Yesterday, I used my fifth and final KDP Select Free Day promotion -- and I'm finally seeing some significant results ... so far.
To backtrack for those of you who aren't aware of Kindle Direct Publishing Select's program, if you sign with them, you sign a 90-day exclusivity contract. During that time, you can only sell your work on Amazon/Kindle; you can't sell on Smashwords or Lulu, or even on your own site. However, during the 90-day period, you get five days during which you can offer your book for free. You can string all five days together or do one or two or three at a time. It's very flexible.
If you put some effort into planning your promotion, you can potentially have thousands of new readers download your book. Your work then ends up on the "customers also bought" lists, you get added exposure and you can see a bump in sales following the promotion.
But the trick is in PLANNING for your free days. The first time I tried the promotion, I did two days in a row. I didn't advertise much, other than on this blog and on Twitter. I got about 500 downloads and a slight bump in sales. Moreover, I made a few foreign sales afterward.
My third and fourth giveaways didn't go so well. One I stupidly scheduled for the United States' Election Day. Since most of my readers are American, I just didn't get traffic. I tried to advertise on more outlets, like various Facebook pages for free ebooks, but I only got about 100 downloads. The same thing happened for Attempt No. 4. I was disappointed and began to wonder if giving my book away was even worth it.
I then put more effort into publicizing and marketing my book. I set up an author page on Goodreads and tried to engage with more people on Facebook and Twitter ... and I saw a slight increase in sales, even without doing the promotion. Meanwhile, I had one free day left, which I'd scheduled for November 26 -- which just happened to be on Cyber monday. While I'd done my other promotions basically on a whim, I took the time to plan for this one. I submitted my book in advance to dozens of Free Ebook Promotional Sites so that it would be advertised on the day of my giveaway. Meanwhile, my sales continued to do resonably well.
Know what? Submitting to those sites AHEAD OF TIME worked! Yesterday, my book had over 2200 downloads -- a nice, big jump from that paltry 100 I had a few weeks back! It made it to No. 2 on the list for Free Books Teen Romance and was No. 107 overall in the Free Kindle Store. While downloading, 10 people "Liked" my Amazon page, giving me some more street cred.
I'm now seeing a significant bump in sales, at least for today. I'm not sure how long it will last, but the promotion is helping, at least for the short term.
So here's what I think helped: 1) My book was starting to get more sales, anyway, so it was moving up in rank. Therefore, when I did the promo, it went to the top of the list pretty quickly. 2) As I said before, I planned ahead. Twitter and Facebook can only help so much, but sites like Pixel Of Ink will really get the word out about your book.
My advice then is this: before doing a free day for your book, put some effort into marketing your work. If your rank is 800,000, a free day probably won't help your sales that much. Also, don't choose to do a free promotion on a whim like I did. Pick a day about a month ahead of time. This way, you have plenty of time to submit to advertising sites. Many want you to submit at least a couple of weeks in advance; the earlier you give your book's listing, the more of a chance that it will actually be listed.
Like I said, I still have to see how the longterm results of my latest giveaway pan out. But I definitely think that it's worth it for authors to at least try KDP Select.
Please read and review REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.