listing, because not a lot of new fiction has been listed since. Memoware is a volunteer site, specializing in the PDB format. PDB’s are supposedly becoming obsolete as it is replaced by the ePUB and Amazon PRC formats, but I was very pleased with the listing for two reasons. The PDB format poses a lot of problems for automated translators, so it is especially nice to be listed on a free ebook site that provides a fully formatted edition. Although the format is ageing, shall we say, there are still a lot of Palm and other devices using the Palm O/S in circulation, and hundreds of readers have downloaded the story from Memoware. It has been a good site for me, and I am grateful for the listing.

There was an upsurge in downloads around and after Christmas, probably because millions of new book readers were given as Christmas presents. Since then downloads have slowed to a trickle, but the story has been around for a while, and I am always pleasantly surprised to see it is still being downloaded. Being listed on so many sites helps, of course. Just recently downloads ticked above the 6,000 mark. That is not an overwhelming number, but certainly far exceeds any expectations I ever had. The actual number might be higher, as that figure does not include bibliotastic.com and any copies people made for their friends.

If  anybody reading this blog is one of the people who downloaded the story I would like to thank you. You encouraged me to write and publish again. I hope you enjoyed reading it.

I should have published other stories by now, but I have been working on a novel. Every time I think I am close to finishing it, I find a problem with it and defer publication. It will be posted one of these days. Hopefully soon. I have ideas for a couple of other stories I would like to write.

 


Comments

08/10/2012 11:53

Thanks for posting, I had a quick look at your article and found it very interesting

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