Kobo updated their self-publishing portal to (finally) show free download numbers yesterday.

I released VIRGINIA DAY ZERO, a litle 6,000 word short, originally a self-contained sub-story within DAY ZERO that we cut in editing because it was unrelated to the rest of the book, for free on Kobo in February this year. (It price-matched free on Amazon in late May.) And largely left it be. It’s never been pushed or promoted at all, at least not as I recall, and certainly not on Kobo.

I knew it was being read by people on the platform because (before they seem to have pulled ratings) it was getting rated (only so-so), sat in the 1,000-2,000 chart range and there was a slow trickle of DZ purchases presumably following it. But I never knew the numbers. Kobo’s a smaller market than Amazon, so I had no idea what its pick-up rate was.


Roughly 20-25 a day at present (so presumably it spiked at some point in the past, I guess on first release) according to October’s figures. Add in Amazon numbers of roughly 5,000 and that’s pretty respectable. Pushing 30k downloads for one little short.

I’m aware that such figures are small potatoes for a good number of writers. I’m also very well aware that downloads =/= reads or readers. I could also point out that you can do the maths on the number of people who downloaded it, read it, and liked it so much they wanted to also read DZ, and that that fraction is tiny. (Either because no one reads all the free stuff they pick up, or because the story’s so bad that no one would ever want to read anything else I’ve written.) Less than 0.5%.

But still, I’m going to call that a success, goddamnit.

Now I just need ALL YOU LEAVE BEHIND to join Price Match Club and I’ll have a trifecta in three genres I can compare. Probably badly.