The Marketing Department
Giveaways and Sales
If you opted to enroll your book in KDP Select, you are entitled to 7 days worth of giveaways or sales every quarter.
KDP Select Giveaways
Enrolling a book in KDP Select gives you the opportunity to run a Free Book Promotion, where readers worldwide can get your book free for a limited time.
Once upon a time, KDP Select giveaways had amazing benefits. If you made a title free on Amazon, the book would climb in rank. It had a good chance of making the Top 100 Free Lists (both genre lists and the overall Top 100 Free list).
But here’s what made it amazing: When the book returned to its normal price, its free rank and number of giveaways had a huge impact when its free rank transferred back to its sales rank. If the book was on a Top 100 Free List, it would likely transfer to a Best Sellers List! Therefore, the title automatically became much more visible to potential buyers. Sales would inevitably follow.
Sadly, the algorithm has changed. This is no longer the case.
Now, a KDP Select giveaway allows a book to climb the Top 100 Free lists (genre and overall), but when the title returns to its regular price, the rank basically reverts immediately to its previous level. Lots of titles may be given away, exposing new readers to your book, but there is no real boost to sales or rank once it returns to the regular store.
Giveaways can still be useful by exposing readers to new authors and series. But keep in mind that people will take for free something they would never, ever pay for. Some percentage of those who download a free book may never buy the second in the series.
At this moment, price-reduction sales seem to offer more benefits.
Running a Sale on Kindle
In lieu of or in combination with a giveaway, you can choose to participate in Kindle Countdown Deals, time-bound promotional discounting for your book while earning royalties.
You can offer one low price or raise it gradually over the course of the promotion.
Not only will you continue receiving royalties during your sale, but your book may also rise in sales rank charts. When it returns to its original price, the rank remains at its sale level, giving it a short bounce in visibility at the original price.
In my experience, running a Countdown Deal of one book boosts sales of all my titles. In addition, it boosts KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) Read of the reduced-price book during the time of the sale and after the sale ends. That means the price-reduction sale improved the book’s rank to the point where more readers were exposed to the title. Instead of purchasing the book, they borrowed the title through Kindle Unlimited or the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. That means the book can earn a bigger share from the Kindle Global Select Fund, which does not fluctuate based on the price of the book.
ProTip: Countdown Deals and Free Book Promotions can be scheduled in advance. Consider spacing promotions throughout the quarter or try running a mega sale of all titles at once. Keep good records so you know what works best for you.
Prize Giveaways and Social Media Contests
Another method of book promotion is to give away prizes (books and/or other items) on social media. In my experience, these sorts of contests have also become less effective over time. A contest that used to earn hundreds of entries now struggles to earn twenty.
It’s fun to give away free stuff, but the point of book-promotion-based contest is to expose potential buyers to your work and persuade them to purchase it! If you don’t earn sales as a result of your investment in prizes, then what’s the real benefit to you as a marketer?
Use caution when running a giveaway. Do the math. It’s easy to invest more money in prizes and shipping than you will earn on book sales as a result of the giveaway. This is when it’s important to know the break-even point: how many book sales will it take to earn back the money you spent on the giveaway? (Email list subscribers will have access to the free Break-even Point Spreadsheet, which will help you assess how many books it would take to offset production and promotional costs. So sign up below!)
MoneySaver: If you want to run a cost-effective giveaway or contest, consider making ebooks the prize. Ebooks require no outlay of new money to acquire. They can be delivered digitally for free to any place in the world. No postage or packaging required.
ProTip: Be sure to check each social media platform’s rules for running contests. Follow their guidelines to the letter.
Other Sales Venues
Running a Sale. If you opted not to make your book exclusive to Amazon, you can still run price-promotion sales. You’ll need to change the price of your book at each venue individually. You have less control over precise timing, but there is no time limit to a sale. They can last as long as you find the effective.
Making Your Book Free. BN, Kobo, and Smashwords all allow you to price your book free, and there’s no time limit. You can make it perma-free if you like. Keep in mind that most terms of service require you to keep the price of your book the same at all sales venues.
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