Beyond KDP Select Pt. 2

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been trying to find a way to duplicate the results I had with KDP Select’s free promo earlier this year. In other words, I’ve been trying to find readers for my self-published novel, My Temporary Life. KDP Select has been very good to me but as an author with only one book, the effectiveness of its free promo has waned.

On Oct. 10th I ran a promotion through Ereadernewstoday is one of the two key sites that list free ebooks, and their reach is phenomenal. They have a gazillion subscribers and Facebook followers, so when they announced their Bargain Kindle Books promo, I wanted in.

This is how it works. They feature four books each day at a discounted price of .99 cents. ENT isn’t selling your book, but they are the gateway for readers to go through to Amazon and buy it. The idea is that their subscribers take advantage of the lower price, and click on the “buy” link. So, in theory, you sell a lot of books, albeit at a lower price, and then, after the promo, with the increase you’ve had on Amazon’s popularity rankings, the momentum helps you sell some books at the regular price. You pay ENT for the privilege of being one of their featured books. It’s not a lot though. For every click-through they get on their site when someone buys your book at the lower price, you pay them 25% of your royalty. My background is sales, and I’ve always called a deal like that found sales. You never worry about paying a birddog or commission on found sales.

I was featured as one of ENT’s four Bargain Kindle books on Oct 10th. I had a moderate amount of sales (at .99 cents) during the morning and my rankings moved to the 20,000 level. Previous to the promo they’d been at approximately 40,000. Then, in mid afternoon, when they announced the Bargain books on their Facebook site, my book sales increased significantly. My ranking immediately shot to the 5,000 level, then later that evening I reached the 1,000 level. This still wasn’t the kind of numbers I had hit on my first KDP Select promo but it was certainly more effective than anything else I’ve found since KDP. In the two weeks since the promo, I’m back at my regular price of 3.99, and selling books every day, not a lot, but more books than I was before the promo. My rankings are slipping a bit every day but I expected that to happen.

I’m well aware of the advantages of the free promotions, and I’ll certainly do it again at some point, but it’s a significantly different feeling between giving your book away for free and charging .99 cents. I think the .99 cent buyer is probably going to read my book. I’ve given away about 110,000 ebooks year, and I have 154 reviews. Now, I realize only a small percentage of readers actually write reviews but I wonder how many free “buyers” read my book. I know some of them did, but I wonder how many of them deleted my book from their kindles or have my book sitting in a lineup of “to be read” books that number in the hundreds, or maybe even thousands. There are lots of free books available every day. I know this because I download some of them myself, and I have a huge backlog of books waiting to be read. But, if I buy a book, I read it. And, yes, I’m a frugal Scotsman and I understand the value of a dollar, or .99 cents for that matter, but I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that if you pay for something you’ll at least look at it, and in this case, hopefully read it too.

An observation, just in case you’re an author considering the ENT promo, I monitored the other three books that were featured along with mine. Two of them kept their price point at .99 cents for three days as opposed to my two, even though ENT advertises for one day only. Those two books stayed higher in the rankings longer than I did, so perhaps three days is better than two.

Even though I didn’t get a huge “KDP Select” type of sales spike, I would apply to be one of their featured books again, although reaching that final four will probably become harder as the list of authors wanting to take advantage of it gets longer. It did however, get my work to a lot of new readers and reminded me what it was like to climb up Amazon’s rankings. And, of course ENT isn’t the only site running a discounted books promotion, there are others too, I just don’t know how well they work, and ENT is one of the bigger sites so I went with them. The positive from this experiment, in my opinion, is that there are other ways to run a promotion and see a sales spike and find new readers. Now, the trick is to find the next one. When I do, I’ll let you know.

Author: Martin Crosbie

Martin Crosbie is the administrator of and writer of seven published novels. His self-publishing journey has been mentioned in Publisher’s Weekly, Forbes Online Magazine, and Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. You can learn more about Martin on his Amazon author page.

25 thoughts on “Beyond KDP Select Pt. 2”

  1. Thanks for the post, Martin. ENT is always a great place to advertise. And, they’re awesome to work with. I’m glad you had a good experience.

