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Ofering Free Kindle Downloads

Hobnob with Authors

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1dinga1949
May 29, 2012, 10:05am Top

I recently offered a free Kindle download for one of my novels during a five-day period. I was pleased with the results, but am curious if anyone else has done something similar and what kind of download totals they achieved to put my total in perspective. Would love to hear from you.

Thanks.

2GaryBabb
May 31, 2012, 11:17pm Top

How many requested your book?

3CANewsome
Jun 4, 2012, 5:31pm Top

dinga, I assume you are talking about the KDP Select free promo? I've done two separate one-day free promos. The first one was in December and I had 1600+ downloads. Afterwards, I had 200 sales above my expectations for that month. In February, I did another one-day promo. This one I advertised via
various Facebook groups, and a friend sent it out on Twitter. I had 10,300+ downloads and sold more than 1500 books more than expected for that period.

REsults vary widely depending on timing, how much you promote your free days, your genre and how attractive your cover and blurb are.

4edward.mannix
Jun 12, 2012, 5:27pm Top

CANewsome,

These are great numbers. Thanks for sharing. I have a couple follow up questions...

I am a new author and trying to get up the learning curve on online marketing. When you say you advertised via various FB groups - what does that mean? Is this paid advertising or making announcements or posts in group forums?

I have read some online bloggers who also got 10,000 or more downloads, and it is not clear to me how much of this is from their marketing vs. how much is from the KDP select program. Do you have a sense of how many downloads you attribute to your own marketing efforts vs. just participating with KDP?

Thanks in advance for any additional comments and insights.

Edward

5Marissa_Doyle
Jun 15, 2012, 5:16pm Top

This is a link to a blog post written by an acquaintance on this very subject--I think you'll find it interesting. Note that she started out with sales from a commercial publisher first, though: http://e-bookformattingfairies.blogspot.com/2012/06/free-books-should-you-or-sho...

6edward.mannix
Jun 17, 2012, 12:43pm Top

Thanks, Marissa. Interesting blogpost. If I am reading it properly, it appears a great deal of her gains are from participating in KDP select rather than her independent marketing efforts. Thanks again. Edward

7CGiovanni
Jun 17, 2012, 5:50pm Top

I appreciate that piece as well Marissa.

8mjenks6
Jun 19, 2012, 8:53am Top

Dinga, I ran a free promo for two days last month (running the other 3 days this week), and I had 318 free downloads, which I was ecstatic about, but which I found out is not uncommon for 2 days worth. In fact, it's a bit small! I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that people consider $2.99 too much to pay for an ebook, one with great reviews and great buzz. I don't get it. I know once my 3-day free promotion starts tonight, it'll be like pirhanas around a feeding tank, however. Oh well . . . publicity is still a good thing.

9LMHTWB
Jun 19, 2012, 10:47am Top

>8 mjenks6: I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that people consider $2.99 too much to pay for an ebook, one with great reviews and great buzz. I don't get it.

This gets back to the long discussion we had about readers trying new authors. Your book may be great -- I haven't read it -- but there are hundreds of thousands of self-published books out there for $2.99 with great reviews (some of which are from friends), and a lot of these books are less than good. As a reader, the problem is sorting through the actually good books from the supposedly good books. After a reader has bought and paid for a number of crappy books even at $2.99, the willingness to spend more money disappears.

10TimSharrock
Jun 19, 2012, 4:41pm Top

For those of you with more than one book out, offering one free may make very good sense. I downloaded Hearth: Exile while it was free, and enjoyed it, and would expect to buy the sequel - if it had been available then I would have bought it immediately.

11mjenks6
Jun 19, 2012, 9:49pm Top

I'm working on it, slowly but surely! (no pressure, no pressure . . .)

12edward.mannix
Jun 20, 2012, 7:43am Top

I'm curious - for those of you who have ran free promotions on kindle, what are the best days of the week to get the most downloads/exposure? I could imagine the weekend maybe, or maybe it's just the opposite and tuesday and wednesday are best?

