Book Promotion: The Early Assessment

Most of my regular readers know that I recently ran a free promotion of my novel, Wild Concept, on Amazon. The free promotion is one of two tools an author can use to promote his/her work. There are many other ways to promote, but I’m talking about things Amazon created for authors. The other tool is a countdown deal, and I haven’t tried this yet.

Amazon let’s me give a book away for five days every quarter. I’m not required to use them all at once, but I did.

What I assumed:

As a brand new author, I need readers. If I give my book away for a period of time I will get some readers.

Some people will grab a book, just because it’s free. This does not mean they’ll read that book. Therefore, the number given away will be larger than the number of readers.

Interest in the free book will create sales of Panama, my new story.

What I read from others:

Sales will keep going after the promotion ends.

A promotion will lead to sales of your other books.

Never do a promotion longer than three days. (I read what others say. I don’t always believe it.)

What I wanted:

A couple of positive reviews for Wild Concept.

Interest in Panama to increase.

What happened:

I gave away a crap ton of books. More than I could even imagine. At one point, I was number 36 on Amazon’s free science fiction book list.

The majority of downloads occurred on the first day. The numbers dropped dramatically on day two and stayed there. I remained on the top 100 until I reverted to paid status once again.

One person, from the UK, bought Wild Concept prior to the promotion and returned it. I hope this was to take advantage of the free version and not because it sucked. I’ll never know. (My first return.)

I didn’t make a single sale of Panama during this promotion.

There hasn’t been a single purchase of Wild Concept since it went back to paid status.

Very few of the downloads came through my blog. I checked to see how many clicked on the link, and it was less than one percent vs. downloads.


Free promotions are a good thing. I won’t do another one that lasts longer than one day. There might be an advantage to doing a different title each day after I have all my old stuff available.

Amazon must have some good promotional stuff going on. My blog only has about 350 followers, and that includes the get rich quick folks and the same Colombian Cutes that followed everyone else a few months ago. My downloads were way beyond what the blog could drive.

It’s too early to tell if reviews are coming. People haven’t had time to read the book yet, and some might not get to it for months.

It’s also too early to tell if Panama will benefit. I would read the free book before deciding if I read the author again.

What’s next:

I have to be patient, something I’m not good at. Time will tell as far as whether I got what I wanted out of this promotion. I’ll keep working on getting the next story ready to post.

I don’t want to do another promotion right away. This is to keep the data clear as far as what this one accomplished.

I mentioned in a recent blog post that I like to play with all the toys. I’d like to try a Kindle Countdown Deal. I’ll give it a few weeks and decide what to do then. I might use Panama as the guinea pig.

Once I get all my old stuff uploaded, there might be an advantage in giving each one away for one day in succession.

Debate. Share your experiences or thoughts in the comments section. I’d like to know what you guys think.


Filed under Writing

21 responses to “Book Promotion: The Early Assessment

  1. I totally agree with the idea of getting readers when you’re new. You might also consider bundles? I dunno, I’ve not done any marketing, except in my day job. I don’t know that pizza compares with novels.


    • I’m too new for bundles, but they’re interesting. I read a six pack of horror stories this year and felt like I got two good stories to carry the other four. People will get wise to that quickly.


      • Ah, I meant bundling your own work together. I’m personally more likely to take a risk if I think I’m getting more bang for my buck. I guess bundling with others or bundling solo, it feels about the same worth of risk to me.


      • I certainly got bang for my buck. In fact it was 99cents for six stories. I got to read some authors I never would have otherwise, and intend to revisit two of the. After Amazon takes their cut, then split the residue six ways, I wonder how much each author received.

        I know profit wasn’t the intent, and I’m certain some of them got visibility out of the deal.


  2. I plan to run my first Kindle novel free for a few days and then alternate because as new writers, we need readers. Thanks for the solid advice.


  3. Ali Isaac

    I gave away over 700 copies of my book in a free promo on Amazon kindle once…never even got 1 review from it. I went up to no4 in the top ten free charts. Did not see any increase in sales afterwards like other authors. I hope at least some of the people who downloaded it read it, otherwise whats the point? I really want my book to be read. I do not consider it a successful promo but I will try it again to see what happens when book 2 is released. Good luck with yours and thanks for keeping us posted with your experiments!


    • I’ve read that volume is crucial for a new author. I think it’s a sound idea. Putting the sixth story out there is supposed to be easier than the second one. I may have been smart to wait so long before exploring self publishing. I have four old tales to post, plus Will ‘O the Wisp. I may be deluded too.


  4. It is certainly not easy for new authors. You will get my review as soon as I have finished reading. It will be published on my blog, on Goodreads, and on Amazon.
    I had to download from (depending on my curent location, I use either .com,, or .de) – therefore, my download wasn’t from your blog.
    Are you interested in participating in a writer’s blog hop and my ’10 Statements’ series? Please get in touch via Contact (mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress….).


  5. I haven’t been able to do free promotions (or promotions of any kind on my own) since I have a small-press publisher. They did promote my book on BookBub last summer with good results, but as you noticed with your own uptick in downloads, that doesn’t guarantee people will actually read the book. And the nice-ranking waves never last long. Sigh.

    Thanks for sharing your process. If I ever go the Indie route, it’s helpful to learn these tips from authors who’ve been there.


  6. I hope it gets you lots of readers. I have been told by others that it works best if you can make the first book in a series free. The old crack dealer method. Get them hooked with freebies so they have to read on.




    • I agree that it would work better with a series. I haven’t written series, or serials, at this time. I hate to write the second one unless the first one’s a hit.

      I’ll know in a couple of weeks if I accomplished anything.


  7. Thank you for posting how this works for the rest of us who aren’t that far yet. You’re a very creative guy. I hope you get a lot of readers and awesome reviews soon. 🙂


  8. Thx for sharing your experiences, we are all learning together. It seems the message is that it is a long slog for everyone! 🙂 SD


  9. Thanks for sharing. I’m sure others in your boat have found this helpful. Crossing fingers for you. =)


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