A little over a week ago I posted that I was about to try the new Kindle Lending Programme which gave me the chance to try offering Woman on the Edge of Reality free for up to five days. I must admit to having a lot of trepidation, I mean I had done very little marketing up till this point having hoped (vainly it turned out) that the fact that I had a lovely and loyal following with the Hysterectomy Association would carry me through … that’s not to say that they don’t still like me, just that I’d made that classic mistake and one which I’m always telling clients not to make and that is mixing up your markets .. it just doesn’t work!
Anyways, I was also reluctant because somehow non-fiction seems less personal than fiction and although the books before had also been my ‘babies’ none were in the league that this one had seemed to create. I was literally terrified that it would bomb and I’d look completely foolish and that everyone would hate it and post dreadful reviews and that I’d have to leave the country, change my name and get a new hairstyle … you get the picture I hope!
So now I’m feeding back on what I’ve learned so far …
I started quietly with a giveaway on Goodreads, after all a wise friend has said on many occasions that you shouldn’t be afraid to give books away to build your reputation and after Catherine Ryan Howard had also bashed me on the head about being prepared to send books worldwide in a giveaway in her book Self Printed I bit the bullet and did so.
Six copies were given away one month later and over 400 people requested it, I was hooked. In fact I should have known better than to question it anyway as I’ve used the same principle on the Hysterectomy Association with our free eBook for over 8 years, but somehow I’d forgotten all that learning … duh!
It felt like I’d given myself a bit of a springboard from which to take the leap into the water that I thought was going to be cold, horrible and slimy.
On Monday 21st May I made the Kindle version free and crossed my fingers to see what happened next. Initially I’d made it free for just two days but by the end of day one it had made it into the UK Top 100 Free books and was also being listed in the Top 100 Free on some categories too. I bit the bullet a second time and decided to use all five of my free days at once to see how far I could get it up the ‘charts’.
By the 22nd May (just one day later) it was at Number 37 on the Top 100 Free in the UK Kindle Lists and by the end of the week it finished at Number 6.
It was downloaded a total of 4486 times in the UK, 931 times in the US, 50 times in Germany, twice in France, twice in Spain and not at all in Italy. It was only after the free period ended that I realised that a lot of the time I’d be giving out the UK amazon address and not the US one. As far as I’m concerned though that didn’t matter, this is where I live and this is where I’d like to be successful too.
The end of the free five days came at 7.00am last Saturday morning and I was in bed … I completely forgot to check the exact place it had arrived at and I really didn’t want to check what happened next. My assumption was that the book would now bomb out of the listings altogether and return to its usual placement of one gazillion trillion million at the end of the book universe never to see the light of day again.
Having decided not to do anything but just wait I had to curb my insatiable desire to try to force things to happen by getting on Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook to try to keep it alive, even it was going to be hooked up to a drip and in ICU. I needed to find out for myself (and my clients) exactly what the effect of a freebie offer on Kindle could be without any further intervention on my part.
By the evening I could contain my curiosity no further – although I did promise myself (and Stevie) to stay away from any form of marketing whatsoever …..!
Shock, horror, scream, surprise … the book had maintained a listing … and a pretty good one at that because I’d started selling books too.
By Saturday night just 12 hours after the free listing had ended I’d sold more copies of the book (even if it was in Kindle format) than I’d sold since I published it in December (remember I told you I’d done NO marketing at all up to this point). It was at Number 605 Paid in the Kindle Store and had the following rankings in categories too:
- #24 Books/Fiction/Women Writers
- #34 Kindlestore/books/fiction/romance/contemporary
- #49 books/fiction/romance/adult and contemporary
Note: two of those categories are for PAPERBACK VERSIONS of the book and not the Kindle version, which means that the Kindle freebie had a knock on effect too … that’s a brilliant result!.
I headed off to bed with a little spring in my step and with the assumption that this was just a bounce and that by the morrow it would all have sorted itself out and I’d definitely be back in obscurity again.
But here I am four days later and the status has been maintained, nay improved dramatically because the Kindle book is now sitting at Number 209 in the Paid Kindle Store and at Number 9 in Women Writers, Number 11 in kindle contemporary romance and Number 21 in adult and contemporary.
I have no idea whether this trend will continue or whether it will, at some point, revert to its previous status but I can tell you one thing, my faith in Free has paid off and I will definitely be doing it again.
Before I finish though I have to hold my hand up and say that I finally put all my online marketing experience into making this work for that free period. You could be forgiven for assuming that because I work with clients on this day in and day out that I’d have done it from the outset; but working in social media strategy and online marketing is a bit like the mechanic with the worst car on the road and the builder whose house is falling down – your own projects tend to be at the end of a very, very long queue. Therefore, another thing I’ve learned is that I won’t be doing that again either.
I shall do regular updates on how things go over the next few weeks but for this first week though I’m trying my hardest to sit on my hands and do no marketing just to see what happens. Next week, if the listings are holding then I’ll do some more marketing and in a month or so when I feedback I’ll let you all know what works, what doesn’t and exactly how I did it.
Oh, and by the way that water which I thought would be cold and slimy turned out to be warm and azure blue …. 🙂
Updated: 30/05/2012 I wrote this post yesterday morning and scheduled it for today (should have posted yestereday but hey never mind, you got tales of t’internet instead. Anyway, it has dropped back to No.380 this morning and I’m waiting to see what happens next. I really wish I’d got a screen capture of yesterday’s results I think I’d have framed it and popped it on the wall in the office 🙂