Final Results (Freebie Promo)

Final post in the series Lessons Learned from the INFECTED giveaway.

Okay, I promised a final analysis and now–two weeks after the promotion–I’m ready to deliver. Here you’ll see the good, the bad, and the ugly. Time for some results, flaws and all.

Thanks, random sign holder!

The Good

If you recall the results from Day One, my pre-promo sales of INFECTED were low (if not stable) and my sales ranking was a sad state of affairs (jumping between 40k and 100k depending on how recent the day’s sale occurred). INFECTED had never cracked the 20k sales ranking in its history.

The giveaway crushed those numbers.

Best sales rank post-promo, 12 January.
Best sales rank in the paid store, post-promo, 12 January.
January Sales Data: Red indicates the Free promo days. Yellow is a holiday.
INFECTED January Sales Data: Red indicates the Free promo days. Yellow is a holiday.

My post-giveaway numbers are (knock on wood) staying higher than they were before the promotion. The weekend after the promotion saw 79 combined sales and borrows and nearly paid for the whole promo just using those two days. Note that these numbers do not include foreign sales or paperback units, both of which have increased.

Another huge win in the ‘Good’ category is increased discoverability. This may seem strange, but before the promo I had to tell people to search amazon for “Click Your Poison” to find the book, because there were too many things called “Infected” in the kindle store (164 as of publishing this article). Now, I’m the #1 search result, which is huge.

Top INFECTED searchLESSON LEARNED: This is tangential to a promo, but important enough to share. When I originally wrote the story for INFECTED in early 2008, there was nothing out there with that title. When I published the kindle version a little over a year ago, I didn’t bother to check if the title was taken. Granted, you can’t copyright a title, but you don’t want to exist in the shadow of another book either.

The Bad

I did not crack the Top 20 overall free kindle books. This was one of my goals, and I’d missed it. I wanted to be the #1 free book if truth be told, but that didn’t happen. Still, I feel like I did everything in my power to promote the book. In the end, horror just isn’t as popular as genres such as romance. Nothing I can do about that. I write books that I would like to read.

MURDERED sales numbers have not seen a significant post-promo boost. In fact, the sales are worse than they were before the promo.

MURDERED January Sales Data: Green indicates the Free promo days. Yellow is a holiday.
MURDERED January Sales Data: Green indicates the Free promo days. Yellow is a holiday.

You’ll see there was a boost on the last day of the promotion which carried only so far as the day after. Why the drop? I’m not doing anything to promote the book right now, and the buzz is centered directly around INFECTED, so my new release is starting to stagnate. Will it go up once people have more of a chance to read the first book and start looking for more in the series? Time will tell.

The Ugly

The book has gained 12 new reviews since the promo began. This is a good thing. What makes it ugly, is that 1/3 of them were negative. From what I’ve read and seen from other authors, this isn’t all that uncommon. I’ve also heard that negative reviews can help your book, because it makes it seem more genuine. Pre-promo, my 48 reviews were all 4 or 5 stars, giving some people the (false!) impression that I’d paid or begged for positive reviews. If I’m lucky, this’ll shut some of those people up.

What makes some of these reviews ugly isn’t that some people didn’t like the book (I can deal with that), it’s that they actively tried to hurt my success. The first negative review was entitled, Don’t pay for this.” Not much of an opinion so much as a command.

Another reviewer attacked the originality of the book, stating that I stole ideas from The Walking Dead because I set my survivor group up in a prison. Tangent alert! When I wrote the book, I set my survivor group in a prison a year before the cast did so on The Walking Dead. It’s a smart place to go in the event of the zombie apocalypse. But Parallel Development does happen.

Okay, enough of that. Time for…

The Final Word

LESSONS LEARNED:
DO use BookBub.
DO prepare beforehand.
DO share word of the promo with your fans, and if people spread the word, DO say thanks.
DO NOT sweat over the results. What will be, will be.
DO NOT let the bad reviews get to you.
DO learn from your mistakes.

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19 thoughts on “Final Results (Freebie Promo)

  1. Great post mate, thanks for sharing. I had a similar experience myself recently, did a BookBub, got to #14, got my promo money back (just) and got the same shitty reviews. Just got to roll with the punches, eh?

    • I think so. Really, it’s not a lightning in a barrel tactic so much as one step in a larger strategy of brand awareness. If you barely made your money back, I’m guessing you were listed in one of the more expensive categories? That’s one benefit to being listed on horror I suppose I overlooked.

  2. Really appreciate your sharing your experiences. My espionage novel of Nazi Germany has been out for two and half months and I am about do take advantage of either the KDP giveaway program or the Kindle Countdown. Anyone out there tested out the Countdown?

        • Thanks, Frank! Both good links. But, no, I wouldn’t do a solely “word of mouth” Countdown promotion. BookBub does Kindle Countdown too, but they’re expensive. If I end up doing one of those in the future, I’ll definitely share my results here.

          • Thanks to you both for your comments and for sharing your experiences. I am thinking that I will try a Kindle Countdown week after next with concurrent promotion on BookBub and ENT. An investment for sure, but I want to see how effective it can be. I’ll let you know my results. Have to see if I can limit the BookBub exposure to one or two days to keep costs down, even if Kindle Countdown lasts four days.

          • Good luck Patrick, do keep me posted. Not sure what you mean about limiting BookBub exposure to one or two days, are they running longer features than the usual one dayer now? Also, Kindle Countdown is up to 7days isn’t it?

          • Nice one, James, look forward to hearing your results. I’ll prolly be using Kindle Books and Tips for mine (the ONLY pd advertising I’m considering) on their $25 feature listing.

  3. Didn’t express myself well (ahem, bad for a writer, what?). I meant to say I didn’t know whether I could control myself and only spend the money on one or two days of BookBub, and I only plan to run my countdown for four days, but, hey, maybe I’ll go longer on that. Again, thanks to you both for the help. I’m such a novice at this, I don’t even know how you get the readout on how your books are doing in the two categories each is allowed!

    • Well, I can’t see any problem with BookBub taking you on – you got a FANTASTIC 5.0/39 review rating. I just didn’t know they did features of more than just one day. Four days on Countdown is wise, it creates more of a buzz. As for readout, you’ll be able to view KC sales to the right of normal sales (separate panel comes up on both US and UK pages) as soon as your promo kicks in. Any more info, just ask!

  4. Thanks for your help, Frank, and the nice words! Discovered today I have a relatively short window on my current KDP enrollment, so must do it the KC next Wednesday through Saturday (really wanted that Sunday) in US and UK. I’m attempting to line up ENT for it. May wait a few weeks after and into the next KDP 90 day period and do it again using BookBub for two days. All experimental for me. I’ll let you know how it goes, but can’t promise such a brilliant presentation as James has done here.

    • Sounds like a plan, Patrick, I’ll watch your promo with interest and good luck! p.s. my wife is German, her father was in Hitler Youth as a boy, so yes I’d like to read your book, word file possible? My email is sparky-frank@hotmail.co.uk
      pps. watch out for the one-star brigade if you do a BookBub. I’ve had some real stinkers on US Amazon lately, pulled my star rating down from 4.8 to 4.3 virtually overnight!

      • There’s no way around the negative reviews. Typically, people only buy your book if they think they’ll like it (and so they normally do), but with freebies people will download anything and then be very vocal when it wasn’t for them. That’s my theory anyway.

        • ‘Very vocal’ is right, mate. Over the past few days I’ve been called a crass, exploitative, foul-mouthed, boring boring boring waste of space son of Satan! (I got the last one removed as abuse)

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