Yes, we want the sales and reviews, as much exposure as possible. Once the writer has decided to publish digitally(the fastest, cheapest way to go), the writer can choose Kindle Direct Publishing or another option like Smashwords.com, whether to charge or offer the book for free, making tedious format changes(no tab indents, single-spacing, blah, blah, blah), and buying or putting together a book cover. Let's do one more read-through! I found another bit of dialogue to fix. Let's go through the grammar and spell-check one more time. Go to the publisher website, put in your tagwords(mine always begin with horror, vampires, or ghosts), get the ISBN and other stuff, and upload the book cover. Take a deep breath and then upload the book file. Done? No errors? Good for you. Take a break. In my case, I usually have to go to work.
A few days ago, I uploaded my new ebook novel The Witch Box at Smashwords.com as a free download. When I returned from work, I did a Google search for different sites where I could promote my free books for free. There's many sites, but most only promote free Kindle books. Since I opted for Smashwords instead of Kindle Direct Publishing this time(only because I can control when my book is free at Smashwords. I had to set a price at KDP, the cheapest at 99 cents, but KDP chooses when my books at Amazon can be for free. A bit of a dictatorship, if you ask me), I have to search for sites that are willing to feature free Smashwords ebooks, not just Kindle ebooks. However, Smashwords ebooks are also offered in .MOBI format, which makes the book compatible for download on a Kindle. Smashwords has that universal appeal because of the various reader formats it offers.
I was up until past 1:00 a.m. that night, searching these sites, sharing my links where I could. I also sent out messages to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. The next morning, I got out of bed to check the damage. I had forty-five downloads in less than twenty-four hours. (Let's face it, the word 'free' is magic on the internet and almost anywhere else). I am grateful, but also nervous. As The Witch Box spreads to Nook, Kobo, and the iTunes store, maybe a few reviews will pop up. Some of the promo sites won't promote an ebook for free unless the book has already received several positive reviews, although the author needs promotion in order to attract readers so these readers will read the book and leave reviews. This mean the author has to pay for promotion to get reader reviews. Some of these promo 'packages' these sites offer are reasonable, but I would suggest just making as many Facebook friends and Twitter followers as possible; finding other authors, reviewers, and bloggers in the indie community. There's help out there, but it takes patience. Colonel Tom Parker only had one client and managing Elvis Presley was a full-time job. To be the artist and the PR manager is complex, and involves taking time off from one in favor of the other. The writer needs to go to another room to write. National November Writers Month, NaNoWriMo, will be here soon. I wrote most of The Witch Box during NaNoWriMo last year, but had to slow down by Thanksgiving and Black Friday, my job at K-Mart demanding more time. However, those three weeks were very productive for me. My time spent social networking will be greatly reduced, but my inner Elvis needs to come out. The Colonel can wait backstage. :)