Review KDP Select Free
I am writing this post because when I was deciding whether to promote my book on KDP Select Free and searching for ‘Review KDP Select Free’, I couldn’t find many posts with real data rather than opinions.
I ‘sold’ 293 books from 1st to 3rd July 2022 and achieved number one ranking in several best seller categories. This article will briefly explain how, and how much, because it isn’t as simple as I thought, by just making your book free on Kindle, and a lot depends on what category you choose for your book, the price of paid promotion and its cost effectiveness. But let’s start by reviewing what the Free options are on KDP Select.
KDP Select Free Book Options
You can choose to offer your book free on Kindle if you choose to join KDP Select which is an option when you are publishing your book. The cost of this is exclusivity to Amazon for a 90-day period, and also be aware that you are assigned to “automatically renew” if you do not untick that box!
Also note, you cannot choose the Countdown price if you choose to promote your book free during the 90-day period, which I didn’t realise at the time. It is either Countdown price or Free. Countdown pricing is when you reduce the price to a fixed amount which gradually increases on a daily basis until the normal listing price.
The options for a Free offer are 1 – 5 days on KDP in 2022. From what I researched, the best option appeared to be 2-3 days at a time, so I selected 3 days. The next choice, was to decide which three days were best? From posting on my blog and social media, like Facebook, I was able to see that most of my audience were online on Sunday, so I decided to choose the weekend. I thought most people will be relaxing at home the long weekend before Independence Day so I chose the 1st to 3rd July 2022.
Free or paid sites to promote KDP Select Free Listing?
I suspected that simply listing my book on Amazon as free wasn’t enough because it doesn’t matter if it’s free if nobody knows it’s free there. I found a list of free and paid sites to post my books availability on Kindlepreneur, and I also used this spreadsheet for free sites.
Several of the free sites will not guarantee your listing unless you pay but I took the time to list my book on all of them anyway because I thought what do I have to lose. Be very careful about paying for any listings. It is very tempting in the heat of the moment, and the sales patter, to suddenly find yourself ten or twenty or two hundred dollars down and thinking about how many hundreds of books that might equate to in Sales. Remember, this is a free offer!
The “After-Effect” of KDP Select Free Sales
Many free sites will try to sell you on the “after effect”, but in my experience there was none. Sorry, I tell a lie, when I looked very closely at the graph, the “after effect” was only one actual sale for $2.99, of which I get 70%, ie. approximately, $2.09.
This is important because that should be your starting point; what can I really expect to profit from this, before you spend anything on Marketing, which brings me to the importance of having other books, ideally a series.
If this is your first book and you give it away for free, without doing anything else, you may notice a slight increase in ‘sales’ without doing anything else, but the after-effect may certainly not justify paid sites, at least it didn’t for me. Still, that said, I paid for two sites. Firstly, Book Lemur for $35 on the first day, 1st July 2022, and secondly, the Fussy Librarian for $18.
Check for Reviews of Paid Book Promotion Sites
What I didn’t do, but what I should have done, is search for reviews of these before paying, rather than after. It turned out that I couldn’t find a review of the Fussy Librarian since two or three years ago, which panicked me a little bit, although it shouldn’t have done. The other thing I should have done, in retrospect, is carefully check the categories they offer to put your book in. I didn’t really think about categories when I chose Book Lemur, but I did for the Fussy Librarian and it paid dividends. I took a big risk and chose the category, “LGBTQ+” because, firstly, it was the cheapest, tbh, and secondly, “Katy’s Loss” features heterosexual and non-binary categories, which is also true. On the first day, I ‘sold’ 89 books thanks to Book Lemur. I can confidently say that because the following day without any promotion except listings on every single free site, I only ‘sold’ 14 books, as you can see from the graph above. You may argue that was because the second day was a Saturday, but I would have expected more people to have leisure time on that day to search for books. Therefore I think Book Lemur made a big difference, but how cost effective is it?
