Friday, November 18, 2011
Giving it away - a marketing experiment.
I used a marketing trick that had such amazing results I have to share.
I let a book go “free” on Amazon. This is harder than it sounds because Amazon won’t let you place a price of less than 0.99 for an e-book. The route to “riding the free-way” as Dee Dee Scott puts it, is by going free on Smashwords (the distributor that sells our books to all the other e-reader outlets) and have it filter through. Once the book appears free on Barnes & Noble and Kobo, Amazon will price match.
A week ago Sunday, I made Best Friends free on Smashwords. By Tuesday night the Amazon bots had noticed and it went free on Amazon. The first 12 hours I had 2,000 downloads. In 24 hours I had 5,000 downloads and hit #8 on the Free 100 list, #1 on the Free Suspense list and #3 on the Free Contemporary Romance list. The deluge of downloads continued for an entire week reaching over 30,000 by Wednesday morning.
The trick to the “free” ride is to un-free the book on Smashwords early on so that Amazon will restore the price after a week (or however long you wish). I un-freed Best Friends the day after Amazon picked it up and as the action filtered through to the various retailers, Amazon finally put the book back into un-free mode.
I thought that would be the end of the experiment. 30,000 exposures was pretty good advertising and sure to get me a few new readers who would buy my other titles. The loss of income was minimal because I was only making .35 cents per book and wasn’t selling that many. But here comes the good part: After the “free” ride ended, the book continued to sell briskly and ended up #2 on the Movers & Shakers list and went as high as #194 on the Kindle 100 in one day.
• #199 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
• #15 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Romance > Contemporary
• #19 in Books > Romance > Contemporary
• #29 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > Suspense
How long will this last? Probably not that long. I’ve noticed that rankings change dramatically both up and down. However, the “free” experiment was a success. Considering how scattershot I am about my marketing, I’m lucky I hit on the “free way”
To those who don’t care a whit about my e business, I’m reading the biography of Steve Jobs and will do a book report in the next blog.