Friday, March 30, 2012

I Just Wanted to Share Some Pictures.

Most of these pictures were taken within the last week or so - and also, these are not the "artistic" pictures I like taking and posting every now and again (though I desperately need to do more of those). Really, this is kind of a, "This is more or less my life now. How is yours?"

S'more Cookie
A s'more cookie. Who WOULDN'T SAY NO?!

Best Frozen Yogurt Ever
I kept telling people, "It's some of the best ice cream I'd had in a long time." But no, it's actually
frozen yogurt.

Come on. Your jealous. (I know you're out there, tea lovers!)

This is a Public Park!
I was actually supposed to meet people here, but they ended up ditching me.
Was doing some separation, when all of the sudden...
Some completely unanticipated precipitate?

On the Way to Winter Park
Aren't those off-in-the-distance mountains fantastic? Now, imagine being up close!

Last Night's Dinner
This is what my friend made for dinner one night. FYI - there are totally french fries in with all of that.

Swin, little guy, swim...

...and one day, you'll turn into him.

Guest Posts and More Updates?

I feel like one thing keeps piling on top of another lately, which of course is why I've been so slow with the blog updates. The good news is that I did get a chance to do a little bit of writing yesterday - though not much - so I guess I am starting to get "back into it".

I have a bunch of pictures I've been wanting to post here - mostly of food - but I have yet to figure out how to actually get them from my phone to here. I was going to just post them on my flickr and link them, but I seem to have forgotten the email address I actually used for said flickr.

Anyways, I guest-posted the other day on Luke Wortley's blog. He's a pretty awesome guy, and I recommend everybody check out his webiste. The link to the guest post is here.

So...unless anybody has anything else to say, that's about all I have to say.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

February Sales Records

Obviously, February's Sales Records came out ten days ago, so I'm a bit slow on the uptake. But this is something I've been meaning to do, and may do every month. Why? Because I like sharing.

tl;dr - February was much slower than January, especially in the UK, probably because free promotions just aren't as effective as before.

Now, without further ado...

Amazon US Sales

  • Family History: Part 1:  4 Units Sold at 70% Royalty: $8.16
  • Family History: Part 2: 1 Unit Sold at 35% Royalty: $1.40
  • The Dowry: 5 Units Sold at 70% Royalty: $10.25
Total Amazon US Sales: $19.81

Amazon UK Sales
  • Family History: Part 1: 1 Unit sold at 70% Royalty:   £1.16 (~$1.84)
Total Amazon UK Sales: $1.84

The UK trend is troubling, because I haven't had a single sale in the UK since the week of February 11th, and even when I offered my entire library (minus The Night Life: Chapter 1) for free, each book only got twenty-something downloads. In January though, I did relatively well in the UK. So, what's going on? (Because I honestly have no idea).

Without giving away too much, things are better this month (though not substantially). A freak KDP Select Promotion Bug actually worked in my favor, so I'm doing about as well as I did in January. Other than that, though, there's not much else to report. So, I hope y'all enjoy, and I'll probably doing this again in a few weeks come March. Have a lovely Sunday.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Throughout the past few weeks, I have been a bit busier than usual. Two weeks ago, I put most of my energy into applying for an amazing position for the summer. The week before, I was away from home visiting my family, which ate up most of my time. And, for most of this week, I was busy preparing myself for some fairly tough exams.

However, when the obligations slow and you realize that you’ve been in bed for four hours watching others live their lives, the excuse, “I’m really, really busy,” no longer works. “I’m busy” becomes nothing more than an excuse for something else – laziness, procrastination, whatever you may call it.

Everybody may have some downtime, a period where there are fewer obligations, a time when the to-do list shortens. It’s nice to have some time off, too. It’s nice to have a few spare hours to surf the internet or watch a movie. Eventually, though, something comes up - we can't spend the entirety of our lives lulling about. 

But what happens when the time comes to get off the couch and take care of that next obligation, and you feel stuck? We may start lying to ourselves - "I'll just look at this one last link," or "I'll just watch one more episode." It eventually becomes a cycle - "Now that I've seen that episode, now I have to watch the next one!" or "That task really won't take me three hours, and I'll have plenty of extra time tomorrow." You promised yourself that you would start work at 7:00, and then 7:30, and soon enough, it's 9:30, you've been watching Desperate Housewives since 5:30, and you spent the five hours preceding that browsing r/askreddit links.

