Making the Most of your KDP Select Freebie Days - Guest Post from Author D.Z.C.

Like his main character, author D.Z.C. is an expert in the classical culture of China and Japan, and spends his time between Paris and the Far East. Unlike his main character, he has never killed anyone. Lucky for us, he has chosen to write a nice little guest post on free Kindle books and promo days.

Making the Most of your KDP Select Freebie Days

As come-downs go, it’s a bit of a bummer. You’ve spent the past weeks filling in submission forms and tweeting to beat the band, and the result surpassed your wildest dreams: you actually made it to number one on the Amazon bestsellers list. Ok, so if you’re going to be strictly honest, you made it to number one on the Southern Vampire Detectives with a Pet Dog Named Snuffles Bestsellers List (Free), but whatever, it still counts. You wrote a bestseller.

And then the promo ends, sales cease, and you ask yourself what you’ve actually achieved. You’re back at #784,642 (paid), and, realistically speaking, you’ll be lucky if you get a couple of good reviews from your effort, let alone a post-freebie bounce. Was it really worth all the time you spent posting your oeuvre to promo sites and Facebook groups? Wouldn’t it just be better just to kill all care and rush through your five obligatory promo days, doing a minimum of work and letting sales figures look after themselves, just to make it to the real money-spinner that is the Countdown deals?

That’s certainly one way of doing it. However, I am not prepared to give up on KDP Select promos quite yet. If you too are determined to squeeze every last drop of publicity out of your promo days, here are a few tips I picked up doing mine:

Fun with Categories

Try to get your book placed in the most specific and/or obscure category you can. I have run promos for crime fiction, erotica and literary fiction. Different categories have different advantages. Literary fiction is ridiculously easy to rank for, but also ridiculously difficult to sell. Erotica is difficult to rank for, but far more likely to be picked up by new readers who are merely browsing. If you’re trying to push crime, you need to get your book into one of the less-frequented sub-categories - women sleuths, hardboiled, British detectives…

A certain amount of experimentation and a close watch on your competitors will give you a good idea of your target market’s buying habits, as well as how to play with the categorisation of your book to minimise the competition and ensure that it reaches the number one slot. I made a conscious decision to accentuate the “literary fiction” aspect of my books, partly for this reason. So far I have not regretted it, despite the initial impact on sales. Watch out, though, if you bung your books into a category to which they obviously do not belong in the hope of hitting the bestseller list easily, chances are that you will merely garner a stack of one- and two-star reviews from customers disappointed that you are not the droid they were looking for.

Know What You Want

Your genre/category will, in turn, dictate your objectives and strategy in planning for your KDP select days. When I am marketing erotica, I know that I am targeting impulse buyers. Thus, my goal in running KDP promos is simply to get my book placed in the “people who bought this title also purchased” section on as many similar pages as I can. While paying for a promo won’t hurt, it’s also possible to get by using only free promotion methods. Your post-freebie sales bounce will come largely from browsers spotting your book as they trawl Amazon, not from outside publicity.

If you are writing literary fiction, on the other hand, your success depends largely on word-of-mouth promotion. In this case it is absolutely worth your while to buy a paid promo. This is not to much to maximise the number of copies you can give away, as because paid promos generally include a spot in a daily e-mail newsletter, and lots of people do not look at their mail until one or two days after it arrives. This means that a lot of people will see your book advertised as “free” and click on the link one or two days after your promo has finished. Plenty will leave when they realise that they are too late, but a few will buy it anyway. This is good news for you, not just because it means more revenue (you should, at the very least, be able to cover the cost you paid for the ad; if this is not the case, switch to a different service), but also because people are more likely to read a book that they have paid for, and it is readers who are going to do your advertising for you.

Timing is Everything

In my experience, Fridays tend to be the best day of the week for promos, and you will shift more than half of your final sales tally on the first day. Promos lasting more than one day can be useful if you intend to pressurise all of your friends and relations to buy your book (they generally need several reminders - they’re only human, after all), otherwise it is simply not worth the effort. Little and often is the key - though not so often that your social media followers avoid buying new releases in the knowledge that another freebie will be along in a day or two.

And then it’s onto the Countdown deals…

Pick up a Kindle copy of People Like Us and Xanadu -
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Making the Most of your KDP Select Freebie Days - Guest Post from Author D.Z.C. Making the Most of your KDP Select Freebie Days - Guest Post from Author D.Z.C. Reviewed by Joshua Cook on 11:30 PM Rating: 5

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