I wrapped up a KDP select free promo last week, and it’s proven to be the second most successful I’ve ever done. While I’ve written a bit before about Amazon’s KDP Select Program, I wanted to share some more thoughts about it.
There is some debate among indie writers as to whether “selling your soul” to amazon in exchange for five marketing days every 90 day period is worth it. I don’t intend to touch on that. I’ll just say that I’ve done KDP select, and as a new, undiscovered author, it has definitely helped me gain some exposure and some fans. Here are some things this last go around taught me.
- IT HELPS TO HAVE MULTIPLE BOOKS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON. IF YOU DO, CONSIDER PUTTING YOUR OTHER TITLES ON SALE. While the KDP select program helped me gain exposure for my first book when I had only that book available, with two available now, I’ve seen how useful the promo of one book has proved to increase sales of other titles. I put book one on sale for 99 cents while book two was free. I didn’t have to, of course. I could have kept it regularly priced and probably made the same amount of money (roughly) on it during the free days. The thing is, the promo is all about exposure. And I got more exposure having, say, 3oo people download it for 99 cents rather than 100 download it for $2.99.
- PLAN AHEAD. I learned this the hard way from my earliest promos back in 2012. There are tons of websites that will give you free exposure if you notify them in advance of your free days. So plan it in advance. Plan to be a “laptop potato” those days and to put your life on hold.
- DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP PROMOTING FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY. I never ask my loved ones to hawk my books for me to get sales. I’d feel horrible. Dirty, in a way. But it’s different when the product’s free! Let people know, and ask people to let their contacts know. “My book is free this week. Tell your reader friends. They might want to download it.” If the book turns out not to be in the reader friends’ interest, it’s no harm, no foul. No one paid a thing. No feelings are hurt, and no one need be embarrassed. One of my friends is really awesome about letting people know when my books are free, and some of her friends from back home–people I’ve never met–have become fans. How exciting is that? Don’t cheapen yourself out of that opportunity.
- A BLOG TOUR WOULD HAVE BEEN HELPFUL FOR ME. I will admit it: I was just lazy in not planning that. Between writing my fiction, setting up the promo, running my blog, looking for a job, and panicking about the whole job situation, I didn’t take the time to arrange a blog tour for the week of my promo and write double the blog posts I normally do. That was a mistake. Blog tours the week your book is free is a great way to expose yourself to new audiences who will read your post and probably take a chance on your work because…. It’s free just then.
- ENJOY IT!!!! I spent so much time fretting about when things would slow down, that when they did (around day 3) I was almost relieved. It’s never good to compare your promo results with those of other authors…. Maybe they have more money at their disposal to promote their promo. Maybe they have just been doing this years longer and have established a larger fan base. There’s no telling…. Just try to keep expectations reasonable and enjoy the ride, no matter how many downloads you get. Whether it’s 100, 1000, or 10,000, that’s new readers. How awesome is that? It’s something to celebrate, no matter what.