Or, at least, that's what happened to me.

Most of you probably slip up and do this every now and again. You procrastinate writing another chapter of your book or finishing that project. We all do it, and it's okay every now and again. But what happens when it gets out of hand?

I haven't done any work on The Night Life in over three weeks. My last real blog post was the Pi Day post on 3/14 (we're not counting the Norrgard/Blake guest post, because that was just a matter of copy-pasting from an email). I haven't even done any Twittering, not really (though I do check it now and again). My house is a mess, and I've told myself countless times that I would clean it "tomorrow" or "next weekend" - neither of which has happened so far.

The fact is, I know that I've had some form of depression for about 2.5 years. I'm not going to go into why or how it might have started around that time, though I will say that it is serious enough to probably warrent counselling. I don't know if it's serious enough to be diagnosed as anything truly serious, something other than a simple case of the moody blues. Though, the fact alone that it's lasted for as long as it has is probably a sign that it's a little more than just "feeling sad".

For some reason, though, this week has proven especially bad. Wednesday was the worst, and in fact, it was one of the worst days I've had in a long time. Without going into too much detail, I nearly broke things off with my boyfriend of three years because it seemed like what would be best for him. After all, how could such a kind, loving man want to stick around with somebody stupid, unattractive, lazy, messy, and of course, depressed, like me? Today, on the other hand, has definitely been the other "bad day" of this week, though no drastic, life-altering plans were almost put into effect.

I probably need to seek some kind of help, I know that. Like everything else, it will probably get pushed off to the side for awhile. But, for the first time in 2.5 years, I am starting to understand that this problem isn't likely to go away like I thought it would. Because even when I cleansed my life of the most problematic factors, my mood (unfortunately) did not change for the better like I thought it would.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Amber Norrgard's Interview with Russell Blake

