Daily Archives: September 24, 2014

Kindle Freebie Promotion Techniques

It was just a few months ago that I was attending a writing festival when someone asked me a very good question.

“Just how many e-books do you have available on Kindle?” someone asked.

“Well, someone,” I replied. “That is a very good question. I have about thirty e-books available on Kindle.”

“Wow,” someone said right back at me. “If I had thirty e-books I’d have a half of a dozen of them in Kindle Select and I would be selling like crazy.”

I’ve been thinking about what that someone told me ever since then.

Let’s be honest – I am NOT selling like crazy on Kindle. In fact, my Kobo sales have outstripped my Kindle sales right from the get-go.

Now that is something to be happy about – because sales are sales – but the fact is that my distribution of sales has always been a disturbing anomaly for me. Almost every other indie-author that I have talked to reports that they make the majority of their sales through Kindle. Sure, there are ALWAYS exceptions, but by and large Kindle is the big dog in this here pound.

I just counted up my Kindle releases, and I actually have FORTY-THREE separate books available on Kindle. That includes TWENTY-EIGHT independently release e-books, ELEVEN e-books released through e-publisher Crossroad Press and FOUR e-books released trough my traditional regional publisher Nimbus Press.

That is a lot of Kindle e-books.

My sales REALLY ought to be better than they are.

So this fall I have decided to do something about that. I have taken the advice of that someone – (and this wasn’t the first time that I had heard similar advice – this was just the first time that I had ACTUALLY decided to do something about it).

So – for starters – I have placed SIX of my independently published e-books into Kindle Select.


I’ve already held two freebie promotions.

You can read about the first Kindle freebie promotion performed HERE and I am going to tell you how the second Kindle freebie turned out – right now.

For the last two days my e-book, BIGFOOT TRACKS, has been available for FREE through Kindle. I already gave you folks all of the details of the promoting that I did for this freebie right HERE.

So here are the results.

As you might know, I ran the first promotion for NOT JUST ANY OLD GHOST STORY on September 1 to the September 3. I gave away 613 copies on the first day, 193 copies on the second day and a piddling 66 copies on the third day.

That is 872 copies in total.

With this second promotion – running from September 22 to September 23 for BIGFOOT TRACKS – I gave away 464 copies on the first day and 435 copies on the second day.

That is 899 copies in total – in TWO DAYS!

So – what have I learned?

Well – for starters, I am convinced that a TWO DAY freebie promotion is a lot more effective than a THREE DAY freebie promotion. That third day was a bit of a wash-out and in hindsight I believe that in the future I will stick with two day promotions rather than three.

MIND YOU, I haven’t yet experimented with follow-up freebies. That will be another bridge to cross – but right now I am just trying to get the hang of this whole freebie strategy.

I have been puzzling over the difference between the 613 first day copies of NOT JUST ANY OLD GHOST STORY versus the 464 first day copies of BIGFOOT TRACKS.

It can be a mistake trying to compare sales figures on any given day for two VERY different releases – however I am pretty certain that the 613 had a lot to do with the fact that September 1 was LABOR DAY.

(or LABOUR DAY, if you’re Canadian, like myself)


Labor Day is one of those oddball vacations. There isn’t necessarily a lot of family get-togethers that come with Labor Day. It is more often a time to get out to the cottage or clean out the backyard or just plain fart around.

THAT is the audience I am looking for. The farting-around crowd. I empathize with the farting-around crowd. The farting-around crowd are MY kind of people. The farting-around crowd are READERS!


A proud member of the Fart-Around Society of North America

Amen, my brothers and sisters!

Let me tell you how my two promotions have worked out for me so far.

NOT JUST ANY OLD GHOST STORY is still sitting at a fairly respectable Amazon ranking.

 Amazon Best Sellers Rank:  #260,569 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store) #56 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Mythology & Folk Tales > Folklore

Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#260,569 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#56 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Mythology & Folk Tales > Folklore

NOT JUST ANY OLD GHOST STORY has bagged NINE reviews with an average ranking of 4.2 stars and I have sold copies since that freebie promotion at the e-book’s regular price and I have ALSO had copies borrowed through the new Kindle Unlimited program – which will pay me a per-copy rate in the next month or so.

I am interested to see how this Kindle Unlimited program pays off for me in the long run. It is hard to predict because they do not announce the monthly pay-off until later – but I have been averaging a 1-to-3 borrow-to-sales ratio ever since I entered these six books into Kindle Select. That means for every three books I sell, one book is borrowed – and either way I make money.

Some indie writers fear the Kindle Unlimited program. They worry that the borrows are “cannibalizing” their sales figures. Well, as far as I am concerned – RIGHT NOW – my sales figures are all theoretical. So I don’t worry about losing sales to the borrows. The way I figure it – right now – I make money on every borrow and I make money on every sale and either way I am happy.

That might change down the road but right now I’ll steer by that concept.

The single biggest result I can report is that out of the 24 days of September that have already happened I have sold and/or KU-loaned e-books for 20 days out of 24 so far this September.

That does not count the freebies at all.

(I had to read those last couple of sentences again just to make sure it actually made sense. If it doesn’t make sense blame it on my weak-assed coffee.)

Previously to this I was averaging sales on Kindle of two or three books a week. Now I sell Kindle books almost every day. Not a lot of them – not yet – but right now that is my immediate goal for the rest of the year is to try and sell EVERY DAY.

Come October, I hope to kick this into a higher gear. I have got promotions lined up on E-Book News Today and Kindle Books and Tips as well as several other promotional websites. I have also got a book pitched to BookBub as well – although that is a long-shot. In the meanwhile I am working on a brand-new novel – (I’m about 12000 words into what I hope will be a 50000 word paranormal romance – the first in a new kickass series) – and I am beginning to lay out a few well-planned promotions for October and November to try to keep those daily Kindle sales happening.

If, by the end of the year, I can start selling a book or two every day on Kindle I will count that as a fulfillment of my goals. In 2015 I want to look at selling a lot – a lot more regularly.

So, for now my strategy will remain a series of recurring promotions that will splash into my little e-book pond like so many well-aimed pebbles.

As a certain man once said – “Most human problems can be solved by an appropriate charge of high explosive.”

All right – so what does UNCOMMON VALOR have to do with selling e-books? Well, I think of each of these promotions as being the digital equivalent of a well-placed charge of high explosive. Taken one by one they have a little effect – but you line them up one after another and all of those little ripples in that little pond are going to turn into a world class monsoon of momentum.

Oh hell.

The Metaphor League has just issued a cease-and-desist order for me to stop cheerfully mangling so darned many metaphors in my blog entries.


I am going to keep reporting my strategies, techniques and the results of my approach for two specific reasons. Number one – to help me remember and to learn from the experiences. I’m old and I forget things easily if I don’t make it a point to write it all down.

Number two – I want to help you good readers by letting you see the mistakes that you should avoid and to note the good techniques that actually do work.

Hopefully we can all start selling more e-books together.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

As anyone who has been following my blog knows, I have been trying to improve my Kindle e-book sales figures.