How to make your book permafree in less than a day

Woo-hoo! Shizzle, Inc is finally perma-free!

In case you’re wondering what that means – basically, it will be free from now on, or until I change my mind, which has been known to happen. If you’re wondering why I’m so excited, well, let me tell ya…

First of all, I had no idea it will take so long. My understanding of the process was that you make the book available for free on Smashwords, then go to your Kindle edition, click on the “tell us about a lower price” link, provide a link to Kobo or Nook where it is free, and voila! When voila did not happen right away, I’ve asked peeps on the blog and Twitter to help me out by doing the same. Don’t know how many actually bothered to notify Amazon, but there was no voila in sight after two weeks of waiting. Finally, because I have no patience, and a pair the size of Texas, I did the unthinkable.

I emailed KDP and asked them to match the price.

I hear you, and your sharp intake of breath. After all, the Internet is full of advice on “loopholes” and how to stick it to the man/Amazon, who would surely suspend my book or do something equally nasty if they ever find out that I’m trying to loophole them out of their cut. But no – I don’t know if the fact that Indiot, the second book in Isabella Maxwell’s Escapades series is already available for pre-order, but KDP were cool with it. I got a courteous reply saying that they’ve confirmed that my book is available elsewhere for free, and that in 2-3 business days it will be free on Kindle as well.

It took two hours.

Yay for KDP Support! The second reason for why I’m bouncing in my chair is that after two weeks of waiting, searching the Internet for stupid advice (apparently putting the price up and dropping it down repeatedly has worked for some), and watching my dull, lifeless sales charts, I have liftoff. And boy, what a liftoff it’s been:

Screenshot (48)

What is really surprising, is that 427 copies were downloaded without any paid promotions whatsoever. I didn’t know when this was going to happen, so I’ve been waiting to schedule them after I knew for sure that KDP will match the price to zero. On the chart above, the left-side surge in free downloads of 600-1000/day had cost me $139. I don’t know if this current trend will continue, but so far I’m very happy with the result, which landed me in the top of all category charts:

First day of permafree

With the paid promos, I got as far as 111 Free in Kindle store, but basically in the same positions in all categories, so what does it matter? I would prefer for people to find me through a category, anyway – hopefully resulting in fewer random negative reviews.

So the new era has begun – moreover, I have now managed to formulate my promo plan in one simple sentence:

I will give away 100,000 free copies of Shizzle, Inc by the end of 2016.

I hope that will generate 2% of sale-through of Indiot, or about $4,000 in royalties. This goal will require some paid advertising, of course, but it no longer seems ridiculous, like it did after the first promo (at the same spending rate, 100,000 downloads would cost me $3,500). It will also depend on whether I manage to secure a BookBub run, and guess what – I have applied for it. Again.

Exciting times and exciting sales charts coming up!

(P.S. Thank you, my British colleagues, for pointing out that the price was not free on the UK site – apparently this is why I was told to wait for 2-3 business days. I’ll wait, but in the meantime, I’ve fired up another email to KDP.)

47 Comments

Filed under Self-publishing and marketing, Win a free book!

47 responses to “How to make your book permafree in less than a day

  1. It sounds like a good plan. Many of those people who downloaded Shizzle for free and liked it will come back to pay for Indiot.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I always email the support staff at kdp.amazon, rather than bother with chat rooms (where quite a few people talk a great deal of twaddle, all contradictory and much of it out of their ar***). In my experience, the kdp representatives are polite, helpful, and sort things out with amazing speed.

    Those ratings are brilliant, Ana. Well done 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Sarah 🙂 just as I feared, they’re down today – only 1 so far. Time to start the advertising campaign…

      Liked by 1 person

      • My book stats are abysmal at the moment, so you are definitely in a different league to me, even if you are down by 1 today! I’ll be having another countdown deal soon and thinking very hard where it’s best to advertise it. I’m very excited, as I sent off novel number two for beta reading a few minutes ago.

        Like

  3. PS Whoops! I just clicked on your Shizzle link above, and it said your Kindle version is $1.43. What has happened?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing this Ana. I made my novella free on Smashwords so I’ll go ahead and get an email off to them asap!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. One of the issues I discovered is that you need to send them links to free versions of the book in all the stores (for example Apple stores in the same places where Amazon has stores) otherwise sometimes they only make the title free in some places and not others. It happened to me too and talking to a writer I know she told me she always sent them a list with links to all possible places, just in case (thinking about it I’m not sure I’ve included Nederlands but they keep adding stores).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. In the UK it’s £0.99

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Olga – and thank you again for tweeting! Sorry that I did not check the UK site – that’s why they told me to wait 2-3 days…I emailed them again asking to speed it up.

      Like

  7. Thanks, Ana. I plan to make the first book in my series perma-free. You saved me some legwork! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Good luck. Seems the merchandising is working for you. Maybe I should try that….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you 🙂 what do you mean by merchandising – marketing? I was actually just thinking of merchandising some of Isa’s quotes into t-shirts the other day…

      Like

  9. You emailed KDP!? You mad, crazy, fool! But, hey, if it worked that’s great. Well done you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. R. M. Donaldson

    Thanks for posting this! I was wondering how to do this. I’ve always wanted to! Thanks for the advice and your great blog! I’ve loved following it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much 🙂 You have no idea what a motivational force it has been for me – whenever I get in the dumps, it’s always “I gotta write another post” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • R. M. Donaldson

        That’s great! I get that. It’s hard to keep working at it at times. I’ve found that after publishing my first book, noting seems like enough, and you get discouraged. But reading posts like this help me keep going. So we all help each other. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you 🙂 it was extremely hard to write the second one, the self-doubt was painful. The bad reviews that I get every now and then hurt, the expenses hurt, my back hurts 🙂 but it’s worth it 🙂

        Like

  11. What a great idea. I’m ruminating on how to apply this to my own books. What’s to lose? Currently, nothing squared. Thanks, Ana.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sounds like a good plan! Hopefully people will still review even if it’s now free.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Bought Shizzle Inc in December, loved it’s wacky world- so much Like the world of Mad Magazine in its 1950s settings (you had to be there). Will now hunt down Indiot, on the UK Amazon. (Must write reviews as well, fallen out of that habit- bad dog!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! Yes, please, please write a review! I’m having rotten luck with bad reviews lately, with people calling Shizzle, Inc ugly names – it would be such help to get a counter view. And thank you for letting me know – you wouldn’t believe how ugly the self-doubt gets sometimes…made my day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Soon as I’ve done my stint on WordPress I will be amongst Amazon.
        Oh I know about self-doubt, been creeping around my door for 50 years on and off; tip to see Self-Doubt off, embrace your Crazy, invite Crazy in for a cup of tea/coffee.
        Take care
        Roger

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha, thank you, Roger – I do embrace Crazy on a daily basis 🙂 my fiancé is still not quite used to my antics after two years…

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Here is a great post on making your book permafree. This is especially useful if you have a series and want to give away the first book. I have used this method and it worked.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Just posted up reviews on Amazon US & UK (look out for ghostgrey51).
    Keep on keeping on

    Liked by 1 person

  16. zuniac

    Awesome Ana! When you say you “emailed KDP” What email did you use exactly? I am having trouble locating the right one. (Hiding my face in shame)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s at the left bottom corner of “help” page. If you can navigate to the help page, they’re hiding “contact us” at the bottom. Let me know if you have further troubles and I will try to post a screenshot.

      Like

  17. Pingback: ReBlog – How to make your book permafree in less than a day | Parker Publishing

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