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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Giving Away Books to Sell Books - Part 2 of 2

Today we'll be continuing with the second part of E.G. Lewis's detailing of his experiences with KDP select. Please read on...

In our previous post we discussed the KDP Select program, its promotional opportunities, and the preparations I made for my Free Days Campaign. With everything in place, there was nothing to do bet sit back and watch things unfold.

I’ve created two graphs. The first details the cumulative total of free eBooks downloaded over the two-day promotional period by hour. The downloads totaled 21,200. With the exception of a couple of spikes, the hour-by-hour downloads generally showed a steady increase. I can’t explain why we had those two outliers around the middle of the second day. It may have something to do with the timing of tweets, Face Book posts and simply time differences.

Rather than throw numbers at you, let’s first try to bring them into focus by comparing them to what other books were doing during the same period. On the second day, Promises reached its highest ranking, placing 6th among the top 100 free books on Kindle. It held that position all day and well into evening. It also ranked 2nd in the Romantic Suspense category and 3rd in Contemporary Fiction.

Okay, so you’ve worked hard, done everything right, and promoted like crazy. Now comes the reward. My second graph tracks the after effects of the promotion, the resulting sales and borrows. In the first post I mentioned our attempt to cross-promote Promises and Lost. I tracked the number sold and borrowed for both books to see if it worked.

I had someone else’s stats and they reported follow-up sales of 2.37% of the free copies downloaded and borrows of 0.46%. I adopted those percentages and my goal became 503 copies of Promises sold and 98 copies borrowed. My free campaign ran 4/11-4/12/12, making Day One on the sales graph Friday the 13th, 2012. Fortunately, I’m not superstitious. During the next 16 days we sold 550 copies of Promises, or 2.59% and it was borrowed 134 times, or 0.63%. At its peak, Promises ranked 19th in paid Romantic Suspense and 37th in Contemporary Fiction. We exceeded both goals.

The brightest spot in the picture was the surge in sales of Lost. This was, after all, a book that wasn’t directly promoted. During that same 16 day period, Kindle users bought 138 copies of Lost and borrowed it four times, giving us a grand total of 826 paid transactions. Looking at it another way, without Lost we would have exceeded our combined goal by 13.8%. With Lost, we exceeded it by 37.4%.

I also wanted to know if this campaign boosted sales of my Seeds of Christianity Series and/or my Nonfiction titles. [We automatically include a link list in each eBook to all other eBooks. If you aren’t doing this, you should.] The Nonfiction titles couldn’t be evaluated since two of the three are seasonal. However, April sales of the Seeds Series were three times an average month, which makes one assume this is due to the Promises/Lost promotion.

The returns from a KDP Select campaign came very quickly. The three vertical red lines on the graph record the cumulative percentage of total sales of Promises after 3, 5 and 9 days. I believe the reason for the rapid falloff in sales can be traced back to Amazon’s ranking system. Many people peruse the top 100 lists, etc. Being in them makes the sales more or less self-sustaining, and dropping out of them leads to further declines. This is the same phenomena I mentioned in regards to free downloads.

It’s also interesting that on two occasions sales of Lost equaled those of Promises and on two other days Lost outsold it. The one unanswered question is why 138 people were willing to purchase Lost, but only four borrowed it when borrowing is free.

What all this means for the future is hard to say. But I do know one thing; most companies advertise their products continuously. If you have free days, don’t let them go to waste.

Sites Advertising Free Kindle Promotions in No Particular Order)
All Things Kindle (FaceBook)
Pixel of Ink
Kindle Boards (under Book Bazaar)
Digital Book Today
World Literary CafĂ©
Free Ebook Deal (FaceBook)
Free Kindle Books & Tips (FaceBook)
Christian Specific Sites:
Inspired Reads
Family Fiction – Christian Books
Christian Fiction Gathering (FaceBook)
Christian Fiction (FaceBook)!/ChristianFiction

A detailed search will surely turn up additional sites willing to plug your promotion. Also be sure to create an event on GoodReads, do FaceBook posts, and mention it on your Blog, Twitter, etc.

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