Here it is, guys – the report on my latest Free promotion with KDP. Downloads, after-sales, money spent, the lot! I was curious to see how this promo would work out, as it’s been a while since I had a book new to free (as in, hasn’t been free before), and I know that Amazon are changing how free books behave once they go back to paid all the time. Read on for the breakdown of what I did and what happened …
Advertising the promotion
I tried to get Cupid’s Way listed with Bookbub, but was turned down. As it only has 7 or 8 reviews in the US, I think that was pretty much expected. Instead, I spent $55 listing it with some of the smaller paid email services: Ereader News Today (the most expensive at $20), Digital Book Today ($15), Ebooks Habit ($10), Free Discounted Books ($5) and the Kindle Book Review ($5). This was still a lot cheaper than Bookbub! I also had a free book of the day slot on Kindle Users Forum, which would have cost £8 but I got this free with a voucher I already had.
I listed the book with all the other free sites, and posted it on my blog and FB etc. Lots of lovely people Tweeted and shared, including the very influential Terry Tyler, who has so many Twitter followers it makes my mind boggle. (Thanks, Terry.) Then I sat back and waited …
During the promotion
On the first day of free – Thursday 9th October – Cupid’s Way had 5,556 downloads, mainly in America. On day two, that dropped to 3,565 downloads, and then went back up to 4,564 on the third day. The final two days saw downloads tailing off a little, at 4,243 and then 3,012 on the final day. Here are the total figures, broken down by country:
I was happy with the overall amount in the UK – which is the only place I ever see any real after sales effect, to be honest. Here is the graph showing the ups and downs of the promo:
Cupid’s Way reached number 29 in the US free charts, and number 6 in the UK. To make any real impact on sales, I still think you have to get to number 1 and stay there for a while, but I was happy with these figures, and curious to find out what would happen next.
After the promotion – rankings
Before Cupid’s Way went free, sales had settled to between 3 and 5 a day, with very little KOLL borrows or Kindle Unlimited reads. It was sitting at #15,000 in the overall charts, and tended to range between this and the #20,000s.
A day after it went back to paid, it charted at #1,018, and then went on to climb to the dizzy heights of #582 overall in the Kindle charts, hitting number one in the category for Parenting & Family Humour …
Best of all, it reached number 33 in the popular Romantic Comedy category, sitting side-by-side with some really big names like Katie Fforde and Sophie Kinsella …
Which is all lovely, but what about sales? Yes, I know you’ve only read up until this point because you’re waiting for me to get to the nitty gritty ;)
After the promotion – sales
Well, the surprising thing is, sales weren’t as good as these rankings suggest. The first day back to paid, Cupid’s Way had 25 paid-for downloads, which isn’t that many really. Then began the inevitable downward spiral (see below) and now, two weeks later, sales are just about back to their normal level. But, what has obviously helped with chart position is the number of Kindle Unlimited reads. Check out this chart – red is paid units, blue is KOLL/Kindle Unlimited units:
Obviously, the flat red line at the bottom is when the book was free – no sales then – but look how the borrows climb, even as the sales tail off. This must mean that Amazon are pushing post-free books to their Kindle Unlimited customers, because only good visibility gets results like this. It seems as though the ranking algorithm takes into account both sales and KU or KOLL reads, which is good news.
The other bonus, of course, is increased sales of other books, and both Can’t Live Without and The Family Trap have seen a small increase, both in sales and KU/KOLL reads. There has been no effect on the Flora Lively mystery, because I guess there just isn’t any crossover in genres here. But there have been some fantastic reviews of Cupid’s Way, which is always another massive bonus of doing free.
So, there you have it, in all its forensic detail :) I hope you find this useful for planning your own free promotion, and I think I can say that KDP is still worth it for a bit of a boost.