My second promotion, I hit the top 10 of the Top 100 in the first day. I remained in the top 10 the duration of the promo. I had 62,000 downloads.
My third promotion, I hit the top 10 in the first day and remained in the top 10 for the first two days. After that, I slid down and bounced around the top 20-30 the remaining three days of the promotion. I had 12,000 downloads.
For each promotion, I did the exact same thing. I submitted my promotion days through websites, contacted people through Twitter, and messaged many Pages through Facebook. Since the first promotion the list of contacts has since grown, but my method remained the same. I didn’t spend a dime on any promotion. In fact, I haven’t spent a dime on any advertising at all. The big websites that posted my promotion (Pixel of Ink and the like) are what helped me to boost up fast and gain that momentum in the first day, and it was Facebook that helped me remain there.
I contacted everyone I knew about the promotions. That included friends, family, my husband even forwarded my promo email to people at his work who might be interested, also any blogger contacts I had made along the way. Bloggers are your friends, they can be a huge help, so try to build that contact list. Each blogger friend I have made gladly squeezed in a post for me, many with rather big followings.
This is where I did things a little bit differently than others was in using all five of my KDP Select free days at once. Again, with each promotion, because I did the exact same thing each time around. Most information you’ll find floating around the internet are people recommending that you split up your free days, that way you can give yourself a little rank and sales boost as-needed. This is a method that has proven to work for some, and has valid points of going that way. So I’m not knocking it, because it obviously works for many. But for me, I wanted one big, wham bam thank you ma’am promotion with as many eyes on my books as possible for as long as possible. So I used all five free days in one shot.
Also, in using Facebook, I did not post about my promotion myself. Even if the page allowed authors to post their promotions on the page. I always contacted the page owner asking them, politely, to post it for me. I did that because when posting on other pages yourself, the post always drifts to the side of the page under “Posts by Others” But if the post is from the page itself, it’s big and prominent on the page, everyone sees it, and it is seen in your news feed if you follow the page. Posting it myself wouldn’t get it in anyone’s news feed. So I sent numerous messages to page owners asking them to post it, and eight times out of ten, they would. And after the promotion, I always sent quick thank you notes for their help.
Now you’re probably wondering about the big difference of downloads between my first two promotions and my last one. There are a few factors as to why my last promo was a big fat flop. One, because it came on the heels of Amazon changing their Associates program; with slapping them with fees if too many free downloads came from their link. At that time, people were starting to get a little skittish about posting freebies. That aspect may have changed by now, I’m not sure, I haven’t followed the news about that over time. Also, that promo happened to fall right as we had a big DIY project fall into our lap from church that had to be finished pronto, and a stomach bug ran its way through our house. With all of that, I had absolutely no time to promote the free days, no time to follow up to make sure my contacts were posting like they said they would, and no time to scramble for posts if they didn’t. I really had absolutely no time to check and see how the promo was going. It was running, I couldn’t check it, and the chips just fell where they may.
I am no longer enrolled in KDP, for a variety of reasons. But the main being that I wanted to broaden my exposure and tap into other markets wherever available. I didn’t want to be exclusive to Amazon anymore. My choice to leave the program had little to do with free promotions, what it really came down to was not wanting to be exclusive.
So, to wrap up, here’s my method:
- Contact everyone you know, and I mean everyone
- Contact book bloggers - if they agree to post, send them all the info they need in one document so they can just copy/paste it into a post. This makes their lives so much easier and they really appreciate it. This includes book cover, blurb, link to free promo, link to your website, social media links, and an About the Author section
- Contact websites that advertise free ebooks - check your junk email folder, sometimes their replies slip into it
- Use Twitter and Facebook as much as possible. Twitter, for me, wasn’t much help. But I’m not big into Twitter, so you might see a lot of success there if you are into it. I relied on Facebook, contact as many page owners as you can. Tell them when your promotion is, and let them pick what day to post it. That way you have a little advertising spread out over the duration of your promotion. When contacting them, you can even offer to send them sample chapters so they feel comfortable promoting your work, knowing it's quality writing
- Follow up with your contacts. Anyone who had agreed to post, contact them with a quick reminder a few days before the promotion. Sometimes life happens, and people forget. So a quick reminder never hurts anyone.
- Send thank you's. It's just the polite thing to do, and sadly, many people don't seem to do that. It amazed me how much just being polite helped in making lasting contacts willing to help me out whenever.
And that’s it, that’s all I did. I didn’t pay for anything, just sent a ton of polite emails! Down below, you’ll see my list of contacts that I’ve used over time available to download. I haven’t updated it in a few months because I no longer run free promotions, but you’re welcome to use it for your own promotions. On the right side of the spreadsheet you’ll see any notes I might have for the contact. I’ve also included the tracking sheet that I used, you may already have your own method of tracking, but again, you’re welcome to it if it will help.
I hope that this post will help anyone out looking to run their own free promotion. If you have any questions, or want me to post about your own promotion, feel free to contact me, I’m happy to help however I can!