KDP Select – My Free Promo Experience

When I signed up for the KDP Select package I had no idea what I was really getting myself into. I knew the basic principle of the agreement but that was it. The whole Free Day concept was a new discovery for me, and one I only really found out about after reading an article on a friend and fellow writer’s blog.

This friend pointed out that the best-selling days on Amazon are Friday through Sunday, and with this in mind, I set my free days to end on a Thursday and all any interest generated during the previous days to flow over into the popular book purchasing days, with my book having returned to full price.

Having never run a free promotion before, I had no real expectations with regards the figures I was expecting to see.  At the end of the three days I was very happy with the results.

At the end of my three-day promotion, Highway to Hell had over 1100 downloads. The most impressive thing however, was the fact that in the three days that followed the end of my promotion, sales were higher than at any point before the promo. My rankings hovered around the 30,000 mark all weekend, and have only now started to go back down.

Ok, I hear you all cry that 30,000 isn’t all that impressive, but for me it is incredible. I had never reached that position on the list, let alone held it steady for a few days. In fact, on the co.uk branch I am holding steady in the mid teen-thousands.

I have also noticed my book has been borrowed once. That was with no promotion on the whole borrowing side of things, and to be honest, that is the real side of KDPSelect that I want to focus on. I mean running a free promotion is possible any time. Getting Prime members aware of my novel and getting them borrowing it. That is where the true Select success lies.

Overall I am delighted with the results of my promotion and I have two days over for this KDPSelect cycle. I will save them up for a while, but will most certainly use them in the build up to the weekend.

When I first heard about Amazon’s plans I was against it, and even wrote a rather successful blog post about it. Yet now, and in a way before I ran the promo, my views changed. They are still changing, and while I still have my doubts about the long term benefits for the consumer with Amazon’s plans, I am certain it is the right choice for me as a self-published author… for now.

Have any of you got KDPSelect experiences that you would like to share?


20 thoughts on “KDP Select – My Free Promo Experience

    1. Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed it. Yes, it is a three month cycle. You can opt in and out freely, but you must complete the cycle you are on at the time you cancel. I am using it as a chance to hone my sales skills and only have to worry about one market, one outlet. Plus, the sales I was making from other non-amazon markets were negatable. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  1. Hi Alex – thanks for the post. So happy you enjoyed success from this program. I’m also in the KDP Select program with my self-pubbed book and I was just wondering, when do you know when your free week is? Do they send you an email or is there another way to find out when you can have the freebie giveaway? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kelly,

      You can choose your free days yourself. If you go to your Bookshelf, select the title you want to work on, click on Actions and then Manage Promotions and you will be able to schedule all of your free days. You get 5 days every 90 day cycle. You can also cancel scheduled days if you want need to so there is nothing to worry about if you plan things in advance.

      I am glad you liked the post, and thank you very much for leaving a comment.

  2. Hi Alex, I’m planning a free promo sometime soon — just waiting for glitches to be ironed out of my book. The tip about doing it in the leadup to a weekend, rather than over a weekend, is a good one. I would have gone for a weekend, thinking that would be the best time. Once I’ve done it I’ll get back to you with the results and we can compare 🙂 Regards, Alana Woods

    1. Sounds like a plan to me Alana. I would lover to compare stories and that way we can both improve ourselves for the next free run. The thing I totally overlooked was, as you say, the weekend is the best time because that is when most books are sold. So why make it free then, you are loosing out of the boost the free promo will give you. When I read that and mulled it over, I realized how true it was. Good luck getting the last few kinks ironed out, and let me know when your book is going free, I would be more than happy to spread the (twitter) word.

  3. I’ve had great success with the Kindle Select programme. I’ve tried promos of varying lengths and on different days of the week. On a particular one-day giveaway, I gave away only 350 copies of one book, but when I did a giveaway the next month (with the same book), I gave away 14,5000 copies! I have no idea why the difference, except that a few websites (including Pixel of Ink) picked up the promo and advertised it on their blogs. That day, the book made it to #1 in my genre and #16 in the overall Kindle store (for freebies, of course). Over the next few days, I sold hundreds of copies at $3.99/£2.99, and I continue to sell about 15 a day two weeks later. That’s a huge boost for me! (The book in question has been out the longest of all my titles, and therefore sags from time to time in the rankings.)

    Not only that, I have nearly always gotten a new review or two and a smattering of sign-ups for my newsletter when I’ve done a free promotion, and that’s worth a lot. My newsletter subscribers are my most loyal fan-base. I’ve even started getting much more frequent (multiple per week) fan letters after putting my books up for these promotions. No financial benefit, but it is a big morale-booster.

    But, as I’ve said, not every giveaway has had that level of stunning success that netted me much profit (typical giveaway averages about 750-1000 per day for me), but EVERY promo I’ve done has more than paid for the days of lost sales, so it’s well worth it.

    1. Wow, that is certainly an impressive batch of figures. Both for the promo and the sales after the promotion had ended. I was happy with 1100 but now my expectations have changed. Although I guess that it largely depends on the genre you are listed in also. Some sell better than others.

      I am selling about one a day now which is up from one a week before the promo.

      Where did you tun the advertising for your promo? Mine was based almost solely on Twitter. I will try to add other mediums in my later promos.

    1. It was indeed. I am thoroughly looking forward to the next one. Only two days but I have ideas on how to improve things so I have high hopes. Gonna wait a few months though, maybe combine it with the launch of the second installment.

  4. Good post, love reading about other authors in the KDP select program and what ideas they have for it… and strangely enough I have a zombie book out called “Highway To Hell”, but its not in the KDP program… yet.

    Armand Rosamilia

    1. That is certainly a coincidence. It is a catchy title, and I think perfectly fitted to horror. Not to mention all of the AC/DC searches that could yield some extra interest. Thanks for leaving me a comment, I am glad you enjoyed the post.

      1. Yes, I’m sure we’re both benefitting from AC/DC… I also have a book “Death Metal” and get tons of secondary looks because of that one as well… think my next books will be “American Idol” and “Coca Cola”, lol

        Armand Rosamilia

  5. Hello. Great post.
    I myself have selected the KDP programme. It’s my first e-book, so it’s an experiment as well as giving me time to get my other marketing skills up to scratch. I have used 3 days of my promo and gave my book away. I had 533 downloads over a weekend, but sales are flat. I don’t think I will sign up again when I have my other two books finished.
    If you have the one book, I think it’s good to use, until you have a more complete marketing ready that will take in all the other digital sellers.
    I do have a question. When one has signed up for the KDP programme, are books that are nearly finished locked also into the programme, until the 90 days are up? Or, just the book that one is promoting now?
    Kind regards

      1. Thanks.
        That’s how I have interpreted the contract.
        Thanks for getting back to me.

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