Blurb Reveal: Darke Apocalypse

A purge is coming to Darke Heath and the assembled Order of the Following heroes must fight to survive their final chapter. 

After the awakening of a force unparalleled to anything seen before they will face their biggest and deadliest challenge yet. Forces that were once opposed must align whilst the origins of the Order and legendary founder Hudson’s story is revealed along with the revelations, twists and turns that follow the epic conclusion to the series. 

The darkness stretches way beyond anyone could ever comprehend and not everyone will survive as Blake Malone stands at the forefront of what lies beyond the true darkness. 

Darke Apocalypse arrives this month!

Weekly Ramble #154

September is always a marquee month on my author calendar. Its normally the time I realise the year is kind of slipping away whilst also being the anniversary of being published.

Open Evening turns 6 this year and the day before that milestone it will hopefully be elevated to a BookBub size audience as it will be featured by them on that exact day. It can be funny and strange how things work out because there I was looking to launch Book 8 this month quietly with a view to promote later and the advertising deal of my career literally lands in my lap.

Darke Apocalypse has the potential now to be my most successful launch ever as it will be most likely riding the coattails of Open Evening’s Featured Deal just days after. Its part fate, part right time part probably luck but I have always somehow managed to position myself for the right amount of shine.

For all the wonderful things this journey has brought me, the best is probably yet to come.

How I Landed my 3rd BookBub Featured Deal

Even though I have always believed in myself, I’m always in a slight state of disbelief when good things actually happen or when something goes as planned. The imposter syndrome will always find a way to creep in but then sometimes good things just align at the exact time. You see, good things arrive exactly when they are supposed to, they are neither late nor early. They arrive always when they are supposed to.

Being a proprietor of never giving up has brought me the best of rewards as a writer and creative online. All of which I firmly believe have pulled together to help me secure the subject of this post; my third BookBub Featured Deal. Hailed as the Holy Grail of Book Promotions in some crowds and I would agree to an extent, the illusive selectors that reside within the inner workings of the original Book Promo site have always been kind to me, no matter how many times they have rejected my efforts, its the times when they say yes that remain memorable and this post is designed to lay out how I secured that third featured deal. It is broken down into headings that I feel relay the most important factors any author needs when trying to secure their own BookBub Featured Deal.

Consistency

At the heart of all of my efforts as a social media creator and author is consistency. You’ll find it everywhere I go from being ever present on Twitter and growing from 3,000 followers in 2020 to 35,000 very recently to the books I have steadily released over the years. 7 in roughly 6 years with numero 8 dropping in a matter of weeks, its even in the same series as Open Evening – perhaps destiny or just chance or simply because I have positioned myself with consistency this has happened. Even the practicality of bothering BookBub with my submissions for their featured deal is part of why I’ve been selected three times. Every month, pretty much like clockwork I apply for a featured deal with one or several of my books with the ever present hope they would say yes. No matter how many times they don’t, the rewards of what a deal involves are too high for me to forget that monthly ritual of throwing the dice or even the coin into the well.

Conduct

You can be a success on Twitter; a conversational platform without sharing hard pressed opinion or something that will insight passionate debate because they are the two things that I have avoided for nearly a decade. And that conduct of mine has propelled my efforts in all departments of my online creativity. From book sales and reviews where hardly any point towards my personal conduct – yes there are reviewers out there who will hold authors accountable for their opinions online, I navigate myself through the sometimes troll heavy, always-an-argument-about-to-explode waters of social media with ease, the same can be said for this blog. BookBub may or may not be watching but if your social media content and posting is one hot mess of opinion, clumsy arguing and full of stuff that not even the hardiest of publicist will touch with a several foot long barge pole, then you’ll probably fall at the first hurdle. First and foremost you are your brand, so if you chose to throw it around like the many anonymous troll types who treat their presence as an anonymous avatar or you simply don’t have a care for what you say online, anything you publish or create will suffer for it.

Duration

Open Evening is my eldest title. It has seen several changes since the initial release such as the odd edit of typo and all the things that come with being able to amend a book that is live and published – not much has changed within as I personally feel going back to edit a book that has been released for a while kind of cheats the reader out of capturing my writing and imagination at a certain time in my life. This book has been a journeyman work horse for me. It has headed up the most free promos and has simply been there for all the years I have been published. This stuff isn’t an instant success (being an indie author) and finding that success takes time. In that time Open Evening has found reviews that have pushed it towards that apparent golden number of 50 – again is this something BookBub take into account? For the most part I’d like to think so but my super hero comedy The Teleporter was accepted by them twice with less than 20 ratings. Be in this for the duration, release books over time, enjoy the process, learn from it, let it make you a better author and then even when you are several books beyond that release you can still enjoy its success no matter when it arrives.

