The Adventure of Offering a Free Book for Kindle

Offering a free book on Kindle was truly an adventure that began as a misadventure.

For the first five days of May, my publisher (at my request) offered Final Respects--the first book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, free on Kindle.

 The misadventure part:

First I thought it would be good if Final Respects was free period, not for a limited time. There was a place that would advertise it for free if it was always free. My publisher and her assistant tried to make it that way, but Amazon nixed it.

So, I told my publisher put it up free for 5 days, May 1-5 and I merrily went about setting up the promotion on every free and some paid sites I could find.

While I was busy doing that, the Kindle version disappeared from Amazon.

Well not at first, but in order to have the 5 free days, it had to be taken off then reinstated. When this happened, it got a new AISN--which meant the information I'd sent off to all the promo sites was now wrong.


And do you think I kept a list of all these promo sites? No. I did know which ones I'd paid money too though--so then I began the task of informing each place about the new AISN #. Some places I had to redo everything, others fixed it for me. And I did find most of the free promo sites which I fixed. 

This process took all day and I may have missed some.

Now the adventure part:

May 1 came and I got busy promoting on my own, Facebook, Twitter, my Facebook groups, the listserves I'm on. 

The end of that first day there had been 1400+ downloads. And the book was #70 in the free Kindle mysteries and #2 in mystery/police procedurals. And I also received one new review, a good one.

On the fourth day there were 4937 downloads, but the book had moved upt to #100 in the free Kindle mysterys and #3 in mystery/police procedurals. (Lower numbers are better than high ones.)

My publisher reported that there had also been 10 sales of other books in the series. (Which is the whole reason authors do the free book promotion, to interest people in their series.)

On the fifth day, there were 5,970 downloads and 25 sales of other Kindle books in the series.

So at this point, I was happy.

And don't forget, the latest book in the series is Violent Departures.


M.M. Gornell said…
Thanks for the inside details. I've wondered about the free books.
It's worth the effort--but you do need to have more than one book.
You have nerves of steel or super endurance, Marilyn. That sounds like it wasn't an easy task at all, but it did really pay off for you in sales, which is the best part. Thanks for the info.

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