The Amazon promo wrapped up at midnight Tuesday with more than 160 readers downloading the free ebook from Friday through Tuesday. That works out to roughly 30 downloads per day. It was a pretty good deal, considering the book was being listed at $5.99. Overall, this was an impressive number of books downloaded, when you see that in February the book sold just 12 copies (and about the same number in January). Not exactly burning up the sales charts, so the giveaway basically connected a year’s worth of readers with the book in just five days.
Making it free was one step … but how was I going to let people know about the book deal on Amazon?
I tweeted and posted on Facebook, of course, so that got some response. It’s a little harder to tell the results of the Tweets, though I did try a couple of hashtags such as #freeebooks for someone looking for, well, free books! I’m just not sure about the value of Twitter because it does seem like a vast wasteland of self promotion. I don’t download those books people constantly Tweet about unless it’s something that really grabs me. Do you?
Also, I took out a small ad on Goodreads to promote the giveaway. Though viewed by more than 10,000 visitors, the ad got just 7 clicks for the free on Kindle offer, which was disappointing (and very expensive “per click”). Honestly, I’ve never had much luck with Goodreads “self serve” advertising and probably won’t bother again because your book just becomes so much background noise. Let’s just be clear that overall Goodreads is wonderful … it’s just not a great advertising vehicle for authors.
On his blog, the lively J.A. Konrath suggested promoting through BOOKHUB and I gave that a try, but my offer was rejected by the gatekeepers at BOOKHUB. That left me scratching my head—I guess it’s exclusive or something, even though I was trying to buy paid advertising. If those guys ran a restaurant, I suppose you’d need to wear a coat and tie to get in the door, and maybe slip somebody a couple of twenties to get a table.
All in all, however, I was happy with how the giveaway turned out. It was a lot of work and effort, for which I earned nothing as an author, but perhaps some kind souls will post honest reviews about the book on Amazon. There might also be some benefit in terms of increased visibility on the Amazon bestseller lists, at least in the short term. I’ll also be lowering the price … maybe that will help someone decide if their cursor is hovering over that yellow “Buy this book” button.
The most important thing to keep in mind regarding the giveaway is that the book made it into the hands of readers.
One thing for sure, I never could have afforded to hand out more than 150 print books to anybody who wanted one. With an ebook, it’s my feeling that those free copies got into the hands of people who (hopefully) really want to read it. Once again, what Amazon has done for authors and readers is nothing short of spectacular and game changing.
Thank you to all those who have bought or downloaded THE SEA LORD CHRONICLES. Enjoy the voyage, my friends.