Today I’m welcoming author Anne Allen to the blog to talk about her recent free promotion for her novel, Dangerous Waters. Anne’s got a brilliant new book out, and as I type this she is over in sunny Guernsey signing books and meeting readers, the lucky lady! Over to you, Anne …
“Hi, Jo, thanks for inviting me along to offer my thoughts on free kindle promotions. Over the past two years since launching my first novel, Dangerous Waters I have run two free promotions and a couple of reduced price offers on Dangerous Waters and my second book, Finding Mother. I would say that both the free promotions produced better results than the lower price offers.
Dangerous Waters was originally published for me by Matador and they offered the ebook across all the retailers and so it was not eligible for KDP Select. However, last October, when I published Finding Mother under my own imprint, Sarnia Press, I took back Dangerous Waters from Matador although it was still available from other retailers under their imprint. This changed last month when I was about to publish the third in The Guernsey Novels series, Guernsey Retreat. I had heard that three novels is the magic number for newbie authors: the magic backlist. Yay! So, my thinking was I needed to offer No 1 free to encourage sales of all 3 books. After enrolling Dangerous Waters in KDP Select I planned my first – and possibly last – free promotion. Of course, I might change my mind when No 4, The Family Divided, comes out next year☺
I had used BookBub for a reduced price promo on Dangerous Waters and it did well, but since then I had seen some good reports for a service only dealing in free promos, Freebookservice. I know there’s been some controversy about this service, but I understand that the initial issue with Amazon is now resolved. Just before Christmas 2013 I set up my free promo for Finding Mother with this service and some smaller ones and secured nearly 30k free downloads, reaching No2 on amazon.com for ALL kindle free books. The consequent sales were more than enough to cover the cost, making a tidy profit and producing new reviews.
Last weekend (1-3 August) I used freebookservice and a few other, smaller low-cost or free sites, to promote Dangerous Waters a week before launching Guernsey Retreat. I could not be more pleased with the results. Not only did I reach No 1 on amazon.com in the overall free chart but I did well in the UK too. The total free downloads were again around the 30k mark, with nearly 2k in the UK. A week later my paid sales of Dangerous Waters alone have more than covered the cost of the promo, including around 150 sales in the UK. I’ve also seen good sales of Finding Mother and Guernsey Retreat even though I’m not doing a great deal of marketing now. I chose the Platinum service and paid $212 (about £126) to freebookservice. Boy, am I looking forward to the royalty payment from Amazon in 2 months’! It will be my best yet, although not life-changing it is encouraging.
The conclusion? I can categorically say that the free promos I’ve done have paid off. I know my sales will slow in the days or weeks to come, but with the advent of my third book in a series – very important, apparently – I’m hopeful that I’ve found new readers who will keep looking out for my books. I may well publish all three across other retail platforms at some point, but am not in a rush at the moment. As well as the paid sales, there have been about 100 ‘borrows’ this week. Not to be sniffed at!”
Thanks Anne, and we wish you the very best of luck for Guernsey Retreat :)