11:30 PM Feb 5 (30 minutes before launch): We’ve laid as much groundwork as possible. My son and biz partner Patrick Sellers is helping me. We’ve signed up at all the major sites, set up Tweets with all the relevant hashtags to go out regularly; we have an email blast ready to go out to my list as soon as the promo goes live; and done pretty much all the things we have been able to figure out to do.
12:05 AM: Well, it’s supposed to be live now but it isn’t. Amazon says it can take up to half an hour or even longer.
12:30 AM: It finally kicked in. We’re live now. So we have just sent out the email blast and the tweets have started, etc. We are also patrolling Facebook and putting posts up on all the free Kindle book pages, and other pages that are relevant to the book. We’ve had 15 downloads in the first 10 minutes. It’s a start.
1:45 AM: Okay, I’m gong to turn in. Patrick will keep at it a while longer. Downloads are at 119 now.
7:32 AM: Back up. Downloads are at 448
8:32 AM: Downloads are 552. That’s 102 in the last hour. It’s up on Digital Book Today, one of the big three Free eBook promoters. Will check and see if we are up on all three, but I’ve got a bunch of other things I need to do first.
8:46 AM: We are
- #18 in Kindle Free Bestsellers in the category Nonfiction/Arts and Entertainment.
- #1 in Kindle Free Bestsellers in the category Nonfiction/Arts and Entertainment/Movies
Screenshot showing JCGOH #1 in Arts and Entertainment
Screenshot showing JCGOH at #15 in Amazon Kindle Top 100 Free Bestsellers
DAY 2 SUMMARY
So, I continued to take hourly soundings throughout day two and I am compiling all of it into a spreadsheet that will show the pattern, but here are the main points. As noted above, we ended Day 1 at 10,438 US Downloads. Following are the final tallies after the full 48 hour two -day promotion was complete:
- United States – 16,048
- United Kingdom – 891
- Germany – 141
- France – 106
- Canada – 106
- Spain – 11
- Italy – 8
- Japan – 1
- Total: 17,206
- Don’t do it until you have 20 reviews and a solid rating because the aggregators use that as a filter — not enough reviews, or a so-so rating and you wont’ get listed. So work really hard to build this foundation. Give away books if you have to in order to get legitimate customer reviews. From what I can tell, having an astronomically high rating is less important than having a high number of reviews.
- You’ve got to really lay the groundwork by submitting to ALL of the aggregator “Free eBook today” sites and Facebook pages. There is no excuse for just slogging this out and getting it done. And you need to be doing it, ideally, a couple of weeks before the promotion runs — although we didn’t start until a week before. But I think we lost some important outlets because of that.
- You’ve got to be grinding, grinding, grinding on Facebook, Twitter, etc, especially on Day 1 from midnight on so that you lay a good foundation. It’s not clear to me how much the continued grinding on day two helps …. but it definitely is something that has to be attended to on day one.
And What About the Post Promo-Sales Surge?
- First, when you go off the free status and back into paid, you go all the way to the bottom of the rankings — or at least pretty far down. We were ranked about 20,000 when the promo started, and after the promo was over, the first number that came up was 88,000. So you don’t get a fast start in terms of ranking. But as the day has gone on and sales have been registering, we have jumped up to our current ranking which is around 4,000, which is the highest we have been. And we’re now at #15 in Arts and Entertainment, which is the highest we’ve been there.
- However, the good news is that people do start buying We had been selling 7-10 units a day for a couple of weeks prior to the promo, with the price at $3.99. We raised the price to $5.95 a couple of days prior to the promo and our sales dropped a bit, so figure we were doing 6-7 units per day going into the promo. With that level of sales, we were #20,000 overall and somewhere around #5 in our subcategory of Movies/History and Criticism. So pre-promo–figure 7 units per day.
- Post promo, when I woke up at 7 we had sold 17 units since midnight. It has been picking up steam throughout the day and is now at 70 units for the day. My sense of it is that it should go over 100 units for the day, so …. 7 units per day before, then two days off the market . . . then 100 units on the first day afterwards. The math is pretty favorable and supports the idea of doing this.
Below is the Original Post Written before the Promotion Explaining the Promotion and What We Hope to Accomplish, and How
This post is meant mainly for fellow authors who are waging battle, as I am, in the indie book publishing universe. It concerns what’s happening with my book John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood — a non-fiction book that is the true behind the scenes story of what went wrong with a film that is Hollywood’s biggest financial disaster in history — yet has spawned a global fan movement calling for a sequel. What gives?
I’m about to launch a two day free promotion on KDP Select for John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood. I’m going to blog about the experience here in the hope that it may help others at some point.