Timing

Just days before this featured deal my 8th book will drop, a book that shares the same series as Open Evening and now a sure fire launch campaign. The truth is, I have been waiting, waiting for the right time to promote this series as the last in the series was going to launch softly with me then figuring out the marketing after. Timing has changed that and it couldn’t more on point.

Seriousness

Even back when this was just sort of a hobby, I always took it seriously. Like when I used to perform in amdram, yes its amateur drama but the audience are still real and the money they paid me was very real and earned by them so therefore my effort was real. Treating this like a business for most parts has pushed me further and further to make business decisions and treat this whole thing like that. Even with the freedom and creativity that is writing a book as an indie, I take that seriously also and give it the highest level of respect. Stephen King and James Patterson are often featured by BookBub and without boasting or at least trying to, so is Lee Hall because he considers himself a writer too.

Learn

I am always taking on new information to shape what’s next. Just how does one secure a BookBub featured deal? You can apply all of the above and still possibly be nowhere near or they might say yes tomorrow because this journey is one of self learning and discovery. I can guarantee you will find some level of success if you remain open to learning from what have and have not achieved. This post isn’t the usual guide many will be used to, but I’m having a philosophical moment and those guides are great and all but writer Lee Hall is in the building right now and it is my wiring that has got me to this point.

Your writing can take you far also. Don’t give up.

Open Evening will be Free to download a little later this month through BookBub’s featured deal. Watch this space for more!

You shall find some practical advice on how to secure your own BookBub Featured Deal below. Sign up to my Patreon to listen and access all of my best guides.

Book Promotion Results – July 2022

The results are here for my latest book promotion efforts and now I am ready to share how it went and who I advertised with. Let us dive in!

Plan/Motive

With all of my book promotional efforts there’s always a wider plan and motive. So first of all, for the complete beginners, what is a book promo run? Well to me, its a short period of time where I lower the price of a book and advertise it for maximum sales.

Now I don’t advertise my work constantly apart from regular social media posting and my book selling philosophy is to be present on social media to the point where it interests potential readers to first of all engage or follow me and then buy from me. I have 30,000+ following on Twitter that regularly buys my work as long as I stay active.

The plan for this promo run was to set the price for my super hero comedy The Teleporter to free for one day and then raise the price only slightly the next day to 99 cents whilst using advertisers for both of those days. My vision was to get maximum free downloads and then hopefully some paid discounted sales after.

The Results

On the day The Teleporter was free it was downloaded over 1000 times across 9 countries! This is a fantastic number!

And here are the results for the next day with paid sales.

21 paid sales with a few trickling in after is a moderate number. It’s not world beating but good enough for me considering I already potentially have 1000+ new readers. It was also good to see page reads boosted.

Chart Movement

On the day of it being free, The Teleporter hit #1 in the Free Satire Fiction chart over in the US which is great for that little extra visibility.

Advertisers

So for most of my book promo runs I advertise with book promotion websites. They are generally good places to tell hopefully masses of readers about my books. Most book promo sites boast large mailing lists and that’s essentially what I am paying for. You can find a list of book promo sites at the bottom of this post.

Here’s who I used for this promo run.

Day 1 – The Teleporter is Free

Freebooksy Sci Fi Promotion

Book Runes Featured Free Book

Day 2 – The Teleporter is discounted to 99 cents

Fussy Librarian

Just Kindle Books

These 4 advertisers were all paid, check them out for individual pricing.

Concluding Thoughts

Not a bad promo run, in fact I consider anything over a 1000 free downloads to be a massive success. In order to move numbers with book sales its important to consider paying for advertising, although most of my promos run at a loss, the returns I get are reviews, future sales and readers.

Thank you for reading and below you shall find some resources to help with your own promo efforts.

Want to know how I have mastered Twitter and turned it into a book selling machine? Check out my Patreon coaching sessions which lay out book promotion and much more!

A Concise List of Book Promotion Sites

My guide book lays everything out in detail plus there is a whole section dedicated to my many successful book promo runs I have done over the years!

