So… I tried the free promotion feature available on Amazon Kindle. I prepared for it by making approximately 100 email requests for reviews in the weeks leading up to the promotion. As luck would have it, I only got one reviewer to post their review in advance of the promotion. As luck would also have it, the review was fantastic and posted just in time (in my view) to make a difference to downloads during the promotion.
I wasn’t too sure about the benefits of hosting a free promotion before I started this one. I’m still, after the promotion, not sure about the benefits. I’ll wait for the figures over the next few weeks before making up my mind. Some authors note that the number of downloads during a free promotion is just that – a number of downloads. It doesn’t signify how many times your book has actually been read, by readers who will care enough to tell someone else about it. You can read an example of this perspective here for example.
Other authors have become evangelists for the free ebook promotion on Kindle. Look here and here for example. The next few days, weeks and months will tell me whether the promotion has made a big difference to my Kindle sales and/or Amazon ranking. What I do know is that a total of 1444 people took advantage of the opportunity to download ‘Getting Some’ for free over 22nd and 23rd May, including a few book reviewers. As gifting e-books is not available to UK authors on Amazon in the same way as it is on Amazon US, the free promotion was a great way to allow reviewers access to the book without having to ask them to purchase it, or having to distribute Amazon gift cards for the cost of the book, or send PDF or other electronic copies.
I’m also still chuffed that ‘Getting Some’ reached #1 in the Top 100 Free for African American fiction (even if only for a day!) So there were definitely some pros about the promotion. Having gone through the process, here are the three things I plan to do better next time:
1. Promote the promotion – Scheduling the promotion isn’t enough. You’ll need to let book bloggers, reviewers, friends, family and anyone else on your mailing list know that the book will be free, and for how long. It’s massively important to get the word out about the promotion in order for the promotion to get the word out about the book! Next time I’ll be starting this process at least a month before the actual free days, and I’ll be sending out reminders in the week and day before the promotion starts.
2. Schedule follow-up – when I say ‘follow-up’ what I mean is that I’ll ensure that paid sales have a better boost at the end of the free promotion. For example, I could schedule a paid advertisement on a few book blogs to start the moment the free promotion on Kindle ends. If I do this correctly, the positive word-of-mouth promotion from readers who took advantage of the free download (and actually read the book!) will be reinforced in the minds of prospective readers by seeing the ads on sites they visit.
3. Include social media details in the book – I’ll be doing this as a matter of course now anyway, but including links to my blog, Facebook page, Gmail account and Twitter profile would have ensured that readers who benefited from the free promotion would have had a way to interact with me immediately after reading, leave feedback about the book and join my mailing list for advance news about the next book.
Have a great weekend!