JCGOH is doing pretty well 60 days into its release. We have 33 reviews, of which 29 are 5 star, and today we actually hit #1 on one Amazon subcategory chart (Nonfiction/Movies/Cinematography) and #2 on another (Nonfiction/Movies/History and Criticism). We are #56 on the much broader category NonFiction/Arts and Entertainment. Overall . . . . it’s a pretty good start but there is much grinding to go if this is to end up being the launching platform for my future life as a writer (I’m slowing down as a film-maker for a variety of reasons.)
I decided, after dithering for two months, to go with KDP select because of the promotional opportunity it provides. You give up the other digital markets for 90 days while you are exclusive with KDP Select; but you have the opportunity, if you manage the KDP Select period effectively, to generate a surge in sales and readership that far outstrips what you might lose from Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, etc. At least that’s the theory. Let’s see if if turns out to be true.
The promotion that you get to do within KDP Select is five days during which you can make the book available for free on Amazon. How does that sell books? In theory, the free period will cause your book to rise dramatically in the free rankings, and this will cause the Amazon algorithms to like your book and start showing it more prominently in the “People who bought this, bought that” space, and on the free bestseller list, etc. Then when you come off the promotions, you should have a surge of sales. There are any number of authors who have written about their experience and the foregoing seems to hold — but there are some big “ifs” — and those are: Your promotion will have the desired effect IF you have a solid base of favorable reviews before you do the promotion (at least 10 with average of 4+), and IF you properly promote the free period by notifying all the outlets across the internet who showcase Amazon Free Books every day.
We’re okay on the first part of this — we have plenty of reviews and our average is 4.8++ so that box is checked.
At first I thought the “notify everyone” would mean notifying three or four sites. Not so, there are a lot more notifications to send out, and related tasks to perform, and some of them have to be done at least a week out.
My mission for today is to build the list so that I at least have a handle on who needs to be advised about it a week out, because my goal is to do this campaign next Wednesday/Thursday, eight days from now.
Now, some of the advice is to notify some of these sites a MONTH before. I can’t do that, but I will not for the record, this is what the advice is:
WHEN TO DO IT?
I’ve read everything I can find. Here’s what I have so far:
- The first day of any month is a bad idea. Lots of free stuff on that day. Not recommended
- Popular start days are Tuesday and Sunday.
UP TO A MONTH BEFORE
E Reader News Today (Ominous warning — the page at E Reader News Today for submissions has been “temporarily taken down”. I’ve emailed them to see what’s up. Will advise.)
Pixel of Ink (The link is to the form for submission of your book. You may have to sign up as an author fist. Pixel of Ink has 332,000 Facebook Likes so this is a big one.) I submitted my form this morning, 29 Jan.
Digital Book Today (This one offers a number of options but I couldn’t find a link to just submit the dates of your free promotion. I spent twenty minutes trying to find it — no luck. They do offer a lot of options for paid ads and limited options for free promotions. I’ll go back later when I have time, but I did not succeed in communicating with them yet. UPDATE — I found an email contact for them and sent a query. We’ll see what happens with the response. UPDATE: Anthony Weseel, the owner no less, got back to me and sent the link: Submit to Digital Book Today)
FOLLOW ON TWITTER AND BE READY TO TWEEN
@DigitalBkToday @kindleebooks @Kindlestuff @KindleEbooksUK @KindleBookKing @KindleFreeBook @FreeReadFeed @4FreeKindleBook
- #romance (or whatever genre your ebook is in)
Other Places to Register
Indie Book Author Reviews (I registered 31 Jan)
Bargain eBook Hunter (This costs $5. I skipped it.)
- Top 100 Best Free Kindle Book List brought to you by digitalbooktoday.com
- The Kindle Book Review – (I took the $5 Option which guarantees 5 days)
- WorldLiteraryCafe.com (lots of stuff here; I posted a free ad on “Free on [date]” … good site}
- bookdaily.com – [I registered here]
- storyfinds.com – great site to promote freebies and 99¢ books
- bargainebookhunter.com – Offers free promo & sponsorships.
- eReader News Today – free ebook submissions (I submitted)
- booktweetingservice.com – tweets to large audience $29
- ebookswag.com – Promotes to a decent sized facebook crowd.
- Freebooksy – Promote free books & offers paid features.
- freeebooksdaily.com – Announces free books and does author interviews.
- kindlenationdaily.com – large reach but expensive.
- centsibleereads.com – up and coming free/low cost book promtion with a friendly touch
- Kindle Mojo – a book promotion site for freebies and non-freebies
- Kindle Book Promos – Free book announcements/Sponsorships
- Book Daily.com – Emails daily book excerpts to their reader list
- Author Marketing Club – FREE! Free day promos and book promos
- BookBub.com – pricey but has a large email following
- Bookgoodies.com – author features/reviews/free book posting
- BookDealHunter – promotes freebies
- Free Kindle Books and Tips – Promotes quality free kindle books
- Free Today – Post free books. Facebook focused.
- GetFreeBook.com – List free books
- zwoodlebooks.com –