Some of those books made it into the top rankings (33, I think was the highest) of western or suspense contemporary romances but that was a lot due to having free days once in awhile. That used to increase Amazon rankings.It took me awhile to get the message that when a book would have say 1500 free takes over two days, then sell maybe 10, it wasn't working out to be a good idea.
Worse, people would tell me that a book looked good-- but they were going to wait for it to be free. I think that worked better for those who had a series of interconnected books where the first book would lead to sales of the others. Mine, although I had some sharing characters, were stand alone books and not series.
Learning as I went, I continually worked to improve covers, extended one book's length when I had to re-title it since the original title (one I liked) led readers to expect erotica-- and it wasn't. I also wrote a novella to finish out 2012 (Christmas story connected directly to From Here to There), while I continued to debate what to do with my historicals.
One thing I learned from this-- the only free books will go to friends or someone who might review the book. No more thousands at a time. Even if I still thought it was smart, I learned Amazon changed their system of ratings and free books didn't increase rankings-- only sales get your books into the upper echelons where they can be seen by more readers. It might seem writers want sales for the money, but it's important as a way to get rankings where books can be seen in searches.
Free books had another drawback as it began to create a mentality among Kindle readers that all they wanted was free. It's pretty obvious a writer cannot make a living at writing (not that many do) if they don't sell books. Like duh! But worse, you can give away thousands and still find your book disappearing into Amazon's black hole without regular sales. That's just the way the cookie crumbles-- or something like that.
Original concept to be cover for Sam and Abigail before I found out how disdainfully readers viewed artist painted covers. I still like it a lot-- but reality is a writer has to please the potential reader more than themselves. Readers saw a cover a writer painted as being amateur which meant by that reckoning that the book would be also.
So while I worked on covers that would appeal to readers while staying true to the stories, I debated what to do with the historicals. In January-February 2013, I wrote a second Arizona historical romance which follows Arizona Sunset three years later, some shared characters but a new romance. At that point, I was still undecided on bringing out those or the Oregon historicals due to marketing issues. Writing is something I will always be doing. I am currently researching the fourth Oregon historical romance. Publishing however, that is a choice-- one I had a hard time making where it came to the historicals.
The dithering is over. Arizona Sunset comes out August 31 on Kindle and hopefully the same day as a paperback. I added that hopefully because we ran into a small glitch with Amazon-- so much to learn and so little time. Adding to the complications is that work here on the ranch has been incredibly busy not to mention my getting a sinus infection which eventually led to the doctor and a prescription for an antibiotic--generic form of augmentin--which is nearly guaranteed to upset your whole system if it manages to cure the sinus problem.
More about Arizona Sunset tomorrow when it is officially published. The following video is on my motivations behind a book that is dear to my heart for a lot of reasons.