Hey everyone! Thank you for stopping by my blog today. 🙂 This year I’ve decided to play with different types of advertising/promos so I set most of my books for free for 5 days just to see what would happen (A few of them didn’t qualify for a promo at that time since I’d already promoted them before). Let me tell you how it went!
(Disclaimer: I know some people are against free e-book promos and that’s totally cool. I’m not here to tell anyone what they should do with their own books, but I hope you enjoy reading about my own experience.)
Here’s What Happened When I Promoted 12 Of My Books For Free For 5 Days!
The ratings skyrocketed! I’ll tell you it was something else being able to see a few of my books climb the ranks of Amazon. Eve & Adam reached #8 in “LGBTQ+ short stories” and The Broken & The Foolish reached #19 in “Westerns” (which is a huge category!). This was astounding as my books are usually in the thousands when it comes to rankings. Pretty much all of my books were in the top 50 category for the first couple of days of the free promo. Higher rankings mean a book is more visible to people searching in that category, so this is definitely helpful.
Lots of downloads. This one is probably a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. On the first two days, the downloads were in the hundreds. With KDP’s new sales dashboard format, I was able to see which books “sold” the most. This is helpful as an author to know which ones attract a bigger audience. By the fourth day, the number of downloads dropped dramatically, so I’m thinking a free book deal is probably most effective for 2-3 days rather than keeping it for the entire 5 day term.
The high ratings dwindled after 3 days. Along with the decrease in downloads, my book’s ratings started to climb back up, though most were still in the top 50 of their category until the last day of the promo. It seems that 2-3 days is the best timeframe to do a free book deal. By the time the free promo was done, my books shot back up to being in the thousands in their category. I think this must be similar to when you run Amazon ads for your books – on the days they’re selling, their rankings will go up, but once the ad stops, they likely shoot way up into obscurity again. (I’ll be giving ads a try as well. Maybe they are more effective than free promos).
Amazon automatically put my print books on sale as well. I noticed Amazon reduced the price of my print books, probably to go along with the free book deal. I think it’s a good move since someone might be more likely to download a print book that’s on sale when they found it while browsing a certain category. Did I make any print book sales during this time? No. But it probably increases your chances for a print book sale if you were to do this at the right time.
No new book reviews. Granted, it’s only been a week since the free promos ended, but I noticed there’s no new reviews yet despite the fact that over 500 copies of my e-books were downloaded. I think it’s probably because people who buy a book for free value it less? A lot of them probably haven’t read the books they just downloaded due to the fact that they’ve also downloaded hundreds of other free books over the years. The reviews may stream in later – that is my hope. The main thing is: the fact that hundreds of copies of my e-books have been downloaded means there’s more potential for new readers & reviews. Case in point: someone is probably more likely to review a book if they paid for it.
No major effect on sales. I usually sell between 3-5 books per month (This has stayed consistent since setting my books at $2.99-$3.99 – sales drop when the price is higher or lower). If anything, I seem to see a small spike in book sales the month after I do a free promo. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it could be that the promoting itself attracts more attention to you and your books. A lot of people on Twitter like to support indie authors so they’ll actually wait to buy the paid version of your e-book after the free promo ends – that’s how awesome a lot of people are out there! 🙂 I made a print book sale just the other day (which is the royalty equivalent of 4 e-books) and one e-book sale on June 1, so hosting a free book sale won’t hurt your sales for the following month. If anything, it might actually draw more attention to you and your books.
It was a fun experiment. At the end of the day, it’s a fun experiment to try a longer free book deal. You’ll usually see a spike in downloads and ratings for the first couple of days. It can put you on the radar of people who wouldn’t have otherwise seen your books and it may yield some future reviews. If you’re looking for more reviews, I’d recommend sending people ARCs of your book. Overall, I think a free book deal is a good idea so long as you only do it once or twice per year.
Thanks so much for reading today! Have you ever ran a free book sale for 5 days? How did it go?