Thursday, February 21, 2013

KDP Select Freebies Not Dead?

 Looks like I'll have to salt the brim of my fedora and eat the damn thing. Or cram some crow pie down my neck. KDP Select freebies are not quite ready for the grave yard. I'd thought they'd seen their day. 

I just came off a two-day free trial period on the 18th and 19th, for my paranormal romance thriller The War Gate. Now, in the past two free trial periods (months ago), one two-day and one three-day event, I pulled 479 and 580 free downloads respectively. I didn't get a real great sales jump form either, probably about two books per event. 

This last time I stacked up 3,300 free downloads and ended up #3 in paranormal category. I couldn't believe it. I was gobsmacked. Then I had, and am still having, a sales rush right now. It even kick-started two other titles that carry different genres. Now that's never happened before. Those aren't really spectacular numbers, but for ME it IS. Any change like that points to something that I did right this time or differently. And I've been busting my brain to figure out what it was.

I announced the free trial period two weeks in advance in about eight of the typical free trial listing sites, including the one on the Kindle boards. I blogged about it--but it was very late on the last day. I hit up book blogs and pasted in there, as well as FB, Twitter and my major writing sites--about four of those. But I announced the freebies on FB and Twitter three times each per day--one morning, one afternoon and one evening for the two days running. I don't think I did that before, having done it only once each for each day.

This wasn't too different from the previous events. Then what was it?

I went to the Kindle Boards and scrounged around every relative thread that I could find that might have an explanation. I discovered that authors that had the most downloads had the most sales when they went live. That didn't make sense but then I kept reading examples of it. It made me a believer. Only because my last freebie period had the highest downloads. They also said that with the increased free downloads, if you had enough of them, then word-of-mouth would kick in. That's never happened either. Because word-of-mouth creates a small feeding frenzy which usually snowballs. Now, I'm hoping that's what I have here--a tiny little snowball. They say, normally, after going active from a free trial period you do begin to drop and things level out. Other cases say it never stops and you fly to a loftier position and pretty much stay there.

But one thing made the most sense of all and it hadn't occurred to me. My past events happened over the weekends. Both of them. The three-day event began on Friday and ended Sunday. Now, I know from being on the internet for the past eight years that my email traffic is 50% less than the weekdays. This last free trial period was on a Monday and Tuesday. Viola! That made perfect sense. For some reason, I had the most reader traffic on Amazon on Monday and Tuesday.  Is that when people returned home from work and settled down in front of the laptop/computer? It had to be.

If any of this helps you with your next free trial period, have at it.  I particularly recommend trying Monday or Tuesday and comparing your past results.