When I first published Battle Axe and Ring of Fire simultaneously last year, I enrolled Ring of Fire in Amazon’s KDP Select program on the promise that it offered more exposure via its lending library and ability for Amazon Prime members to download such titles for free. The downside? It’s a 90-day arrangement that makes your digital (not print) title exclusive to Amazon, so I was forbidden to make it available anywhere else. The upside? None, at least that time around. I saw no discernible difference between the purchase/borrow activity of Ring of Fire vs. Battle Axe.
The other (and potentially huge) alleged asset of the program is that it offers up to five “giveaway” days where you can offer your title for free and they’ll promote it as such. I had read that doing so before you had a reasonable number of good reviews was a waste of the days, so I devoted the rest of the year to amassing said reviews. I relied some on family, friends and my writer’s group members, but largely my reviews came from strangers whom I approached via Goodreads. Since I deem my writing style to be in the same vein as Carl Hiaasen, I blindly contacted readers who had reviewed his most recent book (favorably, of course), and offered them one or both of my books in exchange for a review. If they liked it, of course.
Much later, Goodreads told me to stop this, as it violated their self-promotion policy. I honestly thought if I was approaching people with something for free, it wouldn’t be considered self-promotion, but I complied. In the end, I must have contacted hundreds of readers. I’d say half replied, and a fraction of those actually read and reviewed one or more books. Oddly, most of the Goodreads readers posted their reviews only on Goodreads, so I ended up with a few dozen reviews on that site, but only 16 and 12 on Amazon, for Ring of Fire and Battle Axe respectively.
So, a year later it seems like I have enough decent reviews to give the KDP thing another try, including the giveaway days. As I’ve read the best times to do this are over holiday weekends, I’m doing a two non-consecutive day giveaway on March 30 and April 1, then again over Memorial Day weekend, using up all five days. I’m going with Battle Axe this time, for no particular reason, but I’ve also heard that having more than one book in the Kindle store makes the giveaway more successful, because once someone reads your free book, there’s another one available for them…to purchase.
We shall see and I shall update. In the meantime, if you’re in the market for a free humorous suspense novel on March 30 or April 1, 2013, just click here.