KDP and Book Launch Social Media Campaign Hoohah

A few of you asked if I would post about what I did to promote my free ebook campaign, which I thought was pretty successful. It exceeded my expectations, to say the least. There were a total of 2,848 downloads and we hit #1 in free fantasy ebooks that day.

It was done through Amazon’s KDP program. I’m not entirely sure how it all works as I did not set this up, my publisher did (if you want to know about THAT process, I could probably get him or author Jennifer Munro to do a guest post about it).

I know KDP / Amazon wants exclusive ebook distribution for 3 months. I know you can get up to 5 free days in those 3 months. We had some technical difficulties the week our book was uploaded, so figure this out early if you’re set on a specific free day.

I think a lot of factors go into the success of your campaign, from what day of the week you schedule your freebie to the genre of your book.  I would not have gotten the same response if I had done this at the launch of my first book. I didn’t know as much about the industry, I didn’t have as much internet presence back then, didn’t have as many fans or as many FB followers . . . you get the picture. So be patient and let your presence grow. (BE the sunflower)

Here are some advantages you can give yourself
leading UP to your freebie day.

1) If you are working with a small press, they’re ultimately the ones who have to see the benefit of a free day.  My publisher is getting to be pretty savvy in this new age of publishing – it was actually HIS idea and I was the hesitant one. So if it’s something you have to present to your publisher, do your research (Read Chris Anderson’s essay on The Economy of Free). If you’re self-publishing, then just create the best possible book you can. There’s no advantage to giving a free book out before it’s ready. You want people to say, holy cow, I just got this amazing book for free!

2) Create an online presence. If you haven’t published a book yet, you can still create a facebook page for yourself as an author. Your friends and family will like the page and you can keep them abreast of anything like conferences you attend or readings you’re doing. If the book is ready to publish, create a page for the book in advance of publication. Always be gracious and thoughtful about how many announcements your post and to whom.

If you have a blog, join a blog community. Join one of the Platform Campaigns or a review group like Middle Grade Mondays or any other friendly space. Widen your circle of blog friends.

With both FB and blogging, you need to participate in the community for your own site to grow. Throwing words up on a virtual page does nothing for anyone else. Invest time in finding like-minded bloggers, exchange experiences and advice. Be of service to each other.

3) Other sites: GoodReads, Amazon, Yahoo Groups, LinkedIn, WAE, NaNoWriMo – all these sites have forums for writers. One of my pet peeves is when people only jump in on forums to advertise their books and don’t invest in other people. Join and participate in a few forums before your books come out.

You don’t have to use them all. Join the forums that interest you so it’s fun. I use GoodReads and Yahoo Groups more than the others and am in four different Sci Fi / Fantasy forums and three children’s authors groups. I try to check in as much as possible, but it’s easy to get distracted!

In the Months before Free Day

-My publisher used Lightning Book Promotions to create a blog tour that spanned the week before and after my launch. Stormi is fairly new and very energetic about the work she does for writers. You can set up your own blog tour, of course, but I’m so glad I didn’t have to do that on top of everything else. The blog tour started the buzz going about the book.

I did add on three more bloggers of my own to the tour after Stormi had booked the first 10 or so. If there are blogs your love or frequently visit, go ahead and ask them if they’d like to be a stop on your tour. Most bloggers are looking for things to write about or for fun guests on their blogs.

-If I had my act together, I would have advertised on these sites: Pixel of Ink, Ereader News Today, and ebookswag.com (unfortunately, I learned about them too late)

5 DAYS before Free Day:

-I created an “event” on Brigitta’s FaceBook page and invited all the people I thought not only might be interested in a free ebook, but might help me pass along the message. Some people don’t realize that an “event” can be virtual. I listed my FREE EBOOK DAY EVENT with a link to the book’s Amazon page.

-I checked in with GoodReads and Amazon forums to find appropriate places to post a free ebook note. Search GoodReads groups and Amazon’s forums. There actually groups and forums that are specifically for authors to advertise their free ebooks.

-I sent an email newsletter to my teacher/librarian list telling them about the free day.

