Re: Kindle book giveaways

by radu
26 replies
For me personally this type of promotion did not work too well. The people download the ebook and most of the times they don't even read it. The perceived value is minimal to zero, people don't appreciate and attribute little value to what they get so easy. I had 1-2 days Kindle promotion with hundreds of downloads and no reviews and then 2 weeks with no sales.

I'm selling now better since I raised the prices than when I had a low price, maybe it's the niche I'm in..a little more exclusive not too broad with millions of potential buyers.
#book #giveaways #kindle
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    This was first posted in the old Kindle giveaway thread.

    I moved it here for two reasons:

    > That thread has a singular purpose - to announce free promotions of Kindle books.

    > Moving to the main forum might generate some useful discussion.
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  • Profile picture of the author whitehat
    Whoosh! Well at least you have buyers, so you can see the change in price outcome. I lowered my prices like to 75% off, but my traffic is still too low to measure any difference.

    I wish I had mega traffic where I could zero in on the best price to sell my ad space.

    What you can do is offer the e-books for free that have the smallest value. That would be an empathetic move, 'cause you would agree that they are worthless. Or better yet, just offer the same one, but remove any valuable tips in it, right?

    Give your valuable content to users who pay.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by whitehat View Post

      Whoosh! Well at least you have buyers, so you can see the change in price outcome. I lowered my prices like to 75% off, but my traffic is still too low to measure any difference.

      I wish I had mega traffic where I could zero in on the best price to sell my ad space.

      What you can do is offer the e-books for free that have the smallest value. That would be an empathetic move, 'cause you would agree that they are worthless. Or better yet, just offer the same one buy remove any valuable tips in it, right.

      Give your valuable content to users who pay.
      I get what you are saying, but we're dealing with something a little off that path.

      One of the factors that helps determine the visibility of a book in the Kindle marketplace is the number of sales made of that book. More sales, better positioning, more promotion from Amazon itself.

      Kindle offers a program to authors that allows them to boost the number of "sales" by offering the ebook for free for a certain number of days each quarter. Properly promoted, this can results in a large number of "sales" at $0.00. When the promotion expires, the book goes back to normal price. For a period of time, the author benefits from the improved exposure and promotion, making sales at regular price.

      As the OP noted, sometimes this works better in theory than in practice. I'm not sure how he determined that most people never read the book, but he's probably right. I, myself, have dozens of books I've downloaded because they looked interesting and I just haven't gotten around to reading them. Not sure about the valuation point, either, as I have ebooks I paid for in the same boat.

      The tactic seems to work best for fiction authors who write in series. Offer the first book in the series for free, and if readers like it, they will buy others in the series.
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  • Profile picture of the author toydistrict
    Kindle is getting more and more saturated. Those in the early days crushed it. Now it's much harder to get visibility. I'd say you would need to spend at least $200 in advertising to see real results.

    Yes, fiction works best. Best rank I ever reached was top 300 overall. This was about 3 years ago. Can't remember how much I spent on ad budget. But to replicate this now would be much harder.

    After seeing the state of the market ( and the great effort needed to actually write fiction) I pulled out of the Kindle market.

    Opportunities are still there. But it is much harder.
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  • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
    Originally Posted by radu View Post

    I'm selling now better since I raised the prices than when I had a low price, maybe it's the niche I'm in..a little more exclusive not too broad with millions of potential buyers.
    Which do you believe that anyone would give greater perceived value to.

    1. A free book?

    2. A book that costs $10?

    Not saying that the free book couldn't be 10x more valuable in content over the $10 book, but that's not the issue. The issue is perception, followed by motivation.

    I don't do free and I have no interest in free offerings. Could I have missed some great things that were offered for free? Sure - but I doubt it. If someone is not going to value their product or service by putting a price on it, why would they ever expect that I would be interested in it. Because I'm a loser that is only interested in what I can get for free??? Sorry. That's just not me.

    Hey - but I'm weird. :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

      Which do you believe that anyone would give greater perceived value to.

      1. A free book?

      2. A book that costs $10?

      Not saying that the free book couldn't be 10x more valuable in content over the $10 book, but that's not the issue. The issue is perception, followed by motivation.
      How about a book that normally costs $10, but as part of a promotion is available for free for 1-5 days?

      Will people still discount the the fact that they didn't pay for it, or will they pat themselves on the back for getting a free book that others had to pay $10 for?
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      • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        How about a book that normally costs $10, but as part of a promotion is available for free for 1-5 days?
        A common tactic that can certainly work, if properly promoted for maximum visibility. The problem with that ploy, is after 1 to 5 days, you're right back where you started.

        Will people still discount the the fact that they didn't pay for it, or will they pat themselves on the back for getting a free book that others had to pay $10 for?
        Again, that depends on the content. Getting meaningless content at no cost is no bargain at any price. Time is money. Getting good content for free - he shoots, HE SCORES!!! You'll be the first I'll be sure to let know if I ever run across that scenario. :-)
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

          A common tactic that can certainly work, if properly promoted for maximum visibility. The problem with that ploy, is after 1 to 5 days, you're right back where you started.
          In the Kindle marketplace, you aren't right back where you started. If you get a significant amount of downloads, and maybe even some 4-5 star reviews, Amazon cranks up the promotion machine for awhile (could be a long while if all goes well) and you end up well beyond where you started.

          If we were talking about the world in general, or a platform like Clickbank, I'd agree with you. But if you can set things up so that Amazon gets a whiff of a moneymaker, they'll do whatever they can to get their piece of the pie.

          A few years ago, I put an ebook on Kindle as a learning experiment. With a little bit of promotion, it became a category bestseller. After a free promotion with some reviews, my book started showing up in the "people who bought this book also bought:" and "people who viewed this book also viewed:" sections.

          It was a very niche ebook (it's still there) so it was never going to be a big money maker at ~$2 per sale royalty. I haven't touched it in a couple of years, and it still makes the odd sale now and again.
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  • sounds like you need better marketing
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Davis
    Instead of free, I would recommend bumping down to 99 cents. This was a good tactic for the two fiction books that I've released in the past. Go to 99 cents, then promote the heck out of it on social as a limited time thing (which it is). From my POV, what you're really trying to do is get reviews. More reviews, more reputable the book appears to be.

    On a side note, a good tactic I used to launch books was a goodreads giveaway. Net, don't discount the power of goodreads as a marketing platform.
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  • You usually only use advice you pay for.

    If your book content is great, then people will pay you for it.

    You are guaranteed to make many book sales, when your books topic is relevant to the prospects search, ranking well in the top 3 in the search results, and it's well marketed elsewhere online.

    You are also getting people who are able to shop online to know, like and trust you. Book sales will happen without reviews.
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    • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
      Originally Posted by Internet Trillionaire View Post

      If your book content is great, then people will pay you for it.
      And just how would they know that BEFORE reading it???
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      • Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

        And just how would they know that BEFORE reading it???
        If they are able to read your contents page and the first chapter of your book for free on Amazon, then that should be enough to get the prospective book purchasers to invest in your reading material you provided for them.

        How else are they going to know????
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        • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
          Originally Posted by Internet Trillionaire View Post

          If
          Right. 'If."
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          • Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

            Right. 'If."
            Not "if".

            In the kindle store you can read the first chapter of the books, or a portion of it to presell your kindle books. It's a standard " Look Inside" feature that Amazon has for all the books being sold in Amazon's market place.
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            • Profile picture of the author DABK
              Agreed, still if. I have bought a few kindle books. In the process of selecting the ones I bought, I had the opportunity to look at the first few pages of hundreds of books but did not.

              Originally Posted by Internet Trillionaire View Post

              Not "if".

              In the kindle store you can read the first chapter of the books, or a portion of it to presell your kindle books. It's a standard " Look Inside" feature that Amazon has for all the books being sold in Amazon's market place.
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              • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
                Originally Posted by DABK View Post

                Agreed, still if. I have bought a few kindle books. In the process of selecting the ones I bought, I had the opportunity to look at the first few pages of hundreds of books but did not.
                My question has always been, "Are the pages you are allowing me to peruse, the best ones in the book and the rest are total rubbish?"

                It has happened. lol
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                "He not busy being born, is busy dying." - Bob Dylan • "I vibe with the light-dark point. Heavy." - Words that Bob Dylan wishes he had written.

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                • Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

                  My question has always been, "Are the pages you are allowing me to peruse, the best ones in the book and the rest are total rubbish?"

                  It has happened. lol
                  For Kindle, it's the first 10% of the content. So the front part could be awesome and the rest suck. It has and does happen.

                  Mark
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                  • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
                    Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

                    For Kindle, it's the first 10% of the content. So the front part could be awesome and the rest suck. It has and does happen.

                    Mark
                    Is this what is meant by, "Things tend to start-out great and then go downhill from there?" lol
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi Radu,

    Interesting you note this; I had a similar experience. Not the same reasons per se. But when I ceased doing free giveaways and raised prices more folks bought the eBooks.

    In my case it was an energy issue. I did the Kindle free giveaway deal not from a generous, detached space, but because I feared nobody would buy 'em at 99 cents per eBook. I also tried to manipulate outcomes, desperately wanting reviews and downloads so I'd gain exposure and sell more eBooks when at full price. Fear-based energy. Not good.

    I felt the fear - honestly - let it go, cleared out the ick, raised prices to $3.99 and $6.99 for my 6K and 15K word eBooks, and sold more. All energy deal; I felt OK or clear or good charging those amounts and people reflected my clarity to me, by buying the things.

    Ryan
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  • Profile picture of the author Dean Shainin
    After 7 years of of doing promo's for my Kindle books I can still say "it's primarily for new book submissions."

    John McCabe has already pointed out as to why and how it can be effective to do free promo's within Amazon's internal marketing system.

    Unless you're inside of Amazon marketing Kindle books this simply does NOT make any sense to most marketers because they do NOT understand the internal ranking algorithm within Amazon.

    So I'm going to give more detail for radu OP and any Warriors that might be trying to make money with Kindle.

    Every time I do a free promo I think of the books as kinda like "loss leaders". In some niches it's VERY difficult for me to do a free promo when I know my book is worth way more than even the ridiculous so called higher price point within Kindle at $9.99. However, I have to put my ego aside to make money in most ALL cases.

    I've discovered how powerful Amazon's internal algorithms are and every time I try to go against this fact I waste precious valuable time.

    The cons of doing a free promo is the fact that you are simply forced to only be on Amazon's KDP platform when you check KDP Select. You can't do a free promo without it. And your hands are tied for 90 days. And yes, they have a way to find out if your content is being sold anywhere else so don't even try to get one over on Amazon. It's just more wasted valuable time.

    The pros aka advantages are after you promote your book for free you end up in what's called "Also Boughts" and you push your ranking up artificially which increases sales because it's like having internal advertising within the KDP platform when you have several pages of "Also Boughts". You also gain ultimate social proof and you're gunning for a bestseller status in your category when doing a free promo.

    Another advantage if you have internal links within your book to other books, those free units act like advertising because if they like the book, they are more likely to go purchase your other books within the series if you do things the right way.

    This is another reason as to why having a series of books is a huge advantage so it's something you might want to consider. It's like all your books piggy back upon each other which causes them to sell each other even without free promos over time.

    You want to drive your potential buyers to your Author Bio within your free promo books so they can get your other books which should be priced to make money on the back end. I've noticed when I have a book at around $8.99 to $9.99 after the free promo is over Amazon's internal system seams to help it.

    Would you rather make a few hundred dollars or potentially make thousands of dollars while you piggy-back onto your competitions "also-boughts" page?

    This is how the majority of people find new books on Kindle and on Amazon in general.

    People see a best-selling book and then they see your book cover right there on the same page as the best-selling book and they will click on your book because it's right in front of them.

    Also-Boughts of best sellers is the place you want to be on Amazon.

    There are more tactics that are very effective while doing free promos. However, this post is already getting too long here.

    Here's a simple template that goes inside your books that works for most niches below that might make you feel better while doing free promos.

    I'll put it right at the start of the book and at the end of the book.

    If you think it's too pushy for your niche and or you don't have Author Central set up just don't use it, but it's a good idea to at least drive readers to your other books if you can.

    Grab The Entire <LIVE CLICKABLE AUTHOR NAME HERE> Collection Today!

    SAVE BIG: Limited Time Offer!!!

    Go here now...
    <YOUR AUTHOR CENTRAL LINK HERE>

    Use this at the end of your books below.

    THE END

    Grab The Entire <YOUR AUTHOR CENTRAL LINK OR YOUR OTHER BOOK LINK> Collection Today!

    SAVE BIG: Limited Time Offer!!!

    Go here now...
    <YOUR AUTHOR CENTRAL LINK HERE>

    To YOUR Success Warriors,
    Dean Shainin ~
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  • Profile picture of the author whitehat
    I'm Irish. You're not really speaking my language until you start yelling.

    Free giveaways need to be given about 1/2 the time. I read that tip at the library, a few months back.
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  • Profile picture of the author fire3fly
    I have had some success with lowering the price of my Kindle books to a promotional price, and posting requests on Facebook groups for Kindle Authors to read and review.
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  • Profile picture of the author toydistrict
    You don't have to enroll in kdp to offer a free book. There is a way around it. Put your book free up somewhere else, then email Amazon and tell them that your book is free on another platform and that Amazon should price match it so that their customers can also get the deal.

    I ended up having my books for free for weeks on end.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by toydistrict View Post

      You don't have to enroll in kdp to offer a free book. There is a way around it. Put your book free up somewhere else, then email Amazon and tell them that your book is free on another platform and that Amazon should price match it so that their customers can also get the deal.

      I ended up having my books for free for weeks on end.
      This is a totally different strategy often referred to as "permafree", where you have no intent to make sales via KDP. You are simply trying to use Amazon as a way to distribute (usually) a lead magnet or thinly disguised sales letter.

      Do it well, and it can provide an ongoing stream of leads. Unfortunately, most don't do it well.

      Do it badly, and a stream of bad reviews (yes, even for a free product) will quickly bury your offering so deep that you might as well not be there.
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  • Profile picture of the author whitehat
    Have you thought about writing your own books?
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