4.12.2013

The results of offering my book for free in KDP Select Program



Initially, the results were pretty good as finally something was moving. I published my first book in early 2011 and did not sell a single copy in the following months. But the moment I began offering books for free, sales started. A problem then arose because later the KDP Select program no longer worked as well as it had at the beginning. At that time I was not using Twitter for additional promotion. An example: in January 2012, I was offering the book Only the Strongest Survive for free and roughly 500 readers downloaded it within four days (every 3 months, you can spend 5 days promoting your book). Only one day was left. I decided on a Sunday. To my surprise, approximately 13,700 readers downloaded it on that day. You can read about it in my BLOG. Why that happened, I do not know. Consequently, I sold 707 books in January, as you can read HERE. But the fact remains that a great deal depends on what else is on offer and the way the electronic system on Amazon happens to be working at that time.
When in April 2012 I offered the same book for free, only approximately 90 readers downloaded it. This meant that the method was no longer working as it had in the beginning and so I decided to leave the KDP Select program, especially because Amazon was getting on my nerves by constantly warning me that my books were for sale elsewhere (Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Sony, etc.).
Later I found out that, in addition to the KDP promotions, you must include social networks, such as Twitter. Only then will the KDP program bring you good enough results.

2 comments:

  1. I've found that success in giving away your books depends on a great number of things (Let's assume, for argument's sake, that the book itself is very good, so that we can only discuss free downloads).

    There are virtually no downloads on major holidays in the US, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Passover, Easter, even New Year's Eve. Friday nights and Saturdays/Sundays seem to be good days for free downloads, but there is stiff competition during those times.

    Sales will increase after a free giveaway (again, we're assuming the book is very good); and sales of your other titles will increase during the giveaway, even if those other titles are not free.

    But you cannot simply list the book for free and hope people will find it. You must list the Giveaway on places like Goodreads, whose readers still seem to prefer paper versions but will download a significant number of ebooks. You must be on Twitter, have a significant number of followers who are RTing your giveaway, and during the promotion, you must work hard to connect with people who might be interested in your book's topic to let them know that it's free.

    Above all, you must be on social media sites for reasons other than selling books, i.e., you must connect with people. Only then will you have significant downloads during free giveaways, and subsequent sales. If people find YOU interesting and like you, they're more likely to take a look at your books, free or not.

    Publicity, promotion, and marketing are a full-time job, so when you do a giveaway on Amazon's KDP Select, be prepared to be working 20 hours a day each day of the giveaway.

    Also, it takes time for each book to build its audience, so free giveaways seem to work better a couple days a month (limit 5 free days per 90 day period on KDP-Select), on occasions associated with the books' topics (or near them, since a Christmas book won't do well, even if free, on Christmas, but does well beforehand). If you have a backlist, it seems to take about 9-12 months for an audience to find your books, even if you regularly blog, have a website with excerpts, are consistently on social media, and do Giveaways with adequate promotion.

    Be patient. Keep at it. Write the best book you can. Tell Good stories. Give away your books as often as you can with as much promotion as you can (not with endless, repetitive "commercials") while connecting with people who start following you on social media venues.

    The sales will follow. And if they don't, giving them away gets you an audience that might talk about your book to their friends, write reviews, etc.

    Best of luck to all fellow Indie Authors.
    Hope my own experience with "good/bad days for giveaways on Amazon" has helped you plan your own marketing.

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