To be honest, the Splatter Elf stories have done a lot better than I thought they would so far. They’ve gotten mostly good comments and people seem to like them. At 99 cents a pop though, they’re the lowest price I could put for a short story. You have established writers out there selling full-length novels for 99 cents at times. It’s hard to compete when you’re virtually unknown and writing extremely niche fantasy. The issue I had with Splatter Elf from the beginning was getting it to my target audience. Who was the target audience?
Shit if I know.
For me, I just thought it would be people that like humor and blood mixed together. Fans of South Park, 80s action movies, Peter Jackson’s early work, and sword and sorcery. So far, I’ve found out there are people that dig this style I’ve come up with. But most are on the fence about it. They don’t know what to expect and they figure there are three titles now, so it’s harder to make a decision if they want to start something they have no idea about.
Hence the free promotions.
I’ll show a rare “behind the curtains” picture from my Kindle sales.
If you look here, that long, long blank spot of nothing is from the end of December to almost the end of January when I did my free promotion. I hadn’t been talking about Splatter Elf much other than around Christmas time, which got a few sales. However, when I did the free promotion, people spread the word and presumably some downloaded all three stories. I didn’t get any money out of it, but what I’m hoping is these 100+ downloads will lead to some more reviews.
The reason I think most writers do free promotions is for this reason. They want people to read their stories and down the line, pay for their next story or novel when it comes out. Less and less people are doing free now though because I guess they presume it means the writer thinks there stories aren’t worth money. It’s kind of the opposite for me. I do think they’re worth at least 99 cents, being that they’re short stories, but they’ve also been out for a while. Instead of just letting these stories sit there and rot, doing a free promotion at least gets them in people’s hands.
Do downloads equal reads? No, certainly not. I’ve downloaded free or really cheap things in the past and they haven’t been touched yet. I’m guessing a lot of other people do this kind of “book hoarding.” They have loads of stuff that they’ll eventually get around to. My hope is that something about my stories catch their eye and push me to the top of their To Be Read list.
One thing I’ve definitely noticed is “being present” helps when promoting. This doesn’t mean constantly spamming necessarily (unless that works for you), it just means being in view and not hiding for months at a time (of course I’m mostly talking about internet presence). I know it can be frustrating for some to give away something they worked hard on for free, but it doesn’t bother me. Splatter Elf is a labor of love, a passion project, so I’m just happy anyone is reading this weird ass shit.
And if you’re curious, I’ve got a shitload of Splatter Elf projects coming down the pipeline (free and otherwise) so keep an eye out here and my Splatter Elf Facebook, my two main sources of news.