I used my Amazon KDP Select free days for my novel Balance about a week ago. This free promotion was backed by a paid placement with Bookbub, the e-book mailing list that for $90 reached about 180,000 fans of fantasy novels. Bookbub has been getting a lot of attention in the self-pub world, because the fact is that it delivers results that are far and away the absolute best marketing money can buy right now. You can read about Bookbub here. This post is about results.
Here they are: 4 days, 19319 Amazon US downloads.
Yes, nearly 20,000 downloads (just about 20k if you add in a few hundred each from the UK and Germany, etc.). The day the Bookbub promo went out, Balance was downloaded 12,000 times - enough to make it to #7 FREE on the entire Amazon store. That's a pretty awesome place to be. What's more, it managed to stay in the top ten for another entire day. I know Amazon has the freebies behind a tab now, but that's still some pretty nice visibility.
I was originally only going to run the promo for two days, but the positioning led me to decide to extend it. I'm glad I did. I added 4,000 on day two, and nearly 2,000 each on day three and four. Balance spent the entire run as the #1 FREE book in Science Fiction & Fantasy. My previous promotions, which I had advertised through eBookBooster, never rose above 1,000 downloads per day.
You may be thinking, 'Wow, that's great, you GAVE AWAY your hard work to 20,000 people... Shouldn't you be SELLING your book?'
I know my wife was thinking that.
The thing is, Amazon counts each download as 1/10th of a sale in running its popularity algorithms, and to put it simply: more popularity = more visibility = more sales. 19000 / 10 is equivalent to selling nearly 400 books a day to Amazon's software.
What's more, if we assume that Amazon is close on its estimation of how many of those downloaders might actually READ the book, that's another 1900+ potential fans who might go on to buy Book Two (and more).
The proof is in the pudding, right? That's why I waited a week to post this. I wanted to see how sales trended once the promo was done.
The answer is: UP.
Before the promo, I was averaging about 20-30 sales per day. Not bad at all, I'm plenty satisfied with that kind of performance.
After the promo, I'm consistently hitting 50-70 sales per day, and they've been increasing. That's a nice bump.
There have been side benefits too.. My mailing list has been growing daily, I'm getting more Facebook likes, and my cat is friendlier (no, really).
I've seen some people question the value of free. If your book is sci-Fi/fantasy, and you can get it listed on Bookbub, ESPECIALLY if it's part of a series - do it. No, stop reading, and go do it. If your book isn't sci-fi/fantasy - I would still do it if I were you, but I can't make any promises on the overall ROI; after all thrillers can cost over $1000 to list for free (but of course they get a much wider audience).
To Bookbub... you should raise your prices. I hope you don't, because us authors are taking awesome advantage right now... but I think you should.