KDP Select – What Happened After The Freebie Days

indie author handbook

Indie Author Handbook

My free days are over – many thanks to all who downloaded This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies.  I greatly appreciate your support, and if you would leave an honest review on Amazon, I would be grateful.  Now to the nitty-gritty of Free Day Three and beyond…

Analyzing KDP Select – Day Three

In my previous post (Analyzing KDP Select – The Latest Results Of My Free Days) I talked about why I jumped back into KDP Select, and how days one and two of my free campaign fared.  At the end of Day Two I had 33,775 downloads and a number of sales on the other stories in the mystery series (Reel Estate Rip-off, The Maltese Felon and the short story Elvis And The Sports Card Cheat).  Day three was not as spectacular as day two, but I still saw a lot of downloads.  By the end of day three, I ended up with over 42,000 downloads of This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies.  Not bad…

Analyzing KDP Select – And Analyzing My Goals

In the previous post, I listed my goals:

  • to, at least, make back the advertizing dollars I spent on the campaign
  • to get at least 20,000 downloads
  • to get more reviews (hopefully positive ones)
  • to increase sales of This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies
  • to increase sales of the other mysteries in the series
  • to garner attention for my other books

Looking at those goals, I’d say I did pretty well.  It’s early, but I’ve made back the money I spent at Bookbub.  I doubled the download amount goal.  So far, I’ve had four reviews (all positive) in two days, all of whom said they would read more in the mystery series (and that hits the goal of increasing sales of the others in the series).  I’ve also seen those not in this mystery series selling more.  So I hit all of my goals.

On a side note, on day two, as I was watching the number of downloads increase, I would This Doesn't Happen In The Movies - Number Oneswitch between Amazon US and Amazon in other countries, and then switch back to US, taking just a second.  And the number of downloads would change by 40-50 or more.  It was wildly exciting :).

Also, This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies has all positive reviews, except for a single 1 star review where the reviewer said she didn’t even finish the book, and she also commented that the title had nothing to do with the book.  The sarcastic side of me has wanted to comment and say if you read the whole book, you’d know where the title came from.  I’d also love to at least question her leaving a poor review on a book she didn’t finish.  But I know this only leads to trouble :).  However, now that there has been more exposure, I’ve seen others challenge this reviewer in the comments.  That made me smile.  PS – Don’t get me wrong, this reviewer is entitled to her opinion – my own personal opinion is a reviewer who critiques character development and such should read the whole book first :).

Analyzing KDP Select – Digging Deeper

In looking at the results, it’s hard to know exactly how well I did.  At first glance, it’s spectacular.  But what if the sales are only in the hundreds in the days and weeks following the free campaign?  Is this not good?  Do I have to hit JA Konrath numbers for it to be considered successful?  I think sometimes we indie authors think that unless we consistently have huge sales, we’re not considered successful.  I don’t see it that way…

Analyzing KDP Select – Some Perspective

Back in the day of legacy publishing, selling 500-1,000 of a title, in total, would be considered successfulMost legacy published authors don’t hit it big.  And guess what?  Most indie authors don’t either.  For every indie author who has huge, or even moderate sales, there are thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) who make next to nothing.  That’s just the way it is.

This is a marathon for me.  If this run gets more exposure for my mystery series, then I’m happy.  If I make some money, then I’m happy.  If readers notice my other books, then I’m happy.  I long ago gave up the idea that I must have the same sales numbers as other indie authors or I’m not successful, or that my marketing campaign wasn’t successful.  Our journeys are all different.  What works for you may not for me.  You have to evaluate for yourself what will work, whether you have a good book for sale, what resources you have to promote your book, what your expectations are, what time of the year it is (this affects sales) and more.

