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View Full Version : AMAZON Free Promos: Yes or No?



Writers Choice
12-02-2015, 06:42 AM
I'm sure this topic is here somewhere, maybe old - maybe new. I can't seem to find it.

I tried the free giveaway in Amazon, close to 200 downloads for all seven combined (which is kinda low). This generated zero actual sales.

I'm sure other people have different experiences. I can't believe the free promo still exist and is utilized by authors if it doesn't work - or does it? What are your personal experience? (Sorry, if I'm beating a dead horse).

Msdobing
12-02-2015, 02:24 PM
I tried it when my novel first came out, got about 200 downloads but it's hard to say if this contributed to the relatively small number of sales that followed afterwards. With hindsight though I would've advertised the promo on Freebooksy or something like that too to maximize the exposure. I've got a couple of days left so I'm thinking of doing it this time.

From what I've read also, the free promos seem to work best when you've got a series out, or a new book out in a series. So say book 2 has just come out, put book 1 on free promo, plug it a bit and it should hopefully drive some sales of the rest of the series. Even consider making book 1 permafree too!

I'm in the middle of writing my book 2 though, so the last paragraph is what I've read, not from personal experience.

Writers Choice
12-02-2015, 06:15 PM
I just finished part 2 of a 4 part and a standalone in the same series. I'll give it one more try this month and see what happens.

Thanks/

ebbrown
12-02-2015, 06:51 PM
I have a perma-free book which is the first in a series. It did not get much traction until the series had three books out. It still hold steady after being out a few years, but I do run ENT or Bookbub ads for it when I can get them.
With a book in Select, since you are limited to the amount of free days, I would definitely schedule ad promos during the free run. You're working for the sell-through, so the free days aren't really useful if you don't have anything else to offer readers, in my experience.

WriterBN
12-02-2015, 09:33 PM
I'm sure other people have different experiences. I can't believe the free promo still exist and is utilized by authors if it doesn't work - or does it? What are your personal experience? (Sorry, if I'm beating a dead horse).

It still exists because far too many new writers use it for their first book with no realization that it doesn't work. Every day on the KDP boards, there are new authors posting "I did a free promo and didn't get any results."

Free promos were somewhat effective a few years ago, but these days, you need downloads in the thousands (or tens of thousands) to get enough sell-through that will cover your advertising costs. Other than a permafree short story, I don't run free promos for my books.

LSMay
12-03-2015, 08:33 AM
At the moment, I'd say no.

There's a good chance people will download and not read, or won't download. Of course, the things you can get out of it are sales for other books and reviews, but with hardly any readers reviewing, reviews aren't that likely, and right now I only have 2 books out.

I prefer countdown deals, as that way I still get some profit.

Fruitbat
12-03-2015, 10:10 AM
I don't know if it helps or not. Sometimes a book's sales start taking off much better after a couple of months and I don't know why.

Plenty of people out there snap up anything that's free and don't even read all the e-books they get, of course. But we (or I anyway) also can't always figure out if one or more of our promotions caused the increased sales down the road or not. Word of mouth can take a while.

So, even with the first book under each of my pen names, I do the free Kindle days. It's probably more effective if you have other books out under that name, but that fact doesn't help you if you don't have any other books out, lol.

Imo, even if you don't have other books out, you may as well do the free days, especially if you don't already have a nice-sized group of readers. You might find sales picking up a while later or get a review or two out of it. It's always possible one of those readers will post a review on their well-travelled blog, tell their friends how great it was, etc. And, unlike plenty of other promotions, at least it doesn't cost you anything.

Writers Choice
12-04-2015, 05:57 AM
I don't know if it helps or not. Sometimes a book's sales start taking off much better after a couple of months and I don't know why.

Plenty of people out there snap up anything that's free and don't even read all the e-books they get, of course. But we (or I anyway) also can't always figure out if one or more of our promotions caused the increased sales down the road or not. Word of mouth can take a while.

So, even with the first book under each of my pen names, I do the free Kindle days. It's probably more effective if you have other books out under that name, but that fact doesn't help you if you don't have any other books out, lol.

Imo, even if you don't have other books out, you may as well do the free days, especially if you don't already have a nice-sized group of readers. You might find sales picking up a while later or get a review or two out of it. It's always possible one of those readers will post a review on their well-travelled blog, tell their friends how great it was, etc. And, unlike plenty of other promotions, at least it doesn't cost you anything.

I like your advice.

Even still, I'm glad I didn't quit my day job!! :D

Writers Choice
12-04-2015, 05:59 AM
At the moment, I'd say no.

There's a good chance people will download and not read, or won't download. Of course, the things you can get out of it are sales for other books and reviews, but with hardly any readers reviewing, reviews aren't that likely, and right now I only have 2 books out.

I prefer countdown deals, as that way I still get some profit.

Well, fact you have two books out means you are beating me by two. I have a few short stories and one that maybe between a Novelette/Novella; no full length Novel yet. I'm guessing that most people refer to 50,000+ word novels as a book?

