Last weekend, I put my first book When Love Hurts free on Amazon through their Kindle Select Program. The program, basically, enables you to put your book for free on Amazon for five days during a 90 day period without you selling your books anywhere else. So you can have your book for free, for no more than 5 days, if you agree not to have that same book published anywhere else.
And that’s what I did.
To try it out. To see for myself the benefits I could achieve.
Did it work?
I gave away approx. 4300 books.
I did increase my mailing list numbers. There is a mailing list link at the end of my book that readers can enter their email in and get updates to the release of book two. I also got more reviews which is always good.
Another benefit is that the numbers of my mailing list keeps going up as well as the reviews still coming in even though the promotion ended Sunday night.
I also hit number 1 in two free list categories: African-American Literature and African-American Romance
Will I do it again?
The promotion lasted from Valentine’s Day on Thursday until that following Sunday. A total of four days. Four long days. The first two, maybe three days were cool but by the fourth days things were slowing down a lot compared to the first two days. By Sunday night I could not wait until the promotion was over.
Here’s the thing: I did NOT have a second book for readers to buy after they finished the first one.
I think that was my first mistake. My second mistake was having it for free that many days.
Of course, before I started the promotion I didn’t know how it was going to do. But I still love that my mailing list increased so overall I think it was worth it to me.
I know some people talk about their sells after a KDP promotion but I don’t have any. I didn’t make money from during the free promotion. After the promotion my ranking went to 90,000 which is the lowest it ever been. After a few sales it went up to around 20,000 but to me that’s just confusing.
I have no idea how the Amazon algorithm work but I don’t think they worked too well in my favor once my book came off free. I don’t know what I was expecting exactly but I was not expecting that.
So will I do it again? Probably not.
I want to publish my book on Kobo, Smashwords, and Barnes and Nobles and put my book in the face of a whole new crowd.
Also, when book two comes out and the first book is only on Amazon, then only the people from Amazon that have read the book will be interested in book two. That means that book two will be destined to stay on Amazon as well because book one doesn’t have a reputation in any of the other bookstores.
Later? No. I don’t want to snatch book one out of the other stores, taking away reviews and mess up its algorithms. As of now its still on Amazon and still in the Select Program. I want it to finish the 90 days.
The one thing I love about the KDP select programs is the Lending Library.
The Lending Library enables readers to borrow your book and you get paid for each borrow, which is great. I’ve noticed that when my book was .99c I had less borrows than when the book was $2.99. I think people figured why burrow it for free when I can own it for only .99c.
So at $2.99 I’m getting both sales and borrows because at that price both is a good deal.
Did my sales increase after the promotion?
No. Not really. My sales rate went back to the average it had before the promotion. The real benefits for me was the increased readership and future fans as well as increased mailing list numbers and reviews.
Do I recommend it?
If you have a series and you have more than one book of the series available than I would recommend doing a KDP free promotion. I did not have another book so when readers finished reading they had no further option than to sign up for my list or wait for the next book.
The thing about free books is that even though people download it, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will read it or like it. Free is just so enticing because it’s like “why not, it’s free!”
Have you tried KDP select? Do you want to try it but aren’t sure how to start? Leave a comment to share your thoughts and your questions.