-I had a note sent to all the bloggers on my blog tour and asked if they would please post something about the free day and share the info elsewhere (some did on FB, twitter, and GoodReads)

Day Before Free Day

-I posted announcements in my regular forums in GoodReads (YA and Sci-fi / fantasy forums) that I was offering the book for free the next day. Be careful in your GoodReads forums that you post in the appropriate section or you’ll irk the moderators. Things are usually pretty well marked, but you can always ask someone.

-I posted on my own blog, my yahoo group, and my LinkedIn group about the freebie. My publisher loaned me his Twitter account and I did a #freeebook tweet.

Free Day!

-I sent personal notes to my FB friends and family asking them if they would post the free book announcement on their own pages. I told them my goal was to get in the top 100 on the Fantasy downloads. My friends are great – I’m sure a few dozen of them forwarded my announcement and several mentioned me in FB posts. My friends are awesome. We all support each other this way.

-I kept a watch on the Amazon stats… which is a little obsessive, but it’s exciting and fun. I posted updates on Brigitta’s FB page.

REMEMBER – you have to find the balance between promoting yourself and being intrusive. There’s nothing wrong with promotion. People DO want to support you. Your friends and family and colleagues want to help. Just be aware of your intentions, participate, and be inclusive.

from Mike Howell @ constantly risking obscurity

I think that’s it. If you have any questions I’ll try to answer them. If it sounds like a lot of work, it is. But we’ve been selling 2-3 Ruins of Noe ebooks per day since the free ebook day, so I think, in the end, it will be worth it.

6 Comments

  1. tracikenworth
    May 10, 2012

    Sounds like your plans worked well and I can see the benefit of such results.

  2. I learned from my own experiences and others, so I plan better. But then I still do things like, “It’s Children’s Book Week this week? Oops!”

    I wanted to add that, yes, it’s hard work, but it’s also fun. You can’t do it with dollar signs in your eyes. You have to do it because you love having a writer’s life.

  3. 4amWriter
    May 10, 2012

    very informative post, thanks Danika. I feel relieved that I’ve started my online presence, even tho’ I don’t have a book to promote…yet :) I know just from doing the blog *thang* that it is a full-time job not just to jumpstart, but to maintain. I don’t think I could swing promoting my book and build my platform at the same time.

    I’m so happy to hear you’re selling, selling, selling! I hope it keeps cooking!

    • yeah, building a platform while launching your first book is not only overwhelming, it’s depressing. It takes a few years before people know who you are. I’m still working on that part! it probably never ends. lol.

  4. Salahuddin Khan
    May 21, 2012

    Here’s some observations from a recent KDPSelect’er. I put SIKANDER, a Historical Fiction title into the program. Although very well reviewed it was languishing in the 100,000 ranking range overall. From May 1st to 17th it scored a total of 14 sales ($4.99 each), and then on the weekend spanning 18th through 21st, the books became free. By the end of the first 24 hours, we stood almost 10,000 downloads, #1 ranking in Historical Fiction, #5 ranking in Contemporary Fiction, #12 ranking over all ebook titles. As we’re approaching the end of the freebie program there have been almost 14,500 downloads and it’s #3 in Historical Fiction and #4 in Contemporary while being #45 overall.

    I can’t imagine a less expensive way of getting that level of exposure and yes, while I know that the vast majority of downloads will probably do nothing for me, it feels to me that this was a hell of a low risk experiment with a huge upside if it played out. One reason I suspect it did as well as it did was that prior to the free promotion, the book had “seasoned” itself with over 40 top notch reviews. Now I have already started seeing some of the benefit of the “also purchased” presence in the galleys under many other titles and believe that will be where much of the kicker from KDP Select will likely come from.

    Meanwhile, I have no idea what will happen with the loaned books part of the program and await those results eagerly.

    • Oh, so sorry, I somehow missed this message. Great job on your part. I’m on my 2nd free campaign and hope to hit the 10,000 mark myself. I agree that there’s no better and less expensive way to get books out to people – and get the word out about your books.

      If you see my response, how in the end did this translate into sales?

      Thanks so much for your input.

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