To FREE or not to FREE, Kindle Select is the Question

I know the title is corny…sue me. This post is for my author friends. The rest of you will be bored silly. My apologies. I’ll post something better next time.

kdp-select_01I’ve never understood why an author would sign up for Kindle Select, requiring their eBook to be exclusive to Amazon, and in exchange, being given the wonderful opportunity (sarcasm) of either giving their book away for FREE or doing a promotion called Kindle Countdown Deal where the price drops to rock bottom and rises at periodic intervals, creating a ticking clock for the customer to freak out about. The author gets his or her choice of one of these fabulous no-income-producing options for up to five days per quarter. Makes no sense to me.

 

sorry excuseEXCUSES:

I’ve been working on a new four-book series (Yes, all at the same time. Don’t know what the hell I was thinking.) and haven’t released anything since August 2014. Combined with being in Europe the entire fall and in the Bahamas the whole month of December, I’ve done little to no promotion since my last book release.

 

paparazziRESULT:

My book sales have taken a nosedive. I released eight books and two book sets in the twenty months prior, so my sales have remained consistent until my recent disappearing act. Apparently, if you spend six months out of the public eye, you’re dead in the water. Who knew?

 

SOLUTION:

I decided to play around with my books and see if anything would boost sales while I awaited my next release in April, hence I removed my three-book Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy from Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Scribd, Oyster, and Smashwords and signed them up for the Amazon-exclusive Kindle Select. I guess if I’m not selling them, I can give them away, right? (more sarcasm) Whatever. I gave away the first in the trilogy, The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge, Friday, Feb 6 – Sunday, Feb 8.

 

OUTCOME:

Downloads over the three-day period totaled 2633, including the US, UK, Germany, India, Canada, Australia, and Japan. Stuckey’s Bridge topped out at #87 in Free Kindles (the photo below was taken an hour before when it was #97), #1 in Historical Thrillers, and #1 in Mystery, Thriller, Suspense. Real sales of the sequel, Stuckey’s Legacy, placed that book at #57 in Historical Thrillers, and the third book in the trilogy, Stuckey’s Gold, went to #74 in the same category.

Stuckeys Bridge sales

When the promotion was all said and done, the three books remained in the Top 100 of the Historical Thriller category for about four days. A week later, books two and three have seen a marked increase in sales and all three are being “borrowed” surprisingly well through Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Prime. The sales and “borrows” have easily covered any losses of not being available on Nook and his friends.

CONCLUSION:

I have a pretty large social media reach, but I know there’s not much I can do to promote a book that’s a year and a half old. Anyone who follows me already knows about the book. Therefore, downloads were 408 and 401 on Friday and Saturday, respectively. A popular blogger can announce a promotion and sales will take off. Amazon can send out one email and sales will soar. You know that lightning strike when you see it. It’s impossible to miss.

ebookdaily-logoWell, Stuckey’s Bridge got picked up on Sunday by eBookDaily, and bless their little electronic hearts, they caused over 1800 downloads on Sunday between 10 a.m. and midnight. That’s over 120 an hour for 14 hours straight!

If the marketing stars align, Kindle Select seems like a pretty good thing. If they don’t, it could be just another marketing idea with mediocre results. I’m not sold yet, but I’m leaning a little bit that way…just a tad.

What’s your experience?

 

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One response to “To FREE or not to FREE, Kindle Select is the Question

  1. I’m afraid to tell you. It’s dire these days. I might as well have been away for six months. I applaud your efforts and appreciate that you shared. I think genre is crucial for much of this and where you land on the lists.

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