We all like to know what kinds of promotions have worked for other people so that we can decide which promotions we’re going to try for our own books. With that in mind, here is my experience using the KDP Select free days in May 2015.
My chick-lit book, LittleMiss Lovesick, first came out in 2011. Recently, as I’ve focused on my superhero series, sales have dropped to almost nothing for Lovesick. I decided they couldn’t go lower than zero, so I removed the book from other distributors and signed it up for KDP Select.
In the interest of experimentation, and because I was busy getting my online class on self-publishing ready, I did nothing to promote the book after I put it into Select. (That’s the same amount of promotion I was doing before it was in Select. 😉 ) For the first 2 1/2 months of the 90-day program, the book did about the same as it had been doing. I had a total of one Kindle Unlimited borrow and one sale in eleven weeks.
I decided that to get more downloads, and therefore more reviews, I would use the free days rather than the Countdown Deal. I set five days free in a row from Tuesday, May 19 through Saturday, May 23, the middle of Memorial Day weekend. And to see how that affected borrows, I renewed the book in KDP Select for another 90 days.
A week or two before the free dates, I used the BookMarketing Tools auto-submission form ($14.99) to apply to 32 websites that accept submissions for free books to be placed in their daily newsletter. Using this tool, I was able to fill out the required information for 32 websites in 20 minutes! (Definitely worth fifteen bucks to me!)
As luck would have it, my main computer’s hard drive died in the middle of my sale and I no longer have all the information about what I did and what happened. But this is at least 90% of the information I was tracking. 🙂
– there were SO MANY TWEETS from Linda (perhaps automated? I forgot to ask, but on that blog it shows 54 people tweeted about it!), and many people in her circle retweeted her tweets (I definitely want to get Linda’s help again! She should sell a service or something! Haha!)
Thursday May 21: 2517 free downloads today
– InD’tale Bargain Books ad($25) to 10,000+ subscribers; my book was listed first this time (at the top) in the email that went out. I didn’t receive the email until about 4pm Pacific, so I don’t know how many people who saw that ad clicked on it Thursday or didn’t see it until Friday.
– Fiverr promo w/BKnights($15) I heard about them on the Rocking Self-Publishing podcast. I bought three $5 promotions: promoted to 4800+ active on Facebook page (over 7 days), promoted on website w/2000 visitors (1 day), and included in daily newsletter to 2500+ subscribers (1 day)
I know the InD’tale ad did well last time I bought it, which is why I used it again this time. But my numbers this time are significantly higher, so I’m assuming the BKnights promotion did well, too. I’m going to try them both again next month.
Friday May 22: 1407 free downloads today
– first day of Memorial Day weekend; had no idea if that would be good or bad
– no known promo, except possibly Choosy Bookworm as part of their all week promo with the premium ad; possible that one of the 32 sites I submitted to earlier ran the book on this day
– I was enjoying the holiday weekend and didn’t do anything except look for tweets and reply and retweet
Over the next week, through the end of May:
There were 25 more freebies downloaded early Sunday morning before the price went back to $2.99, for a grand total of 7312 free copies downloaded in five days. I thought it was quite funny that two copies were returned, they were free, why take the time?! Haha! But even so, that’s a negligible percentage.
On Sunday, the first day the book was back at full price, I sold 15 copies. I sold 11 more copies over the rest of that week. It’s more than I’d sold for any other non-sale week, but it’s not much. Then for the whole month of June, the book sold 5 copies. No copies were sold during the first eight days of July.
Now since it’s KDP Select, and that means Kindle Unlimited, everyone wants to know how many borrows I had. As I mentioned earlier, I had one borrow in the 2 1/2 months before the book went free. In the eight days of May following the freebie period, I had 71 borrows! 🙂
Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that borrows don’t show up on the Prior Six Weeks Royalties, so I didn’t think to make a screen shot of June’s Month-to-Date Unit Sales on June 30. And when the borrows went from books to pages on July 1, the history no longer has borrowed books. Bummer!
Oh, wait! I am using the beta version of BookTrackr! I just went through all my emails and, though I’m missing a few days, it looks to be around 63 or so borrows in June. Excellent! Remember I had ONE borrow before I did my five-day free promo.
[UPDATE: Debra Holland kindly mentioned in the comments below how you can find your prior month’s sales. Thanks, Debra! So the borrows in June were 88 rather than 63. Nice! 🙂 ]
So in the 7 weeks since the free book promotion, Little Miss Lovesick has had 7312 free downloads, 31 sales, and about 138 163 borrows.Total spent on promotion – $118. Total earned – about $339 $389, approximately $63 from sales and $276 $326 from borrows. This is FAR MORE MONEY than I have earned in one month so far from all book sales combined. And if you’re interested in rankings, I think I hit #49 or 47 in all of the Kindle Free Store as my best rank, plus several #1 and #2 category rankings.
If you’re interested in how this compares with my last book promotion, see this post about making Unexpected Superhero free over two periods in October. I spent $80 that month, had 3710 free downloads, 59 sales, and 15 borrows over about four weeks, earning about $88.
I can think of at least three things that contributed to the difference. One, I did five free days in a row, which is what Debra Holland and many of our other friends strongly suggest. I wanted to try two weekends in October, and perhaps that accounted for less momentum. Two, my mailing list has almost doubled since October, and I have more fans. That may have contributed to increased sales and borrows. Three, these are different books in different genres. It’s impossible to replicate something exactly due to that alone.
I hope this gave you some ideas for places that might be good for you to try for your own promotions. And I hope you’ve gained some insight into how the whole process works. Remember, your results will not only vary from mine, but they will vary from one of your books to another!
I’m going to do another free promotion for Little Miss Lovesick next month. I’m going to try to replicate exactly the ads and promotions that I did in May, but also try to come up with additional ideas to increase visibility as well. I’ll let you know what happens!