I've been in a conversation with a couple of fellow indie authors about this issue.
They are wondering, and maybe even scared, to use their free promo days that Amazon gives to us for participating in their Select program.
So, why would these authors be afraid to use something a book GIANT is giving to us?
The sad reality is, they feel like we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Why? Because there are a ton of fellow indie authors that will tear you to shreds because you want to give a copy of your book away for promotional reasons.
Here's a dose of reality that those NEGATIVE indie authors either miss or choose not to see. Free promos work in EVERY field. I don't care if a laundromat gives away one load of laundry to lure people in, a supermarket gives away some small item to lure business in, or a car dealer gives away a free detail job or some service to lure people in. The end result is the same, regardless of the industry. The business GIVES AWAY something to HOPE FOR DOLLARS in return.
And you know what else? It...WORKS. If freebies didn't work, brick and mortar businesses would not continue doing it. Hell, even internet based businesses do it. David DeAngelo, who works in the dating and seduction field, or pick up artist field, frequently gives away great tidbits. You know what else? He makes more than anyone else in that field. To the tune of $20 million dollars each year. So again, bottom line, freebies WORK.
Now, many indie authors will tear you to shreds if they so much as HEAR that you want to run a free day promo. They will preach to you that you're devaluing all of our collective works. If that doesn't convince you not to do a free day, then you're just scum who can't write a lick to save your life.
Seriously, this is what we call SUPPORTING each other? I think not.
Who cares if you personally HATE the free days. You know what, the other author is not giving YOUR book away. Unless of course you have asked them to. They are trying to promote THEIR book. So lay off and learn how to actually show another human being some honest-to-God support.
Drop the jealousy you're feeling and show a fellow indie true support.
Here's another reality check. I've talked before about Pixel of Ink and ENT and how they are currently the only viable venues to really get your book noticed on a free day. Well...that's not exactly true. It is, but it isn't. The reality is, there are enough authors within the indie community that SAY they will do ANYTHING to support their fellow indies. Well, if all of these indie authors would put their mouse where their mouth is, we'd see a lot more ACTUAL support.
What do I mean? I don't mean you have to go out and spend your hard earned dollars, buying every book that your fellow authors publish. Not at all. And some of you just ignored that last line. You have no idea what I said.
Ok, listen up. WITHOUT SPENDING A PENNY YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR FELLOW INDIES SO EACH OF US CAN ACTUALLY MAKE REAL CASH.
Let's try this again.
When a fellow indie author has a free promo day, there are enough of us indie authors in all of our communities that we can raise up each indie author on their particular free promo day. That means you simply DOWNLOAD A FREE COPY. Is that REALLY so hard?
I don't care if you only have a PC, a Mac, don't have a Kindle, do have a Kindle, only have a Nook, what ever. It doesn't matter. Period. If you have a PC, download the app for Kindle for PC. If you have a Mac, same thing. If you only have a Nook...I'm sure you have a computer as well. SURELY you see where I'm going without me spelling out EVERY detail.
Ok, now that we're on the same page there...here's the next step.
When a fellow indie has their book up for a free promo day....DOWNLOAD a FREE copy!
"But I already have it" you say.
Awesome for your support! Now....DELETE IT AND DOWNLOAD ANOTHER.
Or, if Kindle won't let you do that, download it to a different device, like a different computer. In other words, there is SOME way that you can download another FREE copy. We're just too damn lazy to help others, it seems.
"But I don't download what I won't read. Period."
Well, that tells me and the rest of the community that you DON'T truly support your fellow indies. I personally do download TONS of books I probably won't ever read. Seriously, what does it COST ME? Nothing, other than a few seconds to make a click.
Then, there are other authors who simply hate the guts of some fellow indies. Yeah, that's really supporting your community too. GROW UP.
Look, here's the bottom line. The reason why Pixel and ENT are SO effective is simply their reach. They have the ability to reach THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people, individual readers. It takes THOUSANDS of downloads for each book to pop the number one spot in your particular genre.
Thing is, if your book does NOT hit the number one spot, it won't stay afloat as long after the free day. If it doesn't at least crack the Top 10, your free day was wasted.
Here's another part of this reality check. There are enough authors in our communities as a whole to get each individual fellow indie author SEVERAL thousand downloads on EACH of our free days.
So, to recap, drop your hatred, grow up, click a book even if you don't like it (just hit delete), and help that fellow author to hit that coveted number one spot. It hasn't cost you a single penny to show support. Yet, by that author hitting number one, THEY will now have the opportunity to have TONS of new, fresh eyes seeing their work. IF their work has merit, it may hold the Top 10 for a while, while gaining actual paid sales that YOU are paying nothing for. You simply clicked your mouse. If their book does not have merit, it will soon vanish into the ether, therefore not hurting you or your book anyway.
So again...WHY is it SO hard to show TRUE support to your fellow indie author???
