Several weeks back I had only my second Kindle Free Promotion days for my first novel Beauty Rising. I’m finally getting around to thinking through how it went. Here’s what I learned.
First, my first free days (2 of them) were two months after the release of my novel. I had built up some positive reviews by that point, and I went all out with promotion for my free days getting featured on many sites leaving, as they say, no stone un-turned. The results as I had shown on an earlier blog post were unbelievable – nearly 14,000 downloads. Amazing. #1 in Contemporary Fiction #2 in Literary Fiction. It peaked at #11 overall in the free category. It was beyond my wildest dreams.
Everything that others said would happen, happened. Sales took off after the free days. Reviews came in, but then sales began to tapper off again.
So three months after that in early May, I decided to try another 2 free day promotion. I did not expect to attain previous heights for a variety of reasons which I’ll outline below, but I was very curious as to how well I would do.
I contacted the same websites, adding in some new ones and did my best to get out the word about the free promotion.
Well, I was right. Not nearly as good, but still good. The downloads were only 1/7 what they were the first time around. Why? Well, a lot of the reasons were easy to figure.
1) When you use the approximate same sites, you start getting saturated to the point that everyone who wanted your book free has it already. The pool is smaller.
2) The website pool was actually smaller. In between Feb and May, as many have written about, Amazon changed their policy and their affiliates were required to significantly increase their referrals to Amazon on books that were not free. Therefore, some sites that exclusively promoted free books could not remain open anymore. Others had to become much more selective in who they promote.
But still, more than 2000 downloads for two days was quite satisfying for me. That’s another 2000 people who has seen my book cover, has seen my name, and have unconsciously tucked away in their brain any subliminal content from my book cover that tries to lure people to buy my future books. (OK, perhaps that last part is not true.)
So it worth it?
Yes. For an unknown author like myself, free promotion days still remain an excellent way to build exposure, and there is nothing more important than exposure for an indie author – except, of course, for a well-written, engaging book.
Will I do it again? I don’t know. It will be interesting to see how the Amazon affiliate changes effect the long-term outlook for indie authors like myself. It has become more difficult to get exposure in the short-term, but perhaps, as some people have suggested, that .99 will become the new FREE. That would be good for authors like me, and for the entire industry. A 99 cent book is like a candy bar for your soul – and it takes much longer to eat and digest. It might also mean that some ‘starving writers’ can eat too!
But for now, in my opinion, the Kindle Free Promotion has been the most powerful tool to build a readership for my future works.
Will it work?
We shall see.
Ultimately, I hope my success as an author comes down to one thing and only one thing: quality writing that readers want to read.
I’m working on it!