Assessing my big giveaway

Most of you know that Monday through Wednesday I held a big book giveaway. It was a lot of fun, and a lot of work at the same time. Each day required a blog post and a tweet or two. I wanted to stay on top of any comments I received as well.

I rate this event as a huge success. Many of you jumped in and shared the news on your own blogs and social media. The Rave Reviews Book Club also pitched in and many of the members retweeted and reblogged my data. They held another recruiting day at the same time, and I skipped out. I wanted my promotion to stay on top of my posts. As a small way of saying thanks, all writers should check this group out.

So what happened? I gave one title away per day. I ran a giveaway once before that lasted three days, and after day one it tapered off dramatically. I convinced myself to only run one day events from now on. I decided to make it last three days anyway, by running three titles.

The first book was Wild Concept. This is the same book that had the three day giveaway last spring. I managed to give out 41 copies. That’s pretty mediocre in my mind. Last time I moved over a hundred copies. Still, it managed to hit the top 100 in free science fiction. The highest number I saw was #86.

I have to explain that free days start and end at midnight Pacific Standard Time. I work for a living and get up at 4:00 AM, so I could not wait until 1:00 AM in my time zone to see how high any of them placed. This makes me kind of sad, and I think Amazon should send me an email or something.

The last book was Arson. This one fared pretty well, and hit the free science fiction chart at #52. It may have gone higher, but I’ll never know. I managed to pass out 95 copies.

I saved the best for last. Tuesday was the giveaway for Panama. The other stories are both science fiction, but Panama is a paranormal tale in an historical setting. for whatever reason, lightning struck on Tuesday. I managed to give away 364 copies of this book. There isn’t really a category for historical / paranormal stories, but I wish there was. Panama sat at number 5 on the free fantasy books right before I went to bed. With three hours to go, it may have climbed even higher. This excites me greatly. At the time I went to bed it was number 764 out of all books on Amazon combined.

Best thing about the event: For one shining moment, I was in the top five on one of the lists.

Four wonderful people purchased copies of Panama the day after the promotion. If anyone saw a higher number on the charts than what I saw, I’d love to hear about it. It was kind of fun seeing Panama with its five reviews between two books with hundreds of reviews. Does this entitle me to call myself a best selling author? Best giving author is more accurate.

The popular advice is that a giveaway will spur sales of other titles. The Cock of the South flatlined this week. Apparently, no one bought into my udder analogy. Still, it may take time for readers to finish the free reading. They could buy The Cock of the South months from now.

These are the numbers. It’s hard to draw any conclusions at this time, but it’s fun to think about. All I really know is that 494 pieces of my fiction are in the hands of people all over the world. Some people may have grabbed more than one title.

Will anyone even read the stories? I have no idea. Free things don’t have much value to people. I’m certain some will read them, and equally certain some will not. Did I just over saturate my market? Probably. As an unknown writer, getting readers is a big deal. If they like the product, they could become buyers one day.

Will I gain reviews? Did I just bait snarky reviews? I’ll just have to be patient. I could use some more positive reviews.

You can make numbers say anything you want. Maybe Tuesday is simply a better day to hold a giveaway. Maybe paranormal is more popular than science fiction. Maybe cowboys trump aliens and robots. Maybe shoppers are savvy to giveaways and know indie authors will hold one eventually.

What has your experience been with free promotions? I’d love to hear from you.

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “Assessing my big giveaway

  1. Congrats on the success. I’ve had varied success when I try for free promotions. The first one went great for a weekend. Then I did it two more times over the course of 2 years and I didn’t see the same result. Now I only do it for special events like Read Tuesday or a book’s anniversary.

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  2. Id say just bask in your success a while and enjoy it! Revel in being top of the charts, you deserve it!

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  3. Great news, Craig! Basking in the afterglow is fun. I hope you get some more good reviews on these books, as well.

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  4. I’m 30% through Wild Concept and am enjoying it a great deal. I like the way Lisa thinks and I want to go partying with her and Faith! πŸ˜‰

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  5. Yay you! πŸ™‚

    I’m looking forward to reading your books (yes, I downloaded them) πŸ™‚

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  6. I’m sorry that I don’t have anything to bring to the table in the way of experience in this… BUT I would like to congratulate you! It sounds like you did GREAT! I still regret that I didn’t screen shot that for you. I just assumed you had the ability with your software to do so. And I agree… Amazon SHOULD send you an email. You’re my hero and you rock! πŸ™‚

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