So, I decided to offer The Stream, Book 1 for free on Amazon. I thought I’d document the process and results a bit for those interested. First, a little background.
I previously released my first novel in August. It was a limited release, in electronic form only. Having beta readers who mostly did no reading, I needed some real feedback before I tested the waters in earnest, with an actual pBook (paper). I got some good feedback, but things were going SLOWLY. In fact, they were so slow that I became very unhappy with the entire marketing effort.
I realized I want to change how the book is titled, renaming it “Discovery,” with the header “Book One of The Stream Series). I also have different ideas regarding the physical packaging of the book. I’m doing a bit of editing, getting to the action faster by deleting a chapter and re-writing another chapter to take place in the fantasy realm – adding more punch early. The main issue, however, was that I wanted to write. And I did, wrapping up my 1st 120,000-word SciFi novel. (Which Rocks, btw.)
All this meant I was unhappy enough that I stopped all marketing “Discovery” for 6 weeks. I went as far as announcing that the book was no longer available for sale. I killed Smashwords, and left the Nook, but I had never bothered to market there in the first place. Amazon was still there, though I told people it wasn’t.
As a result of all of the above, my book was ranked #458,000 on Amazon. Yesterday. Effectively, I killed it, but good. Pretty good test of Amazon’s program, yes?
Today, at 3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, the book went on “sale” for free on Amazon. My marketing this sale consisted of posting about it on my Facebook author page (90 people), Google+ (1,000 people), and Twitter (614 tweeps). I also told one friend who was buying it this week anyway.
Results? To this point, 21 hours into the experiment, 417 people have downloaded it in the U.S., and another 33 in the U.K. Amazing, considering the number for all of December had been 1. Currently, my book is ranked #10 on Amazon among free Books in YA Fantasy Fiction, #22 in all Fantasy, and #443 among all free Kindle books. The ranking in the smaller U.K. market are similar – #14, #54, and #630, respectively.
I will post the results daily for the remaining 4 days, so anyone interested can get a feel for how quickly things drop off. Not sure how many downloads translate to readers. I would guess in the order of 10%. We’ll see.
The process is fairly simple. If you are already published on Amazon in their Kindle Direct program, all you have to do is check that you agree to make your book available exclusively to Amazon for 90 days. You can also opt into (as I have) making it free for up to 5 of the 90. I did mine all at once. You don’t have to. For the normal KDP Select program, the ebook is available in Amazon’s lending library, and Amazon Prime customers can get the book for free.
If what you want is to get your book read, this is a good way to do so.