Friday, February 3, 2012

My Results With KDP Select's Free Days Part 1

I've spent the last week perusing blogs to see what other self published authors have reported on their results from the KDP Select program. As I wrote back in December, right after I'd published my debut novel, Judgment Tramp, on Amazon, I decided to give it a try and enroll Judgment Tramp in the program. I'd heard about KDP Select as my hand was literally poised to upload to Smashwords. Although I understood the reluctance of some to give over exclusivity to Amazon, I decided to hold off putting the book on any other sites to give this a try. My reasoning was that a) I am essentially a total novice to the ePub world. Although I self published Judgment Tramp and sold print copies of the book, I am essentially a brand new indie author with little or no following, b) I could take advantage of the 5 days for "selling" my book for free. With the program, you can schedule the days you want the promotion to run and they can be used any way you like.  I felt I could use those days to gain exposure and jumpstart getting my book out there, and c) I basically had nothing to lose. 

So today I will share with you my results and in Part 2 of this post I'll summarize what I've learned from my experience and what I've gleaned from taking a look at other people's results.  However, before I give you my results, I think it's important to point out a few things.  First, I had published my book a mere week prior to enrolling. Second, I had done very little marketing of the book prior to publishing. I realize this is not the way to do it, but I am a confessed social media neophyte. At that point I had only been on Twitter for a short time and rarely visited my Facebook page.( ok, ok. No need to make that face). My blog had been up and running only 2 months. Obviously on the far,far newbie end of the self marketing curve... I did Tweet quite a bit about the promotion the day before and throughout the 2 days I held the promotion as well as posted on my FB page, but in retrospect I should have done much, much more of this.
I decided to run a 2 day promotion on Dec. 26, and Dec. 27 ( a Monday and Tuesday) hoping that right after Christmas all those new Kindle owners would be trolling for free books. I had absolutely no idea what would happen. I kept my expectations low. I needed exposure and was hoping I would at least get some reviews out of it. The minute it became free I started to get downloads. I averaged about 10 per hour and that was pretty steady throughout the promotion. In the end I had 400 US DLs, 64 UK, and 4 Germany. As soon as the promotion ended, DLs promptly stopped. I had no borrows, but would have been surprised if I had. Now I realize these numbers are nothing compared to many of the writers whose blogs I have been reading, but considering I had marketed very little right before( something I will absolutely increase next time), and had been on Amazon a few short weeks, I was pleased.  468 people who now have Judgment Tramp somewhere in their Kindle queue. Surely a percentage of those will actually read the book, and at least a few of them will post reviews. This remains to be seen, but that's my hope. I have had one new glowing review since the promotion but I have no way of knowing if this came from a "freebie" reader. 
Unfortunately, since the promotion ended I have sold only a handful of books. But again, although I would be doing cartwheels ( a sight to behold , let me tell you) if I had suddenly starting selling hundreds of copies of my book after the promotion, I hadn't really expected that, and my primary goal as a new author in the Kindle Store was to gain some exposure and,hopefully, reviews. I still have 3 promotion days left. Later this week I'll summarize what I think I've learned since I did the first promotion and what I've gleaned from the experiences of others.
In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you. Have you tried KDP select? What are your thoughts? Results? Anybody else out there who is as new to this adventure as me and has experimented with KDP Select? I haven't read very many reports from novice indie writers like myself and this would be interesting to me.


  1. Jeff, I had 1800 DLs in 2 days of promotion just before Christmas (my book came out in Sep and I have 15 Amzn reviews) and it has definitely boosted paid sales. A friend of mine had 6000 DLs, but it's his 3rd book and he has fans.

    Take a look at for promotional opportunity.

  2. Thanks, Darrell! That is awesome news! Congrats. Sounds like your book is taking off. I definitely think having more reviews at the time of my initial promotion would have helped tremendously (well, seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it? ) Thanks for the link. Will definitely check it out!)

  3. Jeff, I also offered my first & only novel for 3 days after Christmas (12/26-12-28). I had over 2200 downloads worldwide (my novel is a YA fantasy so a smaller audience than, say, an adult Thriller). I was thrilled with sales after the free days. It kept going up the charts and went from being about 140,000 in the paid on Amazon US to being in the top 3000 paid and hit the top 25 of my category, YA Science Fiction/Fantasy, and stayed there for several days.
    After about 4-5 days, it began falling again and went back to a more "normal" amount of sales. I also, though, went from zero borrows prior to Dec. 26 (when I started my free days) to having about 40 in end of December/January.
    I think the free days get you great exposure, but perhaps more importantly, the movement kicks in the Amazon algorithms. Your book gets "noticed" by the bots. You need to have sales to do that and if you can't get those kind of sales (which you can't if you are a new, unknown, self-published author), then the free days do the same thing 'cause a download is a download to the bot.
    The free days have not, however, gotten me a huge amount of reviews. I cannot say for sure that a single person who downloaded the book for free has even read it.
    Best wishes!

  4. Natalie- That sounds like tremendous success for your first and only novel! I'm assuming you're using your last 2 days some time fairly soon. What, if anything are you planning on doing differently to boost DL's even further?
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hey Jeff,

    Thanks for inviting me to check out your blog and for following my own KDP Select experiment--which I really need to update.

    I've seen phenomenal results on my 3 oldest titles. These were the only ones I had enrolled up until a couple of days ago. WHALE SONG had over 20000 downloads on the first day. And my after sales were so high I was in the overall Top 100 Bestselling Kindle list for 3 days. All because of Select.

    Though I do have a number of ebook titles (9), I'm Canadian and not a well-known author, though I have made bestsellers lists on Amazon multiple times. Just not the big one--that top 100 is out of hundreds of thousands of ebooks--every ebook on Amazon. Whale Song was #71.

    I think a couple of things helped my success--great covers, gripping descriptions and lots of online marketing using Twitter and FB during my 2-day freebies and the day after when the after sales roll in. If you want to increase your sales, schedule tweets every hour with Hootsuite, and vary them. And always include your shortened Amazon link.

    Cheers and best wishes to you all.

    Cheryl Kaye Tardif
    Bestselling author & publisher
    Check out my KDP Select Experiment