And what did we learn from that?

By Carol / April 18, 2012 /

Woo Hoo! Thanks everyone for your support during my first 2-day Kindle Select Free Promo. IMHO, it was a success.

At the end of two days, GROWING UP COUNTRY-Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl had been downloaded 7,173 times, landing me at #52 on the Kindle Top 100 Best Seller list as well as at #1 or #2 on various non-fiction history and biography lists.

My #1 goal for the promotion was to expand awareness for my book and that happened.

But, even as I was reveling in the child-like wonder of watching my book rise in the ranks, I was already hearing my public relations counselor self whisper in my ear–What did we learn? What worked? What didn’t? What will we do differently next time?

Now that I’ve had a few minutes to take a breath, here’s what I learned.

It takes a village

In 48 hours, you have to get the word about your free book out to as many people as possible. You can’t do this alone. I signed up for the World Literary Cafe 15th of the month Free For All. The $10 investment was well worth it. WLC featured my book along with others on their website and their Tweet teams went into overdrive to promote.

I engaged my friends in the Facebook and Twitter worlds to help spread the news. Since most authors are going to be doing the same themselves someday, everyone plays. More on that below.

Next time — I’ll also join some of the WLC Tweet Teams (free) and add WLC Social Media Mania (paid) to the mix to extend the goodness beyond the Free days.

If you ask, someone will answer – but make it easy

The indie author world is a caring, sharing group. If you ask, someone has done it before and will readily share their learning.  I participate in several Facebook indie author groups and several Kindle Free promo groups. I posted my Free Day promo on all pages each day and I was bold in asking people to share the news with their friends. To make it easy to share, I made sure my posts were Tweetable length and already included hashtags. So anyone who chose to, could just cut and paste to Twitter.

Here are links to a few of my favorite Facebook indie author groups –

  • Indie Authors Promo
  • Memoirs-R-Us
  • The Heard – An Author’s Voice
  • WLC Book Marketing & Branding (only for people who have taken a WLC Book Branding workshop led by best selling author Melissa Foster)

Next time — There are a long list of sites that list free books and many list for free. I knew of only a few going into my promotion. Now I know of many more, and I’ll post to every one.

A BIG shout out to  Rachelle Ayala for sharing her experience with Kindle Select promos on her blog. In another post, she provides a long list of promo sites.  While you’re there, check out her novel – Michal’s Window. If you like historical fiction and romance, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Social Media is Full Time WORK

Now I have firsthand experience with why companies hire people to manage their social media presence. It’s work. The advice from experts in doing a Free Day promotion is to ‘Tweet like crazy.’ Even with a Tweet scheduling platform like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, tweeting, responding, adapting kept me at my computer all day. 

Next Time — I’ll do more of what I did this time.  I wrote pages of Tweets out in advance so all I had to do was cut and paste. I’ll still be at the computer responding to messages and thanking people over and over for helping spread the word. And I’ll collapse in exhaustion – but happy – at the end.

The bottom line to my experience is that next time I’ll do the same and more. Part of the problem with experiences like this, is you don’t know what you don’t know until it’s over. But from my perspective, it’s fun. I’m learning, so it’s all good. As I learn more, I’ll share. It’s what social media is all about.

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  1. Russell Bittner on June 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm


    Katerina Papadimitriou (anglice: Kate Pappas) told me about your Website and about the World Literary Cafe service. Because she spoke very highly of you, I decided to invest the $90 and go for broke.

    Congratulations on making a believer out of her — and hence, of me.


  2. Carol Bodensteiner on June 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    It’s a pleasure to meet a friend of Kate’s, Russell. World Literary Cafe has been a great resource for me. I hope you find success there as well.

  3. Aaron David on June 24, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Cheryl Tardif’s book is packed with info & links. 😉

    • Carol Bodensteiner on June 24, 2013 at 11:51 am

      There are many books written on the topic. I’ve heard of Cheryl’s book but haven’t read it.

      • Aaron David on June 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm

        I’m not on commission 🙂 Maybe I should be. There are loads out there but this is the only one I bought. Mine will be published shortly; “How I made nearly 20 quid in 2 weeks.”

        • Carol Bodensteiner on June 24, 2013 at 2:29 pm

          I did wonder 😉 Good luck with your book.

          • Aaron David on June 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm

            Thank you. Best of luck to you. 😉

          • Aaron David on June 25, 2013 at 2:11 pm

            I did my first free promo about 10 days ago but I didn’t put the work in; I spread the word On FB, Twitter & via email/text but didn’t register on enough of the ‘freebie’ sites. In the end I got the announcement on only 2. 🙁 Since then I’ve had 5 sales. Encouraging but not the avalanche I’d hoped for. I’ll leave it a week or 2 then do a proper job.

          • Carol Bodensteiner on June 25, 2013 at 2:25 pm

            Sorry to hear your free promo was not more successful, Aaron. I guess your experience reinforces the need to be everywhere and often. Since writing this post, I did another free promo and followed those days up with a social media buzz package. This had a (reasonable) cost associated with it, but it expanded reach exponentially and boosted visibility (and sales) in the critical days following the free days. I felt the cost was worth it. I have not done a free promo in quite a few months. Since Amazon continues to adjust their algorithms and there are more people doing free days all the time, I cannot predict what that means to the success of any promo. Worth digging around the blogs for recent reports and tips. We’re all always learning.

  4. carol - DizzyC on October 10, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Great post

    Don’t forget your friendly book bloggers, who can help share your promo on their twitter feed, blog etc.


  5. Carol Bodensteiner on October 10, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Thanks, Carol. Great point. Book bloggers are a resource I’ve become more aware of since doing this post. I’m learning something new everyday!

  6. Shirley Hershey Showalter on March 13, 2014 at 10:29 am

    This is a great post, Carol. Very helpful. I’m not sure if these promos are available to people who are traditionally published, but I am passing this very clear set of tips along to the marketing director of Herald Press. Sounds like exhausting fun.

    Almost 8,000 downloads. Now how to get more data. Will those people read and review the book? Will sales rise? Please update in a month or so!

    Your book is excellent. It deserves to shoot to the top!

    • Carol Bodensteiner on March 13, 2014 at 11:08 am

      Hi, Shirley, Glad you found the post helpful. I believe the Kindle free days promotions are available to traditionally published e-books as long as you meet the Kindle requirement, which is that your ebook is ONLY available on Amazon. Hard to know how many downloads actually got read. I picked up a handful of reviews, which are always helpful. Also paid sales continued at a higher pace for six weeks after the free days. That was huge for me. Being higher up the Amazon lists makes a big difference. Since doing this promo, KDPSelect has come up with a new promotion – the Kindle Countdown – which I’ve done once and liked. The Countdown is a progressive sale, with the book priced cheaper (never fee), in the early days of the promo and rising progressively to the original price. My book sold well during and after the sale, and I have some greater confidence that buyers read. Investment equates to interest.

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