My experience of running a successful Kindle Direct Publishing promo

25 Jun


When I self-published my first novel, FRY, I chose to take part in the KDP select programme, which committed me to being exclusive to Amazon for 90 days, in return for the opportunity to give away my novel for free for 5 days. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I used two of those days early on and was pleased with the result. For me, this speeded up the process of getting customer reviews and also helped me to get the book into the ‘customer also bought’ sections of some much more prominent books, which resulted in more sales.

I saved the final 3 days for near the end of the 90 day period because this meant I had more reviews, which is important both for convincing readers to download your book, and also for convincing book promotion sites to feature your book. I prepared for the promotion a month in advance by notifying relevant book sites (see AuthorMarketingClub’s free submission tool for a list of these.) I was pleased with the result. FRY was featured on some prominent sites including Freebooksy. This resulted in almost ten thousand downloads and put FRY at number 25 in the chart for free books.

How did this affect sales?

Previous to this, FRY had been selling quite well in the UK, but sales had been much slower in the US. Following my three day promo, I had a good week of sales in both the US and the UK, so I can definitely say there was a sales bump. A few weeks on, FRY continues to sell better in the US. I have also had a few sales on other Amazon sites around the world. FRY has also had an increase in the number of reviews on and these have been overwhelmingly positive.

So what’s next?

Well, here’s the scary part. Now that my exclusive period with Amazon has ended, I have chosen not to renew the deal. My book is still on Amazon, but, it is now on Smashwords also and I will be trying to get sales on other sites. Going exclusive with Amazon worked well for FRY, but I would not want it to remain exclusive as I think it’s important to reach people with other e-readers.

My next novel, May Queen Killers, comes out in May and I will be going exclusive again as I definitely feel that it has been beneficial. But I can’t see myself renewing the agreement after the first 90 days. I don’t like to put all my eggs in one basket.

Have you used the KDP select programme for your book? How did you get on? Did you think the free days were worth the exclusivity agreement?


3 Responses to “My experience of running a successful Kindle Direct Publishing promo”

  1. Lorna's Voice July 1, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    I chose not to go with KDP and am sorry I didn’t. I did the broad sweep with Smashwords. I will not do that again with my second book or with the 2nd edition of my memoir.

    Smashwords has been a total bust for me. Even being in the Premium catalog, my sales are non-existent. Maybe I am doing something wrong, but the book just isn’t selling. I also read an article that Barne & Noble are giving up on the Nook (the only reason I went with Smashwords).

    Almost every e-reader has the ability to download a Kindle ap. I’m sticking with Amazon. It just makes things more simple.

    Thanks for the info on how you ran your promo for free books. I will use your strategy next time.

    I wish you continued success with Fry and your new project!

  2. Lorna Dounaeva July 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Lorna – I still don’t like the thought of being Amazon-exclusive on a permanent basis, but I think going free is great for new writers. Probably not so appealing for those who already have a following. I also doubt you can do it over and over again with the same results. Sounds like Smashwords is a lot harder to crack than Amazon…

    • Lorna's Voice July 5, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

      I heard that when a new book comes out, you can run a free promo on that book (or the older one) to generate interest in the other one. That may be a reason to go with KDP at least for the the first 3 months.

      I wish had words of wisdom about how to generate sales with Smashwords. I just don’t. If you learn anything, let me know. Otherwise, I’m dropping them. Their formatting constraints are fussy, too.

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