Book Promotion Results – May 2022

The results are in for my latest book promotion efforts and loyal Rock Star Patrons got to see it before anyone else but now its available for all. Let us dive in!

The Plan

Its good to lay down a plan and my plan was simple this time around; to celebrate the one year anniversary of Consistent Creative Content being released by running a weekend price reduction promotion with a little paid advertising. Using a few different advertisers over a few days I even had the grand vision of the book reaching #1 and Best Seller status on Amazon. There were a few other promotional things planned for the weekend and run up to it also.

I’ve been eyeing up this anniversary for a little while now and so I booked my advertising at the end of April – some advertisers tend to get booked up so planning in advance always helps with that.

The Price Promotion would be $0.99 and run from Friday the 20th to Sunday the 22nd with the usual price being $3.99 – a considerable drop so I was hopeful for this one. A few days or a weekend is more than enough to run a price promotion, I tend to only run them in short bursts to create some urgency, plus after day 2 or 3 I run out of the energy required to keep tweeting about the same thing.

Advertisers

For the Friday I used Robin Reads and their $0.99 Non-Fiction Feature that cost $65

For the Saturday I used E Reader News Today ($55) and Bargain Booksy ($35)

(Give these sites a Google if you want to find out more)

These advertisers I have used previously and generally bring good results. As you can see they have a cost which is something that you need to be prepared to do if you want serious results.

The wonderful thing is I paid for this advertising with the royalties I’ve earned so far this year from book sales.

For many years, I’ve run these promotions at a loss but there have been other returns in the form of Amazon chart movement, reviews, further sales, social media follows and new readers. Plus this isn’t my day job, so there is no pressure to earn actual money.

Other Promotional Things

To tie in with the anniversary I put together a reflective blog post about the first year of Consistent Creative Content and I also released a special presentation of yours truly narrating some of the book which was made free to listen.

These other promotional things tend to help just a little and the more platforms you are active on, the better chance you have of reaching just a few extra potential readers. So in theory, the more you do, the better chance of reach.

My initial plan was to keep things discreet on Twitter until the Saturday because the platform tends to figure out that I would be trying to sell things and therefore the algorithms would kick in or start kicking me and reduce my visibility – I can’t say Twitter does this 100% but I have a feeling something happens beneath the curtain when anyone gets a little too advertisey. On this weekend in particular, it was looking like I’d be reaching the 30,000 follower milestone on Twitter.

The Results

As you can see, day 1 brought in the most sales. There were even a few full priced sales the day before over in the US which gave Consistent Creative Content a great start.

Day 2 saw 23 sales and then things slowed down on the Sunday to just 3 sales.

For the time CCC was discounted it sold over 60 copies!

Chart Movement:

By the time Friday evening rolled around CCC shot all the way up to #2 in the US Amazon Charts under the Writing Skill Reference Chart. Usually its in the 1000’s which is an incredible result and will help with visibility.

Pro Tip: If you are looking for more visibility and perhaps even thinking of applying for a BookBub Featured deal, getting your book higher up the charts just before applying will help.

Cheeky ad of my Tweet Coaching Sessions

Social Media:

Because of the surprising chart position over in the US by Friday evening, I decided to take the plunge into tweeting. I got a little excited and hoped that maybe CCC would reach best seller…

Now the book never got to #1 which would have been awesome but perhaps another achievement for another day. I did spend the weekend tweeting quite a lot about CCC which effectively killed my engagement and visibility for the time. Even with a following as large as mine being sales focused constantly will reduce my reach or that’s how it seems anyway. Here’s an insight into that:

Friday Organic Twitter Impressions: 42,000+ (less book plug stuff)

Sunday Organic Twitter Impressions: 16,00+ (more book plug stuff)

This is also another reason why just a few days for a promo is enough.

Final Thought

I’m happy with this one year anniversary promo. CCC is becoming my most successful book but that success takes some time and time is a book’s best friend. Perhaps in a few years time the results will be even better!

Thanks for reading.

Quite soon I’ll be recording a new Twitter Coaching Sessions which is a celebratory glance at how I reached 30,000 Twitter followers and it will be free for all to listen!

The Teleporter turns 4 Today

Time flies when your busy reading, writing, tweeting, blogging and just trying to survive this world. Today marks the 4th anniversary of when I took a huge plunge into the unknown by releasing a super hero comedy novella called The Teleporter. Today, it is my most successful book.

The truth is, I really wanted readers to enjoy and find something within that at least made them laugh just once because comedy has brightened my life so much over the years and if you can laugh at just one thing every day, even if it is in the mirror like me, then you’re probably doing okay. Back when I began this indie author journey, there were just two stories that kept nudging me to write them, one of of which became my debut and the other became The Teleporter which at the time and probably even now is a far cry from my usual genre of horror, thrillers and stuff that seems darker in tone. When I wrote it, I just wanted to have some fun and come away from those darker tones.

There is a lot of advice going around in the writing industry about staying in genre and not pushing boundaries too far from your usual stuff but The Teleporter goes against that grain and took me out of my comfort zone. While some ‘industry’ advice does work for all, following your heart and your creativity is important because anytime I have created out of my comfort zone, things have eventually gone well. After an initial release that saw less than 20 sales in the first month, I was convinced very early on that I had failed. 2018 Lee was a different, less patient creative who had no idea about the path that was coming.

It is never too late for a book to find success and The Teleporter is proof of that because just over a year after release, BookBub selected it for a featured deal. A BookBub featured deal is a huge thing for any author and is often referred to as the holy grail of advertising deals. For a very small time indie author to have a book I thought nobody liked selected by BookBub was a truly special moment and then in 2021 they selected it again – at the time, it had around 20 Amazon ratings. These two moments are what I always draw to whenever I have any doubts because if a site like BookBub who often feature literary giants like James Patterson and Stephen King say yes to my book, well then I must be doing something right.

And today there aren’t many doubts about this book which was downloaded over 10,000 times in a single day for that second featured deal. Just some days later it then became a Best Seller on Amazon and just months after it hit 100 Amazon ratings. Every month since that second deal which was the best business decision I’d ever made, The Teleporter has always sold copies and to me is the greatest proof that it is never too late for a book to find success.

To all of those who have supported this super hero comedy, thank you.

You can read all about how I secured that 2nd BookBub Featured Deal here.

Book Promotion Results – April 2022

And so I’m back to share my most recent book promotion results. Those who do follow me on Twitter might have seen my efforts last weekend and so I am here to share my results with a hope it may help a fellow author.

Brief Intro

For those who don’t know me, my name is Lee Hall, I’m an indie/self published author of seven books from the UK. I’m a huge believer in helping and supporting other creatives in the community and the majority of my success has come from building trust with others. I also never give up and my dream for the world to read my words is getting closer by the day. Using mostly social media, I regularly sell books around the world but every now and then I’ll give those books a little extra help by way of some paid advertising.

Some Basics

So what do I mean by book promotion? Well to me, book promotion is a large umbrella of variety that covers many different methods to sell books. As an indie and someone who began this journey at zero much like many of you, I have determined that sometimes, selling books is really hard but not impossible. Its all about visibility and making people aware of your work.

There are a plethora of ways to increase your visibility and the majority of mine comes from Twitter where I have over 25,000 followers – something I spent a long time working at growing. From this, I normally manage to get sales roughly every other day which is awesome but every now and then I like to give my books a bigger push.

My Aim

From the seven books I have published, four of them are a part of the Occult Order of the Following Series which is horror/thriller in genre. My next release is going to be the fifth and final book in the series and so my aim for this book promotion was to increase my sales for theses titles.

How?/Methods

So how was I going to promote these 4 books? By way of some paid advertising. Over the years I have used many different book promotion sites which are basically websites that offer a range of advertising for a fee while some are free. Many of these sites have access to large mailing lists which can help get those books in front of newer eyes. This method normally focuses on selling digital books and my e book sales have always been stronger than paperback.

Basic Tips:

Generally, the more books you have available, the more cool things you can do to try and sell them.

Free is good for visibility: For those who do have a series like me, pricing Book 1 for free in digital format and then discounting the others to 99 cents or equivalent will help sales. Book 1 will most likely attract readers who then will hopefully check out the series. Those with e books enrolled in KDP select will be given a number of optional days each period to price your book for free.

Create a Series Page: Amazon allow you to create a separate page for your series which also helps for visibility. Having this link to share helps direct readers to your work. Here’s mine.

Time and Urgency: Running a promotion for just a short time really helps create a sense of urgency – Amazon allow five days for a book to be free but one or two is perfect.

Invest with Money: I’ve said this before but if you want serious results, sometimes you have to spend money for that.

