Last year I did an experiment with a Kindle Countdown Deal on Amazon where I lowered the price of one of my books. But that was soooo 2016. What am I doing now for fun? This year I tried the FREE Kindle Countdown Deal promotion to see what would happen. Curious? Read on….
Hello, everyone! If you’re a reader of my books, this post might be boring and I apologize for that. If you’re a writer who has books on Amazon, you might find this post a bit more interesting. If you’re not a reader OR a writer, then you’re missing out. Books are wonderful!
But I digress. The purpose of this blog post is to share the results of my Amazon Kindle Freebie Countdown Deal. In case you have no idea what that even is, I’ll explain. If you have a book enrolled in the Amazon Kindle Unlimited Program, they let you put it on sale for a week while still receiving your same royalty. (Most people usually have books priced at $2.99 or higher and receive a 70% royalty. Amazon lets you price your book at 99 cents for a week and still receive the 70% royalty for this special “countdown deal,” instead of the 35% royalty you would normally receive if a book was priced at only 99 cents.)
Amazon ALSO lets you price a book for FREE for a week. Normally Amazon doesn’t like you to give stuff away for free, because they can’t make any money that way. I’ve heard of authors giving away books for free and I honestly thought they were crazy. Most writers normally do this when they have a series out…give people a taste of the first book for free and they’ll want to pay for the rest of them. I can respect that as a solid strategy. I’m always up for trying new marketing ideas.
HOWEVER, I worked damn hard on my four full length novels and I didn’t really WANT to give them away for free. Also, my best-selling book, MOWED, is only 99 cents to begin with, so it’s not like I’m asking for an arm and a leg. Thus begs the problem…what am I giving away for free if I refuse to do that with a full length novel?
Fortunately, I have a 76 page 14,000 word short story that I just released a few months ago (February of 2017). I was feeling like I needed a challenge, so I decided to do an entire story (from concept in my mind to fully edited and published on Amazon) in a week. Thus “My Dirty Crown” came into existence. Since I only spent a week of my life creating the book, I didn’t feel bad about offering it up for free. It’s normally 99 cents on Amazon.
I’m sorry that I’m so long-winded, because I know you’re thinking, “I don’t CARE about your book, lady…get to the part where you tell me the results of your free day! I haven’t got forever to read your ramblings. HURRY IT UP!”
Fine. Gee. Settle down, already. We’re getting there.
Okay. So I googled around for places to promote my free book for FREE. Yes, you read that right. I am sure as hell NOT paying to promote a book that I’m giving away for free. In my opinion, that’s insanity. I know you might not agree at all, but that’s just my school of thought. NOTHING, and I mean absolutely NOTHING, that I did to promote my free book cost me one dime.
I submitted my free book (It’s in the genre of women’s fiction/action adventure/comedy romance) to the following 18 websites (I made sure to submit it at least 2 weeks in advance): bookhearts.com, ebooklister, bookscream, bookzio, choosy bookworm, ebookshabit, ebookasaurus, kindle book promos, ebookmountain, itswritenow, indie book of the day, lovelybookpromotions, one hundred free books, frugal freebies, people reads, new free kindle books, freebooks.com, and reading deals. I paid NOTHING at any of these sites, instead choosing to take my chances with the free option and NOT upgrade to a “guaranteed paid listing.”
In order to give you a fancy statistical breakdown of what I did each day, and my final daily results, we’ll break this down by day.
Friday, March 31, 2017. Day one of the Amazon Free Countdown Deal. The book started the day with no rank at all. I assume that’s because it was freshly added to the “free category” and took a while to get ranked. I “bought” a copy just to get the ball rolling. I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to call it when someone downloads the book. I can’t call it a “sale” or a “purchase” since no money was involved. For argument’s sake, we’ll just go with “downloads” because that’s easiest. So, I “downloaded” a copy. I was surprised to see three downloads already with no promotion at all on my part. I went online to Facebook, where I posted the freebie on my author page AND my personal page at about 7am. I also posted it in 13 different Facebook groups. Fourteen of my Facebook friends were kind enough to “share” the post. (Thanks, people!) One of my Facebook friends is an AMAZING book pimper who’s in a ton of groups and she posted my book ALL OVER THE PLACE in at least 30 other groups (Love you, Steph!). I had to quit spamming Facebook and go to my “day job” where I actually make money. I did sneak some peeks at the internet throughout the morning.
