The last days of the free promotion for the Talent Seekers took place last week.  I went into them not expecting much.  It seemed to me from the very disappointing first three days that either I had a book I couldn’t even give away or that the world of free promotion had changed so much I wasn’t going to crack it without a massive number of reviews or a lot of costly promotion.  Or both.

(c) Denise Hare Robertson
(c) Denise Hare Robertson

Well, what a change.  I was so depressed after the second two promo days I didn’t post the results.  80.  In total.  To add to a disappointing 175 for the first day.  The last two days I gave myself a modest target of 300.  Total actual downloads… 904!

So what has changed in between, and how does it compare with the other books?

Factors that may have contributed include:

  • a review
  • a review that suggested targeting it at YA or above so I listed it as YA & Fantasy this time round
  • I had the first four books on free promo at Smashwords for two weeks in July and shifted quite a lot of 4-book sales. But that is a drop in the ocean compared to the vast numbers downloading Talent Seekers
  • It was August – my impression was not so many books on free sale
  • It was early in the month, even earlier than the first day – that may have an impact on free book promo sites
  • Inclusion on freebooksy – I’ll come back to that
  • a free promo from the independent author index, even though I’d done a paid promo for my miserable days 2 and 3.  Did they know something I didnt?
  • previous paid promos and guest blogs
  • author interview on bookgoodies a few days earlier (and a feature on the site for the freebie)
  • inclusion on other sites that I previously hadn’t been included on
  • coincidental review of Pirates featured on the kid lit blog hop
  • feature on Traveler on another blog a couple of weeks earlier
  • I’d been running a giveaway on my website just beforehand
  • luck

I don’t know how much difference it makes when you get featured on the free book sites.  I’m sure it makes a lot, but some are better than others.  Certainly I got more in one two day block than I’ve done before, and that must raise your chances of being seen by more people.  I didn’t pay for any of these features this time, although I did for the last one at the end of June.  Freebooksy also featured Lost City last year on the day it had its best downloads – and that was also on its last offer days, in the summer (July).  I’m convinced Freebooksy’s coverage is a key factor, but bookgoodies also appears to have a wide readership – the book was well hidden there, though.  It was tweeted by Free Ebooks Daily (but not featured) but I did an interview and guest post for them earlier.   It made it on to Indie Book of the Day Free list for the first time (did my flash fiction contest entry help?).  It was on Free Book Dude and eReader Utopia on its second days, both for the first time.  It was on Snickslist as usual and got an impressive number of views.  It was on the Independent Author Network list and the World Literary Forum list, but I didn’t put it on the tweet list of Indie Kindle.  I also didn’t put it on the kBoards forum, which I’d always thought was a useful thing.

So I had all this help – and help it certainly did.  I got my first reader in Brazil, doubled my readership in India and trebled it in Japan.  The Canadian readership is growing.  The German readers have overtaken the UK readers!  This isn’t football, folks [England v Germany soccer matches are needle matches]!  Oh, and I sold some more of the first in the series, too.

I think that luck has a lot to do with it.  But I don’t think it’s entirely coincidence that Lost City and Talent Seekers had better (substantially better) download figures  in the summer, than Pirates and Traveler had in the winter (with apologies to my friends in Australia and New Zealand).  I think there may be less competition and more time for people to trawl the internet while they are on holidays.  And I’m sure just one review makes a huge difference.  So whereas I was considering not bothering with the Kindle exclusive period and the five free days next time, I think maybe I will continue.  Just because marketing doesn’t give the results you expect when you expect them, doesn’t mean to say it doesn’t pay at all.  I think these results were the result of a lot of marketing, not just marketing for this event.

Now, how do I get the UK market to recognise the books?  And how do I get more people to read and review their freebies?!

Kindle Free Days – some conclusions
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