My Crazy Experience with the Amazon Kindle Countdown Deal, March 8-13, 2016

Hello. As you may or may not be aware, I am an independent author who just published her first book with Amazon.  I am enrolled in the KDP Select program which means I get 7 days every 90 day period to discount my book and still get the same royalty rate of 70%.  I am a good researcher by nature, so I browsed countless message boards and forums to make sure I maximized this deal as much as possible.  Here are my results for any authors who have done this in the past and want to compare stories, or for any new author about to embark on this adventure.

2 Weeks before the deal:  I googled around to find the best bargain ebook sites to promote the deal and sent them emails. These are all places that are FREE to promote your book.  I also booked a deal on Fiverr.  Total cost on my part for the whole week = $4.50.  (I got a coupon code on retailmenot.com for fiverr and saved myself fifty cents.  Am I cheap?  Heck, yeah!)

The Day Before the Deal: The Day before the deal went live, I got my little notebook and wrote down a daily to-do list. (Am I neurotically organized?  Heck, yeah!)

Sales Rank Before the Countdown: 222,295 in paid kindle store, 6970 in Kindle Romantic Comedy, 7817 in Kindle Romance Suspense.

Mood: Beyond excited for my media blitz and plan to take over the world!

Day One, Tuesday March 8, 2016:  I woke up at 5 a.m. with a plan to advertise on all platforms in which I was a member. I checked to make sure the deal was live and the price for my books in the US and UK was indeed 99 cents and £0.99.  I then did a Facebook post and a blog post on my website.  My website blog RSS feed goes straight to Goodreads, so I made sure to manually update that too, so any Goodreads followers could grab the deal.  I posted the countdown deal in any Goodreads groups that I’m a member of.  I was very careful to post in all the right places and follow the rules so as to not be spammy.  I also posted in the Kindle Boards (Kboards.com) and Kindle Users Forum (kuforum.co.uk).

Total Sales for the day: 10 Units sold and 533 KENP Read

Summary: I was happy with this result.  My book is normally priced at $3.99 and the most I’ve ever sold in one day was 5 copies.  The most KENP I’ve ever had in one day was 3500.  I do way better with page reads than with sales.

Day Two, Wednesday March 9, 2016:

Today’s plan was to cross my fingers and hope that all the bargain sites I had emailed previously would actually feature my book. I had a great day!

Bookscream (bookscream.com) – featured me in their email newsletter. This is a very cool newsletter with links to click on the books and it’s not cluttered or spammy.  I actually downloaded another book on their site that was on my “to be read” list and it was free.  Double score!!!

Readcheaply (readcheaply.com) – I was in their newsletter and on their site. This is also a very good site with easy to find books and no ads taking up the whole page.

Total Sales for the Day: 21 units sold and 103 KENP Read

Summary: Totally amazed to sell so many units. Amazon Author Rank: 13819 in paid kindle store and 940 in Romantic Comedy.  Quite the jump from two days ago.

Day Three, Thursday March 10, 2016:

This is the day that my paid Fiverr promo went live. I booked a gig through BKnights because they were highly recommended on several message boards.  They sent me a link to the page where my book was featured.  I was disappointed to find the book was about 25 down on the list.  It was mixed in among books of every genre and I doubted how much exposure it would get.  I expected more from this.

I was also promoted on several more sites.

Readingdeals.com – listed in the newsletter and on the site. Another good site to find bargain books without a ton of ads.

BookZio – listed in the newsletter and on the site.

Newfreekindlebooks – listen in the newsletter and on the site. This another good site and very easy to navigate.

BookHippo – not in a newsletter and buried very deeply on the site. Could only find with the search feature.  But any exposure is better than none, especially if it’s free.

My book was also reviewed on two popular romance review sites, which might have helped too.

Total Sales for the Day: 7 units sold and 3135 KENP Read

Day Four, Friday March 11, 2016:

I contacted the BKnights promoter on Fiverr and explained the results of their campaign and how few sales I received. They promptly responded with a refund and told me that they usually promote free books.  I would assume they do a lot better with those.  I appreciated their willingness to give me a refund and thanked them for their great customer service.  I have to assume that this is a good company, it just didn’t work for me personally.  I would recommend it to anyone who has a free promo instead of a reduced price sale.

