Tornado Siren, has been live as an ebook for a week on Amazon for the Kindle, and a little less than a week on Barnes & Noble for the Nook, as well as on Smashwords.
I've done a little bit of the basic kinds of promo--I put out the word via Twitter and Facebook. I updated my Goodreads settings. I updated my web site and blog. Sent out an e-mail to my list (about 700 people), telling them that it's out and asking folks who have read it to consider posting a review on one of the online sites.
So, how's the experiment going so far?
The nice thing with ebook publishing is that I can actually look up numbers to find that out. Though that might also be a downside for a compulsive numbers guy like me. (Don't ask how many times a day I check.)
In the first week, Tornado Siren has sold 14 copies for the Kindle (13 in the US, 1 in the UK), 2 on Smashwords (and the sample has been downloaded 14 times), and none for the Nook. I didn't expect sales to be so heavily weighted towards the Kindle--does anyone actually use Nooks?
Also, my friends have come through nicely, and added a bunch of reviews to all of the sites, which I think might help. Most of the people I know already own paper copies of the book and have read it, so they're not likely to buy the ebook.
So, for the first week, with no big promo and no publisher behind it, this seems like a reasonable amount of sales. I guess. (I'd love to have it become a fabulous bestseller overnight, of course. Though I have to say that each book sold was a thrill. )
What happens next? Certainly the buzz to family and friends will die off in the next week or two, as people clear out their email inboxes. After that, I'm not quite sure how random readers are going to find this thing. Earlier this week, I searched for Paranormal Romances on the Amazon Kindle site (its default search is by "relevance"). Tornado Siren was on the list, but it was at number 707. I imagine I'm about the only one obsessed enough to page through to number 707. Since the book is self-published, it's not eligible for most reviews, plus the print version was reviewed (though those reviews aren't yet showing up on the Kindle site).
I might pick up a few random readers from my web site and blog (I get a few dozen a day, but probably a lot of the same people). I'm looking at other possible promo ideas--there are some book review web sites out there, with a focus on ebooks. I don't have a lot of cash to pay for online ads, and generally people seem to think they don't work. (I need to do more research on this.)
It seems like if your sales are high, and you can leap into the top 100 in your category on Amazon, you've got a good chance of continuing those sales. But without that start, I'm curious to see how I can get people to buy and read the ebook. Still, at least now it's possible. For more than a year, no one could read except if they checked it out from one of the few libraries that carries it.
I'll keep working on it, and I'll report back on my progress in a couple weeks. And also, a big thanks to those of you who have posted reviews or bought the ebook already! I very much appreciate the support.