Becoming Mother

A book and a blog for first-time mothers

Tag: Kindle

Week 23: Practicing Generosity


Last week, I wrote about practicing gratitude.

And if you’re truly practicing gratitude, generosity is sure to follow.

In the whole first year of my book’s publication, I sold about 150 copies.

Last week, I gave away 309 copies.


Let me explain.

Last year, I learned the Number # 1 Lesson of baby fairs and expos.

Everyone is coming for FREE stuff.

To try to convince someone to buy something at these events is almost impossible.

People were so confused when they would walk up to my table, their eyes searching for what they were going to walk away with. Hmmm… papers with words on them… Some books on book stands… Their fingers would slowly trace the tablecloth, their brains registering the fact that…

I really had nothing.

What I had were fliers, cards, and pamphlets with information on something that I wanted them to buy.


All the other vendors had enormous bowls of candy (regardless of the season) or little goodie bags filled with free magnets, pens, and pamphlets. The smart ones also had a clipboard to collect email addresses for “a chance to win this diaper bag” or basket of baby books, or whatever.


So this year, my approach at this past weekend’s baby fair was quite different.

I gave away my book. For free.

Kindle Direct Publishing allows me to run a free book promotion every three months. The dates of the most recent period coincided perfectly with a local hospital’s community baby fair. So I scheduled my promotion to run for three days, from Saturday, September 24th to Monday, September 26th.

I decided that I would give out half-sheets of paper with directions about how to get their free Kindle copy of my book. At the bottom of that half-sheet of paper, I politely asked for their Amazon review if they enjoyed the book. I also invited them to follow my blog by email.

Then, I told them to enjoy the book.

Their eyes lit up, their eyebrows arched.

“Wow. Thanks!”


“I’ll get it tonight!”


I didn’t advertise the free book promotion at all until Sunday, September 25th. I thought there might be a few people who would come across my book and download it on September 24th, but my main reason for beginning on this day was to have a buffer period for things to go wrong (i.e., Hey, why isn’t my promotion showing up on Amazon???) before the actual date when I need the promotion to be working.

So imagine my surprise when I checked on Sunday morning to see how many free Kindle books had already been downloaded.


97 Kindle books.

I wasn’t sure I was reading the graph right. I read it and reread it. I put my finger on my laptop screen and touched the line.


Holy shit.

Who were these people? Was there some special link that Kindle readers follow to immediately download new free Kindle books?

Whatever the reason, I felt incredibly grateful.

No, I’m not making any money. In fact, I’m still about $1500 in the hole for my accrued publishing and marketing costs.

But, hey.

By the end of this promotion, I had reached 309 new potential readers. Some of them will actually read the book. Some of them will recommend it to others. And some of them might even buy a copy for a friend.

Generosity makes the world go round.

Maybe giving away all of these books will lead to this book’s next big break.

Maybe it won’t.

But I feel certain that some new mom out there will end up with this book in her hands and feel comforted by its message.

And that makes the whole endeavor worth it.

“Becoming Mother” Book Update: only 2 weeks left!

So many victories in the past week as I press on to publishing “Becoming Mother: A Journey of Identity“! Here’s a recap of this week’s progress.

1) New followers! Thank you for joining me on this journey. You are why I do this.

2) Finished laying out the e-book in Adobe InDesign and (with great effort and a lot of time) converted the file to a Kindle-ready file. I viewed it on my own Kindle and through Amazon’s Kindle previewer (for newer versions of the Kindle) and the results are FANTASTIC. Even the pictures are crystal clear. This was no small feat. I have never done anything like this before, so I spent a lot of last week learning Adobe InDesign, asking questions to other writers in Google+ communities, reading Kindle guidelines, proofing, and even examining computer code in unzipped EPUB files. Oh, and asking my husband to figure out how make pictures scale-able in the computer code. Yeah. That kind of stuff will drive you bonkers after a while. But, oh, the things you’ll do for something you’re passionate about.

3) Proofread and edited the ebook three more times.

4) Added new content: “Initiation” and “Book Club Discussion # 3: My Body, My Choice.” More clicks on the “My Body” post. I credit that to the shot of my large belly that accompanied the post. Hard to ignore that.

5) Promoted my “What Labor and Birth Have in Common” post through Facebook promotions. Received a lot of traffic as a result of this promotion, but readers mostly just read the post and moved on. Not a lot of clicking around on other pages in the site. So I decided to go back to my original promotion, which brought readers to the “About the Book” page. I had a lower number of clicks on the ad, but a good number of people who clicked on the ad continued to look around the site. I figure quality is more important than quantity right now.

6) One of my previous posts, “We Don’t Care for Them Because We Love Them” was featured on Project Women‘s blog! If you haven’t checked out this website, take a look around. Lots of fun posts related to all things women! You can see it here.


Up next week:

1) Kindle Direct Publishing demands that I hand over finalized files for the Kindle book by Wednesday, July 22nd in order for the book to be ready for release on August 1st. What happens if I don’t fork it over? I will lose my ability to offer future books for pre-orders for a whole year.


But after all of the hard work from last week, the only thing left is…

2) Finalizing the cover. This is not a huge deal. It’s practically finished already. Suzanne has to do just a few finishing touches in Inkscape before saving it as a JPEG with the specified resolution for the print version and the Kindle version.

3) Add new blog content. I have some ideas, especially one that coincides with the milestone of handing in the files for the final review before publication.

4) Update my Goodreads account–it’s about time that I do this.

5) Take all 8 hours on Friday while Felicity is at daycare to do nothing but play non-productive video games (specifically old-school Final Fantasy VII. I know… What kind of mother am I? Sorry–the guilt trip won’t work on this one.) The real question is whether I’ll start a new game and spend the whole day just trying to get out of Midgar (not an optimal situation) or whether I’ll open one of my previously saved games (from at least four to six years ago) and try to figure out which quest I was supposed to do next. Sadly, I have even considered paying some bored teenager to come over and play this game for 12 hours just so I can get out of Midgar and begin the game on the world map. But really, if I’m going to pay someone to do this, they better build up all my materia to my standards. I should at least have the capacity to use Bolt 2 by the time they hand over the game to me…



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