This week, I ran a Kindle Free Promotion and it might be useful for other writers to read about my experience.
There are some very specific factors that helped make this promotion a success, so if you want to emulate what I did, do keep that in mind. Ymmv.
What’s a Free Promotion?
First, a few words on terminology. A Free Promotion is a promotional tool available to you when you enrol your book in KDP Select on Amazon. It allows you to run price promotions. You can offer your book at a reduced price (or free) for a limited number of days for each term your book is in KDP Select. (All KDP Select books are also enrolled in Kindle Unlimited). Having a book free or reduced for a day or a few days allows you to run specific promotions, like BookBub deals.
Getting a BookBub deal is incredibly hard and I’ve not yet been successful. But I’d heard good things about Freebooksy, so I went ahead and booked a slot. It cost me $30 for my book to go into one newsletter and on the site for one day.
I enrolled the first book of my series, A World Apart, for a one-day Free Promotion, on April 24, 2019, and I booked the Freebooksy for the same day.
On the same day, I also sent out my newsletter. I promoted the free deal on all my social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), and I asked my author friends to share it on theirs. In hindsight, I wish I’d also done a few newsletter swaps, though finding people who send newsletters on exactly the right day can be tricky.
How can you make money off a free book?
I had no idea either, but apparently, you can. Again, ymmv, but my collateral sales made me more money than the Freebooksy cost.
I believe there are a few reasons for that:
- The book is always in Kindle Unlimited, so some people (accidentally or on purpose) read the book with their KU subscription. When you go to the Amazon page, that button is more prominent than the buy button.
- It’s the first book in a series, and a few people bought book 2 and 3 or read it on KU right after reading the free book. My page reads are still excellent several days later.
- I had another, unrelated book on sale at $0.99, and a lot of people bought that one, too.
Show me the money!
Here are the hard and fast facts from the day of the free book and the immediate aftermath. Authors who have been at this for a while will find the amounts modest, but for me, the whole experience was a success.
- Cost: $30 for Freebooksy slot
- Free downloads on Free Promotion day: 1,292 (and four of a perma-free short)
- Sales April 24 through 26: 54 (I usually average between one and five books on good days, but have long stretches of no sales, too) – 27 of those were of the other discounted book, 7 of the sequels, 15 of the previously free book; I’m guessing by people who saw the promotion late and decided the regular price of $0.99 was still good value.
- Page reads across all my KU books during that time: 2,250
- Money made: $40.89
Sales have tapered off now, but page reads are still going strong. This is the first advertising that really was worth my while. I’ve not had any luck with Amazon or Facebook ads. I use book tours for exposure, and I’ve made between 40 and 60% of my money back when using other newsletters for discounted deals.
Newsletter promotions aren’t as amazing, or lead to the near-constant success of continuously running Amazon or Facebook ads. But they’re easier on the wallet and less stressful. And they work for my genre (m/m romance) where other advertising is tricky.
I want to do this again, but I don’t want to do it with the same book. I might see what happens when I make a book free that’s not in KU and not in a series, and when I’m not running a second deal. Watch this space, I’ll keep you posted!