Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tip O'Day #315 - Free Book Promos

Guest blogger Diane Rapp on “What to Expect During a FREE Book Promotion.”

I became an Indie author in August of 2011 and started uploading my four novels to the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. In “real life” I sold real estate, wrote ad copy, and owned a small retail business. I never marketed myself, so Twitter and Facebook seemed like a foreign countries with languages of their own.

My daughter designed a website, and I started promoting my work. Six months later I read about authors’ success with Amazon’s Kindle Select, so I dropped Barnes & Noble (very few sales anyway) and signed up on the program.

Should I schedule free book days? With two different series, I could offer the first book in each to promote the series, but shouldn’t I wait until I had more titles to offer? Evidently free days do a lot for a single book. When a book moves up the free list “also boughts” kick in (the message that says “customers who bought this book also bought—insert your title”). I decided to offer two books for free in February. A friend directed me to a fantastic article by Karen Barney “Maximizing Free Days on Kindle Select." I had a game plan. In addition I joined tweet groups to spread the word to more readers. I suggest joining the tweet team at Women’s Literary Café and shorten links to your book at www.bitly.com.

Let’s get to the numbers. With Howl of the Wolf I gave away 4390 e-books in two days. After two weeks I’ve sold 177 books plus 13 borrows. During the same period, my friend Tina Boscha gave away River in the Sea. She reports 13,650 free downloads and sold 306 books plus 70 borrows. Therefore the more free books downloaded equals more sales. Both of us increased our sales from previous months.

The following week I offered Murder Caribbean-Style free and gave away 5225 e-books. The title reached #6 on the Free Mystery list. After two free promotions, all four of my books are selling, including the #2 in each series.

What should authors expect AFTER a free promotion?

(1) There will be dead time without sales that can be unnerving. Don’t look! Mark down the number of free books downloaded (so you can do the math later), and ignore your statistics for at least 24 hours. Don’t peek!
(2) After that sales should begin, along with some returns. Don’t let returns phase you. After free days people click without checking and return the book when they get charged.
(3) In the next week “also boughts” kick in and people browse your title. About that time, your sales rank gets higher, peaking 4 or 5 days later.
(4) Two weeks after free days, you may have several hundred sales. Regardless of how many you gain immediately, you received valuable exposure as an author!

Trying to navigate the strange world of Indie publishing and self-promotion can be daunting. If anyone has more questions, contact me through QuickSilver Novels website or on Twitter @DianeRapp.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting stuff - thanks for sharing.