Cost-effectiveness of KDP Select Free
I paid $35 for that promotion which equates to paying each reader $0.39 to ‘buy’ my book. In marketing terms, this is not that bad per head, and possibly sustainable, if you compare it with advertising on Facebook or Google, assuming it results in an actual sale. But remember it is coming out of your profit, if it results in equivalent sales, which in my case it didn’t. Also, remember if you have a lowest price book, priced at, say, $0.99 it is quite a large proportion of your 35%, even if it does result in equivalent sales. This is why it is vital that if you are doing any FREE promotion that you have another book in the series to sell; that way it doesn’t matter if you sell the first one at a loss. Think of Book 1 as a ‘Loss Leader’ like bread in a Walmart or Tesco supermarket; Don’t expect to make any money from it but, rather, the cost of promoting your brand. But it got my book, “Katy’s Loss; A Dystopian TV Satire” to Number 1 in the Best Sellers in British Humor & Satire”, see below, which is good for morale! And, of course, you can use it to promote your book in blogs, like this one! Unfortunately, it wasn’t there long because, like I said, the next day I ‘sold’ only 14 books, however many times I refreshed the orders page! (Free sales show up on the same page as your normal orders page, just not on payments!) I felt slightly disappointed about that (read freaking out!), but because I had a paid-promotion planned the next day, I still had hope. On Sunday, ‘sales’ went through the figurative roof (!), at least for me, and I ‘sold’ 179 books and I was absolutely the cow-jumping-over-the-moon, anticipating the “after-effect”. On the Sales graph, above, it looks like I sold 10 books on the 4th July 2022, but i should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, as the song goes! No. Amazon gives you real-time sales on a graph based on the time-zone you’re living in, so since I am in London, these ‘sales’ actually represent free giveaways in America. But, after this, “Katy’s Loss” was a Number One Best Seller in Parodies … Number One in Television … And number one in Celebrity & Popular Culture Humor … And number one in Fantasy TV, Movie & Game Tie-In … This did give me a sense of achievement, rather than number one masturbator in Britain! (Lol!) But was it cost effective? Including the Monday, I sold 189 books and paid the Fussy Librarian $18, which works out at ten cents a book, compared to 39 cents with Book Lemur. But remember, even ten cents a book is only cost effective if it results in equivalent sales, which in my case it didn’t. The only other experience I had with a paid service, although for a different book, was Best Book Monkey which gave me a 50% off Gold deal for $9, usually $18, and I sold 3 books that day, paying the readers $3 per book which was more than the price of the book! I had sold 4 books every day for the three preceding days, and therefore this promotion seemed to make absolutely no difference whatsoever to sales, just burning money. However, I do recommend a paid service, but check the categories carefully, because in my case I think I just got lucky. I don’t think Book Lemur has an LGBTQ+ category, although, tbh, my book isn’t strictly LGBTQ+, it’s just sexually explicit including in non-binary ways! (Lol!) In conclusion, KDP Select Free garnered 293 Downloads, with promotions costing a total of $53, which is equivalent to paying each reader 18 cents per book. How does that make me feel? The truth is I have very mixed feelings. Why? Fifty-three dollars is more than I have to spare at the moment, tbh, and I only actually sold one actual book. I think this is why they used to call self-publishing, ‘vanity publishing’. The other argument I hear put forth, is that it will help you get ratings and reviews. [Laughs] Well, it is too early to say, tbh, but I did actually get one rating: a “3”. This was so quick that the reader must have read all 385 pages in the three days, or not liked the cover! Unfortunately, sometimes the people who download ‘Free books’ are not really potential customers in the first place. They don’t read the blurb and see the warnings of profanity and explicit graphic scenes like in “Katy’s Loss” and may be offended by this. I know you’d like to think, ‘hey, you got it for free, what’s your beef?’ But I guess that’s just human nature. I’m still hoping that one of those 293 readers will buy the sequel, “Tony’s Cross; A Dystopian TV Satire (Book 2 in the What’s your problem? Trilogy”. And if you do the sums, I only need them to buy 26 copies before I break-even. Until then, I am still paying everyone to read my book free, and it may never happen. Go with Kindle Select Free if you have a series. If not, choose Countdown because you can’t have both. Register with all the free sites but don’t expect that to ‘sell’ more than a dozen, in my case. If you are going to choose a paid site, research it carefully first, reditt may help, as well as joining Facebook writing groups and asking other authors what works. