Free Book Experiment :Results

So as promised, here’s the results from the ‘Free Book Experiment.” I posted about last week. As I said I had kept reading about how you should do a free book promo to get traffic, reviews, and ultimately, drive some sales. I used one of my older books, Project:Perception and using the Amazon author portal, made it free for 4 days. The results were in fact a bit better than expected, but not any sort of major breakthrough.

  1. The first day I had a major spike in downloads of the book. This is pretty normal for the first day on any free promotion. I’m not clear on how Amazon markets this, but I hit 600 downloads, 634 to be exact on the first day. But then as normal, the second, third, and fourth day dropped a lot. 211, 63, and 51 respectively. This is also pretty normal, the spike and tapering off of downloads. The nice thing is that your book gets a lot more visible, but only while the free promo is going on.  Once the promo is over, your book vanishes from the free list and back to whatever it was ranked before.
  2. One unexpected thing was a download or two via Kindle Unlimited. This is still free, but I get paid based on the number of pages read. Tiny money, but still, money. I say unexpected because I hadn’t had that happen before.
  3. I got one review, but a 3 star out of 5. So it was so-so to them. But still, nice to have. (I’ve mentioned before, reviews are gold.)
  4. I got one actual sale of the book after the promo ended. One.

So was it worth it?

Not sure. Now I didn’t do this “Free Book Experiment” the way most do. Usually this is planned out more, you submit your free promo to mailing lists, promote it on social media, and flog the hell out of it. I didn’t do any of that. I simply made it free, posted it once or twice on twitter, and mentioned it on my blog (which auto-posts on twitter, and I made a Facebook post for it.) So I really didn’t market it at all. Would the results have been better? Quite possibly. If you can get it mentioned on some of the larger eBook mailing lists I’ve seen reliable accounts of getting 20-30K downloads in a single day.

So all in all I’d say this has been a mostly useful exercise. I got a review, made a tiny amount of cash, and really didn’t do any work for it. (Well outside of writing the book in the first place.)

Upcoming: *finishing that keyboard review*, Cover reveal for Bridgefinders (much rejoicing.) and the release of Bridgefinders, currently looking like the first week in April.


The Free Book Experiment

So I always saw and still see posts or guides that say ‘run a free book promotion, then when it runs out you’ll get sales!’ to be honest I’ve always been highly skeptical of this idea. Why would running a free book experiment give me sales? When it’s over, it’s over, and who wants to buy the book now? On top of it, my books that are in Kindle Unlimited don’t get checked out, and they are free, right?

But, in between writing the next book in the Echo Worlds series and working with my editor (@brianawrites)  AND finally finding a cover artist for Bridgefinders, I’ve decided to try this.

I have picked the book Project:Perception for the ‘free’ promo. I chose this book for two main reasons, one, I think it’s the better of the two on Amazon Select. CANITUS while I think is a good story is honestly a mess. Someday I may pull it and get it edited by an actual editor, but I’m not proud of the work there. And secondly, Perception is a combination of two stories that while for sale separately, aren’t on Amazon select. You can actually find the two stories that make up the bulk of Project: Perception on Smashwords, and whomever else they provide it to. (Note: no one reads it there either *heh*)

So the ‘Free Book Experiment’ will run from today through Saturday. A nice long couple of days, then post Saturday I’ll see if there are any actual sales of the book. Or any of the other books for that matter. I don’t think there will be honestly, as I’ve played around with free books and not noticed anything worth mentioning. But I’m going to really pay attention this time and see what happens.

The one thing I will say is that since the book went free at Midnight last night….

No one downloaded it until around 6:30 am today EST. And now, as I write this at 12:16 PM EST, I’ve had…176! Downloads of the book. Which honestly, is far more than the last time I did one of these. Of course I look at those numbers, and think oh man, if only I could get that many at $2.99, my cut would be 2.09 so that would get me…(Runs to find a calculator) 367.84$ Which is more than I’ve ever made selling books on Amazon. It’s both amusing and sad to see something you write jump up the charts, but only because you made it free for a few days. I’ll update the blog next week, the time to report back if there were actual actual sales that I can track back to the free book experiment.


On other news: Still working on the next vlog, honestly I’ve just been busy with stuff, it WILL get out this week. As I mentioned above I found a cover artist, and I’ll do a reveal once I get to that point. My editor sent me change suggestions last week, and I processed through all of them in two days. This is not overly odd for me, I want this book out. I’m really really happy with this book, and I hope you all are to.