Monday, October 8, 2012

Free Promo Results and Tips- 30K Books Downloaded

I enrolled A Needful Heart in the Select Program a few weeks ago, because it just wasn't moving anywhere. I had sold less than 10 books at Amazon and a few at Kobo, but no great numbers. I didn't feel I was losing readers by going with select.
I had heard that doing a free listing on the weekend was a waste of time, so I scheduled my first promo to run Thursday October 4th and Friday October 5th, when I knew people would be on the computer.
BUT, the week before the promo I started sending notification to all the freebie sites I could find. Yes, I did Pixel of Ink and all the other biggies, but I also did a lot of smaller sites. I did probably 30 free pages on Facebook the days of the sale. (The list is below). The other day I came across this WG2E page, and I wish I had it before I started, because it had even more options. I did use some of the Facebook pages to announce it that day.
At 7:11 Thursday morning, I had had 21 downloads. By 1:51pm I had 469 and had hit the contemporary list at number 82. By 8:30 Friday morning I hit #66 on the OVERALL FREE list and #15 on the contemporary list with 2740 downloads. Once you hit the list, it really does start feeding itself. At one point I worked out that I was having about 40 downloads a minute.
Throughout these two days I was tweeting and updating my Facebook page. If you're on a budget, use Twuffer to schedule your tweets. With twenty minutes of work I had the entire day scheduled and into the night.  Just be sure your tweets are unique; the system kicks out duplicates. If you use Hootesuite, you can upgrade to the $9.99 a month and get the scheduling upgrade.
Throughout the two days, my downloads and ranking continued to climb, as well as my reviews. In two days I garnered 10 brand new mostly 5 star reviews in the US, and 2 in the UK. The kind of reviews that absolutely melt your heart and keep you writing.
     " I downloaded this book as soon as I saw this free alert earlier...and I made the mistake of opening it at work.
Now I am finished reading it.
And I have to say...this might be one of the VERY best books I can EVER remember reading. I found myself in tears many times as I read Matt's struggle with feeling worthy of being loved and how he opened up under Gina's loving kindness and open heart.
I cannot recommend this story enough. It is just so, SO good that I cannot seem to find the words to really do it justice."
Thank you AngelWTattoos, whoever you are!
To me, the entire promo was worth doing just for those awesome reviews. I love this book, and I knew if I could find an audience, they would love it as well. And they have.
At 6:15 pm Friday, I had had 9730 downloads and was #7 on the overall free list, #3 on contemporary. I realized I had a dilemma. At this point downloads were flying and I was still climbing the charts, but I was scheduled to end at midnight. I hadn't hit number 1 yet, and my ego wondered if I could. I spoke with a writer friend and she agreed that it would be a good move to keep the book listed free for another day. So, I scheduled it to be free Saturday as well. And I'm glad I did. When I woke up Saturday morning, I was number 1 on the total FREE list AND the contemporary.
Again, when you get that high it continues to feed itself. I did some tweets Saturday, but I was out of the house most of the day and unable to do much more than that. I had only scheduled with the free sites for Thursday and Friday, so they weren't a help, unless somebody had looked at the old listings and was curious enough to buy the book.
At the end of the originally scheduled promo- Friday night- I had had 16,621 downloads. At the end of the extra day - Saturday night- I had had 25,980 total downloads.
For the first time I did well in other countries too. UK had 4739 total downloads and another 273 split between Germany, Spain, France and Italy. I had sold in UK before, but never in the other countries, so I was glad to at least get my name out a little bit over there.
A lot of people fuss at the free book issue, and I can understand their reasoning, BUT, I reached 30,000 new readers, and a significant number of those went ahead and bought every other book I had. In Author Central, ALL of my books were up in rankings, including those I have with e-pubs.
The select promo is a marketing tool. The IndieRomanceInk loop was talking about this recently as well. For authors with small to no fan bases, the select program can give them a very needed boost. For those with a broad reader-base, not so much, and they run the risk of alienating a significant number of their readers if they do go exclusive with Amazon. Whether to use it or not is definitely a personal choice.
Here's the list of free sites I listed with. And remember, it's up to their discretion whether or not to list you on their site. If you have more, please add them to the comments for everybody to see. I also did an event listing with The Romance Studio and listed the sale on Kindleboards.
  • Author Marketing Club is fantastic, because they list all the biggies right in one spot. Including:
  • Pixel of Ink- I listed, but did not get picked up. I did notice that all the people I was competing with on the free list were listed, but not me.
  • Books on the Knob- did not get picked up.
  • Freebooksy- they picked me up on Friday.
  • Bargain Book Hunter- picked me up on Friday.
  • That Book Place- no.
  • Orangeberry- no.
  • Free Kindle Fiction- no on the actual site but they did pick me up on their FB page.
  • Indie Book of the Day- no.
  • Free Book Dude- yes.
  • Awesome Gang- no.
  • Frugal Freebie- no.
  • Kindle Daily Deal- no.
  • Free Kindle Books and Tips- yes, on Friday.
  • Free E-books Daily- no.
  • Ebookshabit- yes, on Thursday.
The Day of I posted at these Facebook pages, some of which are from the WG2E site:
  • Galleycat FB page
  • snickslist
  • cheap bookies
  • free books r us
  • eReader1 US
  • iAuthor
  • Kindle finds
  • IndieKindle
  • Ebook Deal of the Day
  • Share Free eBooks
  • Free Ebooks and Tips
  • Kindle Promo
  • ebooks habit
  • Galleycat
  • Indie book of the Day
  • Free Kindle Fiction
  • Bargain Ebook Hunter
  • Freebooksy
  • Reading Kindle
  • Kindle Korner
  • ebooks FreeFreeFree
  • Free Ebook Deal
  • What to read After 50 Shades of Grey
I'm positive there are more sites we just don't know about. I think, looking back, I would have given the bigger sites more lead time for scheduling. Some request a month. I only gave them a week. Also, most of the bigger sites have guaranteed listings for like $5.00. I may do that next time.
Overall, though, I believe my promo was a success. I ended high enough that now that I'm under the paid listings, enough people are finding me that I'm climbing the charts again. I'm #2101 on the overall paid list and #49 in Domestic Living, which before yesterday I had never heard of.
Do your planning ahead of time and be prepared to spend a lot of time at the computer during your free days.
If you have questions, I'm more that willing to answer them. I have more than 4 pages on notes! Good luck with your promo!


