Musings on my first two KDP free download days!

Last weekend, I took advantage of the KDP free days promotion and put Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It on free download for the entire weekend. I’ll start by showing you the results, and then I’ll walk you through what I did to promote the book, and how effective I think said promotions were.

Ready? Steady? Go!

Here’s a screencap of the downloads graph:

kdp free days graph

So over the course of 48 hours, the grand total of downloads was: 2,861 

Now, I’m pretty darn excited about this. I know some authors get upwards of 4,000 downloads with zero promotion, but heck, it’s my first free weekend!


Part 1: Pre-promotion marketing tactics

About a week before the free promotion started, I signed the book up with about a dozen of those “free book blast” sites.

Here’s the site I used:

If you scroll way down, there’s a bunch of website icons. The idea is you click on an icon, and it opens up to that site’s submission form. Most of the sites on there offer free book promotion if you’re doing a KDP free book day, but they do specify that it’s first come first served, so your book isn’t guaranteed to show up on their marketing blast. There are of course paid options to ensure your book is featured, but I just signed up for the free stuff.

Of all the sites I signed up for, the only one I saw actually tweet about my book was Others might have also promoted my book, but if they did, I didn’t see it.

All in all, it’s hard to judge the effectiveness of these sorts of sites. However, they are free, so there’s no real downside apart from time expended. So I’d say I recommend using these sites, as long as you’ve got spare time and won’t be too disappointed if nothing comes of it.


Part 2: Saturday (Day 1) begins!

I started off the first download day by doing the standard social media thing — tweeting about it, writing a blog post, posting on Facebook, etc. I’m part of a few writer groups on Facebook, so I posted in there as well.

Downloads started off slow — by noon on Saturday I was at about 200. Not too shabby, but not where I wanted to be! So I thought to myself: Michelle, there has to be another way to promote your free download days. But where?


Part 3: IMGUR

Here’s where the story really kicks off. If you haven’t heard of IMGUR, go check it out now. It’s basically just a site where people post funny photos or GIFs, and then people look at them, upvote or downvote them, and comment on them. Kind of like Reddit, except way less complicated — and way less specialized.

I love IMGUR. I go on every day and catch up on the latest memes. There’s some truly hysterical stuff on there. And I’ve tried posting a few photos on there (mostly of my roommates’ adorable cats), but those photos never made it out of “user sub” — basically, they only got maybe 20 upvotes each, and you need at least 300 upvotes to boost your post to the front page (which is the part of IMGUR that most people look at).

So I thought, what the heck. Might as well post my book — what’ s the downside? Even if it only gets 20 upvotes, that’s 20 more people downloading the book!

Thus, I posted this:

imgur postThis was posted around midday Saturday. Apparently that’s a good time to post, because over the next few hours the upvotes gradually rose. 100 … 120 … 150 … 200 … For a while, it sat around 250, and I was obviously psyched, because 250 people saw it and liked it! But I was also a little disappointed, because supposedly 300 is the magic number to get to the front page, and I was so close!

Then I stopped checking IMGUR for updates and went off to do something else for a few hours. When I came back, I saw the upvote count and nearly had a heart attack — it was over a thousand!

By Sunday, the final upvote count was ~3,000. I was beyond the moon by that point. I got a ton of awesome comments, people asking questions about my book, or about self-publishing, or about writing in general. There were obviously some trolls, but for the most part everyone was really supportive. Click here to check out the post and the comments. (And note that the top comment is a reference to a meme that’s currently popular — it has nothing to do with my book, lol.)

After my post hit the front page, free downloads skyrocketed. Victory!



All in all, I’m really happy with my first free download weekend. I won’t say sales increased a great deal in the wake of the free days (or at all, really), but I did net 5 new reviews, so that alone is fantastic!