Not too long ago, on another post, I mentioned a couple of upcoming guest posts. Granted, they were few and far between, but one promised was a guest interview of Russell Blake done by Amber Norrgard. The promised "date", if you recall, was "around March 1st". And a couple weeks later, finally, here is that promised interview:
Not too long after my husband gave me a kindle for our seventh anniversary (sigh... still the BEST GIFT EVER!), I came across an independent writer by the name of Russell Blake.  In June of 2011, Fatal Exchange was Blake's only novel, and was avail only in e-book format - and with its low price, what did I have to lose? Well, for starters, I lost a great deal of sleep the night I started reading Fatal Exchange, due to the fact that I could not put it down. After finishing what was one of the most amazing, not to mention unique, thrillers I had read in over twenty years of being a literary junkie, I sent a tweet to Blake on twitter letting him know how much I enjoyed it, and asking him when his next novel would be available. Fatal Exchange was the first of many novels I've written reviews for, and after almost a year, still one of my favorite of Blake’s work.  One thing has changed, and that is Russell Blake has pulled the incredible feat of THIRTEEN novels being published in just ten months, and the only thing cookie cutter about any of them is the amazing genius behind it.  So I am very happy, and quite honored, to have interviewed Russell Blake on the occasion of his thirteenth book going live, as well as to kick off a guest blog tour.
The thirteenth novel is The Voynich Cypher, and I can tell you firsthand that it’s an amazing read, in the tradition of The Da Vinci Code and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but at lightning pace.
Where did the idea from Voynich come from?
I wanted to write something different than my customary conspiracy-driven thrillers, and I'd always had an idea floating in the back of my mind for a Raiders of the Lost Ark kind of treasure hunt as the basis for a book. When I finally decided it was time, I started looking for something that was real, and would lend itself well to a mystery, and I remembered a discussion with a buddy of mine years ago about this obscure medieval document written entirely in code that had confounded cryptographers for nearly ever. One thing led to another, and pretty soon the first 20K words were written.
Voynich seems to be grander in terms of details on real places.  How long did the research take for the novel?
Hundreds of hours. On the Voynich Manuscript itself, on geography and history, on cryptography, you name it. It was a TON of research.
Will we see Dr. Cross again in a later work? 
I think so. I've already got a glimmer of an idea in my noggin. Just need to sort of let it steep for a bit until it's got more substance.
You always seem to have several work in progress projects lined up. What's up next for you? 
I'm putting the finishing touches on the sequel to King of Swords, tentatively titled Revenge of the Assassin. That should launch end of April/early May. Then I'm thinking the sequel to Fatal Exchange, and then a sequel to Delphi, and then probably a sequel to Voynich. The protag, Dr. Steven Cross, is the protag from my Wall St. thriller Zero Sum, so I think he's going to feature in a few more books over the next year or two.
What made you start writing?  Is there an author who inspired you to write?
You know what? Probably Stephen King, and John Grisham. Because they made it appear easy enough that I foolishly thought, “I can do that.” I think Ludlum and Forsyth influenced me a lot as a reader, but I really think when I first sat down to write, I was thinking, “I’ll write The Firm, and A Time To Kill, and be done by lunch.” Needless to say, there’s more heavy lifting to it than that. I’ve spent the last twenty years figuring that out.
You've stated in previous interviews that Al from the Geronimo Breach is one of your favorite characters.  Will your readers be seeing him again?
Boy, I don’t see any reason to reprise him at this point. Because part of his beauty, his symmetry, if you will, is that he is what he is, and the more situations you put him in to draw it out (milk it) the less like he is that he necessarily has to be. Al’s essence is that he’s almost irredeemably flawed. How can you have him evolve in Geronimo, and then come back in book two, without him being the new, improved Al, which to me spoils some fascinating part of him; or have him not evolve, in which case he stops being interesting, and just becomes a regression to his loathsome and reprehensible self? I think the interesting thing about Geronimo is that it’s a road novel. A journey, in which the protag changes over its course. Hard to sustain that without becoming formulaic. And I’d rather not do sequels if I feel the character hasn’t got something to carry the second book. Some characters, like Steven Cross of Zero Sum, or Michael Derrigan in Delphi, or ESPECIALLY El Rey and Romero Cruz in King of Swords and Night of the Assassin, beg to be reprised. So I plan to. My new one, The Voynich Cypher, uses Dr. Steven Cross from Zero Sum, and continues with a new adventure. Next one, Revenge of the Assassin, is an El Rey/Cruz book. But more Al? I just don’t see it at this point. When I sit down to write, I always have a little voice in the back of my brain that asks, “Why? Why this, why now?” And I can’t think of a good reason for Al to share more about himself than in that one book.
How long did it take you to write your first novel, Fatal Exchange?
About 18 12 hour days. Not counting rewrites.
You seem to have a wealth of ideas.  How do you come by them?
Tequila. No, honestly? Tequila. And I am naturally skeptical of everything and everyone, so I assume that I’m being told a lie whenever I hear anything, until proven otherwise. That lends itself nicely to thinking up alternative explanations, which brings me back to Tequila.
