It took me a while to convince Smashwords that iBooks had removed Witch's Blood, Book 1 from the Sci-Fi & Fantasy (SFF) category deliberately, and that my book’s disappearing act from the SFF category was not due to any algorithm. Well, it was when I discovered that the book had been moved to the Romance category (??!?!!) that Smashwords agreed to contact iBooks and ask what was going on.
And I only found out about the category swap because I was searching for books to read myself on Monday evening and checked out the Free Romance category... and there was my witch book, in the top 100 of the Romance category! It just looked so wrong in there, amongst all the contemporary romances and erotica-type titles.
My book is about witches and magic (and blood, of course), but it’s not a romance novel. The book does have some romance in it (what book doesn’t?), but its true category, for iBooks, is SFF.
It wasn’t until Thursday afternoon (UK time) that I was told that iBooks were sorting this mess out and that it would be fixed within 24 hours. A bit too late, because WB1 had dropped out of the overall Free iBooks top 200 chart by Wednesday evening, and then out of the top 200 of the Free Romance category by Thursday evening. I blame this on the incorrect changing of the book’s category. 100%. My reasoning is: most readers know what they like and what they want to read, and they will most likely check out the bestseller lists of the category they’re interested in, rather than the overall Free chart, which has a mix of genres. That’s how I use iBooks. If they want to read witch books, they’ll look in the SFF category, not Romance. Those readers looking for contemporary romance novels, which dominate the Free Romance category, will ignore books about witches, so of course my book dropped out of that chart within a few days. If your book isn’t in the place where people expect to find it, then your book won’t get seen, and therefore, won’t get downloaded. Discoverability is everything.
iBooks didn’t explain why they removed the book from the SFF category, the book’s correct category, at a time when it was doing really well in that chart (it was no.6!), and dumped it in the Romance category. The Smashwords rep I was liaising with suggested that iBooks were trying to help. He guessed that iBooks saw that the book was doing well and moved it to Romance to expose it to a different audience and boost downloads, after all, the book’s description mentions its got romantic elements. I say their interference did more harm than good and reduced downloads because it decreased the visibility of my book to its right audience. My husband says that it looks as though iBooks did what they did to prevent the book from doing well and keep it away from the no.1 spot and out of the top 10. Whatever the reason was, ultimately, it has cost me big time.
Now, I really can’t see my book return to the top 100 of the SFF category, let alone the top 10. If it hadn’t done so well initially, then it wouldn’t hurt so much now. And I wouldn’t have to live with this ‘what if’. What if iBooks had left my book alone? Could it have made it to no.1 in the Sci-Fi & Fantasy category? Would it have entered the top 10 of the overall Free iBooks chart? What if? Just, what if?
The only good thing now is that Amazon have finally price matched WB1 and its now free at the Kindle Store. Click this link to download it now for FREE from Amazon:
Thank you for reading this post. If you're interested in my debut novel, Chasing Pavements (Soulmates Saga, Book 1) click here to learn more about it.
Like all my other books, it's also available on:
iBooks | B&N Nook | Kobo | Smashwords
And the first two books in my teen urban fantasy/YA paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:
Amazon US| Amazon UK| iBooks US & UK | B&N Nook Store | Smashwords