In last week’s post I announced my first free promotion of MATANZAS BAY as part of the KDP Select Program which gives authors up to
five days over a 90-day period to offer their book free of charge. I’d heard from many authors who had done free promotions with varying results. As I said, giving away books for free may seem counter-productive, but the idea is to find new audiences who will, hopefully, purchase your other books.
So how did it turn out? To recap, the books were free from Saturday, February 23 through Monday, February 25. During that time nearly 30,000 books were downloaded and my ranking in the Top 100 Free Books continued to climb. By the end of the first day, 9,369 books had been downloaded and MATANZAS BAY had reached #19 in the Top 100 Books, but it was #1 in the Hard-Boiled Mystery category.
By 5:30 Sunday, there were over 15,000 free downloads, and I was beginning to see a surge in sales for BLUE CRABS AT MIDNIGHT and BRING DOWN THE FURIES, which I hoped would happen, but hadn’t anticipated it happening during the free promotion. I was up early Monday morning to check my stats and was amazed to see the free downloads had jumped to 24,178 and MB was still #1 in Hard-Boiled Mysteries, but had climbed to #5 in overall free books. Both CRABS and FURIES continued to sell at a higher rate than before the promotion.
The free promotion ended at midnight Monday with a grand total of 29,870 free downloads. And I was amazed to find that readers in other countries were downloading the book as well, including 85 in Germany.
If I looked at the promotion as a glass half empty, I might think I’d lost out on thousands of sales, but I prefer to look at it as introducing 30,000 new readers to my books. In a perfect world a good percentage of those people would enjoy MB and decide to purchase the other two titles. We all know we don’t live in a perfect world, but I was anxious to see if over the next few weeks there would be an uptick in sales as they finished reading MB and looked for another Parker Francis book.
Surprisingly, I didn’t have to wait for weeks. Instead I saw increased sales of MB almost immediately after the end of the free promotion. It helped that MB remained in the top ten of Hard-Boiled Mysteries. I also saw the sales ranking drop—which is a good thing indicating increased sales—over the next few days from over 100,000 to below 2,000, and I saw MB sales approach 200 in just 3 days. Another unexpected benefit was the jump in “Borrowed” units by the Amazon Prime members. Prior to the free promotion only one lonely borrow had taken place for the entire month of February. As of this writing, three days after the promotion, 80 people have borrowed MB.
I know that some authors, particularly in the early days of the KDP Select Program, reported much higher sales, but I’m pleased with the results and excited to know nearly 30,000 people will be exposed to my book. Will they all buy my other books? Of course not. Some people only want free books, but from what I’ve seen so far it was definitely worth it.
Now the trick is to have more titles available for readers to select once they finish reading my three Parker Francis-penned titles. So you’ll excuse me if I get back to work.