What do you do in the mornings to get yourself woken up and going?
I feel a constant sense of unfinished work, and a fascination with what I’m going to write next. Not in a creepy, ‘I’m standing outside of myself watching my fingers type words I can’t later remember’ kind of way, although we’ve all had that – right? But I am excited to get the story out. That’s why I write like I do – very intense, 12 to 15 hour days of keen focus. I wake up wanting to get the scenes out. Hard to explain. That, and a sense that I’m making progress and getting better at my craft. I feel like a kid, when you’re looking at the teenagers going, ‘I can’t wait to get there.’ I can’t wait to get to the next chapter. I realize that sounds completely weird, so maybe I should change my answer to cocaine and hookers. I hear they can keep you awake…
Do you have any writing quirks?
No. I am in every way normal, other than the nude ice dancing thing and the preoccupation with Latvian and Estonian prostitutes, and of course, battling world domination by clowns, and their chimp minions. What’s a writing quirk, by the way? Nerdy fetishism of some sort? Just curious…
What do you think of books that are later made into movies?
Depends. Silence of the Lambs didn’t suck. Most do. I tend to write in a very cinematographic style, so I’d love to have some studio squander millions ruining one of my books. I personally think that either Banderas or Del Toro should option King of Swords, because that book, and the rest in the series, would be their Die Hard or Terminator. So call them. Please. Really. I’m not kidding. I think William Morris Endeavor reps Banderas. I could get you the number…
If you were going to be stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you take with you?
Anti-clown weaponry, Latvian and Estonian companions (those count as one, right?) and Tequila. Although I’m assuming there will be a three star Michelin restaurant with a rotating menu there, right? If not, I could probably give up an Estonian in exchange for food…
What three books are on your "to be read" list?
Groan. I really don’t have one. It’s too embarrassing. I have at least 16 books on my kindle now, 8 of which I was sent for a “browse” which I am months behind looking at. So much as I’d like to appear deep, and claim the Dalai Lama’s latest (I assume he is still pumping them out) is on there, I have nothing for you on this one.
What is the best thing about the town/city you live in?
Are you kidding? It’s frigging Meheeco, baybee. Beach, warm water, cold beer, blue sky, easy living and friendly natives. Summertime, and the living’s easy. You want California dreaming/endless summer? Come to the pacific coast of Mexico. Just try not to get beheaded by the cartel enforcers. Puts a damper in your day.
What book could you read over and over again?
David Foster Wallace. Infinite Jest. Like going to church. More on a single page than most authors can muster in a career.
What is your favorite band or musician?
Boy. So many bands. Rhino Bucket, album one. AC/DC, the Bon Scott years. Stevie Ray Vaughn. T-Ride. Stanley Jordan. Jean Luc Ponte. Holdsworth. Queen. Floyd. There are just too many. May I also say I haven’t heard anything worth listening to in a decade? I know. I’m an anachronism. But it’s true. Sorry Snoop. Dre. Eminem. Even you, Beyonce, and you know I have strong feelings for you. But you aren’t the Beatles or the Stones (and how is Keith Richards still alive?) or even Bon Jovi. Sorry. Hope the billions soften that blow. Tough love.
What book do you think is a necessary read?
Necessary? Again, hard to say. The Magic Mountain. Infinite Jest. PS Your Cat Is Dead. The Holographic Paradigm. Day of the Jackal. Ludlum.  Anything by Le Carre. All for entirely different reasons. Essential for what reason? Entertainment? Style? Philosophy? And of course, all of mine. In no particular order. I’d buy them all to be safe. Wink.
What advice can you give to newbie independent authors?
You probably won’t make it. Odds say you won’t. Overwhelmingly. So write out of ego, or a need to tell a story, or pride of craftsmanship, or some ephemeral drive you can’t describe, but don’t do it to be a hit. Do it to tell the story you need to tell, in as vital and competent way as you can. That’s the why. The how? Read and reread The Elements of Style. Then you can toss it. But only once you’ve internalized it. Especially, rule number one. Eliminate unnecessary words. Meaning tell the story as clearly and eloquently as you are able, in as direct and efficient a manner possible. “To be or not to be” is infinitely more eloquent than two paragraphs saying the same thing. And the other how – force yourself to write, every day, no matter what. No whining or sniveling. Nobody’s holding a gun to your head. You want to write? Be a writer. That means write. And do so better than anyone else – or at least aspire to, and put in the work to be better every day. Appetite comes with eating. So eat. Every day. Be your own harshest critic – your internal dialogue should be ruthless, and demanding. Push yourself. Constantly. You are either shrinking or growing. Stasis is death. You want a ticket into the game? Be the player that is worth calling onto the field at the bottom of the ninth. Make your work a small miracle for those who read it. Less is, well, less. 
Having said all that, delight in crafting sentences that resonate - that nobody else could have created. Because in the end, that’s probably all you’ll have from the effort other than an ulcer, a fat ass, and lasting bitterness. And twelve cats. Can’t forget those. Mister Mittens will not be denied. Trust me. Humans won’t want to be around you much, and the animals only because you feed them. And their love will be conditional and temporary.
 Other than that, it’s a pretty fulfilling gig.

