To Free or not to Free…

Posted: May 23, 2013 in Darklands, Kikimora, Marketing & Promotion, Reviews, Writing
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been umming and ahhing for some time over whether or not to offer Darklands free for a few days. I see compelling arguments on either side.

Pro: Increased exposure. Persuade doubtful readers to take a chance. Find new readers shortly before Kikimora‘s release.

Con: I spent three years writing that book. Surely it’s worth more than £0.00? Doesn’t offering free books devalue the whole writing process? Will people take me seriously if I give my hard work away?

I’ve finally decided to give it a go (thanks in part to this excellently reasoned post by Lisa M Lilly), and Darklands will be free on Amazon this weekeend, friday to sunday (though, I believe it works on US Pacific time, so I guess it won’t be free until something o clock friday morning).

Once I had set the free dates, I found as many sites as I could that would promote free books. There are a lot of them out there. Here’s a helpful list to get you started. But what I found was that although most of these sites may promote your free book for free, they also offer guaranteed promotion for a small fee of typically $5-15.

Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Part of me is thinking I probably ought to buy at least one promotion package, to ensure that this whole endeavour isn’t a big waste of time. But I’m holding out in the name of scientific curiosity; to see how effective any of these paid promotions are I first need a control result. I’ll be interested to see whether any genuinely free promotion actually happens. If it doesn’t, never mind. I’ll try again when my next free days roll around.

I’ve submitted details of my free promotion to around 20 sites. I didn’t get around to doing this until sunday/monday, and most of them request at least a week’s notice on your promotion, so that might hamper my effectiveness somewhat.

There was more I could have done, but I had already spent three hours filling in forms with the same details over and over again – apart from the ones that wanted some unique information (in fact, that was probably what took up most of the time), and I was heartily sick and tired of it by then.

What I also found during this process was the amount of other promotional tools out there – there’s a load of stuff on Goodreads that I wasn’t even aware of, although I use it fairly regularly as a reader. So I have also offered free promotional copies to reviewers on a discussion thread for that purpose.

I have discovered that there’s a lot more promotion I could be doing all the time, not just when my book is on offer! The dificulty, of course, is finding the time. For instance, this week I am off work and working hell for leather through a massive redraft of Kikimora. I want to work through all the structural changes in one fell swoop, so that I can keep mentally on top of all the story threads. I’m going to struggle to fit all the necessary work into one week (even with the bank holiday weekend), and resent even an hour of my time taken up with other tasks (like writing blog posts)!

So this free promotion is an experiment. It might be a complete fail. But I’m interested to find out, and I’ll let you know how it goes. What I really want to achieve from it is increased exposure in the US – a market I have so far failed to dent in the slightest – and more reviews, on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Goodreads, or anywhere else.

Who else has used KDP Select free days? Did you find it useful? Gain many new fans? Did you pay for any promotion of the free days, and how many downloads did you get?

Comments
  1. elwoodcock says:

    Darklands is now free on Amazon, both UK and US, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005JDBN22/

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