[Editor Note: This step-by-step list is a great guide for promoting your free book through KDP Select. We used Rex’s methods to promote BAD BOOK at the end of June and had good success.]
Back when I first started using KDP Select, I used the Squidoo list by theinformationlady to promote my KDP Select promotion periods. I have had some pretty lousy results from Select recently, and I decided to revisit this and try to ferret out the proper way to do this. Here is my current process for promoting KDP Select titles:
Step 1: Make sure you have reviews BEFORE you settle on your promotion dates
Shortly after I published The Goblin Rebellion, I scheduled a KDP Select 2-day promotion over a month later and informed all the major sites without having any reviews for the book in place. I didn’t receive any emails back from ENT or POI, but I was in conversations with 2 book bloggers and had given away 50 copies at LibraryThing to try to garner some reviews. There were at least five people, counting the book bloggers, who told me they should be able to hit the promotion deadline.
None of them came through.
I sent an email to Greg at ENT and informed him that I would be extending the promotion for one day in case that would help him in promoting The Goblin Rebellion, which was the sequel to a book with 19 reviews and a 4 star average–figuring maybe he would assume the same quality had been put into the sequel. Greg informed me after the promotion was over that ENT is no longer featuring books with no reviews. Shortly afterward, two four star reviews popped up on The Goblin Rebellion, well after the promotion had ended. 700 downloads over 3 days and 0 sales after the promotion period later, I learned this lesson the hard way. Make sure you have reviews ready before you schedule a promotional period.
Step 2: Say hello to my little friends!
The list from Squidoo is obsolete. Most of the major book bloggers that redirect the most readers to your free promotions have changed their procedures. Here’s an updated list of what you should be doing.
At least two to four weeks in advance if possible:
1. Ereader News Today (fill out form 2 weeks+ ahead)
Estimated free downloads: 800-1200, depending on genre, cover, blurb, etc.
2. Pixel of Ink (fill out form 4 weeks+ ahead)
Estimated free downloads: 800-2000, depending on genre, cover, blurb, etc.
3. Books on the Knob (fill out form 2-4 weeks ahead)
4. Indie Books List (fill out form ~2 weeks ahead)
5. Indies Unlimited
Indies Unlimited runs a feature every Friday called “Freebie Friday.” If your book is going to be free, check out Indies Unlimited on Thursday for a post called “Freebie Friday Ramp-Up”, and it will require four things: 1) Title, 2) Author, 3) one sentence blurb, and 4) link to where the book will be free (and the dates).
Think about the one sentence blurb before hand. For instance, with my book Lucifer’s Odyssey, it might be “A civil war rages across the heavens between Lucifer and Jehovah, but it’s not the story you thought you knew…” I know, I know. Distilling your book into one catch phrase can be a headache, but you may be able to find help at the Writer’s Cafe.
On the day of your free promotion:
Send a twitter message to the following twitter handles (include @kindlenews for instance along with your Amazon book url), which will retweet your promotional books. Most if not all of these are automated systems that aggregate free lists of books.
Estimated free downloads: 200-400, depending on genre, cover, blurb, etc. @kindlenews@DigitalBkToday @kindleebooks @Kindlestuff @KindleEbooksUK @KindleBookKing @KindleFreeBook @Freebookdude @Kindlefinds @Kindlebookreview @free @free_kindle @FreeReadFeed @4FreeKindleBook @FreeKindleStuff @KindleUpdates
Authors on the Cheap: Read the guidelines for posting this. You need price/ratings/genre and a link to the Amazon page.
SUPER IMPORTANT NOTES (PLEASE READ)
1. Try to wait 4+ weeks before doing another KDP Select promo for the same book, regardless of the downward trend of paid sales afterwards. If you redo a promo period too quickly, you’re very likely to hit the same readers who downloaded your book previously on ENT, POI, KND, etc. and even if they pick it up again, it won’t be as good of a promo period on the 2nd attempt. Waiting a month seems to give you a much better chance of getting high downloads, which should help translate to better paid periods.
2. It will take 2-5 days for paid sales to start rolling in after a free period. Do NOT panic and redo your promo period for reasons outlined in #1.
3. The best genres for these things appear to be 1) Romance and 2) Thrillers. Both of these can sometimes generate 8-20k downloads in a 2 day stretch O_O. Cover, blurb, price before free, etc. can affect this. Other genres can sometimes hit this kind of number. I remember a science fiction book hitting 8k+ on KB. Reviews and awards can help give more credibility. Genre specific sites (like DearAuthor for Romance) will supercharge your free downloads, so contact them.
4. Read Step 1. Don’t just skip to the sites and Twitter handles on this post. You need reviews to get picked up by ENT, POI, or KND nowadays.
5. You’re aiming for as many downloads as you can over a 2 day period. Only extend to 3 days if you are within the top 100 free list. The more downloads you get, the more it will count toward the popularity lists which will result in more paid sales.
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Rex Jameson is the author of the Primal Patterns series of novels and the Perspectives series of novelettes. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife Jenny and a cadre of psychotic calicos who sometimes ambush him in his sleep. He recently earned his PhD in Computer Science from Vanderbilt University and is thoroughly nerdy. You can learn more about Rex at his blog, on Facebook, or his Amazon.com Author’s page.
A version of this post previously appeared on Rex’s blog on 4/26/12.