Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Flash Mobbing with Scott Nicholson

This is a guest post from my friend, thriller author Scott Nicholson, who is proposing an interesting experiment. Let's see if it works...


Can an indie author game the Amazon rankings with a flash mob?

In the old days, your paperback came out and you worked yourself into a froth, knowing you had 30 days to move the product off the store shelves before the next tidal wave of similarly disposable books rolled out. Your fever was fueled by the promise that your publisher would drop you if the next guy had better sales than you. Now all that has changed. With e-books, your window is as wide as you want and the bookstore is open 24 hours around the world and doesn't have the front entrance blocked by stacks of the same dozen bestsellers.

In my new novel DRUMMER BOY, a misfit kid is all that stands between an Appalachian mountain town and a ghostly Civil War troop, and he must choose between a world that doesn't want him and a world that wants him forever.

I'm thinking if I can get 15 or 20 sales in a single hour for DRUMMER BOY, it will crack the Top 100. So I picked Tuesday, May 11 at 3 p.m. EST as my flash mob hour, based on the phenomenon of a bunch of strangers pre-arranging to randomly meet at a given time and place. While flash mobs generally target physically locations, there's no reason for people to leave their computers for a digital flash.

Even if you don't buy the book, just logging into your Amazon account and clicking on the DRUMMER BOY page should cause some interesting effects on its "Recommendations" appearances. Since you're reading this on Joe's blog, you know he's been forward-thinking on ways to expand an e-book audience and outflank traditional publishers. I'll be happy to report back on the results of the experiment, including real numbers and rankings, which may help you decide to try a flash mob yourself.

Through some informal collective efforts, I've seen rankings go up for one-day blitzes, and if those sales could have been focused into a narrower time window, the results might have been been even more dramatic. Nothing sells books like being a bestseller.

Right now, the fun is in the experiment, but I am giving away the bonus zombie story "Dead Ink" or the autobiographical "Dead Cats and Rain" to people who buy the kindle ebook during that hour. I'll also be live-blogging it at http://hauntedcomputer.blogspot.com, which mirrors on my Author Central page at Amazon.

If inspired, please blog, Tweet, and Facebook it. The book link is http://www.amazon.com/Drummer-Boy-ebook/dp/B003F77EP4. You can get a "Beat it at Three" banner by emailing hauntedcomputer AT yahoo.com.

It's crazy, it's mod, and it's a free experiment in mass social-media psychology and book-pimping. And, if it's any enticement, it feels a little subversive.

Joe sez: For $1.99, buy the book. Let's see what this can do. Also, click on the "Tags Customers Associate With The Product" under the book description on the Amazon page. I've very curious how important tags are in a book's ranking.

If you miss the 3pm mob time, you can still buy the book afterward and keep the momentum going. This is a smart idea, and if only a dozen books sold in an hour is enough to crack the top #100, watch me steal this idea for my next two releases.

What are my next two releases, you ask?

They're two brand new, full length Jack Kilborn horror novels, coming to Kindle this month, and to print later this summer: