Ad Results From KDP Select Free Days

We all like to know what kinds of promotions have worked for other people so that we can decide which promotions we’re going to try for our own books. With that in mind, here is my experience using the KDP Select free days in May 2015.

LMLebookAllRomanceMy chick-lit book, Little Miss Lovesick, first came out in 2011. Recently, as I’ve focused on my superhero series, sales have dropped to almost nothing for Lovesick. I decided they couldn’t go lower than zero, so I removed the book from other distributors and signed it up for KDP Select.

In the interest of experimentation, and because I was busy getting my online class on self-publishing ready, I did nothing to promote the book after I put it into Select. (That’s the same amount of promotion I was doing before it was in Select. 😉 ) For the first 2 1/2 months of the 90-day program, the book did about the same as it had been doing. I had a total of one Kindle Unlimited borrow and one sale in eleven weeks.

I decided that to get more downloads, and therefore more reviews, I would use the free days rather than the Countdown Deal. I set five days free in a row from Tuesday, May 19 through Saturday, May 23, the middle of Memorial Day weekend. And to see how that affected borrows, I renewed the book in KDP Select for another 90 days.

A week or two before the free dates, I used the BookMarketing Tools auto-submission form ($14.99) to apply to 32 websites that accept submissions for free books to be placed in their daily newsletters. Using this tool, I was able to fill out the required information for 32 websites in 20 minutes! (Definitely worth fifteen bucks to me!)

As luck would have it, my main computer’s hard drive died in the middle of my sale and I no longer have all the information about what I did and what happened. But this is at least 90% of the information I was tracking. 🙂

j0315542Monday May 18:
– The day before the sale started, no borrows, no sales.
– Guest blog at Kathleen Rowland’s blog

Tuesday May 19: 1002 free downloads today
– First day of the “free” sale!
– Guest blog at Alina K. Field’s blog
– Indie Author News “Free Ebook of the Day” ad ($25) – An ad with the book’s cover stayed on the top left corner of EVERY page of their website, and they tweeted about it at least 5-10 times. (I’d definitely do this again!)

Wednesday May 20: 1389 free downloads today
– Guest blog at Linda McLaughlin/Lyndi Lamont’s blog
– There were SO MANY TWEETS from Linda (perhaps automated? I forgot to ask. But on that blog post it shows that 54 people tweeted about it!), and many people in her circle retweeted her tweets. (I definitely want to get Linda’s help again! She should sell a service or something! Haha!)

Thursday May 21: 2517 free downloads today
– InD’tale Bargain Books ad ($25) – An ad to 10,000+ subscribers; my book was listed first this time (at the top) in the email that went out. I didn’t receive the email until about 4pm Pacific, so I don’t know how many people who saw that ad clicked on it Thursday or didn’t see it until Friday.
– Fiverr promo w/BKnights ($15) – I heard about them on the Rocking Self-Publishing podcast. I bought three $5 promotions: promoted to 4800+ active users on their Facebook page (over 7 days), promoted on their website with 2000 visitors (for 1 day), and included in their daily newsletter to 2500+ subscribers (for 1 day).

I know the InD’tale ad did well last time I bought it, which is why I used it again this time. But my numbers this time are significantly higher, so I’m assuming the BKnights promotion did well, too. I’m going to try them both again next month.

Friday May 22: 1407 free downloads today
– First day of Memorial Day weekend; had no idea if that would be good or bad.
– Tracy Reed posted a guest blog at The Romance Studio about my book and sale
– Choosy Bookworm Premium ad ($38) – An ad to 40,000+ subscribers, “all week” but I don’t know the start and end date

Saturday 5/23: 972 free downloads today
– No promo that I knew about, except possibly Choosy Bookworm as part of their “all week” promo with the premium ad. It’s possible that one of the 32 sites I submitted to earlier ran the book on this day.
– I was enjoying the holiday weekend and didn’t do anything except look for tweets and reply and retweet. 🙂

Over the next week, through the end of May:
There were 25 more freebies downloaded early Sunday morning before the price went back to $2.99, for a grand total of 7312 free copies downloaded in five days. I thought it was quite funny that two copies were returned – they were free, why take the time?! Haha! But even so, that’s a negligible percentage.

On Sunday, the first day the book was back at full price, I sold 15 copies. I sold 11 more copies over the rest of that week. Even though it’s not a lot, it’s more than I’d sold during any other non-sale week. Then for the whole month of June, the book sold 5 copies. No copies were sold during the first eight days of July.

Now since it’s KDP Select, and that means Kindle Unlimited, everyone wants to know how many borrows I had. As I mentioned earlier, I had ONE borrow in the 2 1/2 months before the book went free. In the eight days of May following the freebie period, I had 71 borrows! 🙂  In June, I had 88 borrows. Excellent!

So in the 7 weeks since the free book promotion, Little Miss Lovesick has had 7312 free downloads, 31 sales, and 163 borrows. Total spent on promotion – $118Total earned – about $389*, approximately $63 from sales and $326 from borrows. This is FAR MORE MONEY than I have earned in a two-month period so far from all book sales combined, not including audiobooks. (It’s growing slowly but surely. But my best month was about $100.)

And if you’re interested in rankings, I think I hit #49 or 47 in all of the Kindle Free Store as my best rank, plus several #1 and #2 category rankings.

US.v10WEBIf you’re interested in how this compares with my last book promotion, see this post about making Unexpected Superhero free over two periods (two days and three days) in October. I spent $80 that month, had 3710 free downloads, 59 sales, and 15 borrows over about four weeks, earning about $88*.

I can think of at least three things that contributed to the difference. One, I did five free days in a row this time, which is what Debra Holland and many other self-published friends strongly suggest. I wanted to try two weekends last October, and perhaps that accounted for less momentum.

Two, my mailing list has almost doubled since October, and I have more fans. That may have contributed to increased sales and borrows.

Three, these are different books in different genres. It’s impossible to replicate something exactly due to that alone. I’ve heard that Kindle Unlimited has a huge number of romance readers as members. That may be why my chick-lit did better than my superhero urban fantasy.

I hope this gave you some ideas for places that might be good for you to try for your own promotions. And I hope you’ve gained some insight into how the whole process works. Remember, your results will not only vary from mine, but they will vary from one of your books to another!

I’m going to do another free promotion for Little Miss Lovesick in mid-August. I’m going to try to replicate exactly the ads and promotions that I did in May, but also try to come up with additional ideas to increase visibility as well. I’ll let you know what happens!

[*NOTE: I guesstimated earnings at the time I wrote this, but looking back at my bank account later, I see that I overestimated. Earnings due to the October 2014 promotion were closer to $86 over two months, not $88 over one month. Earnings due to the May 2015 promotion were about $274 rather than $389.]
June 2, 2015

Help! I Need an Editor!

j0316779Hello everyone! I’m Sarah Dawson, an editor fortunate enough to have her own freelance company, WordPlay Editing. It’s not often that I get asked the question “Where can I find an editor?” because, of course, authors in contact with me have already found one! But being an editor means I know where other editors lurk, and I’d like to share some (hopefully) helpful ideas for how you can find an editor who fits your particular needs, especially if you don’t have anybody who can personally recommend an editor with whom they’ve worked.

By far the best editor-finding resource out there is the Editorial Freelance Association’s website. The EFA is a national organization of editors headquartered in New York, with regional chapters across the United States and members in countries across the world. Its website offers authors two (absolutely free!) ways to search for editors, both with links located on the upper right of each page of the site. The “find a freelancer” link allows you to look at editors’ profiles and the “submit a job listing” link allows you to request that interested editors contact you. Let me share a little bit more about each of these options.

Each editor who is a member of the EFA is given the opportunity to create a profile for him- or herself on the EFA website, talking about his or her qualifications, contact information, and particular area(s) of expertise. For an example, you can view my profile. The “find a freelancer” option gives you the chance to search these profiles by the criteria that matter to you, including limiting the search by state, skill, specialty, hardware, and/or software, as well as entering keywords and/or names as search terms. This is a great option if you have a specific type of editor in mind or would prefer to approach editors instead of having editors approach you.

j0309629If, on the other hand, you’d prefer to have any interested editors contact you, the “submit a job listing” option is your tool! This option lets you submit a job listing that will be quickly sent out to all EFA members subscribed to the feed (and that is a lot of editors!). The job listing form asks you to enter your contact information, the type of work/editing involved, a description of the project, the rate you’re looking to pay, and whether you’re looking for a remote editor or somebody in a particular location. This option saves you a lot of time and energy because it means that only those editors with interest in and time for your project will contact you…not to mention the fact that you don’t have to spend hours searching through editor profiles! This is also a great option if you need to find an editor in a hurry (say, if you’ve written an article and have a next-day deadline) because in most cases you’ll hear back from at least a few available editors within an hour or two of the listing being sent. Then, your only job will be to choose which editor you’d like to hire…but that’s a topic for another day!

Another great resource if you’d specifically like an editor in your city is your local editing association. Most cities in the country will have one; for example, in San Diego where I live, we have SD/PEN (the San Diego Professional Editors Network). A quick Google search should lead you to the active organization in your city. Just like on the EFA site, the local organization will likely have editor profiles for you to browse as well as a way to post job listings. If it’s important to you to be able to meet with your editor in person, your local organization is probably your best bet.

Finally, if all else fails, you could just do a Google search for an editor. While I don’t really recommend this method since it doesn’t give you any guarantees about a person’s skill level or professionalism, you might just be lucky enough to stumble upon a great editor’s website.

I hope you’ve found this little tutorial a helpful one and that you now know how to go about finding an editor if you don’t already have one. Please feel free to contact me via my website if you have any questions or are interested in having me as an editor…I always welcome inquiries from potential new clients! Otherwise, good luck with your writing, and good editor-hunting!


Sarah DawsonSarah Dawson is a librarian-turned-editor with nearly a decade of experience proofreading and editing. After earning her bachelor’s degree in English from UC Irvine and her Master of Library and Information Science degree from SJSU, Sarah worked as a high school librarian until she decided it was time for a change. Always an avid reader, she knew she still wanted to work with books, and her experience as a part-time proofreader and editor swayed her to the editing field. After earning her copyediting certificate from UCSD, she opened her own editing business, WordPlay Editing, now in its third successful year. Sarah resides in sunny San Diego, California, and in her off hours enjoys spending time with her husband and family, traveling, cooking, ballroom dance, and, of course, reading.

What Are We Doing Here?

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re reading the first blog post of my new website! 😀

I want to tell you why I’m here, and I hope that will help you decide if this is a good place for you as well.

I’m a writer.

There are a few things more important to me – God and family and friends, for instance 🙂 – but from a business perspective, writing is my first priority.

I'm a Writer It's How I Process the CrazinessThat’s good news for you because I’m always looking for ways to improve my craft, publish my books quicker or easier or more professionally, and find more of my “perfect readers” and sell more books. And I like nothing more than sharing what I’ve learned with my friends. (That’s you, by the way. 😉 )

I’m going to be right there with you plotting and writing and despairing of ever writing another decent sentence, and then editing and polishing and celebrating. Then together we’ll roll up our sleeves and make those manuscripts into real, live books!

I’m a writer and a teacher, and I plan to do both. I’ll be available to answer your questions within 24 hours (a bit more if it’s a weekend). I’ll be helping and encouraging and teaching and sharing all I know and all I can find to help us both create and publish great books. I’ll also be writing, and trying out different promotions and advertisements, and learning more about how self-published books can get noticed by their target audiences. And I’ll be sharing all of that with you in the class and on this blog.

And really, who better to teach you how to self-publish your books than someone who is doing it regularly herself?

You may have seen the Writer Entrepreneur Guides tagline – Write a Book, Change the World. There are a lot of people using that phrase “change the world.” Let me tell you why I’m using it.

Several years ago, I was at a church game night in Sydney, Australia, where my husband and I were blessed to live for a few years. I asked my new friend Nic what she did for a living, and when she said she worked as a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit, I was overwhelmed by a sudden and intense wave of insignificance.

“Wow,” I said. “I write romance novels, not exactly important work.”

She turned to me and said very seriously, “That is important work. When I lose a baby at work, all I want to do when I get home is lose myself in a good book. You make that possible.”

I have never forgotten that. And it has changed the way I write.

You need to believe that your work is important. Maybe you’ll write novels that will help people relax after a bad day. Maybe your books will help someone de-stress regularly so they don’t burnout at their job as a nurse or a police officer or a teacher.

Maybe you’ll write a nonfiction book that will help someone gain confidence and courage, or overcome an addiction, or find new health.

As the ripples of our lives reach out and merge, we’re changed. We have the opportunity to be nicer to our neighbors, smile at strangers, let the woman with the fidgety toddler get in front of us in the bathroom line. Think about all the times someone has been nice to you, and then you pass it on to someone else, who hopefully passes it on to someone else.

We can be a part of that, little ripples that make the world a better place. Our books can cause those positive ripples. Look at how Catherine Hyde’s book Pay It Forward, and the movie that followed, spawned a whole movement of doing good!

So that’s what I’m doing here at Writer Entrepreneur Guides. I want to help and encourage writers like me, people who have something to say, a story to tell, and need some help with the sometimes complicated and confusing process of getting that story to readers.

I want to encourage writers in all aspects of their journey. That’s what I’ll do on the blog here. I’ll post how-to articles, interviews with writers and other professionals, time management pieces, reports on various promotions that I or other authors did for our books, and more.

I’ll also teach my classes here instead of on Yahoo Groups where I’ve been teaching them for the last several years. I decided to start with my Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing class. I’ve taught this twice before, but not in this “online classroom” environment.

So the first time I teach the class in this format, it will be a sort of “pilot.” It will be cheaper because students will be testing the system. We’ll make sure everything works, fix any bugs, etc. Also, there will only be a limited number of students in the pilot. Those students, however, will get to have a lot of input into the improvements I’ll make to the class. They’ll be able to make requests for what they want to learn and how it’s presented.

Once the pilot is completed, and all the improvements and fixes have been made, I’ll open the class up to everyone. And then I’ll work on getting my popular Going the Distance: Time and Project Management for Writers class up and running here. 🙂

If you have any questions, please use the Contact form in the menu on the left. I’ll continue to update the Classes page on the menu with more information on the self-publishing class.

Meanwhile, keep writing! Your ripples can change the world!

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