‘Laid Bare’ – did I actually just write those words? Sounds like some sort of filthy celebrity exposé…
Anyway, as you’ll probably be well aware, I ran a rather wittily dubbed ‘Sunday in the Cellar’ free-day via KDP Select for my recent eBook, as a way of establishing the effectiveness of a free promotion.
My personal hypothesis beforehand was that because Something in the Cellar is currently my only release available, the free promotion probably wouldn’t attract that wide an audience, and would have minimal to no effect on post-free sales.
I was wrong, on both counts.
A steady start
To begin with, a bit of context: I did no paid advertising or promotion for my KDP Select free day, apart from one post on my Facebook page the day before, and a tweet to announce it to my followers.
I woke up to find my book all nice and free, but my excitement was soon squashed when I noticed that only three people had taken advantage of the offer so far. Not to worry, Ryan, I thought to myself, considering I hadn’t yet confirmed the free offer on the day on either of my main social networking outlets, or done any promotion.
I did, however, in a mad fit of greed, post links to my book on a few Facebook groups of well-respected indie book promoters. I was too out of control/it was too early, to remember the precise pages I posted on, however they were all taken from Tony James Slater’s very handy list. I was sure to read the rules of each, which is very important for staying in their good books. Usually, it’s just to make sure you only post one link per week, but some have very specific formatting rules, etc.
Then, I logged out, and didn’t check again until later in the afternoon.
The pace picks up…
It was only later that afternoon that I discovered that Something in the Cellar had rocketed to #79 in UK Short Stories, and #3,816 overall. I was pleasantly surprised, as I did not expect a short-story release with such little buzz to make its way back into the upper echelons after the launch honeymoon period.
Funny thing is, things got even better.
The next time I checked, Something in the Cellar sat at #6 in UK Short Stories, and #373 overall. From that point onwards, the downloads were flying in, the number growing practically every time I refreshed (and boy, did I refresh).
Things were looking good in the US, too, sat inside the top 2000 and at #50 in Short Stories.
And then it hit #3. And then #2. Dreams of gold lay ahead. #104 in the free charts. Could my work really break into that top 100, the Amazon equivalent of a Times Square billboard?
Sadly not, but I wasn’t too fussed. I’m delighted with how the free run went, managing to get my work into the hands of over 700 new people worldwide. I’m confident that I could’ve broken into the top 100 and nicked the top spot in the UK Short Stories chart if I’d extended the giveaway by a day, but that would be of little benefit when I have no other work available right now.
The post-free comedown
I have heard mixed stories of post-free experiences via KDP Select. It really seems like, to me, it’s more good or bad luck than anything else. Personally, my post-free experience hasn’t been spectacular, but it’s been much better than I expected. I was probably around the 40,000 mark before I made Something in the Cellar free. Now, I’m at #6,880, so work that one out for yourselves.
It probably helped that my book stayed at #2 in the Free chart for a couple of hours after its promo had ended, so yeah – a lot of it comes down to luck. But, I think there are a few huge things that can be learned from the experience. In a nutshell:
- Tell people about your free day a day or so in advance. It’ll create a bit of a buzz, and make it seem like more of an ‘event’ than an afterthought.
- Announce your free run to five Facebook groups on the day. Usually, they sync their Twitter feeds to match anyway, and I find a snowball effect comes into effect as soon as one promo account gives you some love.
- Tweet and Facebook about your promo throughout the day. I probably tweeted around 6-8 times about the giveaway, four of which were standard ‘free book!’ promos, the rest were progress updates. I used Facebook to share images of my rise up the charts, and get even more people on the bandwagon.
- Thank people for their role in the free day. If it wasn’t for them, you wouldn’t be where you are.
- If you only have one release on sale, make sure you make your web address/mailing list clear in your eBook file. I also dedicate a section requesting reviews, which must have worked, seeing as I picked up a few 4 and 5 star ratings.
I know a lot of people are dead against KDP Select. I kind of wanted to be. But, I might just have to throw my next short story release (to be announced very soon) on KDP Select too, and test a bit of cross-marketing. I do have four free days left, after all. As always, I’ll keep you updated.
PS: I know it seems a little tacked on, but the wonderful Jeff Goins wrote a guest post for the just-as-wonderful CopyBlogger on running an effective KDP Select giveaway. Check it out!
Have you had similar success from a KDP Select free-run? What post-free effect have you seen on your sales, if any?