I recently scheduled a 5-day free promotion for my enovel DEAD SIZE on Amazon, one of the perks of enrolling in their KDP Select program (see my previous post for more details). For the uninitiated, the goal of the KDP promo period, when an author gives away their book for free, is to find new readers, encouraging those to download your book who wouldn’t otherwise pay for it because you’re an author unfamiliar to them, they’re unsure about your book, or they simply don’t know your book exists.
In the weeks prior to the Kindle-exclusive KDP promo, I submitted my book info and promo dates to more than two dozen websites that promote free promos. Most of these sites advertise your free days gratis, while others charge a nominal fee. (I paid about $50 to guarantee mentions on five different sites.)
During the promo, I posted about my book’s free status daily on Facebook and tweeted three times a day on Twitter. As I had scheduled my promotion to coincide with my going to a large writers conference, I also handed out to the attendees there postcards printed with the promo info.
Overall, I thought I did a decent job marketing my KDP free period. As I had told Mrs. Hatton and my friend Ed, DEAD SIZE getting anything less than 100 downloads I would have considered a failure; 100-300 satisfactory; 300-500 a success; and over 500 a bona fide triumph.
When the promo period was over, I gained this astonishing insight into human nature:
People love free stuff.
My book was downloaded over 6000 times! I hit 1000 the first day, 2000 the second, 1500 on day three, another 1000 on day four, and a few hundred more on the final day. Nearly 200 customers in Germany got it. Germans are reading DEAD SIZE! This I was not prepared for.
So, 6000 free downloads. For the glass is half empty crowd, that means I missed out on over $16,000 worth of sales (at $3.99 price point and 70% royalty).
For the half full bunch, those 6000 downloads represent 6000 potential readers—and reviewers—that I probably would never have had otherwise.
Time will tell if positive reviews and word-of-mouth hopefully generated from the promo-happy people will boost my book’s sales. As of now, though, I have to consider my free period a “Holy Mother O’Mighty!” achievement.**
I’d celebrate with a beer… but I might have to borrow a few bucks off ya right now.
**Updated 3/22/2013: I just learned of an author whose book was downloaded over 40,000 times during his 3-day KDP free period. Now I feel like such an underachiever.