9 am – 36 units
10 am – 45 units…finally I have a ranking….#2233 in “Free Kindle Store.”
12 pm – 79 units, ranked #1495 in free books
1 pm – 93 units, ranked 1344 in free books
3 pm -112 units, ranked 1046 in free books
5 pm -121 units
9 pm- 148 units
10 pm – 155 units.
By the end of Day one, with no promotion outside of Facebook, I had 172 downloads. Not bad. I expected this number to SKYROCKET once the newsletter websites began to hit.
Let me first explain that I wanted to do this experiment scientifically. I needed to be able to track WHERE my downloads came from. In keeping with this goal in mind, I submitted the book information to the websites listed above, requesting promotion dates of April 1 to April 4, thus leaving March 31 free to see how I could do on my own, ONLY through Facebook. That’s how I know that my book was on NO OTHER websites for Day One.
In the interest of full disclosure, I feel like I should also let you know how many of my other books I actually SOLD and how many page reads I had (in case you want to see if I had a spike in sales from the free days.)
Total sold books: 3 Total Page Reads: 1262
Saturday, April 1, 2017. Day 2 of Amazon Free Promo.
7am – 8 units
1 pm – 62 units
10 pm – 119 units
By the end of the day I had 134 total downloads. Where was the skyrocket I had hoped for? Good question. It never happened.
What sites chose to advertise my book?
Ebookasaurus, ebooks habit, ebooklister, it’s write now, and frugal freebies ALL had my book on their website. BookScream featured me in their newsletter. (I absolutely LOVE BookScream. Great newsletter that usually always features me.) I’m not entirely sure if the other sites had me in their newsletter, or just listed me on their site. I believe it doesn’t make much of a difference to merely be listed on the site, because who goes to those sites every single day and checks for new books? I’m not sure. But I was very grateful to be listed and I appreciated any exposure I could get. THANK YOU SITES THAT FEATURED ME!
Total books SOLD for the day: 3 Total Page Reads: 1007
Sunday, April 2, 2017. Day three of promotion.
By now I was starting to realize that the promotional websites were not going to cause me to magically hit the jackpot, so I got off my butt and started spamming Facebook groups. By 11 am, I had only had 20 downloads, so I got to work. I posted my book in 43 Facebook groups. It was also on the New Free Kindle Ebooks website.
By the end of the day, I had a whopping 37 downloads TOTAL after all my copy/pasting in groups and having the scary threat of Facebook cracking down and throwing me in jail (which has happened before). This time Facebook played nice and I didn’t even get so much as a warning.
Total books SOLD for the day: 8 Total Page Reads: 2373. Sweet!
Monday, April 3, 2017. Day four of promotion.
Okay. After all the time spent at the computer over the weekend, I was honestly starting to get burned out and was too lazy to do anything. My book appeared on the Lovely book promotions website.
Total free downloads for the day: 18 (Shameful!)
Total books SOLD for the day: 0 Total Page Reads: 1439
Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Fifth and FINAL day of the promotion.
I realized I never posted in any Goodreads groups OR on KUF forums OR on Kboards. After mentally smacking myself for this oversight, I got to work. I posted in four Goodreads groups and then on Kboards (post received 10 views) and KUForum (post received 51 views).
Total free downloads for the day: 20
Total books sold for the day: 4 Total page reads: 2228. (Very nice!)
I was very happy to have given away so many books on the first two days, I expected more from the newsletters, and I was happy with the nice spike in page reads. In case you’re wondering what an average week looks like for sales for me, I honestly couldn’t tell you. I don’t have an average week. Some days come with NO sales or page reads, some days are better. It’s a roller coaster.
As to the other sites where I applied to promote my book?
Bookhearts.com, Bookzio, choosy bookworm, Kindle book promos, ebooksmountain, Indie book of the day, one hundred free books, people reads, free books, and reading deals….they never listed me at all.
Actually Indie book of the day hasn’t been updated since 2016. So I would perhaps recommend avoiding that for obvious reasons!
All in all, it was a fun experiment that didn’t cost me a dime. Unless you count my time invested, which is always a lot. I’d do it again.
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As always, thanks for reading and have a great day!