Also, I read someone post on another blog that it's best to do all 5 days together, but it seems most people break it into a 2-day and a 3-day chunk.

Any experience or anecdotal evidence in favor of doing things one way vs. another?

Thanks for the comments. I'm gearing up to do my first free promos and really want to get the best results.

Edward

P.S. Has anyone run promos starting with zero Amazon reviews? Conventional wisdom says this is pretty important, but I'm wondering if it totally kills the promo or just leads to a slower start? Or maybe not that big of a deal... many questions. Thanks.

13mjenks6
Jun 26, 2012, 9:40pm Top

Edward, I can say without any hesitation at all that, believe it or not, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays were the best days for me, with Monday being not far behind. Sunday might get you a few, but NEVER do Saturday or Friday.

14CANewsome
Jun 28, 2012, 10:22pm Top

Edward re: #4
I have never paid for advertising. There are numerous FB pages and Twitter accounts dedicated to promoting Free Kindle downloads, as well as websites like Pixil of Ink. you have to send notifications to all these places. When I got my 10K downloads, it was after a friend with a huge Twitter following tweeted about my free book. Search the forums at KDP, they have numerous posts about this and even some lists of places to promote.

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin/182-4111652-6009658

15MelSabre
Jul 23, 2012, 6:50am Top

Hi all, there was some really good info here. Thanks to everyone that posted.

16GaryBabb
Jul 24, 2012, 2:11am Top

This is an interesting discussion, but I'm curious. Is there only a 5 day promotion or are there longer Free downloads promotions available? This would be great for me since I have 3 books in a series. Anything that would increase readers for my first book would or should really boost sales for the next two in the series and my other books.

17mightyscoo
Jul 28, 2012, 12:52pm Top

You can offer coupons on smashwords so that people can get the book for free.

18intisark
Aug 6, 2012, 6:22pm Top

I have heard (though I haven't attempted it) that you can set your Smashwords price to $0.00 and once it distributes to B&N etc, you can contact Amazon and ask them to price match, which they will. Then you can keep your book at free for as long as you like.

I also did a three day promotion via KDP. I noticed that my downloads dropped off on day 3, so next time I will just do a 2 day promotion. Over the three days, I had 1200 downloads. I promoted via my facebook author page, my twitter account, and my blog. I also had a couple blogs that were posting reviews those days, so they mentioned the giveaway on their blogs for their readers. I also posted at Kindle Boards, but didn't know about the other sites mentioned by CANewsome. It did bump my sales up for about two weeks, which was nice, and garnered me a couple more reviews.

I think the major effectiveness of this strategy is to have another book available that folks can go on to purchase once they decide they like your writing style.

19Tamelia
Aug 7, 2012, 3:09am Top

Hello everyone.. I'm going to jump in on this conversation with what little knowledge I have about Kindle Select... Amazon has changed its Algorithims on free downloads and how your book is placed afterwards. Back in Jan/Feb. many authors were doing VERY well after a one or two day free run on their books. There was about a 2 day lag between free run and placement afterwards, but the placement was pretty good. So after the 2 day lag on placement sales would be very good for about 3 days. Lots of visibility and lots of exposure for your book after the free run. In March/April Amazon started testing about three algorithims and the free runs did not do very well as far as sales go for most authors during that time. About May/June Amazon settled on an algorithim that is quite a bit different from the Jan/Feb one that boosted sales. Now, according to some Indie authorswho have studied and gathered info for months on this, it takes at least 3,000 or more free downloads to give the author any kind of decent placement on the popularity list after the free run. Anything below 3,000 free downloads really doesn't do much for sales. And sales are nearly as good even with the 3,000 plus downloads as they were back in Jan/Feb due to the algorithims Amazon uses for placement. Just my 2 cents that I've learned from those studying the program in depth. :)

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