This year I decided to self-release a romance series I titled, The Sisterhood of the Ring. And because there were six novels in the series I decided to make the first volume free, as an audition, rather than supply the usual excerpt. At the end of September I released the first volume as both a Kindle release and through Smashwords. Since that time three more of the six have been released in the same way. The end of year figures are in, and though I'm not getting rich, I'm pretty damn happy. I noticed several interesting things I thought worth sharing. Total downloads for 2013 was 6787 The vast majority are the free download of Water Dance. That breaks down to: Amazon: 2500 Smashwords: 630 Barnes & Noble: 3237 Apple: 225 Diesel: 10 Page Foundry: 12 Sony: 173 While sales of the others in the series only amount to a few hundred dollars, this does show some interesting patterns. First, the number of downloads through B&N is significantly greater than Amazon. And while the number of customer reviews on Amazon for Water Dance is four, B&N resulted in eleven. Are they more responsive there? Seems so. But what matters is that every site but Amazon came as part of the Smashwords release package, which includes those sites. So while many may look down on Smashwords, what they offer is actually more effective in reaching readers than Kindle. That's something else worth noting. When you release a series, each new volume results in very few sales for that title, because readers, if that story sounds interesting, will, rather than buying, head for the first in the series—in this case the free sample. Will those thousands of free downloads for Water Dance result in sales of the other novels down the line? One certainly hopes so. I'll let you know. But one way or the other, tonight, I'm pretty happy tonight.