Free EbooksThe issue of free book promotion on Kindle seems to have many scratching their heads. While I have read numerous times that some are worried about giving away their work for nothing, it is worth remembering that free books are not a new idea. In fact it is a very old idea and one the book publishing industry has been using for almost ever.

As an English teacher, I am offered free text books by the dozens each year. When I was a teacher trainer, it was by the hundreds each year. Text book sales are driven by getting the right people to use or recommend them. Hence, teachers, principals, school owners and public servants in the education sector are all targets for free books.

As it was and still is with fiction publishers. Thousands of copies are sent out to advance readers, newspapers, television stations, local radio stations. In fact anywhere a little promotion can be garnered. Advance copies are also sent out to get reviews that you see printed on the back of all published novels.

So the opportunity Amazon have given self published authors with KDP Select is a very good initiative. Five days during every ninety days are available for free promotion. So, why not use it and do as publishers have been doing to ‘push’ your books? Remember, this should be viewed in perspective. Yes there are those who will crawl over broken glass for something free, but with millions of people owning Kindle readers now, a few hundred books given away is not very many.

What free promotion does is help in building name recognition. ‘Oh him? Yes, I just read one of his books.’ It doesn’t matter how the reader got the book, this word of mouth is gold. Think also about how you yourself acquire books to read. It’s not just books you buy that you read. Perhaps a book borrowed from someone or a library. A book you found at work. A book you found in your attic or in a second hand book store. Or perhaps, a free book from the Kindle Store.

So do free book promotion days work on Kindle?

As I write this post I have had a number of my books enrolled with KDP Select for about two months. It took me a little while to work out how to ‘roster’ my free days and what promotion to undertake to support these days, and of course after the free days. I have settled on only promoting on weekends and only for one day at a time.

The result. For the last four weeks, my paid ebook sales have doubled. Every week. Of course this rate can’t continue, so I’ll keep monitoring it carefully. Or can it?

The main thing to remember of course is that as with any type of promotion, it takes time to work. So don’t expect results in a few days. It’s in the long term that really counts.

Free Ebooks Are Not A New Idea
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5 thoughts on “Free Ebooks Are Not A New Idea

  • 16/03/2012 at 4:17 pm
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    Thank you, Derek. It almost feels like this post was written just for me. :-)

  • 16/03/2012 at 4:37 pm
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    About to do the same thing next month, once my next sci-fi novel is published. :)

  • 16/03/2012 at 7:41 pm
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    It’s funny you mention text books. Today, I sent an email to my dean requesting a specific book for the fall semester. Now, I’m perfectly happy w/ the current text I’ve been using the last few years, but I met with a rep from another publisher and they gave me some free ones to check out. End result? I am ordering two new texts (i.e. students will be buying them).

    I’m currently doing a few promo on Amazon (not KDP Select, but price-matching on iTunes). I don’t know how this will impact future sales, but it’s worth a shot!!

  • 17/03/2012 at 2:22 am
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    Is there any consensus as to what is the most effective strategy with regard to scheduling free days? What’s the best way to drive large numbers of people to your book on free days?

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