Free Book Experiment :Results

So as promised, here’s the results from the ‘Free Book Experiment.” I posted about last week. As I said I had kept reading about how you should do a free book promo to get traffic, reviews, and ultimately, drive some sales. I used one of my older books, Project:Perception and using the Amazon author portal, made it free for 4 days. The results were in fact a bit better than expected, but not any sort of major breakthrough.

  1. The first day I had a major spike in downloads of the book. This is pretty normal for the first day on any free promotion. I’m not clear on how Amazon markets this, but I hit 600 downloads, 634 to be exact on the first day. But then as normal, the second, third, and fourth day dropped a lot. 211, 63, and 51 respectively. This is also pretty normal, the spike and tapering off of downloads. The nice thing is that your book gets a lot more visible, but only while the free promo is going on.  Once the promo is over, your book vanishes from the free list and back to whatever it was ranked before.
  2. One unexpected thing was a download or two via Kindle Unlimited. This is still free, but I get paid based on the number of pages read. Tiny money, but still, money. I say unexpected because I hadn’t had that happen before.
  3. I got one review, but a 3 star out of 5. So it was so-so to them. But still, nice to have. (I’ve mentioned before, reviews are gold.)
  4. I got one actual sale of the book after the promo ended. One.

So was it worth it?

Not sure. Now I didn’t do this “Free Book Experiment” the way most do. Usually this is planned out more, you submit your free promo to mailing lists, promote it on social media, and flog the hell out of it. I didn’t do any of that. I simply made it free, posted it once or twice on twitter, and mentioned it on my blog (which auto-posts on twitter, and I made a Facebook post for it.) So I really didn’t market it at all. Would the results have been better? Quite possibly. If you can get it mentioned on some of the larger eBook mailing lists I’ve seen reliable accounts of getting 20-30K downloads in a single day.

So all in all I’d say this has been a mostly useful exercise. I got a review, made a tiny amount of cash, and really didn’t do any work for it. (Well outside of writing the book in the first place.)

Upcoming: *finishing that keyboard review*, Cover reveal for Bridgefinders (much rejoicing.) and the release of Bridgefinders, currently looking like the first week in April.

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