Well, this has been amazing few days for me, and it’s great to be able to write this post about my free Kindle promotion with Can’t Live Without sitting at #8 in contemporary romance (Tuesday eve). I’m still a bit stunned that over 10,000 people downloaded the book across 2 days, and another 400+ people have bought it since. Thank you all!

What follows is an account of exactly what I did for my free promotion. I didn’t go into it exactly blind – I had the advice of the lovely Terry Tyler to follow, and her experience to guide my expectations. I had been researching free promos for a while, not vigorously, but filing away information in my (very overstretched) brain! This is, remember, just one way of doing it, and there may be other ways which bring equal or better results, and suit your book or marketing style. I’m sharing this because I just love sharing, and I hope some of it is useful to you 🙂

Thursday Evening
I decided to run a free promo. Yes, I decided right at the last minute, thus missing out on a lot of the sites which list free ebooks but need a bit of notice! I went into KDP Select and set the free promotion to begin at midnight PST.

Friday Morning
The book went free on Amazon in the UK around 9.00am. By this time I had started my promotional activities, which went on for most of the morning, and consisted of:

  • Posting about it on my blog
  • Putting out an alert on Facebook
  • Tweeting about the free promotion and asking people to retweet (over the weekend I was retweeted by a total of 60 people)
  • Contacting the main ebook websites and asking if they’d list it. Digital Book Today, Ereader News Today and Pixel of Ink are popular sites, but they all require lots of notice. Digital Book Today have a list of the top 100 free Kindle books, and even though I’d missed their deadline, I still managed to get on the list – accounting for most of my US downloads, in my opinion. How did I manage this? I asked nicely 🙂
  • Listing it as an event and free ebook on Goodreads. Judging by the views my posts had on Goodreads, I’m not sure this was a huge success, and it was quite time-consuming on the day, so next time I might just set up the event and not bother with the listing, but here are the links to where I listed the book just in case:
    http://www.goodreads.com/topic/group_folder/125717 & http://www.goodreads.com/topic/group_folder/89218?group_id=51445

Friday Afternoon
Now was the time to tackle Facebook properly. I’d already listed it on my author and personal sites, so I did some searching and found the following pages which seemed to allow authors to put up posts about their free book promotions:
Free Ebook Deal 
Free Books for Kindle
Get Free Books
Pixel of Ink 
New Free Books for Kindle
Chick Lit Plus
Free Kindle Books
Book Your Next Read
Free Kindle Book
Free Kindle Books and Tips
I posted a couple more times on Facebook over the weekend, just to keep the momentum up, but didn’t try to ‘sell’ to my friends.
Next, I signed up for a couple of Kindle Forums: http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,97167.0.html, http://www.mobileread.com/forums/, & http://www.kuforum.co.uk/
I don’t really understand forums, so this was outside my comfort zone, but I managed to get the book posted up on these sites, and returning now to see how many views my posts had I don’t think it was very successful (only 39 in the UK thread).

That was it for Friday. When I went to bed I was #26 in the Kindle free chart, which was amazing, and I’d had about 2,000 downloads by that point!

When I woke up, Can’t Live Without was at #2 overall in the Kindle free chart, and #1 in fiction. I was stunned. To be honest, I didn’t do a lot on Saturday. I tweeted a bit, and put a couple of posts on Facebook, but mainly I just watched the figures go up and up 🙂

The free promotion ended at midnight Saturday, but the book didn’t revert to paid-for until about 10.00am Sunday morning, and it didn’t come off the free list until 12.30. During this time I had a lot of sales, but also a lot of returns – probably people thinking it was free when they clicked but then realizing it had gone back to paid. Then the fun really started! Can’t Live Without popped back into the paid chart at its original position of around 50,000 (!) and gradually started to climb. By Monday it had reached #200 in the Kindle Store, hitting #18 in the contemporary romance category. This morning it was just outside the top 100, at #104, and #8 in contemporary romance. So far I’ve sold another 400 after the free promo ended, with a few returns.

So was it worth it? OMG yes! I was reading Mark Coker’s excellent book about ebook marketing recently, and one of the things he talks about is ‘discoverability’. Now that Can’t Live Without is in the charts, people can simply stumble across it, without me having to relentlessly drive them there. And that is a lovely feeling.

I know it won’t last. No – I’m not being negative. I’m starting to understand this industry really well, and I don’t have the marketing power behind me to keep the momentum up. There are many other authors with their own free promotions and their own great books, and CLW will drop back to a place in the rankings where it will (hopefully) be selling steadily from now on. And that’s exactly how it should be. But this has been an amazing experience for me, a great learning curve, and a journey I hope you can now follow and replicate for yourselves without all the time-consuming research.

PS – It would be fantastic if anyone who has read the book and not yet left a review would pop over to Amazon or Goodreads (or both) and leave one now. This will help CLW to stay visible and not drop like a stone once the promo-effect is over!

There’s more great information here at Digital Book Today and in my interview with Terry Tyler here.