Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Do free promo days on KDP Select work? Here’s my take.

As part of Amazon’s KDP Select, I decided to take advantage of the 5 free promotion days that are offered with the program.  The first time I ran the promotion, in one day, I had around 500 downloads of my book.  It was tremendously exciting, I watched my book climb higher and higher in the Top 100 charts and found a snug spot at the top of my category for the majority of the day, and even managed to crack the top 500 of the overall free chart.  I could not wait to see those reviews flow in, the sales continue the next day and for my book to take on a life of its own – but it wasn’t so.  The book sold steady numbers after the promo, but not a single review came in for a few weeks.  I was convinced that none of the 500+ people who downloaded the book had actually read it.

During this crazy day of downloads, I noticed significant Twitter postings about my book, all curiously worded in a similar fashion, promoting the free book.  It appeared that there are a number of massively-followed Twitter users who do nothing but promote free Kindle books on Twitter, likely scoring some sort of revenue from those who click through and download the books. These Tweeple appear to be marketing to those who are only interested in downloading free books – with no intention of actually reading them.  Despite that, I decided to run another two day free promo over a weekend and had similar results.  I noticed many tweets about the book, lots of downloads (although at a slower rate) but the same end result. No reviews, no significant spike in sales, but steady numbers.

I recently changed my book cover (see previous post) so I decided to give the new design some exposure and run my final two-day promotion. To my surprise, my download numbers were MUCH lower. By the end of my final 2-day promo, around 150 copies were downloaded. However, a quick search of Twitter shows not one of these odd Twitter handles have tweeted about the free book offer.  Which I assume means the people who are downloading the book actually acquired the book for legitimate purposes, and may actually read it!  My hope is that these quality-downloads (as I will refer to them) will result in reviews and sustainable sales through word-of-mouth and an increased fan base. Time will tell.

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