I’m mentioned in a post about a long-time discussion on the topic of “free”. In this case…eBooks. The post is here. I am about 3/4 of the way down in the post with my thoughts on free.
I participated in KDP Select for all of 2012 but gave up that tactic at the beginning of the year. It’s not a strategy (free books); it’s a tactic. There’s a difference. My long-term strategy is to reach a lot of readers with my work and there was a time when giving away free eBooks was tactical part of that strategy. However, I did not garner 80,000 new readers. Some people read the book (Seeing Julia) after they discover it on their Kindle a year later. What?
As part of my controlling nature, I watch the sales numbers of my books on a daily basis, so I am able to discern trends (for the most part). For me, KDP Select (the offering of free books for 5 days during a 90 day period of exclusivity) stopped being effective late last year.
How do I know? Well, in March of 2012, I gave away 80,000+ copies of Seeing Julia; yet, in doing a free promotion at the end of the summer that same type of campaign shrunk to less than five percent in downloads (Kindle). I have over 100+ reviews on Seeing Julia but nowhere near the number of downloads for the book. Huge swing. Same marketing strategy. Others will go into the reasons why, but from my little novelist perch, I can tell you that Amazon, too, is de-emphasizing free books. They want book sales just as much as an author does.
The exclusivity thing was a bit of a problem for me because I wanted to reach readers beyond Kindle/Amazon. I decided to take my books out of the Amazon KDP Select program at the end of the year and I started listing them with Apple and Barnes & Noble, and Kobo (Yay! Canada). The sales have been good and advertising campaigns with BookBub and Ereader News Today always provides a lift when I need it; because the most important thing is to reach readers.
A picture of Pacific City, OR for your viewing pleasure. Tranquility.
Conclusion? It IS a constant…this marketing.Your mileage may vary. If you love KDP Select. Great. I want to reach readers everywhere. And…tablet sales are exploding. PC Sales are down. Kindle sales are flat. Do the math. People are moving toward tablets and phones. Focus on all of that and you can answer your own question ~ what should I be doing/focusing upon?
In light of all of this, I constantly remind myself that I’m in it for the long haul. It just takes one reader. Just one reader, who reads your book and tells a friend; and then they tell someone. Word-of-mouth is grand. That’s how it works. How do I know? I got this nice little note just yesterday:
Any new books in the works from you? I love your writing so much and hope you have something new for me (and your other fans) to look forward to! I’ve recommended your books to many of my girlfriends who are all in agreement with me. Your writing is something special and captures the heart of a woman.
Please keep writing!
What’s not to love about that?
So, thank you to my readers!!!
And, xoxo to my writerly friends…