What is it?
Many indie authors enter unchartered waters when they do a Free Book Promotion on Amazon. I did. Perhaps my experience will shed some light on what happens when you embark on this journey. KDP Select participation offers two, short duration, price based strategies. A KDP Countdown Deal and a Free Book Promotion.
Amazon seems to steer the author toward the Countdown Deal in which the author aims for low price (not $0.00) sales of the book. “Zon” gets a piece of the action this way. It’s a strategy that emphasizes “paid sales” which contribute directly to sales rank. Zon sets up a page that features all currently open Countdown Deals and reports on the price points and time remaining. So, the promotional strategy is to emphasize paid sales, getting royalties, and moving up in the Amazon best seller rankings. Amazon actively helps with a promotional boost.
In a Free Book Promotion, the author gets no such promotional boost, but the strategy is altogether different. By giving the book away, the indie author aims to get large numbers of their book out into the hands of readers where you can start to gather reviews, title recognition, and buzz.
I tried a Free Book Promotion in the beginning of February featuring my novel Missing Girls: In Truth Is Justice. I ran a “Fire and Ice Promotions” Twitter blitz and book feature with an interview and book excerpt on their website all through the month of December for $50. I wrote a Guest Post for JeriWB’s Book Bank website entitled Turning Play into Novel, the story of how this book came into being Jan 4 which ran for a week straight, received over 20 comments, and which I heavily promoted on Twitter and Facebook.
A Look At The Numbers
At this point, the original 90 day KDP exclusivity pact is completed and I have re-upped for another 90 day stint. I decided to clump my entire 5 day Amazon Free Book Promo into one week rather than splitting the days, and to run it before I had amassed a significant number of reviews. I only had two reviews, both rated 5 stars when I launched the promotion. I contracted with paid book promo companies to feature my book on their site on each of the five days and paid $225.00 for that. Here are the numbers: about 7700 subscribers downloaded an eBook free to their computer during the 5 day promo. 195 readers have purchased the book, borrowers of the book have read 97,500 KENP page equivalents, and readers have submitted 21 reviews to Amazon averaging 3.8 stars. 13 additional reviews were submitted to Goodreads.
My Take On The Results So Far
I have two novels on Amazon and a collection of short fiction and plays. I think my “Girls” cover is considered good, my story description enticing, and when people start reading, they keep reading. Missing Girls reached #40 in overall Free Book rank during the promotion, and sat briefly at #1 Free Psychological Thriller. Amazon has provided a fairly strong breeze at my back at brief times. They have included Missing Girls as a book that readers choose to read after they’ve read many of the books that are in the Top 100 in the Psychological Thriller and Crime categories, all the while that Missing Girls ranked within the top 100.
So, What Now?
I know I have to keep up with the writing, and get more books out there. Getting carried away with visions of grandeur is not warranted, but neither is gloom. I don’t want to let Missing Girls die on the vine if I can pique some more interest in it. What is your take on the stats for my Amazon Free Book Promotion? What is your own experience with free book promotion? I’d love to hear about it. Please consider sharing this post by clicking a social media icon below.