In Australia the festive season co-incides with a mad scramble for everyone to get all their work done before Christmas, when most people have their summer holidays/vacation and also the end of the school year.
This year my lovely daughter is finishing Primary School. Here our school system runs a bit differently than in the US for example and we have no middle school so they finish Primary school at the end of 6th grade and head straight to High School. The end of primary school means farewells, dinners, graduation ceremonies and in my case - lots of tears.
Just before the madness began last week I had my first experience of Amazon KDP's free days with Hearts Afire. If you have a book enrolled in this program you can have 6 free days a month.
I'd never done it before so I did lots of reading about other author's experiences and what they did to maximise the opportunity. The reality is you're aiming to reach people who don't already know about you when you do something like this not your mother or your friend from the office.
There are lots of websites, twitter services and facebook pages that let readers know about free books every day so I made a list of them and contacted as many as I could. Some you need a certain number of reviews to qualify for, others need a week's notice, some want you to pay so you need to look at them on a book by book basis. I didn't do any paid services because honestly I had no idea if that was worth it for me.
I chose a weekend because I thought it would be easier for me to keep track of what was happening. I also felt people have more time to read on weekends. I don't know if that's true or not and I do know lots of people download books just because they're free and never read them as well, heck I've even done that myself.
So how did it go? By the end of the two day's sale I was #3 in free contemporary romance and #8 in the free Amazon store which was pretty amazing. That meant over 15,000 people had downloaded my book. That's pretty amazing really.
As a writer your goal is to have people read your work...of course you'd prefer they paid for it...but actually the objective after the joy of writing is to find an audience.
So I wondered how that would affect my sales when the book was back at $2.99 which is still not a huge cost for a book, is it?
It's now 10 days later and the book was up at around the #1,700 mark in the Kindle store right after the promotion ended.
What this has obviously meant is people have been able to find the book because the sales especially the first three days after the promotion were very good. That was my objective - to be found. I also had sales on Mr Right and Other Mongrels, which I was hoping for, nothing like on Hearts Afire but I'll take them!
It also meant people found the book to borrow it. Not one person had borrowed the book before the promotion and lots of people have done so since.
Sales have declined slowly but are still much better day by day than they were beforehand.
The upshot is this promotion, for me anyway, was very successful.
Lots of people have said the free days aren't working for them anymore. My experience was entirely positive. Why?Perhaps because the book is romance and romance readers are pretty savvy. Perhaps because I had never had a free book before so I was 'new' to the readers. Perhaps the beautiful cover caught people's eye. Perhaps because at least some of the promotional pages I contacted did include my book in their free days promotions (though lots didn't).
Honestly, I don't know exactly why it succeeded but it did and I'm happy about that.
I'd love to hear other people's experience of free days or their thoughts on the topic.