Last week I ran a free promotion on Kindle for my short story collection A Life Unpredicted. I wasn’t expecting anywhere near as many downloads as I had for my debut novel, Can’t Live Without, back in July (see link at the end for info on this promo). In fact, I didn’t know what to expect, and the results were quite surprising – both in good and bad ways. Here is a run down of what I did and what happened:

The book went free in the UK at 9.00 am, and a bit later on the US site. I spent all day listing the book on the relevant sites and tweeting etc. But by the end of the first day the results were very discouraging – only 181 downloads in the UK, 32 in the US, and the book was ranked at #163 overall. It did reach #3 in both its categories, which was nice. But, as I was by now starting to realise, folks don’t love short stories that much!

More listing and tweeting etc, and today one of the big sites, Free Digital Reads, listed the book. There were some which refused to take the book as they only list novels, but generally today the work I put in yesterday began to pay off and downloads increased – 900 UK, 500 US, and #21 overall by the time I went to bed.

On the last day of the promotion I did very little, and the book peaked in position at #20 overall and #1 in both its categories. Downloads continued all day, and by the time the book went back to paid-for (on Saturday morning) I’d had a grand total of 2093 downloads in the UK, 990 US, and 4 over the rest of the world 🙂 So, 3,087 in total.

This is less than a third of downloads achieved for Can’t Live Without, so let’s take a look at why this might be.

  1. The biggy – it’s a short story collection and not a novel.
  2. This promotion was midweek, whereas CLW was over the weekend.
  3. I didn’t get on the big list with Digital Book Today, which I think accounted for most of my US downloads last time.

Other interesting differences are what happened after the promo ended. Can’t Live Without went back to paid-for and within hours had shot up the charts, staying in the top 100 for over 3 weeks, gaining me literally thousands of sales. A Life Unpredicted, since the promo ended, has sold … 5. Not quite the same effect 😉

But the really interesting thing has been the effect on sales of Can’t Live Without. You’ll remember that ALU has three free chapters at the end, with a direct link to buy the book. Sales of CLW have increased over the last few days, both here and in the US. Not by much, but a noticeable turnaround on the typical downward trend or steady trend of trickle-sales. I haven’t done any other promotion of CLW this week, so the effect must be because of increased interest on the back of the short story collection.

Overall, I feel it was a great success. It cost me nothing (remember, the general feeling is that free downloads are not lost sales, as many of the readers would not have downloaded the book had it not been free), and I’ve now reached over 3,000 new readers, exposed them to my writing and given them a taster of Can’t Live Without. This can only be a good thing.

Thanks to everyone who supported my free promotion and downloaded a book, tweeted, Facebook shared or anything else. You are fab!

Free Promo Results for Can’t Live Without