Prepping for Free Promotion

Key word to this promotion. Free. Well at least mostly.

After mulling the idea of a cinematic trailer, I finally set to work to release a brand new book trailer for my 4th book, Chasing Blue. It was a lot of work but I believe it was worth the effort and I hope you guys enjoy it. The trailer comes at a time where I’m also prepping for my free run for Before the Legend. From Friday June 12th to 16th, the eBook will be going free on Amazon for Kindle.

Considering I’ve done a free run before, I already have an idea of what to expect. When I first tried it last year, I had a measure of success considering I wasn’t enrolled in KDP Select and had to wait for Amazon to price-match when I dropped the price to $0 via Smashwords. The first day I had hundreds of downloads, and eventually rose to #1 briefly in my respective category. I attribute the success largely to FreeBooksy, although I did use Pixel of Ink too to promote my free run (they are no longer accepting free books at the moment). It also helped I chose a category with fewer works to compete with (eg. Juvenile Fiction / Legends, Myths, Fables / Greek & Roman), which is a tip I picked up from reading David Gaughran’s book Let’s Get Visible. That was the first time my book got that much attention and considering my sales rank rose exponentially that gave me a boost in visibility in an already flooded book market.

However like all good things it must come to an end. One of the biggest challenges I faced when doing a free-run the first time around was keeping the momentum going. After the first two days the number of downloads dropped drastically. By the end of my free run, my sales rank continually slipped until I was no longer in the top 3 spots. By the time it was over, I probably had sold one book.

I think this is a problem a lot of authors out there face when doing a free run. So what to do about keeping the momentum? To be honest it’s extremely difficult to maintain a high sales rank and eventually land on the best sellers list on Amazon during and after the free run. Free runs attract anybody, even people who will download your work whether there genuinely interested in the genre/work or not. I have to shamefully admit I have hurried up to download a free book only to still not have read it. It happens. You buy it out of impulse. That’s part of the sales catch to free runs. The offer is “too good to pass up.” And of course it doesn’t make it better I don’t own a Kindle and my Kindle previewer on my laptop decided it doesn’t want to work anymore. But I digress. So what is an author to do to maximize the success of their free run during and after?

Preparation is Key

To maximize results I needed an actual plan before launching head first into it, which is part of the reason I postponed it to time where I can plan who and how to promote the book promotion. On Digital Book Today, author Ruth Francisco shares some really great strategies to take before, during and after you start your free run. Here are some of the big ones I plan to use…

Before the Free Run

  • Try to get a couple of reviews before starting your free promotion. Having honest feedback already, helps readers to make an informed decision about  your work, giving you an added advantage. There is no magic number to the number of reviews to have although the author states having 6.
  • Days before the free run consider upping the price. That way readers feel like they’re getting a bargain.
  • Timing is important. Wed, Thurs, and Sunday are usually good days. I plan to test out staggering my free promotion perhaps space out the days.
  • Start contacting sites that will promote your free runs. Most sites prefer at least a week’s notice. Some sites like  ENT (Ereader News Today) will need to be notified a month in advance. So plan accordingly.

During the Free Run

  • Alert your followers on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter etc. about your free run.
  • Add a comment about your free book to the Amazon Kindle Forum. The author suggests doing this early in the morning the day your free promotion begins.

Post Free Run

What are some things you can do after the free run to lift your sales rank after the dreaded drop?

  • Try gifting a few copies to readers. In turn it will help boost your sales rank which tends to slip after a free run.
  • Run $.99 promotion. Although I plan to spend very little on advertising during my free run. A little advertising could be a good idea especially the days after your free run.

Well these are the tips I’ve gathered. For those like me that don’t feel like dishing out a whole bunch of money for a “free” promotion here are relatively free sites that you post your free book to.

I might add some more to this list. As always check their policies. Some sites due to high demand may charge you to guarantee you a reserved spot. In addition if you want to be featured be prepared to pay extra. Although just to be listed it should be free. Feel free to add free sites you found in the comments below.





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