KDP free promotion to get your book to rank

Using KDP free promotion to help your book ranking

Anyone who is enrolled in Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing knows about the five KDP free promotion days available every ninety days for each book if you are enrolled in KDP Select. What some may not know is that it has now become another little industry in itself, as sites pop up all over the internet, listing and promoting these free ebook offerings.

When KDP Select first started, it was enough to book your KDP free promotion days and then promote it yourself via your own social networks. Now, however, there are so many free ebooks on offer every day it’s getting more and more difficult to get noticed. To get good value now from free ebook promotions, you really need to get your book listed on as many ‘free Kindle ebook’ sites as possible to get the traffic needed to give away enough copies to move your book up the rankings.

This is the whole point of course. Getting your book up the Amazon rankings where it can be noticed by book buyers after the promotion has finished. I gather that this has now been called ‘the bounce’.

I have tried a number of ways of using the KDP free promotion days for my own books. From simply booking a couple of days with no promotion at all, to carefully planned and promoted offerings. I have also experimented with different days of the week and of the month. In general, promotions in the first few days of a month are worth avoiding, as are Fridays and Mondays. Another element I have noticed through my trial and

Another element I have noticed through my trial and error is that luck can also have a hand in how successful a promotion is. I’ve had carefully planned promotions flop, while ones with almost no promotion have skyrocketed. No idea at all why. But in general, better promoted ones have fared far better.

Without a doubt, my most successful promotions have been when I have planned weeks ahead and notified as many ‘free ebook’ listing sites as possible and then been picked up by some of the bigger sites. As they all tend to pick and choose what they will promote, I would suggest contacting at least fifteen sites, and even more, if you’re really keen. It is also important to have at least eight to ten reviews as very few will list books with fewer reviews than this.

Another very important element is in having your book in very selective categories on Kindle. If your book is under the category of Fiction-Romance your book will be competing against 93,988 other books to get a decent ranking. But if it is listed under Fiction-Romance-Romantic Suspense, there are only 8,169 in that category so it’s much easier to climb to a decent ranking and then profit from ‘the bounce’ after the promotion has finished.

So good luck with your next KDP free promotion, and hopefully you get the desired ‘bounce’ to sell a squillion copies.

Making The Most From Your Amazon KDP Free Promotion
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7 thoughts on “Making The Most From Your Amazon KDP Free Promotion

  • 26/09/2012 at 8:03 pm
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    Thanks for the advice! I’m going to be starting a promo tomorrow but I always have a hard time finding enough promo sites. I usually tend to hit five or six and then trust to stupid luck. I don’t even know if any of them have ever picked up my promo…
    Category choice is definitely important. Have you ever wondered why Dance with Dragons is in Science Fiction? Hardly seems fair that George is still hogging the top of a list like that! I could see it if Tyrion had a raygun hidden in his smallclothes (though he might make a lewd joke about it), but it seems like a fantasy series to me.

    • 26/09/2012 at 8:16 pm
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      There are a lot of people playing with Kindle categories Andrew. It seems to be the new game to get noticed. While I’ve been tempted to list my sci-fi books under ‘Kindle eBooks › Nonfiction › Cooking, Food & Wine › Culinary Arts & Techniques’, I have resisted the temptation of only 409 listings in this category. lol

      However, one of my books has been incorrectly categorised by Kindle and it appears in a non-fiction category even though I have selected two fiction categories as my choices. But their error has been very kind to my book sales, so I think I’ll just keep quiet about the error.

  • 26/09/2012 at 9:55 pm
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    I was considering running a promo on one of my titles, and am very glad I read this first. Gives me a lot to think about, especially in regards to promoting the free book promo, and what days to run it. Thanks for intercepting my misguided book marketing plan ;)

  • 27/09/2012 at 5:32 am
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    I’ve experimented quite a bit with the Kindle Select free promotion and have come to the following conclusions:
    1. 3 days over a public holiday weekend works brilliantly if the weather is either too hot, too cold or too wet.
    2. Failing that 3 days, starting Friday over a weekend at the end of a month and the Monday following is the 1st or 2nd of a month.
    3. The free promotion is now pointless if you do not have other books to offer. Until mid April – it worked great for any book.
    4. http://indiereviewtracker.com/making-your-e-book-free/ wrote a great blog with a list of things to do before, during and after your free promotion. It has a very useful lists of Tweeps who will help but check them out first with Web of Trust (http://www.mywot.com) because one of them isn’t at all helpful.
    5. Since April 2012 the whole process has become less useful. Giving away a book is a great idea if it’s the first in a series or if you have a substantial book list to offer. I found I could achieve a more permanent effect by withdrawing from the Kindle Select program and distributing my books through Smashwords. Amazon.com eventually price-matched and the book I offer free is now free at Amazon also. (The Amazon UK site has yet to pricematch). I now find our ‘A Vested Interest’ book usually at #5 technothriller at Amazon.com. To date 81% of those who get it go on to buy the next book in the series.
    6. DON’T be tempted to skip Kindle Select and go straight on to making a book free at Smashwords – Amazon have 60% of the market and you should build yourself there first.

    One other thing – Publishing on Kindle at Amazon is a LOT easier than at Smashwords. Since they distribute to Apple iBooks, B&N, Kobo, Sony and others they are quite strict in their requirements.

    • 28/09/2012 at 9:44 am
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      Some great advice John. There are so many things to consider now with regard to ebook promotion, but your point about building a presence on Amazon first is very good advice indeed.

  • 27/10/2012 at 10:16 am
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    Nice post.
    I have only one book on Amazon. It is collection of short stories called Emotional Moments. When I put it up I also enrolled in Kindle Select. The funny thing was that the first 3 days of promo I used were the most successfull ones. As a result it became a bestseller #1 for those 3 days in short stories category as well as in top 5 in free category. The other 2 days of promo I used did not make even 1/4th of downloads of the first stage.
    Maybe it was luck… maybe not. I have no idea. But it worked… What did not work in fact was the post promotion period. From 1600 downloads I received only 2 reviews and sales are very low… So I don’t really know how to succeed in that part…

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