    1. Hi DV, and thank you. ENT have been great to me when I ran my free promos as well as this last .99 cent one. I’ve found them to be very professional to work with.
      Thanks for your comment.

  2. This sounds great, Martin. I knocked the price of the first book in my series down to 99 cents when I released book 3 this past weekend. I need to look at ENT again. Do they require you to have five reviews or something, though? I know one of the big sites does — maybe it’s Pixel of Ink.

    1. Hi Lynne,
      I’ve done occassional price drops during the weekend also, in addition the the ENT experiment, just to give me a little boost in the rankings. I need 7 sales at .99 cents to equal what I make from one sale at my regular price of 3.99 so from a dollar standpoint it doesn’t make sense but it does help in terms of moving up the rankings AND getting your book to more readers.
      For this particular promo ENT requires a 4.0 average and at least 10 reviews, so there are some parameters.
      Good luck with Book 3!

  3. It’s a great idea. Thanks for sharing. But I’ll have to wait awhile. The book needs to have 10 reviews and a 4 star rating. My book only has three at present.

  4. Thanks for this, I forgot that ENT did promos. The first book of each of my series is now free almost everywhere – Amazon hasn’t price matched yet, but they are all .99 there so maybe it’s worthwhile to get some new readers.

  5. P.A. if .99 cents is your price point anyway, then you may as well.
    I found it interesting that, although I got a boost in the morning when they featured my book on their website, it was in the afternoon, when they mentioned it on their Facebook page that it really started to move. Part of that may have been more readers buying books in the PM rather than AM but I’m sure some of it shows that Facebook is still effective in getting the word out there. Or, it’s effective when you have access to a site that has that many readers looking for ebooks I suppose.

  6. Great post. I had a similar result on kdp, and sales stayed pretty good for about two weeks then stalled. Its good to hear your experience as well. Now if I could just find a way to keep that ranking consistent.

    1. You got it, Jen. That’s the key isn’t it. Where and how can we find more readers?
      I decided a couple of months ago to concentrate on content and I have another book coming out this week. It’s going to be a relief to have more than one product to offer to all those folks who are going to have ereaders under their Christmas trees.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment, appreciate it.

  7. I found ENT early this year and they put up my free sci-fi book (no cost to me) and I made it to #4 on Az in Sci-fi/adventure. Don’t know if it helped sales of the sequel or my other books, but I was very pleased that they got the word out– and they were very nice to deal with. I hope they can list my KDP free promo for another book, as of yet, it’s been on Select over a week and NOT ONE person has borrowed it. So far, my KDP Select experience has been very lackluster. Maybe after the holidays…

    1. Congratulations on getting listed with them, Kathy. Good luck with sales of your book, let’s hope there are lots of kindles under the Christmas trees this year.

  8. Thanks Martin, so very much! We love to read about your journey, and we always learn from your experience. We are very grateful that you share that experience with all of us!

  9. Hi Martin
    Great information for someone that is just starting to get my work out there. I just put my first small Novella out on KDP select.Im working on the second part now. As I understood the contract I agreed to, I can not put my novella out on any other digital medium for three months. It must stay exclusive to KDP for that time. They clearly state ,as I understand it, it cant be anywhere but Amazon in digital form or they will remove it from Amazon. I had a couple of things out on my facebook page and had to remove them. However, I post links on my facebook page for the Free promotion. I have had 173 free downloads during a 2 day promo. I have decided to continue with the free promo for another 3 days. During the short time it was $1.99 I had 3 cash sales.Im very excited about this new venture and appreciate you posting this info.Im going to check things out again and see what I can take advantage of.
    Thanks a lot

    1. Hi Linda, Congratulations on your novella, I hope you do well with it.
      I’m with KDP Select also and there is no problem running the ENT promotion while you’re enrolled in KDP. ENT are not selling your book. They’re just a gateway to Amazon where readers can access your book. So, you’re still abiding by the stipulations we’re under with KDP’s 90 day exclusivity clause.
      So, if you wanted to try the promo while you’re with KDP you certainly could.
      Good luck!

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