Phase One Is Complete: My Results Using KDP Select

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About two weeks ago I offered The Sins of Acheryn for free on Amazon, using three of my five “free days” through KDP Select (for an overview of that, see my previous post here). I decided on using only a portion of my free days as a test, so that I could try and glean some lessons that will help me more effectively use the last couple of days. As promised, here’s the outcome of this first phase of my experiment with Amazon’s program:

The Hope: by offering a story for free to the largest online retailer in the world, it will

The Sins of Acheryn

The Sins of Acheryn

introduce a significant number of new readers to my work. Assuming the book (or in my case, short story) is well received, then these new readers will potentially leave reviews on the work’s Amazon page (always something to be coveted) or, even better, will purchase other works.

The Reality: My experience pretty well lines up with the experiences of a number of other authors who have written about using KDP Select. I did see a good number of free “purchases” of TSOA. Over the course of the 3 day give-away, TSOA was downloaded 75 times. That was enough to place it as low as number 2818 on the Kindle Free Books list. But it made it as high as 43 on the Kindle Top 100 Free Short Stories list. I was pretty thrilled with that.

What it means: Well, not much that I can tell. As I’ve read with other writers who have signed up for KDP Select, so far none of the downloads have resulted in new sales or new reviews. Even if TSOA was not being received well, I would have hoped for at least a mediocre or even a negative review or two. As of now, though, I have no indication that my story is even being read by those who downloaded it.

Remember, this isn’t a “woe is me” or even a venting session. It’s simply an observation that I hope other authors will take into account as they decide whether sequestering (the word of the month, if you’re following Washington) their work for 90 days into the KDP Select program is right for them. Since I’m not relying on the sales of my books to pay the bills, I’m at a point in my writing career where I’m still thrilled and humbled at the notion that people read my work at all. However, I can’t quite claim even that satisfaction since I have no notion as to whether the story was actually read.

Stay tuned as I try to crack the code on maximizing the benefits of this program. If anyone has any tips or advice, I’m all ears.

 

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4 Responses to Phase One Is Complete: My Results Using KDP Select

  1. CP Bialois says:

    I had mixed results myself. I found if I could get picked up on free ebook sites like eredernewstoday.com then I’d have about 2500+ in free downloads and sales would go up in the following week or so. The problem for me was when the free sites stopped picking me up due to the large amount of people requesting theirs to be posted. It wasn’t bad, but I don’t remember having a hugs spike or anything.

    • W.E. Linde says:

      I found the same thing. In fact, I had signed up for a couple of sites that promote free ebooks so that it would coincide with my free days. But I found that, even though TSOA was listed, it was in the midst of a flood of other ebooks. So the impact appears to have been marginal. Thanks for you insight, CP!

  2. It has been my experience with KDP Select that full length novels do best. I credit KDP Select with starting my career. Last year, in February, I had 3 books out in a series and abysmal sales. Less than 50. I’d been trying for months to get the first one ‘perma-free’ or always free by price-matching. That finally happened. I put the other two books in select and put both up for a couple of free days. The results were amazing, and from there I started actually selling books. Now, of course, a lot of time has passed and the novelty and effectiveness of select seems to have worn off…except, I still hear of authors doing quite well with it. Their key, it seems, is to have a full-length novel up, and more importantly, notifying the ‘big guns’ like Pixel of Ink, Ereader News Today (POI and ENT, for short) of your free days. If they pick up your book, downloads can skyrocket. There are other sites that aren’t quite so large that you can notify. The more the better. Lastly, paying for ads via places like Bookbub also work wonders for sales. Bookbub prefers 99 cents sales over free (especially now, with the new rules on associate links through Amazon), but I was able to do a free run with them Christmas Day. I had over 7000 downloads and then follow on sales of the other books in the series all the way into January. I made back the cost of the ad no problem. (Unfortunately, Bookbub does not take novellas or short stories, only full length novels).

    I’m not in select anymore, after 6 months of it. I’m on Barnes and Noble, and Kobo and trying to get everything loaded onto iTunes, but if sales don’t pick up on those outlets, I may go back into Select and have another 3 month run. In the long term, three months is a short amount of time, and sometimes, the results can be spectacular.

    My biggest advice – write the next book. People are reluctant to read books in a series unless they see that there are other volumes already published. They want to trust that you are going to finish the journey. I didn’t start getting dedicated readers until book 4. It’s pretty cool too.

    Good luck with your writing adventures!

    • W.E. Linde says:

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful and informative comment! Honestly, over the past year or so, I had not heard of an author successfully leveraging KDP Select as you have, but I suspected that there had to be some out there. You’ve identified some incredibly important data points that simply are not in my “experiment.” Particularly relevant would be my incomplete series. Your advice on advertising and the like are also greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for your insight!

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