You can connect with Russell Blake at the following: 
twitter: @BlakeBooks
Russell Blake is the acclaimed author of the intrigue/thrillers Fatal Exchange, The Geronimo Breach, the Zero Sum trilogy of Wall Street thrillers, King of Swords, Night of the Assassin, The Delphi Chronicle trilogy (The Manuscript, The Tortoise and the Hare, Phoenix Rising), The Voynich Cypher (March, 2012) and Revenge of the Assassin (May, 2012).
His first satirical non-fiction work, How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated) released to rave reviews from literary luminaries like Lawrence Block, John Lescroart and David Lender.
His second non-fiction book, "An Angel With Fur," is the true story of Lobo the miracle dog and is an international bestseller.
"Captain" Russell lives on the Pacific coast of Mexico, where he spends his time writing, fishing, collecting & drinking tequila, playing with his dogs and battling world domination by clowns.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day!


...that's actually all I know.

Some brief information on Pi (if you don't know): Pi is the ratio between the circumference and diameter of a circle. As in, if you were to take the diameter of a circle and wrap it around a circle, it would take 3.14 times to create a full circle.

Pi is also involved in pretty much every calculation involved in a circle - area, circumference, and volume (of 3-Dimensional shapes) and is overall quite a useful number.


The really awesome Pi day won't come until March 14th, 2015 (3/14/15). The really really awesome Pi day, however, passed us by years ago - 3/14/1592.

Anyways, I also have a few random, miscellaneous announcements to make: firstly, being that the blog Flurries of Woods made Family History: Part 1 their "Book of the Day."

Secondly, and far less importantly, is that one of my posts made the front page of Reddit's r/askreddit. The post itself? Right here. And no, I've totally NOT been watching "Happy Days" these last few days. NOT AT ALL.

Sunday, Monday, Happy Days....

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Personal KDP Select Experiment, Part 2

First off, to anybody paying attention, I'm sorry I haven't posted anything since March 4th. All things considered, it's been something of a hectic week, and I just haven't made time for other things. For those interested, tl;dr: Applying for badass smart-person job in research for the summer, application requires a lot of work, oh, and I got a new iPod. (Not that the latter has anything to do with anything.) Don't worry - I've made hardly any time for Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and even The Night Life.

Anyways, on Sunday, I made a post about how I put everything (excluding Chapter 1 of The Night Life)up for free just to see what happened. I managed to post some preliminary free download numbers, but, because of a glitch in the system, they weren't the final numbers.

If I remember correctly, the glitch was fixed at about 5:00 MST.

Anyways, numbers:

US Downloads
  • Family History Part 1: 425
  • Family History Part 2: 361
  • The Dowry: 95
UK Downloads
  • Family History Part 1: 26
  • Family History Part 2: 28
  • The Dowry: 23
Germany Downloads
  • Family History Part 1: 4
  • Family History Part 2: 5
  • The Dowry: 1
If I recall, Family History Part 1 made it into about ~#33 in Contemporary Romance, while Part 2 was ranked at about ~50-60 in the same category.

If you read Sunday's post, you'll notice that nothing changed dramatically from expected. However, the part that was unexpected were the sales that followed.

You see, I'd gotten so used to nothing in a day, that what happened immediately after the free downloads stopped was somewhat shocking.

12 people bought Family History Part 1 and Part 2 on Sunday.


I thought that the downloads would continue, but alas, that wasn't meant to be.

On Monday, one copy of Family Hisotry Part 1 and Part 2 was sold.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, one copy of Part 1 each day.

And now? Nothing.

So it goes.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Personal KDP Select Promotion Experiment.

First off, I would like to thank everybody who commented/gave me feedback on the KDP Select Promotion Survey results. The post caught fire, and even after it left the front pages of Reddit and Kindle Boards, it still continues to get views pretty frequently, which is amazing.

Also, considering it was so popular, I'll probably look into doing another poll sometime later this month. Obviously, people enjoy numbers and pretty graphs.

Just to get an idea: this weekend, I got three new followers on my blog, 3 comments on the blog (very rare for me), a few more on Reddit and Kindleboards, and ~500 views on the survey post on Friday (and many more yesterday). Also, the link was retweeted about four or five times on Twitter (also rare for me), and I received another like or two on Facebook.

Again, I can't thank everybody enough, especially those who spread the link around.

Anyways, yesterday, I did my own personal KDP Select Experiment, one that probably won't interest everybody as much, but is nevertheless interesting (at least to me). I put everything - meaning The Dowry, Family History Part 1 and Family History Part 2 up for free. Of course, there were some qualifications, to make sure that one didn't get more exposure than the other.

  • I told nobody - this was completely unadvertised.
  • All books were free on March 3rd, 2012.
Also, here's what I expected to happen.
  • The Dowry, of course, would kill in the free downloads (just like in the past).
  • Family History: Part 1 would get about a third of the downloads of The Dowry.
  • Family History: Part 2 would get hardly any downloads.
The results were not what I expected. Not at all.

