Give it away, give it away, give it away NOW!

How you guys doin’? I’m flying high – not only cause life on [read: near] the beach is sweet, but because my latest promo is doing even better than I expected. In my last post, I bemoaned the lack of sales, which was all my fault, anyway. All writing and no marketing makes Ana a poor-selling author. I didn’t moan for very long, though, before I decided to do something about it, namely stage a massive, promoted free giveaway.

The last time I made Shizzle, Inc (Isa Maxwell escapades Book 1) free was in September, about two weeks after it was released. I didn’t advertise it, other than on the blog and Twitter, as it was intended to be just a thanks to my followers. With no sequel in sight, giving it away made no sense. Over the two days, about 150 people downloaded it.

This time around, the sequel is so close, I can smell it. Okay, so it still smells a bit raw, but at half-edited 63K words, I’m very close to the finish line. In fact, the plan is to pre-release it in just about a week! So I’m now ready to do what a bunch of authors have done before me – give away the first book in the series for free. I will make it permafree as soon as Indiot is available, but for now, I tried a KDP 5-day free giveaway.

I didn’t know what to expect, so I made an arbitrary goal of giving away 3,000 books over the whole period and sneaking my way into top 100 Free in Kindle store. I advertised it as follows:

11 April: Reading Deals – $15.

12 April: Kindle Nation Daily – $99.

13 April: eBookasaurus – free; Manybooks – $25; AskDavid – free.

14 April: AskDavid – free (they tweet multiple times).

15 April: none.

So what did I get for my investment of $139?

Well, it’s not even finished yet, but I’ve already given away 3,100 copies!

Screenshot (43)

Of course, a lot of people just stuff their Kindles with freebies, so I’m gonna assume that most of these copies will never be read. Of those that will, some will probably not get it and hate it – that’s just the risk I have to take. But then! There will be others, who will get hooked on Isa’s escapades and will buy the next installment at the full price of, say, $2.99. If it’s 10% of the above, I would make my money back, and then some. Will it work? I will let you know, of course…

And how about the rankings? I have a new addiction, a tracker tool supplied for free by Kindle Nation Daily:

KND tracker

You can see that Shizzle, Inc (Isa Maxwell escapades Book 1) has come close, oh so close, but those thousands of free books were not enough. After this experiment and a lot of stalking of my competition, I am convinced that the only way to get onto the first page of Free Kindle Store is with BookBub. Trouble is, apparently everybody already knows that – the competition for promos with BookBub is fierce. So far I’ve applied twice and was rejected as many times, but from reading other people’s blogs, it seems that the ratio of applications to successful placements is close to 10:1. Those same people have reported anywhere between 20-100 THOUSAND giveaway copies as a result, so I just need to buckle up and keep trying. In the meantime, I’m thinking of printing this for my inspiration board:

Sales rank 108

I know that some of you are against giving your work away for free, and I completely understand why – common sense tells me not to give away something that cost me $3,000 and two years to make. But I slap it back down because the big picture demands that I do just that. Time will tell if it will pay off.

Hey, Ana Spoke from September 2016, what do you think? Have I made the right choice?



Filed under Self-publishing and marketing, Shizzle, Inc.

34 responses to “Give it away, give it away, give it away NOW!

  1. I’ve got to do this. I had a spike at first but it leveled out. Time for marketing boost. Thanks for the post.


  2. Hi, thanks for the re-follow lol. I’m one of those guilty. I took advantage of your free giveaway, but I’ll be reviewing your book too :). Speaking of, would you want to be contacted when I’ve reviewed it on my blog? Some authors do some aren’t bothered, just wondering 🙂


  3. Giving away so many copies does seem counter intuitive – would you perhaps do another post explaining in more detail how it’s a benefit for you as an indie author? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course, and thank you for asking – I will do that in ongoing matter, as I love to report sales and statistics. Basically, I’m hoping that by giving away a lot of free copies of the first book in the series, I will get more fans who will buy the second, third, and so forth…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I just down loaded. Thanks for the reminder. I like to interview authors when I post a review for them, and post both. Are you interested?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry to double comment but I just saw this and if you haven’t it might explain why you can’t crack the top 100.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Heh, I’m doing this exact thing right now! Book 2 just dropped TODAY (yay!) so I’ve put up Book 1 for free. A two-for-one sale! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting statistics with a sprinkle of faith and hope. Let us know how if it seemed to work once you publish your next book.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You need to clarify this figure for me: ‘Those same people have reported anywhere between 20-100 THOUSAND giveaway copies as a result…’

    Is that 20 000 – 100 000 copies given away for free? If so, if they’ve given away a 99c book one hundred thousand times, that’s $99 000 worth of books they need to sell to make up for the lost sales. I understand the point of giveaways as loss leaders in a longer marketing strategy, but on that scale there’s a lot of money to earn in order to recoup the amount of revenue lost in the promotion.

    Call me a cracked record, but I cannot get my head around this concept!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi, Ana – your download numbers are impressive! I put my slowest seller (unfortunately not part of a series) up for free for 5 days a month ago. I only “advertised” it on my blog, on twitter and in my new email newsletter. I had 546 downloads, most in the first two days and the last day, and some of those were in countries where I have never even had a sale before. Since my promo ended, I have had a lot of borrows of that same book, as well as an increase in sales – I think mainly from people who missed the free days but decided to buy it anyway. Personally I think it’s a great way to position your book in the public eye and get some attention. It’s been a huge learning curve for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Susan 🙂 can’t wait to see what happens in a few weeks! Advertising is definitely the key – I’m thinking of starting a separate list of free and permafree primo sites in addition to my Super Duper list.


  10. Good luck and keep us in the loop!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congrats on the success! I hope Ana Spoke in September can report more great news 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for the inside scoop on giving a novel away free on kindle. I’ve been wondering about that.


  13. Hope your strategy works. I’ve found great novelists by reading their free books. By the time they start charging, I’m already hooked. 🙂 There’s no turning back. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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