Tuesday, July 31

Derek Haines: Are Free Ebooks A Good Marketing Strategy?

Derek Haines over at The Vandal talks about whether offering one of your books for free is a good marketing tool. His conclusion:
I suppose the conclusion I have drawn is that the free book promotion option offered by KDP Select is a worthwhile marketing tool and a chance to get noticed and get your name out there as an author. Although it’s a bit pot luck, that’s still better than nothing. Trying to get a few good free book listing sites to add your book is certainly a way to help boost your exposure and is definitely worthwhile as is a bit of good old fashioned self promotion on your own social media networks.
It looks as though, even after Amazon's changes to its ranking algorithm, making ones ebook free can still be effective in raising paid ebook sales. It's interesting, though, that it doesn't always work. Out of four books Derek tried this with, only one did amazingly well. Still, he writes that "I can see from my unit sales and borrows that July was a very good month. A five fold increase on June".

You can read Derek's entire article here: Do Free Ebook Promotions Work? My Conclusion

Of course luck will always be a factor, but, if Derek's experience is representative, it's a mistake to put too much weight on how any one book does. If one book doesn't take off, that doesn't mean another won't.

Related articles:
- 50 Shades Of Alice In Wonderland: Another Indie Success Story
- Writer Beware: The Return Of The Vanity Press
- Forget NaNoWriMo: How To Write A Novel In A Weekend

Photo credit: pix.plz


  1. I've found pretty much the same thing. I use my giveaways sparingly, but even so I've had huge success with one and little or none with several others. The question is, do those downloads turn into sales later? It's frustratingly impossible to tell.

    My best selling fantasy title was downloaded the most out of these giveaways. It still outsells the other titles, just as it always has. Another title -a thriller under a different name- was downloaded 14,000 times in two days and got zero boost when it was over. It does seem to help if you get word out to the freebie sites ahead of the giveaway, but the question remains as to whether those downloads translate into sales later.

    I've had a real lull in sales this summer also, and I don't know if I should blame the season, the giveaways, or Amazon's changing algorithms. (Or my lousy writing lol) But overall I'm still selling much better than last year, so I guess I'm still moving in the right direction. (I talk more about this on my blog today.)

    1. Jamie it's fantastic that you're selling even better than last year, but that doesn't surprise me. Your books are great! Thanks for sharing your experience, it's much appreciated. Heading over to read your blog post now.


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