Spread across Platforms: When I run any promo, normally I create a post on here where my 900+ followers will see. I also do some stuff on Instagram and of course Twitter. This cross platform spread helps get the word out.

Book Banners: Book Banners work quite well for a nice visual that can be shared across social media. Combined with a professionally designed cover, they help. I created this banner myself and there are plenty of decent online Photoshop sites out there along with licence free image sites like Pixabay.

Who did I advertise with?

For this promo which I ran for just one day on Saturday April 9th 2022, I advertised with Free Booksy and their awesome series feature which allowed me to link the rest of the books in my Order of the Following Series beginning with Open Evening (Book 1) which was free.

Stacking Promotions: Normally during any promotional run I will advertise with multiple sites, this is known as stacking, but for this promo I used just Free Booksy. They offer a range of advertising services and not just for series.

This was the first time I had used just a single advertiser. And so, on with the results!

Results

There are two main ways in which I look at the results. Firstly the free downloads of Book 1 Open Evening:

Just 3 downloads shy of 300 for a single day with just a handful over spilling the next day was a fantastic result. With 6 different territories taking part and considering this was a promo with a single advertiser, I am happy. But, did the free promo entice any paid sales for the rest of the books in the series?

The answer is yes! And I haven’t seen that many paid sales in a single day for quite some time and because I have never ran a series promo with just a single advertiser, this is a personal best!

The most popular title seemed to be Book 4 Darke Awakening which had a rather quiet release back in 2020 and proves my theory that it is never too late for a book to find sales!

Now the best indicator of a good book promotion run isn’t the day of the run but what happens after. And a good book promo run will continue to bring in results for some time after. Seeing as this run was only a few days ago, here are some more results:

After a very dry spell in terms of KENP page reads, they finally sparked to life. All of my fiction is on Kindle Unlimited and so that extra visibility has boosted page reads!

It might be unrelated but the day after the promo, my super hero comedy The Teleporter hit 180 Amazon ratings! So perhaps this promo even brought in other books in my bibliography.

Factors for Success

With nearly 400 digital copies of my works finding readers, let us look at why this promo run was a success:

All of my works have professionally designed covers which is a must for that first visual impression. Check out Design For Writers – they do some fantastic work and have done all of my covers;

Some reviews help and every one of the books in the Order of the Following Series have at least 5;

I have a series page on Amazon which means all of the books in the series are in one place;

The price reduction across the series pretty much guaranteed a few readers looking for a bargain to grab them and because this was a one day only deal, the urgency probably motivated that;

I invested money in the promotion and sometimes you have pay serious money to get serious results;

My social media game was on point. Not only did I put out a post on here but during the day I was active on Twitter and made sure my audience knew about the promo.

Final Thought

I do hope this post has helped in some capacity because marketing and selling books is an uphill struggle for most of us. These methods seem to help but there is always something else to do be done. You can only do what you know at the time. My advice would be to take your time and try and few things at once. It is never too late for a book to find readers and my first book Open Evening which was released in 2016 is proof of that!

Thanks for reading!

Here’s a short list of resources that will hopefully help with your book promo efforts:

A list of Book Promo Sites

Book Selling Troubleshooter

Free Book Promo Guide

You can also find a whole host of book marketing and social media advice in my guide book Consistent Creative Content which can be found on Amazon!

Top 5 Guides of 2021

Writing guides that help fellow authors, bloggers and social media-ers has become a vital pillar of my content in recent times. There’s a reason why this here blog is followed by over 900 good souls. Helping others also feels good and then seeing them succeed via some of my advice is even better. This post is dedicated to the top 5 guides I have put together this year, most of which are centered around book promotion, selling and social media.

5. Let’s talk about… why your book isn’t selling…

Viewed an impressive 400+ times this year, this post is dedicated to helping authors find all kinds of ideas to sell their books before and after publication. You can read the whole thing here.

4. How I landed another deal with Bookbub

Those who have been around a while will know that this year a major turning point came for me in the form of a BookBub Featured Deal for my super hero comedy novella ‘The Teleporter’. 10,000+ people downloaded it in a single day. Shortly before the promo run I put together this detailed guide on how I got the featured deal. And for those asking, a BookBub featured deal really is worthwhile.

3. Book Promotion Results: April 2021

April 2021 serves as a record holder for so many things. It was my first $100 royalty month, it was also the month where my highest amount of paid sales happened in a single day. This guide highlights how I did it.

This one always gets a lot of attention and you might have seen me sharing the link for it on Twitter rather ironically. Link dropping is a rather interesting subject on Twitter and this guide shares how to sell books without dropping a link. With a viewership of over 500 its one of my best performing posts of the year and probably will be for some time. You can read it here.

1. A Concise List of Book Promotion Sites

Any my most viewed guide of 2021 is a list that many authors including myself use as reference, hence the fact it will probably be evergreen. I update it regularly too and book promo sites are a wonderful way of advertising your books. Check it out here.

And if you are looking for more guidance on authoring, blogging and social media-ing I have a guide book which is coming to paperback in the next few weeks.You can find more information here.

Thanks for reading and stay safe!

Let’s Talk About… The Free Book Promo

Ah, the freebie, a normally guaranteed way to stir any type of consumer interest or so they say. This post will look in detail at the free e book promotion – something I know a thing or two about because since being published in 2016, I have run the free book promo 16 times… Yikes, that may sound like a big number but spread out over 5 or so years it has served me quite well. Let’s talk about it…

By definition, the free book promotion to me is the concept of setting the price of an e book to zero. This can best be achieved through Amazon KDP and if your digital book is enrolled in KDP select then you are allocated up to 5 optional days every period to list that book for free. I have highlighted the ‘optional’ part because although 5 days seems like a good amount, in my eyes the shorter amount of time a book is free, the better – this taps into the whole impulse purchase and urgency thing which is quite important in selling anything. Creating a sense of impulse and urgency in a free promotion will increase the likelihood somebody will want to download your book.

So, is a free book promotion worthwhile?

There are plenty of authors I know who will never offer their work for free and that’s fine in my eyes. I suppose its a case of weighing up your individual options against the factors for success. For me, I don’t earn a living through the books I have published, in fact I am nowhere near that yet, so making money as a self-published author right now is not on my wish list. But gaining a readership is and if my free promotion is executed effectively then that is exactly what will happen, eventually, in theory, maybe…

This whole thing is subjective, so remember everyone’s situation is different.

I tend to use the word eventually in most of my author situations because this really is a long game and hopefully with my results below you’ll see that. Before we look at the results which have improved over time, there are several factors as to why a free promotion can be a success. Here are the main ones:

Type of Advertising/Budget

Probably above everything else, the who and how much you spend will dictate a lot of a book promo’s success. Higher end book promo advertisers also have higher quality readers who leave reviews like BookBub. Budget will also determine how much reach it will have. In my eyes, for a free promo, I’m going all in so the money I spend will be returned eventually through reviews, readers and even social media follows. You can find some of the book promo advertisers I have used here.

Combinations

The second major factor in all book promotion is combining different methods – what I mean by this is perhaps playing around with the price/advertisers/books available. This is where book promotion runs can be deemed a success or not. In the many times I have run promos I have also reduced the price of other books or even advertised the free book before and after a promo. Just free is great, but other combinations are even better. I nearly always ‘stack’ my promotion too – this means using multiple advertisers over several days.

Social Media Reach/Activity

The higher and more engaged your social media following, the better it should be for any promotional stuff. Me; I’m pretty much addicted to Twitter and my following of nearly 20k does help. At a glance, the more you put into social media over time, the more you get back. If your profile gets bigger, more people are going to be interested in your work. Building trust over time online will create a fanbase eventually. How? Here’s a guide for that.

Genre/Time of Year

A wintery ghost romance probably won’t sell much in the height of summer but it will during the autumn and winter months. Genres and seasons do tend to go hand in hand. From late September all the way to Halloween works really well for horror and thrillers.

Length of Promo

I mentioned above that being enrolled in KDP Select will allow you up to 5 days every enrollment period to use for free promo but the shorter the promo run, the better. Impulse and urgency sell books that are on a price promotion.

Reviews/Ratings

Most of my free promotion runs saw better results after a certain amount of reviews. There is no fixed number but having over 5 will help a little. The more reviews a book has the better in theory. In terms of ratings, anything over 3.5 stars average rating should do quite well also.

Bibliography

My top book promotion advice is to have more books available and the more you have on your shelf the more a potential reader will invest in you. Even if their first read from you is free, if the experience is enjoyable then they may just return as a paying reader next time.

Make it Easy for the Crowd

Have you ever offered a physical book or two for free to your social media audience? From a signed paperback to an advanced e copy? Was the response mostly crickets and you weren’t sure why? There’s something about singling people out and then offering them something because every so often it doesn’t work. People don’t tend to like being singled out and so a free e book promo makes everyone feel part of a crowd with way less reader pressure.

