The brain child for using this technique came when I began working with my super agent, Amanda Luedeke. She suggested that I try to increase sales numbers and rankings before we went to submission on The Breeders. I am always game for something that will make more money and create more visability, so I told her I was game for any idea she had. She suggested a five day giveaway through KDP Select. If you haven't heard, KDP Select is Amazon's book sharing program. If you opt in to KDP you agree to offer your e-books nowhere but Amazon. The upside is Prime Members can borrow your book for free. The down side is that Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Apple customers get no e-book love. I opted into KDP pretty early on in my writing adventure. It was clear from the start that Amazon was where I was selling and nothing was going on anywhere else. KDP worked well, allowing people to try my book for free through Amazon Prime. And I get paid a hunk of the money Amazon shares out for its KDP authors (roughly $2).
Another thing KDP offers are promotional days where you can set your content for free. I had tried this before and given away a good number of free books. Each time I saw a little spike in ratings that would eventually slide back down. I had never tried a five day giveaway before, so I decided it was time and started to plan.
The interesting thing was we were approaching Christmas, a booming time for ebooks. Everyone gets sparkling new Kindles or Amazon gift cards in their stockings. I thought it might be a good idea to run the giveaway the week before Christmas and then return my book to $2.99, on the 23rd right before the sales boom. So, I set my five days up and held my breath.
The result was tremendous. I gave away 2200 books in 5 days. I got a ton of reviews, sequel notification emails and Facebook friends. My book rating sky-rocketed (from 15,000 to 6,000) and I began selling quite a few more titles each day. I went from selling five books a day before Christmas to selling 15 a day after the promotion. And the wave still hasn't peaked. This month I am selling twenty-five books a day with little to no promotional leg work.
So, the result is free days work, especially when they are timed right. Now, I know you'll have to wait a whole eight months before you can take advantage of the Christmas boom, but I think that any special event will help (i.e. the release of a new title or a marketing promo you are running). The free books you give away will likely translate into sales that will quickly make up for any lost revenue on those free days.
So, there you have it, the not so big secret that has brought me success. What about you? How have KDP free days worked for you?
Book Marketing Part Four