My two-day Kindle promotion was a wild ride! I started the saga here, so I won’t recap all that. But yesterday was even bigger than the first day!
I didn’t stay up until midnight on Tuesday to see what my exact total was. From the download rate, I’m going to guess that I was somewhere around 3800 as the calendar rolled over to day two of the promotion. I didn’t have a huge number first thing in the morning (I think it was about 4200 or so), but I ended the day and the promo with 7909 downloads. That’s about 4100 for day two!
This is by far my biggest promotion, and really came completely out of the blue. I did have one other ad than I’d mentioned, which I hadn’t noted in my calendar, and that was from Books on the Cheap. A commenter here pointed out that I’d been featured on the site on Tuesday, and at first I thought they’d just picked it up from Amazon. But going back over my notes, I’d done a paid ad there. So Books on the Cheap and FreeBooksy were my two ads, and I will be doing those again next month for Ixeos, for sure!
I have no idea how this will transfer to sales, although sales of The Hoard of the Doges, the sequel to Solomon’s Throne, picked up significantly yesterday, selling 1/3 of my monthly total on that book in one day. That’s the point of doing the Solomon’s Throne free promo in the first place — to drive sales to the sequel, plus get word of mouth advertising and reviews — so I was happy that people were looking for my other books without even having read the first yet (I assume!).
I will be following the same pattern for IXEOS. I had already decided to do that, but this last promo has definitely solidified that decision. (Joe Konrath has a great blog post today on his recent experiences with KDPS free promos that I’d highly recommend! He’s the master!) I’m going to work today to get that set up, as my KDP enrollment technically started this week, even though my “hard” launch of the book isn’t until next month. That means I really have 2 months in which to get my 5 free promo days in, rather than 3. No biggie, except I obviously want to get the advertising in place, and that has to be done ahead. Guess which sources I’m going to use??
Yesterday I had an “argument” (okay, not really an argument… let’s say a difference of opinion) about giving away books. I’ve written posts here, like this one, talking about the business of writing. My conflict with this new indie author was basically about how to run a business although that’s not officially what it was about. She said she had run one free day (she changed the price herself, she didn’t do it through KDPS), and at the end of the day rushed to change it back out of fear it wouldn’t get back to costing money soon enough. She had 150 downloads. She’s sold about 10 books so far.
Now, I had months at the beginning where I barely sold books, and that’s not at all what this is about. What struck me is that she was “afraid” of her book being free. She obviously didn’t do a lot of promotion regarding the free day, as her downloads were low, I assume because she didn’t actually want anyone getting it for free. She told me that we shouldn’t *ever* put out books for free really, and that KDP’s five free days in each ninety was way too many. People would get “too used to free books” and never buy books again.
Obviously, I have a different take. First of all, I want as many people reading my books as possible. Doesn’t every author?? Second, every business in the world (except maybe Apple) has sales. They use them to draw people to their store or site, where it is likely that the customer will purchase more than just the sale item. Businesses give away free stuff all the time, too. Buy a phone, get a charger. Open a checking account, get a picnic basket. Buy a car, get a free guitar (Volkswagen did this a few years ago with their Bugs). This isn’t some kind of new and strange marketing plan. It’s a solid business model, using what’s called a “loss leader” to bring in additional sales. (Like the $300 60″ flat screen tv that Best Buy sells on December 26…)
In my admittedly limited experience of about six months as a published author, I have seen this strategy work. If you only have one book published, it may not be the time to do it, although enrolling in KDP Select still allows your book to be borrowed (for which you get paid) and that’s a good deal, too. But if you have more than one book, it is a smart move. (Again, read Joe Konrath’s article for his numbers. He has over 50 titles and has sold over a million books… He knows what he’s talking about!)
I didn’t really argue with this author too much. First of all we were on a public forum, and that wouldn’t have been appropriate. Secondly, the whole point of being self-employed, which indie authors are, is that you make your own decisions and feel your own way. Other indie authors are incredibly generous with their experiences, though, and I always try to glean what I can from the. The bottom line, which is how I ended my last post to the gal, is that there’s no right or wrong here.
My personal preference is generosity. I love that there are now about 12,000 people who got my book for free. I’ve done free promos on my Facebook page and Goodreads, too, and send out dozens of autographed print copies to people who were gracious enough to give this new author a shot. Giving away free ebooks costs me nothing, while giving away print copies costs me about $10, but I’m still happy to do both (no, I won’t be giving away 7909 paperbacks!).
I want people to get to know me. I want people to get to know my books. They’re not for everyone, but there is a group out there who will like — maybe even love — them, and that’s who I want to reach. That’s who I want to get to know. As a new and independently published author, the best way to do that is though generosity in all things: my books and my time. It suits me, so I don’t find it difficult. Some people will, and that’s okay. They can find their path to success all the same, it just won’t look like mine. And that’s the beauty of this whole indie experiment anyway, isn’t it?