Worked Scenarios

We’ve looked at the factors now let us look at a few real life free book promo examples. When I ran my first free promo back in 2017 it was kind of a stab in the dark. Something I have tried to improve over the years… (the book selling, not actual knife things…).

Scenario 1 (2017)

Book Title: Open Evening + Darke Blood (Both Free)

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 6 (UK only)

Length of Free Promo: 5 Days

Month: September

Books Published: 2

Budget Spent on Advertising: $70

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 2,500

Facebook: 300

Result:

Open Evening Free Downloads: 713

Open Evening Paid Sales After: 12

Darke Blood Free Downloads: 144

Darke Blood Paid Sales After: 29

Conclusion:

A very good first attempt at a free promo. Although pricey, 800+ free downloads and then paid sales after for both books was a win in my eyes. Turning a profit at this stage is difficult and not a priority. This was a good entry level free promo and to me anything over 500 free downloads for a book is good. You can read in a little more detail about this promo here.

Scenario 2 (2019)

Book Title: Darke Blood (with ‘The Teleporter’ free on the final day)

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 10

Length of Free Promo: 3 Days

Month: September

Books Published: 4

Budget Spent on Advertising: $100

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 2,900

Facebook: 400

Result:

Darke Blood Free Downloads: 3,403

Darke Blood Paid Sales After: 2

The Teleporter Free Downloads: 88

Conclusion:

An excellent result. 3000+ downloads for any book in that space of time is huge. Capped off with the last minute free promo of The Teleporter on the final day – this proved my theory of eyes being on any other book you have published during a free promo – remember combinations? That’s a major factor for success which you’ll see in the third and final scenario. You can read my detailed report on this promo here.

Brief Interlude

While the above two scenarios are impressive in terms of numbers, the free promo gets more valuable when you have more books available. By the time of the next scenario (April 2021) I had 6 books available, 4 were part of a series and the free promo and a book series go hand in hand for combination stuff. This next scenario is also after my BookBub Featured Deal which was also a free promo and resulted in 10,000 downloads of The Teleporter in a day. Time is your friend with this stuff and you’ll see how my results shifted below.

Scenario 3 (2021)

Book Title: Open Evening with rest of the series discounted to 99 cents or equivalent

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 27

Length of Free Promo: 1 Day

Month: April

Books Published: 6

Budget Spent on Advertising: $165

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 7,000

Facebook: 500

Result:

Open Evening Free Downloads: 940

Open Evening Paid Sales After: 2

Paid Sales of other books in the Series on that day: 176

Total Paid Sales that month: 230 – A record that still stands today.

Conclusion:

You can see from the results that the free promo kind of takes a different role because the other books in the series all sold from that initial visibility. You can create a series page on Amazon that links all books in that series together – let Amazon do the work with this, they have the infrastructure so take advantage. Paid sales pushed all of my books up the charts and to better visibility and the best thing is this book promo broke even the next month. April 2021 was my first $100 royalty month and then the second was May. You can read about this promotion here.

Page Reads

Often overlooked is the concept of e book page reads with can be tracked via the KDP sales dashboard. As you can see from mine and historically they have spiked and even sustained after every promo run since 2017. With more books and promos this can become quite an opportunity while also tracking results.

Final Conclusion

From the scenarios and factors laid out before, you can make a free promo very worthwhile. Of course there have been plenty of not so great promos but they are all part of the journey. You just need a backlist, a budget and some tactics. So in conclusion and for an effective free promo, these things work well:

Minimum time – 1 or 2 days work fine. Impulse and urgency. Think of it as an occasion;

More books helps sell all involved. Discounted prices if its a series. Combinations;

Paying for advertising – kind of a no brainer, plenty of good book promo sites out there. Stack them over some days;

Social Media Following – helps but not essential;

Reviews – Some reviews help.

There are always a few anomalies and variables for the individual but everything laid out above should help to sell books. I have found running a free promo works best every quarter or so and over time it can help grow a readership. These days my book sales are regular and mostly at full price all because I started with the free promo some years ago and built a foundation from it.

Thank you for reading. What are your experiences with the free promo? Any lessons or thoughts?

If you enjoyed this post I have stack of more promo scenarios in my author/blogger guide book which is available now!