I wouldn’t suggest IMGUR as a good promotion platform for indie authors. It’s not an advertising site — it’s just a place to share funny photos and cool original content. I think I got away with it because I posted at the right time of day, I posted a photo of both myself (a young woman) and a cute dog, and the fact that the book was for free (i.e., I wasn’t trying to sell it, just give it away). However, if you want to check out the site and give it a try, go for it! At the very least, you’ll see some funny posts and get a good laugh out of it.


Thus concludes my report. Have an awesome weekend, everyone!


Categories: Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “Musings on my first two KDP free download days!

  1. Interesting stuff! I’m guessing you’re on KDP Select. I haven’t tried that route, having started with Smashwords and so far found it good, but your numbers are impressive. (BTW I’m impressed that you actually reveal those numbers).

    • Yup, KDP Select. I know there’s a lot of debate over that vs. Smashwords, but I figured, heck, why not try it out? Worst comes to worst, I can just leave KDP Select and go over to Smashwords 🙂

      From what I’ve seen, my numbers are actually pretty average in terms of free download weekends. Although obviously I’m happy to be average! I figure I might as well reveal the numbers — it might help someone else, and we’re all in this together, right? 🙂

  2. I got hundreds and hundreds of downloads on my free attempts. I never got the reviews or any feedback. Free is free, and I’m not sure anyone even read the books. I’m not of a mind to try it again. Thrilled for your success though.

    • Hey, fair enough. And I know I’m guilty of downloading books and not reading them! It’s kind of like Goodreads Giveaways — the first time I netted 2 reviews from it. The next two times, nada. Ever get the feeling that book marketing on the whole is completely hit or miss?

  3. srcovieo

    These kdp free days intrigue me and I’ve often wondered how they might equate into future sales. I have yet to try it with any of my books, but am paying attention when I see others do so. Congrats on getting your books some more awareness!

    • Thanks 🙂 I think the point of the KDP free days is as follows:
      1) Possibly gets you reviews, which help with future sales
      2) If you get a lot of free downloads, it pushes you high on the Kindle Free Charts, which increases your chances of someone seeing your book and remembering it so they can buy it later
      3) If you give away the first book in a series, it might inspire people to read the rest of the series

      • srcovieo

        I had thought of 1 & 3, but not 2.
        4) Increased name recognition (author and/or book series)

  4. Glad you had such great success. It has always been hit or miss for me. Here lately it seems like I give away a lot, but the sales don’t come like they use to. I think people might be getting close to saturation level when it comes to ebooks. I grabbed a freebie and I will leave you a review once I get around to reading it.

    • Thanks 🙂 And yeah, I worry about that too. There are so many ebooks out there — and every day on Amazon you can go to the top Free list and download 100 new ones.

  5. My favourite comments:

    1) “You look like America Ferrera.”
    2) “Teen scifi/adventures? Don’t you think there are too many of them?” (seriously – what? are there, um, /any/ popular YA scifi adventures newer than Ender’s Game?)
    3) “Why would OP need to write a book? She’s already a masterpiece.” (Agreed! But the book is worthy!)

    But mostly I like how many people said something along the lines of, “I don’t usually read books like this/I’m not your target audience, etc…” but downloaded it anyway. Congrats on your downloads and new reviews!

    • #2 cracked me up. It’s like … even if there are thousands of teen scifi books, the beauty of books is there can be as many as you want. People are, believe it or not, actually physically capable of reading more than one book of the same genre.

      #3 was really sweet. There were a couple of comments that were cute like that — although I can’t tell if the commenters intended to be cute, or they were actually hitting on me, lol.

      Relevant: At some point during the post being on the front page, I got a private message from “Inbox me your nudes” with a gif of the Joker grinning and saying “Why hello there”. It was both creepy and highly amusing.

  6. Pingback: KDP Free Days — IMGUR Comments Edition | Michelle Proulx -- The Website

  7. This was posted while I was away, so I just saw it. Awesome stats, well done! It helps if you’re a cutie pie and have a dog, I guess. Sadly, only one of these applies to me 😀

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