I just completed my second (and most likely last) round of free promotion on Amazon this Saturday. The promo ran from 4/25 - 4/27. Some thoughts:
I paid $35 to eBookBooster to help me list my free days on all of the relevant sites. I paid for this promotion on April 3rd, giving about 3 weeks for the service to get my book submitted. I was a little disappointed when I started getting confirmations from the free book sites on 4/24 that my book had been submitted, since most of the sites also require X amount of lead time in order to fit the books into their schedules. It did run in a few places, and I did see a huge jump in downloads from my first unannounced free promo days, but in retrospect I think I should have picked out the most popular sites and submitted to them myself to make sure I got space. Still, its a great time saver for not that much money.
I saw about 1200 downloads on day 1, moving me up to #152 overall on free, and to #1 in urban fantasy and #5 in contemporary fantasy, plus #9 on science fiction & fantasy overall.. pretty nice.
I averaged around 400 downloads the next two days, for a total of 2062. It's this outcome that has led me to think that once a book has traction, a one day freebie is probably the most effective.
3. The aftermath
In the hours after the freebie, my overall sales have... stayed right where they were before the freebie. Which is fine, I've already sold more copies than I had imagined I would when I published, so I'm pretty happy anyway. Being a nerd who likes numbers though, I find the outcome interesting.
4. Final thoughts
My goal for listing free was to:
1. gain the exposure of having my title listed on the free book sites and tweeted out
2. gain exposure on amazon, listed in the top 20 free on 3 lists
3. get moved around on Amazon's recommendation que
4. get some numbers to share (like i said, i like numbers)
It's said that people tend to need to see something 3-4 times before they actually buy it, so the exposure portion may lead to greater mindshare that can't be quantified in immediate numbers. At the same time, I don't know that there is a strong value in listing free once you've gained a certain level of penetration - at least not until you can back it up with a second title in the series. I'm thinking that $.99 may be a better approach, and it's one I'll try in the future.