C'mon. AS A COMMUNITY WE ARE STRONG. Divided, we fall.
Alright, I've run these free promotional days on KDP Select several times now. I've also had books free through another method that would likely be considered old school now.
I've had exactly one very successful free promotional day.
The bottom line about the KDP Select free days are...the free day in and of itself is absolutely nothing more than a tool. There is no magic in it. Your book absolutely will not jump in the rankings simply because you schedule a free day.
In fact, just as you would normally promote your rear end off when your book is selling for a monetary figure, you'll also need to promote your rear off for the free promotional day or days that you schedule.
"But I thought you said you've had one very successful promo day," you ask.
Yes, you're right. And here's the difference.
Ok, for the promo day I just had, I gave away approximately 150 copies....TOTAL in the US of my book. My ranking peaked at 25 from what I saw. And, during this day, my book was tweeted by myself and a few others through out the day. It was also facebooked by myself and a few others through out the day. Plus it was promoted by Flurries for Words (or something like that), Author Marketing Club or one of their lists, and a couple of other venues. In other words, my book was promoted by a few different venues and several individuals. And that resulted in about 150 copies in the US. Yes, I had some in the UK as well, and 1 copy in each of a couple of other countries. Seriously, one copy. But, I'm focusing on the US numbers because that's normally our bread and butter.
Now, the very successful day I had, I literally had a couple of thousand downloads of my book before I even remembered that it was free that day.
What was the difference?
It kinda makes me sick to say this, because it makes me sick to admit that we authors are dependent on one or two different sites/venues to "make us" successful. But, here's the rotten truth. That one day, my book was mentioned by Ereader News Today.
This round, my book was mentioned by three or four other sites along with friends and myself pimping it all day. for a grand total of 150 copies in the US. When Ereader News Today (ENT) promoted it, it downloaded around 3,000 copies total in one day without me saying a word.
In fact, from what I've gathered, if ENT or Pixel of Ink promote your book, you can actually expect around 3,000 copies to be downloaded in one day.
When this many copies are downloaded in one day, this shoots your book up to the top or near the top of the chart in your genre. My book, All Jacked Up, stayed at the number one spot for a day or two when ENT mentioned my book.
P.S. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of the other venues that you can use for book promotion on your free days. In fact, I think they are doing a great thing...AND I wish they were much bigger than they are and have much more impact than they do. I hate it that the only sites with a real impact are Pixel and ENT. In fact, if you'll look at this very website of mine, I have a section on this for free books. I'm trying to build this site up to have the kind of reach that Pixel and ENT have, and hopefully help more authors get their names out there. So please, check out my page on this site as well.
Back to my original point. Here's the benefit of KDP Select. Once your free day is over, or days, your book automatically goes back to being charged for. If you go "old school" as in through Smashwords and that process to get Amazon to go free, you will have a harder time getting your book back to paid. With Select it automatically goes back to paid.
Other than that, KDP Select does absolutely nothing in and of itself for your book as far as promotional value.
Today is my oldest son's 18 birthday, and what am I thinking about? Of course...marketing.
Ok, it's not all bad. I did wish him a happy birthday at midnight last night, and this morning. And likely will again tonight. When he gets home from work.
But, amongst all of this, I'm thinking about marketing.
And the Catch 22 of marketing.
These days the publishing landscape is such that, in order for your books to sell, you have to have them in front of reader's eyes. Well, ok, that hasn't changed from the days of old. If the reader doesn't know your book is there, they won't buy it. That's simple common sense. Or logic, which ever label you prefer.
So, how do we get our books in front of readers?
That's where the Catch 22 comes in.
In order to get mass exposure, you need to be on some best seller list. Well, you can't make it on a best seller list unless you have....exposure. However, once you catch the wave and hit the best seller list, the monster should feed itself for a good while. As long as you have a quality product, that is.
So, don't even think about the best seller list until your cover, blurb, and most of all, story, are right.
Anyway, this Catch 22 issue.
To hit the best seller list, you need mass exposure. But, in order to get that kind of mass exposure, you need to be on the best seller list. So how do all of those books get onto that best seller list? Well, lots of ways, actually. How can you get yours on there, is the question.
The answer is...any way that you can.
Whether you have to run a paid ad in some publication that guarantees thousands of eyes are on it, or you get lucky enough to run a free add in some publication, or you have to bribe 3,000 of your most willing neighbors to download a copy of your book in Kindle format, you do what ever you have to do, to get those downloads going.
Tell friends and family they can throw away the ecopy after they pick it up. You don't care what they do with it, as long as they download it. The key is to get it downloading, so it raises in the ranks and hits the best seller list, so other people that may actually want to read it will SEE it and download it themselves. Remember, just because YOU know it's a work of art, no one else knows that until they read it. And they can't read it till they see it. And they won't see it unless it's visible.
So...what back door method can you come up with to hit your best seller list?