My experience with KDP Select (so far)

When I released The Search in September, I chose to enroll it in KDP Select. I had read many authors’ blogs and opinions on the subject about offering your work exclusively to one distributor. But most of my sales come from Amazon anyway so I am not sure in my case that it matters.

The Search is a short story using one of the main characters from my The Elemental trilogy. It is set before the trilogy happens, and I hope to use it as an introduction of my writing to readers. I liked the option of promoting it for free that KDP Select offers.

After carefully weighing the pros and cons, I decided to go ahead and give KDP Select a try. I used my first 2 (out of 5) free promotional days about 10 days after The Search was released.

Before using my promotional days, I researched many websites that said they would help promote or at least list your “free” book. But I found many of them had qualifications such as at least 10 reviews and a 4+ star rating. Well, for a new release that had only one review at the time that meant those avenues were closed for me.

I promoted my “free” book on some Goodread groups and on Facebook, but mainly I used Twitter as my marketing strategy.  I announced it was free on my blog so that my tribe from Triberr would be tweeting it out. I also joined Tweet Teams from World Literary Café on both the day before and each day of the promotion. That means an additional 27 people were tweeting my message. I must admit I received a fair amount of retweets. But of course, the problem is you don’t know who – if anyone – is reading those tweets. And if they are reading them, are the motivated to act right then and get a book for free?

I ended up with 119 books downloaded in two days. It wasn’t the hundreds I had hoped for or had read about from other authors who had done free promotions.

My book ranking went from 256,699 to 1683. No, I didn’t crack the top 100, but I didn’t expect to. I still don’t know whether to consider this a success or not.

I have learned a few things about offering your book for free. One, make sure you plan in advance. (I started planning a week before the promotion.) Two, make sure you have the necessary 10 reviews to use those other sites – the more exposure the better, right? Three, run your promotion as long as possible so that momentum can build each day. (I have heard this advice from other authors but did note that most of my free books were downloaded on the first day.)

So I have now used two of my five promotion days. I plan to use the other three in November and will see if I get a better result. If anyone has any marketing strategies for offering your book for free, I would sure love to hear them.