Today was the last day of my five day giveaway on Amazon. This is the 8th giveaway I have done since September of 2012, when I gave away 4,035 copies of The Deep Dark Well, which has gone on to sell 4,961 copies since. More importantly, I believe it jump started the sales of my Exodus:Empires at War series. With a little over seven more hours to go in this giveaway I have passed out 4,537 copies, mostly through Amazon US. If I can get a thousand sales of each of the other five Exodus books each (so far) the giveaway will have more than served its purpose. The total number of books I have given away is more than sixteen thousand, and I have sold over 78,000 books. To me this has been a major part of my sales strategy. Now, I can’t guarantee the results I have achieved. In fact, not all the giveaways have been that helpful. I gave away 1,242 copies of my vampire book, The Hunger, and then only sold 296 copies, despite people who have read the book telling me how good it is. Giveaways are not always the answer, but they can be helpful. Now, what I am about to talk about goes for Amazon Free Days, which requires putting the book on KDP Select. There is another way to make books free on Amazon, Permifree, so to speak. To do this you have to have the book published on multiple platforms, and then make it free on one of those platforms. If you report it yourself to Amazon they will make it free on their catalogue as well. This is not the way I have done it. Instead, I go with the five free days they give each book in a 90 day period.
First, I schedule the book on Amazon through the Bookshelf and Reports page. I want to make sure the book is going to be free on those days before I put in the time and effort on the other steps. I try to schedule it more than two weeks ahead of time, because some of the publicizing steps require two weeks lead time to set up. Now, once the book is scheduled I go to a site like Author’s Marketing Club and go to their free sign up page. This lists about sixteen or so pages that will post, blog or tweet a freebee, including AMC’s own page. It normally takes less than an entire evening to sign up on all these sites. Since some of the pages require two weeks lead time, this is the reason for the more than two week scheduling lead time. Most will allow you to schedule just a couple of days ahead, while there have been some that would only allow scheduling on the first morning of the giveaway. Some thoughts about budgets. Some sites have a guaranteed feature that can cost from ten to forty dollars. This time I spent about forty bucks for all the guaranteed placements I wanted. That part set, I move on.
I next look for pages on Facebook that will allow posting freebees. There are quite a few, and I didn’t really bother with them this time around, but I still recommend doing it if you have the time. You need to look on the pages’ About section and get an idea if they allow people to post their own promotions. Some do, some make you request that they post. But either way, it’s more publicity. It is not recommended to post without permission, as they can pull the post down. I also like to blog about the giveaway about a week ahead of time, and post that blog on pages of people who might be interested in the genre I am writing about. Now to Twitter. I tweet about the upcoming giveaway for about a week ahead of time, then tweet on the days of the promo with a link to the book in the message. Using a program like Hootsuite can allow you to set up messages for days at a time. Another good practice is to join an indie author”s page or site that has an active membership that tweets. You tweet theirs, they tweet yours, and the tweet gets out to a lot more followers. But the important thing is to start tweeting theirs well ahead of the promotion so you can build up some good will and get the return tweets. I use the Independent Author’s Network, which has a lot of good author’s who are willing to reciprocate. Using the groups hashtag (#whatever) will make sure all the members on twitter get your message. Other hashtags, like #amreadng, #scifi #fantasy, etc, can expand your reach to people who are looking for those hashtags.
Finally, the first morning of the giveway, I tweet to these people, which can add to the number of retweets. At last check, all of these accepted my message, though I can’t guarantee that any retweeted it.
And ther you have everything I do for a free book promotion. Again, I can’t guarantee it will work, but it has worked for me.