Now that the whole world knows that the wizard is actually a fifty-seven-year old man with a strobe light, a box of old T-Rex records, and a strong Venezuelan accent, I’ll let you in on a little secret-Free Still Works. Sometimes. And, it’s more of a lottery than it ever was. It can still be lucrative, but now, when it works, instead of paying down the mortgage, you’re financing the next month or three of writing. There are exceptions of course, and we all want to be those exceptions. Joe Konrath claims to have made 100K in six weeks following a very successful recent free promotion. Others talk of varying amounts and the numbers they bandy about all have a “k” after them. I want more “k’s”. I want to have double digit “k’s” each month. I’ve done it. More than once actually, and I’d very much like to do it again. That’s why I keep trying and I run a KDP Select free promotion every few months with one of my books. Oh, and that’s another thing, now it only seems to work if you have multiple books. Bob Mayer is right. “Content is king and promotion is queen”. You have to have more than one book out there to really take a run at this thing.
Are you confused yet? I’ll try and clarify. As most of you know, you can run a free promotion, under the terms of Amazon’s KDP Select program, for five days during every ninety day enrollment period. That means you give away your ebook, and try to push it up Amazon’s popularity rankings chart, so that when it goes back to “paid” you get a sales spike, or bounce. There are other ways to do free giveaways but for this article we’ll deal solely with KDP Select. A little over a year ago, utilizing Select, if you gave away a gazillion thousand books and got into the top twenty of the free rankings you could almost be assured of selling a whole lot of books afterwards. I did it but I’m nothing special, lots of others did too. Timing wasn’t everything, but it was pretty darn important at that time. Now, the free promotions aren’t quite as effective, and there’s a greater element of luck involved, and I’ve found that you need to mix things up a little bit, but as I said, it can still be done. My recent promotions have been most effective when I have one of my books for free and another at a discounted price, and I utilize some paid advertising to promote both books. Sorry, I know I said I’d try and dilute the confusion but it’s hard to do that when the rules of the game change almost weekly, and believe me, they do keep changing. So, for what it’s worth, I’ll tell you what I did during my last couple of free promotions.
I used these guys- Ebookbooster will submit the details of your free promotion to a minimum of forty-five promotional sites. The current price for this service is $40. There are two advantages to this. Firstly, I can be writing and producing more content while they’re getting the information on my promotion out there, and secondly, they have a pretty good fix on which sites are most effective in spreading the word. And, rest assured, they do submit to most of the big players including pixelofink.com and ereadernewstoday.com. They actually list the sites on their website, so if you don’t want to pay the dough you can use their list and submit the info yourself. Authormarketingclub also has a helpful page showing twenty-two of the major free sites. So, I pay ebookbooster and then submit to the sites they don’t send my info to using Authormarketingclub.
Bear in mind that whether you pay to have your information submitted or do it yourself there’s still no guarantee that these sites will feature you. There’s no charge to have your book listed with them but they are looking for books that are professionally presented and have a number of positive reviews. The submission requirements vary from site to site in terms of what they’ll accept and what they won’t, so you may want to check out their guidelines before you book your dates.
In addition to hitting as many of the free sites as possible, I utilize some paid advertising too. Bookbub has become an almost vital ingredient in promoting your freebie. Their reach is phenomenal. They have over one million subscribers and they’ll send your details out to their members who are specifically looking for a book in your genre. So, for $130 I can have the details of My Temporary Life emailed to almost 400,000 kindle users who are looking for a book in the romantic/suspense genre. When the email goes out from them I immediately see a huge spike in the number of freeloads. To be able to target that many qualified readers and get your book in front of them is a very good deal.
I also use Kindle Nation Daily. They’re partnered with bookgorilla.com too. I buy their $29.99 ad to give me some further coverage. And, I always enter my information here at Indies Unlimited too. Yep, Indies Unlimited has a busy little site that promotes free books, and again, theirs is also free.
So, my total investment for running a promotion is around $200 and I’ve been lucky, I always recoup significantly more than that, and I do it without spamming my friends and followers all over Facebook and Twitter.
So, go free, run free, place a horseshoe in the appropriate place, round up your network of acquaintances, crank up T-Rex, dance naked under the stars, or do whatever you need to in order to get that all-important post-free sales spike. As for me, by the time this article appears I’ll have just finished two free promotions on different books within a ten day period. So, hopefully right now I’m enjoying a nice little sales spike and my book titles are all over Amazon’s website, and climbing up those rankings, because I want lots of those “k’s”, lots and lots of them. For your convenience, I have put together a list of book promo sites that Indies Unlimited has made available as a page. Good luck with your promotion.