La Riposte

Saturday, March 3, 2012

ROW 80 Update, and KDP Select Release Results!

Well, it's been quite a weekend!

Last time I "checked-in" for ROW80, I had accomplished 61 percent of my goals for the first round, with 23 days left to go. Four days later, I'm still at 61 percent, and now just 19 days to go. So, what happened this weekend?

For starters, I closed on a house at my new duty station, got to hit a proper gym hard for the first time since departing for my month-long world tour, and topped 100 followers on Twitter.

But most importantly on the publishing front, I re-released Seven Lives to Repay Our Country as a KDP Select title, and ran the first "FREE for FRIDAY" promotion, which leaves me with 4 more free promotional days to use in the next 3 months.

I'd like to share some of the results of this release and compare it to my earlier release of Happily Ever After for the benefit of those authors who are debating the merits of KDP Select.

Outline of the Promotion:
  • Created an "event" on both Goodreads (99 invited, 11 attended)
  • Created an "event" on Facebook (245 invited, 45 attended)
  • Bought a paid ad on Facebook in the US and UK
  • Sent Tweets to my own followers
  • Posted a Tweet in the @AuthorKarma "announcement" thread
  • Mentioned the free book in the headline post on my author Facebook page
  • Discussed the promotion on this blog.
  • Posted announcements in 4 appropriate Goodreads forums, re: free e-book offer.
  • Gave away 190 copies of the book.
  • Hit #6 in the Genre Fiction Category (war) on Amazon
  • Generated 30+ new "fans" of my Facebook author page
  • Experienced the "KDP Select bump" in sales - sold more books on the day after than in the month previous, and increased sales of my other book.
  • Got turned on to the Military Writers Society of America, which will probably be a useful affiliation for me to have going forward, as about one-quarter of my Work-in-Progress has a military theme.
Preliminary Analysis:
  • Facebook ad was ineffective, only generating 6 clicks (out of 28,000 views)
  • Twitter and Facebook probably generated some "free" sales, but this promotion never went viral. To go viral, you need people to "share" a post; in my case, I got many "likes" and comments, but few "shares."
  • The 'event' requests were probably too complex. Each one requested the virtual attendee do 4 things; share a FB post, post a pre-made tweet, download a copy of the book, etc. Most seemed only to download. There were few shares or tweets.
  • It's too early to do a good comparison with Happily Ever After, my previous KDP Select book. Both had similar 1-day downloads for the first day free; but downloads dropped off dramatically after the 2nd free day in the case of the earlier release (where I just did 5 free days in a row.) After I've used up all the free days for Seven Lives, it will be easier to do a better comparison. Both are niche titles, both rose fairly high on their respective "Top 100 Free" charts, and both generated a "sales bump" for the days following the end of the promotion.
Going Forward:
The next step will be to run the same promotion, i.e., a free book on Friday, but with no external promotion. This should give me a feel for what the actual impact of self-promotion is, compared to the simple effect of having a book offered for free on Amazon. Once I can compare those results, if it's clear that self-promotion has a significant impact, then I'll work on devising a second promotional event based on what I've learned from this one.

Hopefully, authors contemplating their own releases will find this a useful post, and if you've had success using methods other than those discussed here, please post a comment explaining what you recommend for the enlightenment of myself and everyone else out there.

Best regards,


  1. Hello Edward.

    Sounds like you're working it all out, but I highly recommend the insights you will find at this link (I'm not spamming, I promise) Everyone in our position either knows or should know of this blog. I searched KDP select and the link goes to the numerous posts written about it. I believe you'll find invaluable information there.

    I'm not quite published yet, but hope to be this year so I'll be utilising all of what I learn from people like yourselves. Hope the sales continue climbing. :) X

  2. I'm always interested in hearing about an author's success with different ways of promotion.

    You might be right about the event requests being too complex. When I go to promotions that ask me to do too many things, I pass it up. That's mostly because I'm so busy, and I think that's the problem with everyone else. I've always tried to make things as simple as possible with promotions.

    Good luck with your goals this week!

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences! I have not tried KDP Select yet, as I don't think my current book or upcoming one are a good fit. But I might consider it for a future, tie-in novella or something like that, so this is valuable information on what I might expect.

    So even though you didn't move forward on your overarching goals, you did quite a bit. Good luck this week, and may your sales continue to improve!

  4. It sounds as if the KDP Select was successful for you so far. May it continue to do well for you!

  5. Shah, Lauralynn, Jennette and Suzanne... Thanks for the feedback!

    One interesting thing to consider with regards to KDP Select is your book pricing, since the program allows Amazon Prime members to "borrow" your books, and gives you a percentage of approximately $600,000 per month based on how many "borrows" you have. This works out to about $1.60 per borrow - so, for books priced at $2.99 or higher, you lose money on a borrow vs. a sale; but for books priced at 99 cents, you actually make 4 times as much when a member borrows a book as when it is bought! Food for thought.

    Best to all!

  6. Congrats on the new title, Edward! I should try a freebie with no promotion too, just to have some kind of comparison.

    Interesting times we live in. :) Have a great week!

  7. I'm a new follower from the Author Karma group! I hope that you can return the favour.

    I thought that this was a great post, very informative. I'm about to self-publish my début novel, Lumen and I've been brainstorming some promotional activities etc. most of them you've already got up there.

    I was also thinking of bookmarks...everyone loves bookmarks especially in giveaways. Just a thought.