Consequently a couple of weeks ago I unpublished my debut novel, Convictions, at Smashwords and waited for the book to be taken out of distribution, as to qualify for KDP Select, a book must be digitally published exclusively with Amazon. Once that had happened, I enrolled the book and set it to go free this weekend. I had what I thought were realistic expectations, and slightly higher hopes, but I think it’s fair to say that the Convictions/KDP Select promotion exceeded even my wildest dreams.
In the two days the book was free, it was downloaded by several thousand readers. The figures break down as follows:
(Amazon.fr: 1 copy)
There was an additional benefit in that I sold some other books, too. In fact, I sold more copies of short story collection Gone Bad over the weekend than I had in the previous month. And in the first hour after Convictions stopped being free, I sold more copies of that than I had in the previous two months, and the book has already received a new 5 star review on Amazon UK.
Right from the start, I was amazed by how quickly the promotion took off. And utterly gobsmacked by the way the pace picked up on Sunday. I started out taking a note of the download figures and chart positions every twelve hours, thinking they’d make interesting reporting. Last evening, when things were really motoring, I noted down the downloads every hour for a few hours.
I can tell you that over the course of the weekend, someone somewhere in the world downloaded a copy of Convictions every 21 seconds. And for a period of time on Sunday evening (UK time), there was one downloaded every 10 seconds. That floors me.
There are people who condemn Amazon KDP Select as exploitative and exclusionary, and who say that people who give their books away free are devaluing their art. And some people may feel that I’ve just done myself out of several thousand sales.
However, I disagree with that viewpoint.
Without the promotion, those people may or may not have stumbled across Convictions or one of my other books. Chances are they wouldn’t have. Even if they had, they might well not have taken a chance on an author they didn’t know, had the book not been free.
As I said the other day when I was talking about promotion, what we need as writers is a way to get our books in front of new readers and my objective with this exercise was to do just that. From that standpoint, the promotion has been an unqualified success.
Before the promotion started, I dropped the price of Convictions to 77p/99c, so that it came out at the lowest possible price. Having read what other writers had to say about their experiences, this seemed to give the best chance of sales kicking in when the free downloads stopped. And this happened seamlessly with this book. The figures kept on appearing (at a much reduced rate from one every ten seconds, but still steadily) after the promotion ended.
I want to give a huge thank you to everyone who helped by sharing and retweeting information about the promotion, who ‘liked’ status updates and who downloaded the book. I appreciate your support more than you can know. We can’t do this on our own and I’m extremely grateful for everything you did.
Another huge thanks is due to Steven Miscandlon because without his editing and cover design skills, Convictions wouldn’t be the book it is.
So, overall, enrolling Convictions in Amazon KDP Select has worked very well. It’ll be interesting to see how things go over the next few weeks and months. I’ll keep you posted!
Oh — and don’t forget that I’m taking part in the Smashwords Read an Ebook Week promotion. The Writing on the Wall is free and Gone Bad and Heartbreaker are half price. Coupon codes are on the individual book pages, and my author page is here.