Writers Choice
12-04-2015, 06:02 AM
I have a perma-free book which is the first in a series. It did not get much traction until the series had three books out. It still hold steady after being out a few years, but I do run ENT or Bookbub ads for it when I can get them.
With a book in Select, since you are limited to the amount of free days, I would definitely schedule ad promos during the free run. You're working for the sell-through, so the free days aren't really useful if you don't have anything else to offer readers, in my experience.

Your sample is really intriguing and well written.

After reading yours, I figured out how boring mine is. At least I know where I stand! :cry:

Writers Choice
12-04-2015, 06:06 AM
It still exists because far too many new writers use it for their first book with no realization that it doesn't work. Every day on the KDP boards, there are new authors posting "I did a free promo and didn't get any results."

Free promos were somewhat effective a few years ago, but these days, you need downloads in the thousands (or tens of thousands) to get enough sell-through that will cover your advertising costs. Other than a permafree short story, I don't run free promos for my books.

You're right. I kinda knew that from reading this and other forum but had to experience it for myself.

I have several short stories, which I wrote as a distractor whenever I had writers block from working on my novel and novella. How do I make it permafee?

WriterBN
12-04-2015, 10:25 PM
How do I make it permafee?

You're at the mercy of Amazon's price-matching system. Make sure it's not enrolled in KDP Select, then publish it elsewhere (Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play) and set the price to zero. Then contact Amazon from your book page and report it as having a lower price elsewhere, with the link to the free book. They may or may not match it.

Arpeggio
01-17-2016, 09:59 PM
I notice some kindle books on Amazon.com have a price, but lower down it says: "Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #*,*** Free in Kindle Store".

Anyone know why this is?

Curlz
01-18-2016, 03:22 AM
As much as I enjoy freebies, I must say that as a reader I am suspicious about e-books priced at zero. And perhaps its not only me. I'd also say that a low price works better than "no price". For the simple reason that if somebody pays money, they will at least attempt to read it, while (as already mentioned above) freebies tend to be forgotten and left unread. The second reason for putting an actual price is that, well, the author gets some earnings. If a reader wants to acquire the book, that means there was something good in the book, and if there is something good in the book the author deserves some reward, however little :tongue Most people don't think 0.99 is real money, just look at the junk so many people (including me!) buy at "dollarstore"/"poundshop" (whatever it is called where you are) ;) All the author needs to do is put some effort into the blurb. And this is not so difficult, just be precise. Let's face it, there are lots and lots of books with vague descriptions which mean nothing to the reader. So if yours is a nice little exciting description, you are already standing out, the potential reader's imagination is already on fire and they want to (buy and) read your book. Especially if it costs peanuts ;)

Super_Duper
02-17-2016, 02:38 AM
I just ran my third free promo on a book and finally had some success -- it has resulted in 17 sales so far since the promo ended two days ago. Hopefully we can get a couple reviews out of those sales.

Beth Raymond
03-06-2016, 07:40 AM
I'm about to do some of my free days on Amazon (after having forgotten about them!). As a new author, I need visibility more than I need sales, so I'm hoping the free days help from that perspective. I'm also doing some print giveaways right now for the same reason; I'll be out the costs of the books and potentially high shipping costs, but if the book gets in the hands of people who enjoy it (and maybe leave reviews), I will consider it part of my advertising costs.

Dhewco
05-13-2016, 02:11 AM
How does the lending library affect sales after free promos? Do you find that your get more page reads after the free period? Or, does the lending library make a difference?

jgmartin
06-14-2016, 05:31 PM
You're at the mercy of Amazon's price-matching system. Make sure it's not enrolled in KDP Select, then publish it elsewhere (Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play) and set the price to zero. Then contact Amazon from your book page and report it as having a lower price elsewhere, with the link to the free book. They may or may not match it.

It helps if you get others to report it as well. Goodreads has a Smashwords author post in their forum where you can ask people to report for you (and you theirs).

AgathaChristieFan
06-15-2016, 02:07 AM
How does the lending library affect sales after free promos? Do you find that your get more page reads after the free period? Or, does the lending library make a difference?

Hi Dhewco, I just did a free promo for One By One for June 5th-June 7th (it hadn't been selling well). I paid for a Fussy Librarian ad for June 5th. The book got many downloads--way more than in the past. And, I've gotten KENP pages read still going strong after the promotion. On June 6th, I got 535 pages read alone. I only received a couple of actual sales after the promotion, but I still few it as a success because I'll get paid for the KENP pages read eventually.

cvolante
08-21-2016, 05:46 PM
I did a little experiment in 2014. I wrote a non-fiction spoof diet book in about a day, came up with a pseudonym, created a free cover and formatted it for free on KDP. I uploaded it and tried the 5 free day thing. I got well over 1,000 downloads in the first 24 hours and it went to #4 bestseller ranking in several categories with zero advertisements. HOWEVER, I only got one review and it was from someone who thought the diet was serious. Then I only sold a few after.
Because of all this, I'm a little more wary of the free promotion on a novel I spent time on and care about. Sounds like a definite idea for someone writing under a pseudonym or writing lots of non-fiction. OR maybe short story tie-ins to a novel.