33,703 Readers Downloaded My Book in Three Days

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Almost 34,000 people downloaded my book in just three days! So I’m going to write a quick piece about the flurry of weekend downloads for Sister of Silence.
First of all, I should preface this with a disclaimer: I tend to become easily excited. My brood have often rolled their eyes at me, suggesting I calm down, when I’m super enthused about something that I can’t wait to tell them. That being said, there have been few times in my life when I was too excited to sleep. Too busy, well that happens quite often. Too worried, likewise. But I can’t think of many times when I was too excited I simply could not make myself go to bed.
Saturday night was one of these nights. By 9 p.m. 2,000 free e-books had been downloaded. The sale had been in progress for only 18 hours, so my adrenalin began pumping. I’ve never done something like this before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I thought 2,000 downloads were wonderful. By 11 p.m. 4,900 e-bookshad been downloaded. I thought I would wait up and see if the trend would continue, so I multitasked: snacked, did a few chores, commented to friends’ questions about how to download on Facebook, and texted my children. Within 30 minutes, there had been 5,600 downloads.
That’s when I thought like I actually might hyperventilate.
Because by then, my adrenalin was really pumping! And in just 15 minutes, the number rose to 5,900—300 more e-books! Sleep was nowhere in sight, so I just sat there and tried to keep my hands busy, so I wouldn’t keep refreshing Amazon’s KDP page—because every time I did, the number increased.
Sometime around midnight, I thought to myself that Sister of Silence had so many sales, it might have jumped from its ranking of 574,096 on Amazon to something higher, like 250,000. That’s when I saw it was number 80, out of the Top 100 Free Kindle list. By 2 a.m., I had texted my kids and a couple of friends, telling them the ranking was going higher: it was then number 43. And by 2:20 a.m., 8,600 books had been downloaded.
For the next two hours, I ran around the house, buoyed by all that excess energy, and kept refreshing the Kindle rankings page, as well as the free download page. I decided I would wait until 10,000 books had been downloaded. When it did, I forced myself to go to bed at 4:30 a.m. But I slept very poorly, and was wide awake again at 6:30 a.m. I felt hung over, even though I had not had a drop of alcohol, and desperately wanted to roll back over and return to sleep. But I couldn’t.
My text message to a friend told the tale: in just two short hours while I was sleeping, Sister of Silence had continued to climb, and was then ranked at number seven! And many more downloads had occurred. I can’t remember how many and my notes aren’t in front of me, but it was a lot. And my book was ranked number five!
By noon, I about fainted when I saw how the newest total. That’s because, less than 48 hours into the promotion, 23,000 copies of MY book had been downloaded. “Not too bad for a woman who published it herself,” my son wrote on his Facebook page.
When I reached Barnes and Noble Sunday for my scheduled 1 p.m. book signing, I didn’t know the book had continued to rise. A customer inside told me it was at number one. (That would later prove to be incorrect: it was number three in the overall Top 100 Free list, but number one in the categories of “sexuality” and “true crime.”) I immediately sent text messages to my children and a couple of close friends.
After the book signing, during which I managed to sell several books (author book signings aren’t known for selling many books when you don’t have an established reputation) and get two bookings for local book clubs, as well. Plus, a West Virginia University law professor and I chatted at great length, and he got a copy for a colleague, since he believes it contains good classroom material about violence against women. (How cool would that be, to add WVU to my list of colleges and universities using my book?!)
By the time I got home from the book signing, I was so exhausted I could barely think. But there were emails to read, including one from a woman in New Zealand who had downloaded my book. She heard about it from another friend who recommended it, and said she couldn’t wait to get started reading it.
This was just one of many such emails, or Facebook or Twitter comments. (I have yet to mention the Pinterest tie-in, which I only found out quite by accident.) I had to take a nap, but still had trouble resisting the refresh button, since the downloads were still occurring about 660 an hour. I slept, just barely, and had enough energy to get back up, answer more questions, and take, edit and then post screen shots showing readers how to download the free Kindle app for their device, as well as my e-book.
When I went to bed last night, Sister of Silence had moved up, to number two, and there were just under 30,000 downloads. I had no choice but to sleep, since I had to drive three hours to Charleston bright and early this morning. I checked the sales when I woke up, and that’s when I saw the total download number: 33,703!!!
With that, I want to thank everyone who made this such an exciting weekend! Not just by downloading my book, but by chatting with me and commenting on my work. Most important, for not being afraid to begin an open and honest dialogue about the serious themes I talk about in Sister of Silence. In doing so, I can promise you are helping other women everywhere break their own silence. And that’s even better than the number two ranking my book achieved, even if for a brief moment in time!
* * * *
Daleen can be reached at daleen.berry@gmail.com.
Editor’s note: Berry has expertise in overcoming abuse through awareness, empowerment and goal attainment, and wrote about Wanda Toppins’ murder in her book, after reporting on the case in 1991 when she worked for The Preston County Journal. Wanda was another Preston County woman who died needlessly, and who Berry wrote about in Sister of Silence.
To read the Sister of Silence e-book (or any other e-book), download a free app from Amazon for your phone, tablet or computer.
Berry’s an award-winning author, editor and journalist who speaks at conferences around the country. Berry was one of two keynote speakers addressing a national audience at “The Many Faces of Domestic Violence,” the 18th Annual Conference of the Association of Batterers’ Intervention Programs on March 1, 2012, in Anaheim, Calif. She recently spoke to social workers from all over the country at the “Hope for the Future: Ending Domestic Violence in Families” conference at the University of California, Berkeley.
Her memoir (paperback and as an e-book) can be found at bookstores everywhere, or ordered online. To read the first chapter free, please go to Goodreads. Check out the five-star review from ForeWord Reviews. Or find out why Kirkus Reviews called Berry “an engaging writer, her style fluid and easy to read, with welcome touches of humor and sustained tension throughout.”
If you want to read dozens of other five-star reviews, check out this title on Amazon. To view the Sister of Silence book trailer, go to her VintageBerryWine Youtube channel. For a mock up of the SOS t-shirt readers are demanding, check out Berry’s Facebook page.


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