At the start of the month, I released a new story, Gray's World, on Smashwords. It's a science fiction story, one which I had submitted to some magazines and which they rejected. That was a few years ago when I was still struggling to figure why my novel wouldn't sell either.
Recently I realized how to fix the story. So I did and released it. I saw one tweet about it and since then people have been downloading it at a steady clip. Currently, as of this morning, I see 89 downloads in only two weeks. That's my best performance so far out of about ten stories in Smashwords. If this continues it will the first story of mine to break 100 downloads.
While all that is great my question is why? Do people like to read science fiction more than fantasy? I'm thinking yes. Did that one tweet make a difference? I'm thinking, maybe. Is words of mouth a factor? Possibly but I have no way to know. Or is it the time of year? Would the same story released in April or June be showing the same results? No way to know.
And this is where Smashwords breaks down. While readers can post reviews, what is really needed is a way for writers to talk to readers about likes and dislikes. What motivated selecting one story over another. I'm thinking that the mere fact that the story is free is an overriding factor. I have no doubt that if the prices was $0.99, I'd be blogging about something else today because the number of sales would be zero.
So I am left with more questions than answers. All I can do is keeping watching the performance of all of my stories and hope an answer presents itself.
Keep writing everyone.