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:
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: http://authormarketingclub.com/members/submit-your-book/
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 http://www.book-circle.com/. 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:
This 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!