Analyzing KDP Select – What Affects Your Free Days

I believe there are a number of things that will help, or hurt, your free days:

  • your product – if you have a poorly written book, a bad cover, and a blurb that’s not enticing, you hurt your chances of getting downloads
  • the amount of reviews your book has – This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies had 35 4-5 star reviews, and that lone 1 star review, before the start of the free days – the more you can get great reviews before you use KDP Select, the more it will help
  • whether you have reviews from prominent review sites – This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies garnered a great Kirkus review and this is prominent on the book page
  • whether your book has won awards – This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies is a Reader’s Favorite Finalist in mystery; again, this is prominent on the book page
  • how much exposure you get – I relied heavily on book sites that promote free days, and not much on Twitter, Facebook and my other social media sites – besides Bookbub, I submitted This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies to 27 sites that feature free books (by the way, I personally wouldn’t spend money on social media ads, blasts, and the like – I don’t believe the money is an effective way to sell books)
  • how much you educate yourself on what to do – I’ve studied how to make my KDP Select days successful, I’ve asked questions of others, and I’ve incorporated that into my campaign
  • whether you use Bookbub or not – from everything I’m hearing, this is the site to use to promote your free days – it’s not cheap, but it’s worth it
  • luck – this is one none of us can control, but I know it plays a role

A bit more on Bookbub.  When I submitted to Bookbub, I asked to promote on April 29-30.  This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies was free on April 28.  All of the other sites had April 28-30 as the free days.  I saw decent downloads (2,000+ at the end of day one), but it wasn’t until the Bookbub listing kicked in that I saw the huge jump in downloads.  Who knows how the campaign would’ve done without Bookbub, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have been as good as it was.

Analyzing KDP Select – Where To Promote Your Free Days

I’m sure you’re wondering what other sites I used besides Bookbub.  It would be too much to list them all individually, but you can go to these sites for lists:

I cherry-picked the sites they list.  I skipped sites that required me to sign up first.  Some links were broken.  Some sites didn’t appear to have a lot of followers and I skipped those.

I also had some very nice people offer to feature me on their sites:

I also want to thank Anthony Wessel (Digital Book Today), and authors Jeff Bennington, Toby Neal, and Sandy and Patrick Jones.  They have shared their KDP Select experiences and tips with me, and I am better for it.

Thank you all!  If I missed anyone, my deepest apologies.  Also, if anyone promotes free days, please list your site in the comments and I will create a post with these sites.

This is a long post, but I hope you’ve found it helpful.  If you do a free campaign, feel free to send me a tweet (make sure you read my post about how to format those tweets :)) and I’ll retweet it for you.

Thank you all for your support.  I am greatly appreciative.

About Renée Pawlish

Award-winning author Renée Pawlish writes the bestselling horror book, Nephilim Genesis of Evil, the Reed Ferguson mystery series, short stories and non-fiction ghost stories.
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6 Responses to KDP Select – What Happened After The Freebie Days

  1. Renee, thanks for sharing your experience. I’m one of those authors who’s reluctant to do the free days, but not from the point of view of being hesitant to give away my work. I know it helps to give people a worthwhile sample. However, I can’t help noticing when I look at Amazon reviews that the scathing 1-star reviews are usually from people who got the book during a free promo. I’m thinking about another Kindle select promo, but haven’t made a decision yet. Thanks again for giving your readers insight into how KDP Select works.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      I hear you – I’ve garnered one two star review that actually wasn’t negative, just said the book was okay, and a couple of three-star that were positive, but still thought just to give it a three-star, but it’s also got a few 4-5 star reviews as well, so I guess it’s a bit of a trade-off.
      Thanks for your comment.

  2. Sandy Jones says:

    Renee,
    I am so very happy for your great response to your free days!! Thanks also for mentioning both Pat and myself in your blog! Anything that helps all of us succeed is definitely worthwhile! I don’t know what it is that Book Bub does, or what markets they tap, but it is a fantastic opportunity to investigate. We were able to see about 2 weeks of visibility after our free event. Congratulations on your success with this avenue…and yes, Anthony Wessel with Digital Book Today is a gem who is seriously committed to the Indie author. Any and all information from Digital Book Today is valuable information for the author. Thanks for your synopsis of the event!! Pat and Sandy Jones

  3. Renee, thanks for the play by play information and also for the mention of Venture Galleries. I hope you continue to see good sales. regards, Stephen Woodfin

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