Marketing and promotion

Maths and Stats: Kindle Free Promotions

Last week I made a big decision. I took Fairway To Heaven off its Smashwords distribution, which included iTunes & Kobo & Barnes & Noble etc, and put it exclusively with Amazon in its KDP Select program for a 3-month stint. I did it because by far my most sales of my books comes via Amazon, and because I wanted to try the marketing packages that the KDP program offers, specifically the free promotion you can do for up to 5 days during that 3-month period.

There are also ‘Countdown’ offers, but I haven’t tried these yet.NewFinalFair#2

My novella, The Goodbye Ride has previously been free before, and I wrote about the downloads this achieved in a post about a year ago. You can read that here. Given the only time I can tolerate maths seems to be when it relates to book sales, sales rankings, or free downloads, I thought I’d update that post with this weekend’s results.

So, my promotion was from 30/5/2014 to 2/6/2014 (3 days). In total over that period, 8255 people downloaded Fairway To Heaven. This is more than double the downloads of The Goodbye Ride when I first used the ‘free’ option at Amazon last year.

I am having many thoughts about this entire self-publishing caper at the moment, but one thing I do love about it is – you get access to your own statistics, and you can see exactly where the sales are coming from. So here’s the breakdown: (7773); (162); (50); (1); amazon.esp (6); (4); (29); (90); (4); (36).

My biggest surprise, the sales of Fairway To Heaven in the US. 7773!!

My second biggest surprise, the sales in Australia. Seriously! Only 36 Aussies wanted to read a contemporary romance set in Australia? I thought we were the sport-loving country!? I wish I could claim it’s because thousands of Aussies have already bought my book, but (sadly) that wouldn’t be true. Although certainly some have. (Thanks Mum)

Sometimes having this data gives you more and more questions. Why is the Aussie interest not there? Is it the title? (Too golfy). Is it the cover? (Too risque/trying to be too clever?) Maybe Australian readers want their romance covers with a woman on the front, a man on the front, or a woman and man on the front. Or a cat.

See! It does a girl’s head in, and it completely messes with an author’s brain!

My goal in providing Fairway To Heaven for free is to expose more people to my work. If they won’t take a chance on a new author with their hard-earned cash, then hopefully they’ll try my work for free. If they like it, they might tell their friends, or mention it on a forum somewhere, and/or buy my other books.

Until the weekend I had only 4 or 5-star reviews for Fairway To Heaven, most from people I know in the writing community (bless them) – and all of these were wonderfully positive about the book. I’m very proud of Fairway, but it is different for ‘a romance’… and this might be part of my problem. Don’t people say that there’s a formula for romance, and break it at your peril?

By making the book free, I now run the risk of finding opportunistic readers, who clicked my book only because it was free, even if they don’t read romance or have no interest in an Aussie book. It may languish in their Kindles forever unread. It might be read, and loathed, or not finished. (And that too is something they could tell their friends). Double bad whammy.

So there are pros and cons all the way, but I tell you – one thing about doing these type of promotions – it makes the weekend a good fun ride, and it gives a girl some very small numbers to look at on the rankings. And for me, that makes a nice change.

The best I saw it on (US) during the promotion was at No. 35 Free, & No. 2 in ‘sport’. That’s pretty special.

If you picked up Fairway To Heaven over the weekend, thank you for giving my book some of your time. I hope you enjoy it. I’d love you to drop me a line and tell me what you thought:


11 thoughts on “Maths and Stats: Kindle Free Promotions”

  1. Hi Lily. Thanks very much for a most thought provoking post. I’m in the midst of tossing around the pros and cons of self pubbing, and I’m just gob smacked at the the number of downloads you got during that free book period. Congratulations. OK, so it doesn’t translate into $ YET. But it’s an investment in your brand name, and fab stats on your record. Thanks and cheers. Noelle.

  2. I’ve returned to the store rather than transferring because I couldn’t ‘gift’ from the Oz store. I wonder if that aspect plays any part in the Australian figures? Anyway, thanks for sharing your results. It highlights what publishers tell us, that America is our biggest market. By far!

    1. Good point Susanne about the US/AUS Amazon. I moved to AUS and I’m really not sure why. Maybe the Amazon AUS figure isn’t quite indicative… but yes, I agree, the US is the big one. I thought the Canada, Germany and UK figures were interesting too. I don’t do a lot of promotion for either Canada or the UK – will have to look at that at some stage perhaps.
      Thanks for visiting!

      1. Canada and UK were the other two markets I noticed did okay when I offered my free days. Yes, need to have a look at these later too.

  3. Lots to think about here, Lily. I hadn’t thought about the impact of opportunistic readers until now … so much analysing to do even after the book’s out there!

  4. I downloaded it! I now have two romances on my kindle! As you can see, I’m not usually a romance reader but I will read yours because you seem so nice! I’ll let you know when I have …

  5. Lily
    I’ve tried the Aussie store too and then gone back to the US because I still have to pay the same exchange rate fee as with US currency. And my figures look very much like yours with the majority in the US although I have to say that some of us Kiwi authors are achieving good success through the Apple iStore… but I’ll be very interested in how going back to KDP Select works for you. Do keep us posted.

  6. Hey Lily
    Thanx for being so generous and lucid. I’m about to dive into the shark-tank myself and found your insights and safety tips most valuable. You’re kinda like those bomb disposal guys who radio back all the defusing details to colleagues outside the kill-zone so they can handle the next UXB without getting blown up. But I hope any explosion you’re associated with in the future is a sales one.

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