On Monday, February 20, 2012, I began a 5 day campaign of offering my novel, Inside the Outside, for free in Amazon's Kindle Store. When authors sign up for the KDP Select program on Amazon, they get a few perks and benefits, one of them being the opportunity to have a free book promotion.
In exchange, the author must make their book(s) exclusive to the Kindle Store. I didn't come to my decision easily, but, after thinking it through and weighing all the pros and cons, I decided to give it a go.
A big part of what sold me on it was the idea that Amazon would give me 5 days of free promotion every 90 days. Of course, up until a few days ago, I completely misunderstood what that meant. I thought it meant Amazon would promote my book for free for 5 days, which sounded like an invaluable offer.
But, as I eventually figured out, it really means they'll set your book up to be downloaded for free. I wasn't exactly sure how rewarding that would be, but after doing some research and reading about the KDP experiences of other authors, such as Will Entrekin and John L. Betcher, I decided to give it a go.
While authors in the KDP Select program can use their 5 days at their discretion (one day here, say, or two days there), I decided to use all 5 of my days in a row. As I write this, Day 4 has ended and Day 5 is under way.
I've spent much of my week promoting Inside the Outside's free listing on Twitter, Facebook, and GoodReads. I also incorporated the invaluable help of the World Literary Cafe, while also asking for help from folks who have previously shown support for my novel, such as The BiblioBabes and Monkeycstars. And, through no connections or efforts of my own, I found that a few websites that promote Kindle books featured my free promotion, such as Free eBooks Daily.
During these last 4 days I have monitored the progress of my free promotion very closely, taking handwritten notes that, to the casual observer, may resemble that of a crazy person. While I wouldn't dream of inundating you with the full results of my copious notes, I will offer a condensed version.
In order that you may fully appreciate my data, I don't mind telling you that I sold only 3 Kindle books in the month of February, before beginning my free promotion.
DAY 1 | February 20
- 8:00am - 141 downloads (unranked)
- 12:00pm - 424 downloads (#37 in Horror)
- 8:00pm - 824 downloads (#9 in Horror)
DAY 2 | February 21
- 8:00am - 1033 downloads (#5 in Horror)
- 12:00pm - 1121 downloads (#5 in Horror)
- 11:00pm - 1288 downloads (#13 in Horror)
DAY 3 | February 22
- 7:00am - 1324 downloads (#12 in Horror)
- 2:00pm - 1404 downloads (#19 in Horror)
- 10:00pm - 1528 downloads (#23 in Horror)
DAY 4 | February 23
- 8:00am - 1643 downloads (#18 in Horror)
- 12:00pm - 1732 downloads (#15 in Horror)
- 11:00pm - 1997 downloads (#14 in Horror)
Which brings us to today, Day 5. I'll be taking notes throughout the day, but I think the first 4 days alone offer a pretty good indication of my experience. The first 1 1/2 days of the promotion are where my downloads peaked. But even as the rate of downloads waned, Inside the Outside never dropped out of Amazon's top 25 free horror books. And, more importantly than that, my book was continuously downloaded throughout the first 4 days - and I suspect that Day 5 will produce comparable results.
So, was KDP Select free promotion a success for me? Well, I had three primary goals:
- Expose Inside the Outside to a significant number of potential new readers.
- Get Inside the Outside ranked in Amazon's Top 10 Free Horror books.
- Generate sales of Inside the Outside following the end of the free promotion.
The first two goals on my list were successfully (thankfully!) achieved. As for the third goal, well, I'll let you know in a few days.
(Read “My KDP Free Experience | PART 2″ HERE)