The reason I assumed that The Dowry would do so well is because it's always done the best during free promotions. Of course, maybe I just happened to put it up during all the right time frames; however, you can't argue with facts. The first free promotion I ever did, I did with The Dowry, and it got over 800 downloads between the US, UK, Germany, and France. The very next day, I put Family History: Part 1 up for free, and it received a measly ~250 downloads. When I put Family History: Part 2 up for free a few weeks later, it received even fewer downloads.

(An aside: if I learned anything from my KDP Select poll, it's that I suck at giving away books, at least compared to others.)

What actually happened (and note, apparently, Amazon is a little slow on the uptake today, so I'm actually STILL having people download things for free! Tsk tsk, Amazon!)

In the US:
  • Family History: Part 1: 332 Downloads (as of 10:55 am MST)
  • Family History: Part 2: 287 Downloads (as of 10:55 am MST)
  • The Dowry: 85 Downloads (as of 10:55 am MST)
In the UK:
  • Family History: Part 1: 25 Downloads (as of 10:58 am MST)
  • Family History: Part 2: 27 Downloads (as of 10:58 am MST)
  • The Dowry: 19 Downloads (as of 10:58 am MST)
  • Family History: Part 1: 4 Downloads (as of 11:00 am MST)
  • Family History: Part 2: 5 Downloads (as of 11:00 am MST)
  • The Dowry: 1 Download (as of 11:00 am MST)
Those results are very different from what I expected. My only real hypothesis for why this might have happened this way is because people were excited to see they could get an entire series free, and not just one or the other. Plus, I actually only just put The Dowry up for free last Saturday (in the US, it received about 219 downloads), and maybe most people who were going to get it had downloaded it already. It's tough to say.

Either way, I'm pretty happy with the results. I'm even okay with the fact that people are still downloading the stories for free (but seriously, tsk tsk, Amazon). More exposure for me!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

KDP Select Promotion Poll - RESULTS!

If you've been keeping up with good ol' Predicted Hindsight, you may have noticed that I announced a poll on KDP Select Promotions. The point was for as many authors, ones who have done KDP Select Promotions ("free days") to participate in the poll and report their results/opinions. One week later, let's take a look at the results.

First off, not as many authors participated as I was hoping. I was hoping for a larger sample size, at least one-hundred authors. I got about 40. It's okay, but it's not great. Oh well. Perhaps if I were somebody like Konrath, I might have actually gotten a larger sample.

So, if you're not satisfied the results, and you didn't take the poll, then you have nobody to blame but yourself. :)

With such a small sample size, I feel the need to add some qualifiers before displaying all the colorful graphs. First off, links to the poll were posted in Reddit (r/writingr/write, and r/selfpublish), Kindle Boards, and my personal Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

Second, you'll notice that many of the people reported doing their free promotions Between December 16th - 31st, and February 1st - 15th. Considering the poll was made last Friday, February 24th, I suspect that many people who responded to the poll are either very experienced with Self Publishing and crawl these places for various information, or are newly self published and are crawling these places for information, and may not be as likely to return as time passes.

Third, I received a few comments that I should have added an "unsure" option to the yes/no questions, so some of the answers to the yes/no questions may be slightly inaccurate.

Fourth, I use Microsoft Excel only on occasion, so I know some of my graphs (particularly the scatter plots) are kind of funky. I apologize for this.

Now, let's move on to the meat of the poll: the results.

Once again, forty people responded to the poll. Between the forty respondents, there were 299,852 total free downloads reported, with an average of 7,496 downloads per person. 

Let's take a look at the first question: "What was the start date of your earliest free promotion?"

The above data is pretty self-explanatory. As you can see, the more reported dates are the second half of December and first half of February. Obviously, due to the small sample size, the difference isn't really that significant, but it's definitely worth noting.

Now, let's touch briefly on the second question: "How many days did your free promotion last?" Spoiler alert: nobody does four-day promotions.

Again, the above data is pretty much self-explanatory: people love two day promotions, and four day promotions are pretty rare.

Now, for the real data, the whole reason I did this poll: "How many downloads did you receive on the first day?"

