It was a sad day for writerdom when Oprah Winfrey went off the air. Gone was the dream of winning the lottery beyond the lottery. If publishing a novel was a miraculous stroke of good fortune, Oprah was the Power Ball. She turned any novel she touched into a bestseller. By stepping down, she left a powerful void. Not that most of us stood a chance of getting on her circuit, but she took the dream with her when she went.
Enter Amazon. There’s a new holy grail for writers, and it goes by the name of The Kindle Daily Deal. This is the shot of nitrous oxide that can vault pretty much any story into the top 20, often the top 5 on the Kindle store. For one day, Amazon discounts an ebook to $1.99 or thereabouts. There’s no discernable algorithm for who gets selected; it seems to be partly random and partly based on a book’s prior performance. You get an email asking if you’d like to opt in, and you regain consciousness a few minutes later. Once the shock wears off, you reply with a resounding “yespleaseletmesacrificeagoatforyou.” And then you hope and pray that you’re selected. You wait. You dare not dream too big. You make vague allusions to huge news you can’t talk about on Facebook. The consternation and confusion of your readers offsets the frustration you feel for not being able to say anything.
What happens next is the equivalent of having the largest chain of bookstores in the world switch out their window displays to feature your novel. Every single store. Except now those stores are in every home, on every laptop, every computer, every tablet, every smartphone, and every Kindle. With the push of a button, Amazon can do what it would take an army of bookstore employees to do. It’s all digital. No plannagrams. *Pop,* and you’re a hit.
WOOL was featured as the Kindle Daily Deal on Saturday, October 6th, 2012. I’ll never forget the day. I watched as my book shot from #200 to #1 in the Kindle store, and many other books have shot to the top from much further back. This is what’s so amazing about the Daily Deal. Someone else is enjoying the rush right now. Another person will wake up tomorrow to have the best day of their life. Another person after that. 365 authors this year. Every year. More on Leap Years. No threat of retirement or going off the air.
Unlike many promotions that see their magic wear off over time, the Daily Deal has the potential to get bigger and better as the number of Kindle owners increases. Imagine being the Daily Deal on Christmas morning. My heart bursts with joy for that future soul. It bursts with joy for every person who has been through this and for all those to come. This is like Oprah having an author on her show every day. And the weekends. No holidays. That’s the power of Amazon.
It was a fun day, lounging on the Daily Deal couch. Of course, I spent quite a bit of time jumping up and down on it like a loon. I even went Gangnam style, which lowered the worth of the internet a few notches. And as I make room for the next person, and they the next, all I can do is hope that all of my writing friends get a turn. It was easily among the top experiences of my young writing career. And one of the best days of my life.