Rhode Island author Sebastian Cole has given away 105,033 free eBook copies on Amazon.com of his debut novel, “Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love.” Cole has no idea if that's any kind of record or not. Amazon limits the number of days you can give an eBook away for free to five days out of every 90 days, and this is Cole’s first attempt at it.
Two weeks ago, Cole sold approximately 3,500 “Sand Dollar” eBooks on Amazon at $2.99. The paperback version of “Sand Dollar” sells for $9.99. Cole states that when you’re a self-published author, your books are primarily only available online, not in bookstores. And people won’t know to look for you online if they’ve never heard of you before. So the biggest challenge for indie authors is getting people to know you exist. After over a year of trial and error, Cole finally figured out the best way to market his brand, which was to enlist the help of free and bargain eBook websites. He wrote an article on the subject on his website, SebastianColeAuthor.com, entitled “What You Need to Know About Writing and Publishing Your First Novel.”
“Sand Dollar” has won numerous awards, including being the winner of the Beverly Hills Book Award, the bronze winner of ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award, a finalist in the International Book Awards, and a finalist in ForeWord Firsts debut literary competition. “Sand Dollar” has a rating of 4.4 stars (out of 5 stars) on Amazon with over 170 reviews, and the eBook version recently made the list of Amazon's top 100 best selling paid eBooks in the Kindle store.
Set in Rhode Island, “Sand Dollar” is about an elderly man's deathbed encounter with a hospital orderly, in which he professes his undying love for his soul mate and one true love, Robin, who also happens to be "the one who got away." As his family members arrive to bid him goodbye, Noah's story takes on new life, and he discovers a far greater truth about the past, present and future. Things are definitely not as they appear as the pieces of a shattered love are put back together in the remarkable final chapter of Noah’s life.
Although “Sand Dollar” is considered to be a romantic fantasy – a kind of cross between “The Notebook” and “The Sixth Sense” – the book distinguishes itself from other romance novels in its genre by its honest portrayal of life as a recurring tragedy – a roller coaster ride of sorts between joy and heartache – and the faith needed to overcome it. As a result, “Sand Dollar” is a thought-provoking, emotional read that, among other things, might even have you yelling at the main characters at times. And not only is it filled with plenty of twists and turns, but the surprise ending is a real shocker.
Sebastian Cole never intended on being a writer. He graduated from Brown University in the ’80s, then worked briefly in New York before returning home to Rhode Island to work in his family's business. Nineteen years later, he took a leap of faith and left the company to pursue his dreams, which has led him to where he is now: A novelist of romantic fiction. Cole writes from the heart, believing in true love, love at first sight, and finding that one person in life you’re meant to be with. Many have compared Cole to Nicholas Sparks, whom Cole cites as his favorite author and inspiration for becoming an author. Whether or not he ever achieves that kind of success, touching the lives of others through his writing has been the single most gratifying thing he has ever done.