I was also promoted on two more sites that day.

Bookloversheaven – featured me in their newsletter and I was the second book on the list on their website. You have to have 10 reviews to apply here.

Bestebooksfree- also featured me in their newsletter and on their site. This is another great place to find books.  Very easy to navigate and no ads all over the place.  You have to have at least 10 reviews to apply here too.

Total Sales for the Day: 3 units sold and 971 KENP read.

Day Five, Saturday March 12, 2016:

Not featured anywhere. Riding the wave of the previous day’s advertisements.

Total Sales for the Day: 3 Units and 1060 KENP read.

Day Six, Sunday March 13, 2016:

Also still riding the wave and seeing what happens on the last day.

Total Sales for the Day: 1 Unit and 1551 KENP read.

One very disappointing side note: Amazon has a dedicated page to Kindle Countdown Deals.  My book was NOT on this page at any time during my deal.  I called to find out why and I was told that Amazon just randomly picks books to feature and not all will be on the page.  I’m assuming they want their cut of my book sales, yet they won’t feature me on the site to help boost my exposure?  I even asked if that was something I could pay for (to be featured  there) and I was told no.  I guess the old adage applies…if you want something done, you just have to do it yourself.

All in all, it was a fun experiment. I was extremely pleased that so many websites picked up my book and promoted it, considering I didn’t pay them.

I would also like to add that my posts on Kboards got 37 views and the Kindle Users Forum got 227 views. I don’t know if it translated into any sales, but it’s always interesting to see how many people viewed your posts.

Am I rich? Heck no.  Was it totally fun to check the sales charts every hour to see how many I sold?  Absolutely.

I hope you can gain some knowledge from the results of my Kindle Countdown Experiment, or at least find some new free places to submit your book.

Please feel free to comment if you have anything else to add or any other suggestions for helping to achieve a successful Kindle Countdown Promotion.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

 

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14 thoughts on “My Crazy Experience with the Amazon Kindle Countdown Deal, March 8-13, 2016

  1. Hi,
    You mention that your book was not featured on Amazon’s dedicated page to Kindle Countdown Deals, and that Amazon randomly picks books to feature on it: My question is, can an author add her book to this page, herself? Or are we totally at the whim of Amazon in this case?

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    1. You are totally at the mercy of Amazon. There is no rhyme or reason to what books they choose to be on their kindle countdown deals page. The author can’t add the books themselves. We’re just another cog in the wheel!

      Like

  2. Hi, Grace! Great article! I’m a huge planner myself so I appreciate all the work you did. I’ll do the same! One question: where in Kboards did you put your post? Did you pay for advertising?

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    1. I did not pay for any advertising, except for the fiverr campaign, which yielded no results. I’m pretty adverse to spending any money! I posted in the Book Bazaar section of Kboards. Happy Writing!

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  3. Thanks for sharing, Grace! I love comparing data to see how we can all do better. I recently had a Countdown Deal with similar specs to yours–book usually $3.99, 7-day deal split between 99 cents and $1.99, starting ranking all over the place in those few preceding days, 450k up to 73k. Because mine is not romance, so there aren’t a lot of KU people out there scanning the listings to read, I have had very modest KENP comparatively, but I made more sales. I had already scheduled a character interview and $21 Fussy Librarian for the last day (at $1.99, but no help for the timing), and an EBooks Cafe for $35 for the first day at 99 cents. I added in a FB ad of $20 on the second day and got almost nothing for that (following clicks at most 2 sales?). Here’s a bit of my record:

    Day 1 – 74 units (Go EReader Cafe!) and 16 KENP
    2 – 24 units (sent notice to my mailing list of 115, half of whom had already purchased) and 26 KENP and 1 paperback ($3.70 royalty)
    3 – 18 units and 271 KENP (book is 248 KENP)
    4 – 22 units at 99-cent price point and 2 units at $1.99 price point when it switched and 197 KENP
    5 – 5 units (first full day at $1.99) and 580 KENP (my all-time high) to that point
    6 – 12 units and 139 KENP
    7 – 31 units (scarcity principle with expiring deal? PLUS Fussy Librarian and blog post interview with a note about expiring deal to FB friends, several of whom promoted my post. I wound up in conversations on those threads and got interest heightened and commitments for sales, particularly the illustrated paperback) and 326 KENP.