The reason I'm showing graphs for the number of downloads for the first day only is because, as shown above, everybody organizes their free promotions differently. Some people use one day at a time (like myself), while others use their five days all at once. It doesn't seem right to throw all that data into a single graph, especially when you think of cases where maybe one person got 700 downloads during a single-day promotion, while another got 1000 downloads over a five-day span. Logic dictates that the former author was more successful in their promotion, though the data would show the second person as being more successful.

Obviously too, you have strange outliers - like that person who had their book downloaded 21319 times on Day 1 (and 52438 times all together throughout a 3 Day Promotion). So, I redid this graph, but took out the four people who had 10,000+ downloads on their first day.

I have no idea if those "trend lines" actually tell us anything. I was hoping it would maybe show data for average number of downloads vs. time (and I was expecting this average to decrease with time, mostly due to the number of free books out there nowadays), but really, I think there's just too small of a sample size to begin hypothesizing such theories. 

Also, these were the graphs I could not make to save my life, so I'll help you out: the data points appear in vertical columns, because I never asked people for exact promotion dates: merely ranges. The first vertical column is for people who did their promotions during the first half of December, the second for people in the second half of December, the third column for people who's promotions took place in the first half of January, etc.

Now, let's move on to the final three yes/no questions. I'll post all three at once, then discuss them at the end.

Agh, sorry that this last one appears larger than the others. Gross.

Personally, I actually found these yes/no questions to be the most interesting part of the entire poll. Why? Take a look: all three of these questions were answered with 80% Yes/20% No. 82% of people reported seeing a noticeable change in sales (we'll assume a positive change, since I saw no indication in the comments section that mentioned otherwise), 80% considered their promotions to be successful, and 80% plan to remain enrolled in KDP Select (of course, note that some people were unhappy with the lack of an "unsure" option, so it's difficult to say how these answers would differ had I had the foresight to put in that answer). 

Quickly, I will note that CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION. Did you notice the scary bolded, italicized, and underlined text up above? In case you did not, let me say it again, though this time, in Large Rainbow Colors:


In other words, we can't automatically assume that everybody who saw a change in sales saw their promotion as successful, and everybody who saw their promotion as a successful plans to enroll in KDP Select. One person may have seen the promotion as successful even with few sales, because he's just happy that people have access to his work. Another person may have seen their promotion as successful, but was only using KDP Select as a tool to get attention to their work immediately following release. Even though the end results all appear similar, we actually don't know whether that's just coincidental.

Also, allow me to pull a few responses from the "additional comments" section.

"I think the promotion was a success in that some sales came that may not have happened without it. But it was modest all the same. Regardless, I don't think it's a good idea to leave a book in KDP-S for more than one 90 day period. Using it for anything other than to launch a brand new book, before you place it on other channels, is just stupid, IMHO."

"It was interesting watching the numbers rise although mine never particularly took off on this first go at it. What was weird was that I had 6 sales 3 days after the promo but these came up as zero royalty so must have been late editions to the promo. I will remain in it and keep trying it as I have nothing to lose. I think the key is to get on something like Pixel of Ink."

"Better than I expected. Actually, fantastic."

"I like KDP select, but I've had enough requests from Nook readers to make me think it's a temporary thing for me."

"Very positive- I am enrolling all of my titles in KDP Select."

"January was a good month to go free, but... subsequent promotions have had dismal results with diminishing sales "after free" even though "freeloads" were fairly consistent (lower level than the first, but consistent)."

"All it did is get me one stars from people who complained about the theme of the book, which is stated quite well but since it was free they never bothered to check. Free does not work. Actually, it did do something. It made me raise my prices."

"Prior to Select, none of my books were selling well at all. I've now done this with four different titles with four different outcomes. The level of success varied wildly, but each time I was left better off than I was before."

"The problem with Select is that it follows the same model as regular book sales. Before, people were buying bestsellers. Now that they have Prime, they're borrowing bestsellers. Free promotions were more effective via Smashwords and Amazon's price-matching. I consider my experience with KDP Select a failure and I feel that an independent author needs books over many different distributors as opposed to one exclusive distributor that is offering no additional marketing or promotional value."

So, there you have it people. Mixed successes, wild variations in the number of downloads, etc. Feel free to add your own comments below, whether they're about your experience with KDP Select, your number of downloads, or your opinions on my sub-par polling skills. :)