Post Free Era

My free book promotion for Before the Legend is officially over as of this week. What was supposed to be a “Free Promo Week” turned more into a month long promo filled with free print giveaways, author interviews, guest spotlights, and of course free eBooks! It was encouraging seeing a significant jump in readers adding my books to their virtual shelves in Goodreads, to new reviews being added on Goodreads and Amazon. I realized after reading David Gaughran’s book, “Let’s Get Visible” I needed to have a free run of my book to give it the exposure it otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. Although there were some hiccups along the way it definitely was a learning experience which I am grateful for. Here are some things I took away from my free run.

  • Timing is everything. Well it’s not everything but it is very important. What time of year are you planning it? How long will your free run last? These are some of the biggest questions to ask yourself when scheduling a free run. For those who choose the option to publish exclusively through KDP Select, you have control over not only what month or week you plan to set your eBook free but also exactly how long it will last. You can either use all 5 days within a 90-day period towards your free run or split it up at a time, maximizing on an extra chance to boost downloads and sales. The time you change the price from free to its regular sales price is also critical because you want to capitalize on your book’s exposure  while also changing the price just at the right time so you can still reap potential sales from the tail end of the increased traffic to your book.

However if you’re like me and not signed up for it you have to do what we call price-matching. The best way to achieve a uniform price across retailers is to set your book for free via Smashwords, choose Amazon as a distributor, and wait for the other retailers including Amazon to adjust their price to match accordingly. However the time it takes for the price change to occur across all the retailers is very unpredictable which can alter your free run time-table you meticulously planned out. Hence this is why I had to keep extending my promo week. This leads to my next point.

  • Expect the Unexpected. What I mean by this is if you aren’t in KDP Select expect delays when your book is set free as well as when you set the price back to its regular cost. Delays are inevitable if you choose price-matching. If you have multiple distributors opted in through Smashwords when you attempt a price-match, the first place that you’ll see your book go free is on Smashwords. But for the actual retailers/distributors involved in can take up to a week or even two weeks for the price to be adjusted accordingly. For Amazon it can even take a few days longer for them to price match and even then it’s up to their discretion. This can frustrate your plans especially if you were planning for a short free run or for a spotlight on a host blog where you hoped to inform readers when exactly your book will be free till. Despite temptation to quickly announce to everyone your book is going free the day you changed the price on Smashwords, it is best to gradually spread the word as the price change takes effect across the many retailers.
  • Let the Big Guys Know. It’s important to let others know about your free run so you can get as many downloads in those first few days. To amplify your results, it’s highly recommended to notify certain sites that advertise free or discounted eBooks to it’s large reader audience. The big ones, “Let’s Get Visible” mentions includes BookBub and Pixel of Ink, with the latter being free. Another great one I personally discovered is FreeBooksy. Although I would have loved to use BookBub (although it’s not cheap), they have higher criteria in what books they advertise so I had to settle with FreeBooksy. Overall I was pleased with FreeBooksy. For $50 I garnered a featured spot on their front page for a few days with a link to my work and a post on their Facebook page. Was the advertising offer worth it? I would say so. My downloads jumped to 30-something to over 600 the day it was featured! Also on Amazon my book was #1 for free in its respective categories of Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children’s eBooks > Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths > Greek & Roman and was #2 in Alternative History before jumping to the #1 spot briefly.
  • Be Realistic. Setting goals is important and helps us to stay focused on a fixed objective as an older post of mines, “Reaching the Goal” elaborated on. You want to set a goal for yourself so that at least you will put some effort into promoting your work, otherwise how do you expect it to do well? For me I like the set the bar low (but not too low). That way if things don’t happen as I would have liked I’m not too disappointed. However when the actual results exceed your previous expectations then you feel that much more thrilled. To many others my results may not seem like much but to me it was a modest success and am learning to take in stride each day in this process.

Overall in addition to the big sites, I spread the love through Facebook, my blog, and Goodreads. Was I successful? Well it depends on what you measure success. In terms of exposure I definitely achieved that goal even if it was fleeting. But in the days after the free run is when I can truly say whether it was a success or not and right now it’s still too early to say. However in the post free era I’m left with the question: What do I now? Well in the meantime while I reflect on the direction of my book Before the Legend, I am turning my attention to my latest story Chasing Blue, which was currently on hiatus. The story is about to awaken with new drama as big decisions fall on Troy’s shoulders. For my loyal followers here’s a sneak peak at the newest chapter from Part 2 of the book: Dark Voyage. In this chapter the characters must face the consequences of their evening excursion as drama unfolds. Everyone is accounted for except one… For those that haven’t read the previous chapter you can read it here. It will give you a better understanding of what’s going on in this chapter I’m getting ready to publish on Wattpad. I will be posting a longer snippet on my page Chasing Blue page.

“Let It Rain”

The rain was falling faster; the drops growing heavier. They trickled down her face, as she forced her eyes open. Her breaths were heavy as she sucked in water and air.

“Clitus…” He nibbled her lips before she could find the words. His hands caressed her shoulder as his grip tightened around her waist.

“I think we should stop,” she blurted. A weak smile escaped her lips as she noted his lips parted from hers. She saw that same glimmer in his eyes which appeared more greenish the more she gazed. It was the same glimmer in his eyes when they arrived together; alone. Her smiled quickly faded, assuring herself that she meant what she said. After all she tried to be firm. He charged forward to kiss her lips again. It was no use. She let his warm breath infuse into the air she breathed. She felt his hands grip creep across her body but she could other hear voices in the distant_

Julia.”

“Um, yes,” she said jolting upright in her seat, dropping her half-eaten bread on the plate. She barely could face her father as he called her name from her wandering mind.

“Your mother was asking you and your brother why you separated from their company. You had Julian and Tiberius worried about you,” her father said before sipping a cup of wine. “If Troy was here, I would be asking him the same question,” he replied briskly.

“I am so sorry, Father. I got distracted,” she said looking down at her plate.

“You seem awfully distant dear. What is going on in that mind of yours?” her mother asked, staring directly at her. Her body went numb at the words.

“Clitus,” Tiberius coughed. Julia flashed him an angry glare.

“Oww!” Tiberius muttered as Julia delivered a kick to his leg. Her cousin banged his knee against the table, rattling the dishes.

“What is wrong?” the mother asked with a frown.

“Nothing.” He lied. Julius’ cheeks swelled with suppressed laughter. Any moment he was about to burst into a laughing fit, but there was nothing funny to Julia.

“May I please be dismissed,” Julia uttered in a rueful voice.

“You have not even finished your main course,” her mother said with a concerned expression.

“Maybe the child is ill,” the grandmother chided. Without waiting for their final word, she got up from the couch and scampered off into her room where she buried her head in the pillows. The scene was playing all over in her mind…

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