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What I’ve learned from giving my ebook away

18 August 2017

From Chris Meadows via TeleRead:

So, I gave away a total of 703 copies of my ebook, The Geek’s Guide to Indianapolis, over the last five days, Friday through Tuesday. That’s considerably more than the 200 or so I gave away the last time I made it free, over just a Saturday and Sunday. What did I discover over the course of this giveaway?

For one thing, giving your ebook away only over the weekend might be a mistake; my two busiest days, in which I gave away nearly 200 copies each, were Friday and Monday. Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday all hovered around the 100 mark.

Out of the giveaway, I picked up seven more five-star reviews, for a grand total of ten. It’s really rather impressive. I’m surprised i haven’t picked up any one-star “spoilers” yet, from people who weren’t as impressed—especially after I was fairly blatant in promoting it some places, such as Reddit. (But please don’t consider this an invitation!)

. . . .

And the promotion has had some other rewards as well. For one thing, I did pick up 1,353 total Kindle Unlimited page views over the weekend. Part of the reason I’d put the book up for free was that I’d heard that might happen. The only thing is, I’m not sure how much actual cash those reads are likely to translate into. How can I tell?

That’s not the only reward, either. A bit of an unexpected one is that I picked up $58.50 in Amazon Affiliate referral fees over the last week. That’s about half of what I’ve made from the book itself since first publishing it. A few of those are recognizably from Teleread articles I’ve done, such as Ready Player One or a SanDisk 32 GB SD card, but most of them are completely unfamiliar. I can only imagine that a lot of the people who followed the link to my book—which had my affiliate code built in—ended up making other purchases while they were there.

Link to the rest at TeleRead

Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Pricing

11 Comments to “What I’ve learned from giving my ebook away”

  1. At $0.040 per KENPC, those 1353 KU reads should equal around $50.

  2. My wife, Gina Lake, and I have made giving away free ebooks an ongoing central feature of our writing business. This has to do with our core motivation which is to reach as many people as possible with our perspectives, but it has turned out to also be an effective way to bring more readers to our books for sale. However, there are other rewards to giving away free ebooks beyond the financial benefits, as we receive messages almost every day from people whose lives have been positively impacted by our books.

    Strange to say, but it has gotten much harder to give away free ebooks in the last few years, even though we created a website for that sole purpose: http://www.freespiritualebooks.com/
    It seems that people are inundated with free and discount ebooks and so they are not as quick to download another free ebook. It still works for us and again fulfills our main motivation for writing, but it is harder to reach people this way than it used to be.

  3. The reason I can’t/don’t use KU is because my stories are free to find and read on the web. One is in a collection of like stories, the other is where the finished as well as ‘in work’ stories can be found. Alpha and beta readers help clean things up as well as pointing out where I’ve left any gaping ‘plot hole’ before it becomes impossible to fill in.

    If they’d like to support the writer that’s great, if they’d just like to read that’s good too.

  4. Oh boy right up my alley: I’ve given away 40,000 books in August thus far. I strive to give away 1,000,000 books by the end of 2018 at a cost in excess of $10,000. Why, you ask?

    Well, back in June I took a series that had been languishing in KU for years, with all 4 books earning a total of $100 a month, or roughly $3 a day. Then I gave away 20,000 copies over a 6 week window (of all books in the series) – and several weeks later I am still earning $60 a day on same. It cost me $200 of promo ads a week on average. I am going to ramp up this practice with my other 20+ titles.

    Imagine telling Big Pub that they needed to spend promo money to give away thousands of books for free in order to earn more cash down the road. On backlist titles! Plus, and I’ll spare you the boring details – I’ve added 1600 new fresh email addresses to my newsletter.

    They’d bounce me and my Book Report graphs right out of that cushy Manhattan office. Doubletime.

    EDIT: All this without Bookbub.

    • Good to hear.
      What type of books, might one ask?

      • Sure. Fiction – paranormal mystery but with a light/clean romance angle. Always a female protagonist. There are about 5 authors like me with similar covers who inhabit the Top 100 Mystery niche. So it’s fairly popular, but readers are 95% female and with no naked dudes on the cover…let’s just say it’s not the biggest pond, not the smallest.

        I collected 500 rejections from Big Pub over 4 years and have sold nearly 500k copies since going indie. Just now jumped all in to KU and my page reads are heading towards 100k a day. Even when I drop a title to free for 5 days somehow I find 1000+ downloads without paid promo ads. Thus far in my limited $0.99 sales I have had to promo heavy for just 50 daily sales. I’m afraid, for me at least, that the months of 5 figure earnings without an investment in paid promos and ads are over.

        I am doggedly collecting data and keeping notes on my journey with the hopes of sharing every single number when I think they can be of use to others. I learned a lot from Joe Konrath when he did the same and I will pay it forward.

        • Thanks. I have a friend that recently jumped into that lake. Her first series is more ghostly stories. I’ll pass on the data.

          • Fantastic, I wish her all the luck in the world! I can definitely recommend using the word ‘ghost’ in her title and/or subtitle, as well as a keyword. Same with ‘witch’ or ‘vampire’ or any other supernatural being she may have in the story.

            It’s really a challenging niche; you can’t find any author big enough (outside of Charlaine Harris) to target via FB ads. But Bookbub ads have all the heavy hitters as targets. It does seem most who are successful are heavily in KU and priced at $3.99 or so, and market/promote aggressively.

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