Kristine Cayne said...

This is a great post with a lot of very valuable information for anyone considering using Select. I really appreciate your willingness to share!

JM said...

No problem! These are all things I wondered about when I thought about doing the promo, so I knew other people were wondering as well.
Thanks for stopping!

@Ruby_Barnes said...

Congratulations on a successful campaign, J.M. Thanks for sharing those sites and whether they picked you up or not. I bet that was a busy few days!

Stephanie Queen said...

Great post! Very helpful info and list!
Congratulations on your successful promo and thanks for sharing!
Stephanie Queen

JM said...

@Ruby you would not believe how busy! There was a stretch in there when I was checking my numbers every fifteen minutes and logging them, because they were moving so fast. Then Saturday I had plans, so I didn't get to check them as often. Than drove me nuts!
Glad you liked the info.
Stephanie, thank you! I hope people can use the information.

Chantilly White said...

Thanks so much for the awesome information, and congratulations on your success with the Select program! I'm still definitely considering it, and your blog helped the decision making process. :)

Amy said...

Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your success and your strategy!! Such great info!!

JM said...

Chantilly, thanks for stopping and I hope it does help you. If you run your promo, I'll tweet for you!
Amy, thanks for stopping. I think the more informed we indie authors are, the better!

Greg Carrico said...

JM, you have a new name: "Greg's hero." It won't get you much, except maybe a few extra scoffs at the gas station, but does come with my appreciation and gratitude for sharing this info. Kristine Cayne deserves a bit of that, too, for pointing me in your direction.

JM said...

Greg, you're very welcome. *snort* I was running short of scoffs at the gas station, so thank you! And thanks Kristine as well.
If you have questions, give me a holler!

Miranda P. Charles said...

JM, thanks so much for posting this. Very helpful. I'm madly finishing my second book of a series and then plan to make the first book free for a couple of days on Select.

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