On Free Advertising

I just finished my second, 1-day promotion, and the results re very different from my previous one. First, check these out:

Here’s what I did this time, in brief. I’ll post a whole page with way too many details on it sometime soon.

What I Did How Effective It Was
I rebranded all of my profiles.
Banner Ad - 20150404
 As with last time, I doubt this achieved anything.
 Infrequent Twitter and Facebook spamming. To be honest, Easter got in the way and I didn’t post anywhere near as much as I should have. I don’t think this was too effective, but see below for the real Twitter work.
I searched Twitter for “book suggestions” and replied to every tweet I could find where someone was asking for a book suggestion and I thought they might be interested. I wrote many versions, but they were similar to: “Dreading a dull Easter period? Try Equivocal Destines – #free this Sat 4th. authl.it/B00SZ63XY6?d #kindle #fantasy I seriously think this was the most useful thing I did. I have no way of knowing, but I think a lot of people would have downloaded my book based on this direct, personal approach.
I investigated the Top 100 Reviewers on Amazon and emiled only those whose profiles and review histories showed that they might be interested in reviewing my book. I spent a lot of time on this but only ended up sending about 10 emails. I got 1 reply and don’t know (yet) if this reviewer actually downloaded it.
I searched for  retweeting accounts. This was a wash out. There are very few real retweeting accounts. Pretty much all tweeting accounts seem to be fronts for paid advertising sites.

Not that I have a problem with paid advertising sites – I plan on using some soon – I just didn’t use them this time.

I added a forum post to http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors/ No-one read it.
 I added a forum post to  the Amazon Kindle Forum thread for free books I don’t think anyone saw it.
I added a thread to www.kboards.com http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,212239.0.html

It was read 17 times.

 I checked a bunch of sites that automatically scan Amazon for free books. Some found my book, some didn’t, 1 I had to manually add my book.

I think this one’s pretty hit-and-miss. None of them tweeted anything about my book.

 I signed up to IndieBookDiscovery Do this! Their methodology seems to be better / more fair and that actually tweet, so they’re useful. Right now, they’s also free.
 I registered my book here: http://www.philipsmith.eu/indie-author-promotion @PhilipSmithEu is actually really cool because he retweets my posts anyway. I don’t know why, but he’s very cool.

So how’d I do? Much better than last time:

Date Marketplace Units Sold
Apr 04, 2015 Amazon.com.au 4
Apr 04, 2015 Amazon.in 1
Apr 04, 2015 Amazon.ca 5
Apr 04, 2015 Amazon.co.jp 1
Apr 04, 2015 Amazon.de 1
Apr 04, 2015 Amazon.co.uk 5
Apr 04, 2015 Amazon.com 177
Apr 05, 2015 Amazon.com.au 3
Apr 05, 2015 Amazon.es 1
Apr 05, 2015 Amazon.co.uk 10
Apr 05, 2015 Amazon.com 3
Total 211

Some notes:

  • The promotion is split over 2 days because I live in Europe. It begins t midnight, US-EST, which is 9am, my time.
  • The promo actually started at 9:40m on Saturday and ended at 9:40am Sunday (today). This is in Amazon’s terms of service so I wasn’t surprised.
  • My first promo gave everyone I’ve ever met a copy, so they didn’t get  copy this time, so these copies went almost entirely to people I don’t know. That’s more useful in the long run.
  • My single-unit giveaways to Indonesia, Japan and Spain are most likely the result of my spamming of people on Twitter who asked for book suggestions.
  • There’s only 9 sales in Australia and Canada, which re conceivably from friends and friends of friends. That’s a very small number and percentage.

And what were my immediate results:

  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,170 Free in Kindle Store
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > Fantasy
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Epic

The final question for now is, how good is this? I don’t know how many free books were in each of these categories because Amazon only makes the Top 100 lists east to find. I was on the first page in each of my categories though, for a few hours at least.

I put together a quick, informal count of what types of books were in the Top 100 of all free books. It’s… illuminating:

Category Count
No category listed 1
Americana 2
Biographies 1
Children’s 2
Christian Diets&Healing 2
Comedy 1
Cooking 1
Erotica 2
Horror 1
Military 1
Mystery / romance 3
Romance 40
Romantic comedy 5
Romnce – fantasy 6
Self-help / marketing 2
Sci-fi / fantasy 6
Thriller 16
Women’s fiction 6
Total 98

First of all, I said it was the Top 100, and it was. It doesn’t total 100 because I was being harassed to return to Easter breakfast (Polish people take their Easter festivals really seriously). Close enough. I also took a lot of liberties with the categorisations, so don’t take this too seriously. I wanted to keep the number of categories low, so I fudged it a bit based on cover art, merging categories, titles and things like that. It’s a relatively accurate list though.

This list really does show how hard it is to get into the Top 100 if you’re not writing boring books for bored housewives (according to the broad-brushstroke stereotype), so I’m not worried about only getting to 1170 on the main list. I’m really happy with my rankings in my categories though, especially since my book only had 5 reviews while most of those in the Top 20s had a lot more. Often, hundreds.

Now I have to wait and see if it results in sales and/or reviews 🙂

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3 thoughts on “On Free Advertising”

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