DO FREE-DAY eBOOK PROMOTIONS STILL WORK?
The death of the free days benefit
I’ve watched my free downloads during a three-day KDP free-days promotion drop from totals as high as 20,000, to as few downloads as 9,000 in my most recent attempt last month. The first few times I used free days, I sold as many as 500 books post-free-days, and my latest promo sold almost none. And since I’ve been an advocate of paying for ads which promote these free days, this latest one not only sold no books, it cost me money!
Why aren’t the free-day promotions benefitting authors anymore? There are multiple reasons for this change, among them:
1. More and more authors are becoming independent publishers of their books. The competition for eBook sales has increased exponentially over the last two years.
2. All the doomsayers who were against using free promotions began to see the amazing results other authors were getting and jumped on the bandwagon. The bandwagon crumpled!
3. New online sites promoting free eBooks have sprung up like a crop of mushrooms during the rainy season. Readers looking for free books have become overwhelmed with choices.
4. This wild expansion of promotional sites for free eBooks diluted the benefit of advertising free-day promotions.
5. Over time, readers who’d been snarfing up free books by the dozens, discovered their eReaders packed with choices; why, they asked themselves, should I keep adding titles when I don’t have time to read the ones I have? The exhilaration of accumulating free eBooks has waned with the over-saturation of free eBooks.
6. Since the inception of their KDP Select free day promotions, Amazon has changed how it calculates the benefit of free sales versus paid sales. I cannot tell you how Amazon does does it, as they hold this information rather close to their large vest!
Is all lost for the independent author? It’s hard to say, although as it becomes more and more difficult to promote one’s work, the pendulum will likely swing the other way as many authors get discouraged and drop out of the sales arena. Those who prevail will be the ones with the fiercest determination, the thickest skin, and the best product.
Amazon’s KDP Select program is trying to help authors by instituting a new promotional plan called the Countdown. Rather than promote books free, authors will be able to promote them at discounted rates over the period of a few days to a week, until the cost of the book resumes its original price. Will this bring new life to book sales?
Many of you are fellow authors with the same marketing struggles. It’s easy to get discouraged, if not downright depressed. It’s an ugly place to be. I know, because I’m stuck in that place right now.
My spouse has reminded me that any business, (which we are if we’re trying to sell our writing) will have its ups and downs. Success is seldom on a constant, upward plane.
I’ve picked myself up with this thought; now is a good time to focus on my writing, my newest novel and my bi-weekly blogs. It may be a good time to step back, regroup, and develop a plan for 2014!
Stick with it!