    In the several days following I sold one or two Kindle versions per day, about twice my usual rate, and had a combined total of about 1800 KENP, and a week after that I’m holding at about 100 KENP per day. I have also sold five additional paperbacks through Amazon and four privately through the buzz created by all that.

    So your overall revenue gross was in the neighborhood of $55 minus the $5 spent on promotions, for a net of $50. Not counting the paperbacks (harder to trace to this promotion), my revenue gross was about $70 Kindle at 99 cents, $50 Kindle at $1.99, and $17 KENP, for a total of $137, minus advertising cost of $76, for a net royalty of about $60. If we add back the paperbacks, make that $90 or so.

    My starting ranking was similar to yours (see above–in the 200k range two days before the sale), and the best I got during the sale was 3594 on the second day and stayed better than 10k the duration of the sale, slowly dropping off the two weeks after to about 50k now. My best rank in my smallest category, Genre Fiction – biographical, was 12.

    Bottom line: historical fiction works very differently in sales and KENP than does romance!
    If you’d like to take a look at my book, here it is: http://amzn.to/1WNbF37

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    1. You had a crazy amount of sales for your promotion, that’s great! Thank you very much for posting your numbers and your strategy. If we all pool our knowledge, we can find out what works and what doesn’t!

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  4. Reblogged this on YOURS IN STORYTELLING… and commented:
    I have got several Kindle Countdowns lined up for May and I am doing a little bit of research to get an idea on the best way to promote them without spending any sort of money.

    I’m cheap.

    And broke.

    That’s a bad combination.

    **************************************

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  5. Hi Grace, that was very interesting and provides a contrast with my experiences over the past couple of years.

    Back in 2013 I put a novel on around free download days. My objective was feedback as opposed to sales – the novel was experimental and its market would be limited (not quite James Joyce – Ulysses but not down market either). I’d been studying bits and pieces from around the net and came the the conclusion that if I got about 70 or 80 sales, I might get one review. This would be objective achieved.
    I duly promoted it at various sites (I kept a record) and got to about 60 sales. This used up 5 free download days over a quarter. I got no feedback and I can only assume I needed to better target it. The genre was post-apocalypse.
    Not to be deterred, I had a part-work available with an easier narrative – nowhere near as difficult – basically SF meets sink estate. I priced it at £3 and ran a Kindle Countdown Deal. Unfortunately, after I’d booked the deal, Amazon’s pricing model changed the price of my book – it moved out of the price zone and so became unavailable for the deal. I didn’t notice this until 2 days had run and my book wasn’t listed. When I enquired of Amazon they (eventually) told me that it was up to me to keep on top of any changes they made to my price – apparently their automatic price checker checked for lower priced editions and repriced accordingly. There were none in the case of my book so Amazon must have been ghost-pricing – in effect working out how much an alternative edition would be, if it existed, and then assuming it did. That book was also available on Lulu but only as a paperback and at a substantially higher price.
    Following that, I realised that my experience with Kindle was making me lose interest in writing. Apart from a very recent book, I haven’t used it since.

    You mentioned KENP and I realised there is such a chart on Kindle Reports. I just looked and (fyi) my new book which is at full price has sales = 4 with 70 KENP. What does it mean?

    Like

    1. KENP means “Kindle Edition Normalized Pages.” You get paid from Amazon TWO ways. You get a percentage of royalties per book sold which is either 35% or 70% depending on which plan you choose. In addition to that, if you are a member of KDP select, you get paid separately each time a customer who is a subscriber of Kindle Unlimited downloads your book to read it. Last month (February 2016) the payment was .00478 cents paid per pages read. So….you had 70 pages read….which means you earned 33 cents! While this doesn’t seem like much, it DOES add up over time. I had 24,000 pages read for February. If you go on some message boards, there are people who have written multiple books (think 10 or more books) who have page reads for the month in the MILLIONS! For the last five days I’ve had a grand total of ONE page read. Not one thousand or one hundred, but one single page. The market is fickle. Keep your head up and remember this is a marathon, not a sprint! Happy Writing!

      Liked by 1 person

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