The Amazon Free Promotion Experiment

My last blog post, for those who read it, already announced that I have self published my first ever work on Amazon. For better of for worse I opted to enroll in KDP Select which means I can choose to give away the ebook for free during 5 days in each given 6 month period.The downside is I am locking myself into an agreement to exclusively sell on Amazon, and not on any other ebook market places such as Smashwords, Apple iBooks, etc.

Now, obviously I’d prefer people to buy it so I get paid royalties, but I have read on other author’s blogs that a free promotion can do wonders for future book sales. So I thought I’d give it a go.

For 24 hours yesterday, my ebook, “Ladies’ Day” was available for free on Amazon Kindle. Now I was planning to be very productive and promote this fact on Facebook and Twitter, and also on this blog, but it didn’t quite work out that way.

Instead of waking up fresh and ready to spam the internet, I woke up with a terrible sinus headache and opted to stay in bed all day. I didn’t post a single link to my book page, didn’t tell a soul that it would be free for 24 hours. Though not ideal, at least I figure this free promotion can serve as a benchmark for any future marketing I do. And for the benefit of other self publishing authors out there, I decided to publish my figures for what might happen when you give away an erotic story (normal price $0.99 or so) without doing a single bit of promotion for it.

Downloads:
Amazon.com – 87
Amazon.co.uk – 33 (one of these was me)
Amazon.de – 11
Amazon.fr – 1

Rankings:
No idea what it was like yesterday but this morning I was ranked 98 in the Amazon.co.uk Free Bestsellers within the Erotic fiction category. My book was nowhere to be found in the Amazon.com bestseller list. This tells me that potentially the market for Erotica in the UK is very small, if I can make it into the top 100 with only 33 downloads.

Reviews / Likes:
I don’t see any discernible increase in Likes on my book, but then I haven’t really been keeping tabs a lot on how many likes I had before. There have been no reviews.

Verdict:
I have no idea yet if this was worth it. But it seems once you start giving stuff away for free, someone or other will notice and download it. This alone is quite promising. I’ll have to assume that at least some of the people who got a free copy will read it, at least in part. And just maybe they’ll later be inclined to leave a review, even if it’s negative.

On the other hand, the next time I do a free promotion, I hope to actually manage to plaster my link all over Facebook/Twitter and maybe websites that list free ebooks. And if I do that, I should be able to see fairly easily if the downloads I’m getting are similar to these current figures, or if there will be a visible increase in downloads due to the social marketing efforts I’ll be putting in.

2 Weeks later:
Although of course I was very pleased that I managed relatively many downloads with zero promotion, it’s the commercial results that count. To be honest there haven’t been any that I could find.

No reviews as a result of the free promotion.
No increase in sales that could be attributed to the free promotion.

Next time I give away my book for free and actually advertise that fact, I’ll write another post which should show a dramatic difference in exposure and hopefully an increase in sales by the end of it.

6 thoughts on “The Amazon Free Promotion Experiment

    • A little update: Since it’s been over 2 weeks now, I figured I’ve waited long enough to see if something will come out of this promotion. The short answer: no.
      I’ve updated to post to reflect this. Though of course people who downloaded it for free may not have actually read it (yet), so there is a chance they may review it later, it’s not really measurable.
      But by now I suspect it’s probably too late to directly attribute any sales to the free giveaway.

  1. Some tips for your next promotion: do it ahead of time rather than wait until the day it’s up. Links take time to get out and not everyone reads email right away or sees links the minute they’re published. Begin posting at least a day ahead and give the date the book will be free. Tweet about it, and if you link your blog to Triberr, you’ll get multiple mentions for days. Provide links to the book on all your social media, and join the Facebook group called Free Ebooks for All https://www.facebook.com/groups/222321634511965/ to share with more people.

    Would like to hear how this goes.

    • Good idea to start a little in advance. I was just basing my plan on how I come across free stuff generally, seeing it posted on Facebook. I’m way too scatterbrained to actually remember to check back for a free book if I’ve seen it a day in advance, when it’s not actually free yet. But then again it would be silly to assume that everyone works the same way 🙂
      I think I’ll give it a week or so before trying again, just so I can see if this particular (failed) promotion has any benefits or not.

  2. Pingback: The Amazon Free Promotion Experiment; 2 | Hedonist Six

Leave a Reply