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The last few days were very special to Cecilia and I. Not only we received several new reviews of Countermeasure and Cuffed at Midnight on Amazon and Goodreads over the weekend, but we also decided to take a jump into the KDP Select pool. It was a decision we reached after a lot of discussion and after reading feedback from many other authors who have taken the same route.

In an attempt to put our novel in the hands of readers, we had tried many options and techniques. We even offered the book through our own site, allowing readers to download the book free of charge directly from our servers. After a whole month, there had been very few takers. We were somewhat disappointed by the turn out but not discouraged from trying other avenues to put our book in the hands of potential readers.

Back in April, after some struggles with the Smashwords extended distribution system, we had suspended the sale of both our independent titles from it. As expected, it took a month for the title to be removed from all premium distributors. Once it was, we were then free to embark on a new journey.

On Sunday night, we enrolled both titles (Countermeasure and Cuffed at Midnight) on KDP Select. Keep in mind that the idea here is to expose the novel and spin-off short story to a wider audience, not to capitalize on it. To put the books in the hands of readers who otherwise would not have seen or heard about it and, even if they did, they might not have given them another look just because it’s a brand new series by brand new authors.

We set up the promotional days to happen consecutively on the first week. Why? We didn’t know any better and it just sounded like a big bang type of thing. Yet, we had no big expectations. We assumed that if we got a hundred downloads we would still be better off than our past attempts at getting the book to readers.

So, this morning, only a few hours into the first day of the promotion, I checked the KDP dashboard after getting my cup of tea and readying myself for a full day of editing with Cecilia.

My first thought when I looked at the KDP dashboard was that something was broken or horribly wrong. I had no clue what the numbers were showing but I had not seen those numbers there before. Checking the description of the column, I realized it was the number of downloads of free copies during the promotion.

Calling Cecilia immediately, I relayed the numbers and she was as puzzled and giddy as I was. Over 500 people had downloaded it in the first 3 hours. We set it aside and tackled editing since we are in a rush against time to get To Russia With Love to our editor.

Yet, curious morbidity kept pulling at me through the day. Were we going up? Down? Flatlining? Not able to withstand the siren call, I checked again a couple of hours later and was taken aback by the staggering number of downloads.

With each hour, we would stop editing and check the numbers just for the sake of it and for a good chuckle. So far, over 9000 12000 people in the US and hundreds others abroad in the UK and Germany have downloaded our novel. We went from not being a blip in the radar to #5 #1 in the Romantic Suspense category in little over 12 24 hours.

I have to stress again that the purpose of enrolling in KDP Select was to make the story and characters known. As new authors, indies to boot, we didn’t have a strong enough platform that allowed for such widespread dissemination.

As much as there is controversy and discussion going around about the power Amazon has garnished over the years, nobody can deny that it is a wonderful tool for those in our position. How else could we possibly have achieved this reach in such a short time if not for Amazon? We had the book in every single possible outlet for months, we created a platform, websites, social media, and everything else in the new authors promotion checklist. We had fought to put the books in the hands of readers for so long and, in one single day, KDP select has done it for us, smooth and seamlessly.

There is no question that Amazon is a sales machine and, as much as people see it as a threat, to us, it has been a blessing. The high of being among the top 5 in our category or even among the top 100 in the US might just last a little while, but we will have had a lot of fun while it happened.

For those who haven’t gotten a chance to download a copy, do so! The promotion will end soon. After that, we will sit tight and wait for any reviews that might come from it, which is exactly what we hoped to take away from the experience. We want feedback, we want to hear readers’ likes and dislikes. We want to learn from each critical review, each rave, each rant, so we can make the next story richer, better, wilder. Whatever it is, it’s a win-win situation. Thank you, Amazon. Let the fun begin!