Thursday, October 29, 2015

Can FREE Promotions Help Indie Authors?

A Tale of Two Colonies
October Promotion of A Tale of Two Colonies:

Giant creepy crawlies, including spiders, attack in this adventure and romance story set on The Planet of the Giant Arthropods, aka Delta, after a local airline (excuse my wild imagination). This story seemed suitable for a Halloween promotion.
The eBook is only 99c until November 1st: 

As an Indie author, I appreciate free promotion. But, how well does it work? In September, I ran a small paid promotion on another book and essentially broke even after a week. This month, I tested a different strategy on a stand-alone book.  Using free sites only, I promoted the ebook FREE from Oct 16-20th and then at 99c for the rest of the month.

Crude unscientific summary: 
The book hit #1 FREE in Colonization and Space Exploration subcategories on Amazon and I gained a few sales and kindle unlimited reads over the next week or two. 

Would I do it again? Yes! This free promotion worked better than the paid one I ran in September on another book and the book achieved temporary prominence after weeks of inaction. 
Here are the results:

eBook FREE for Oct 16-20 
A total of 1796 copies given away.

Listed on the following sites:

Top rank reached on Oct 19th
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134 Free in Kindle Store
I'm pleased with this rank since I have never achieved a rank of #1 in previous promotions.

eBook discounted to 99c from Oct 21-31
by 29th – 14 sold + a few thousand reads. Not spectacular, but better than the book did in the month before.
Submitted to the following sites:

Top rank on Oct 23th
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,461 Paid in Kindle Store

Secret Weapons
I acknowledge help with tweets and retweets from the members of the eNovelAuthorsatWork group and a catchier book description created with advice from Bryan Cullen’s FB group Selling for Authors.

My thoughts:
Free promotion can work if you have a good “street team” for sharing.
The boost is temporary.
Discounting to 99c helps to track the results and brings in more readers. 
What strategy works for you? 


  1. Thanks for sharing, Aurora. And congrats big time on the #1s. :)

  2. This is a very helpful article, Aurora - it focussed my thoughts very well on how to promote my own novels. Thank you.

    1. You are welcome! Let me know if it works for your book.

  3. Congrats - and many thanks for sharing! This kind of information is pure gold :)

  4. Congrats and thanks for sharing, Aurora!

  5. Aurora: Collecting those stats is excellent data and food for thought. I think you did super in both campaigns. Promotion is to get our books visible, gather new readers and reviews. I like small campaigns. They work our books up the ladder to success and readership and help to prepare it for a larger campaign. Every campaign is a learning experience. It helps us to keep from trying to reinvent the wheel. Loved this post.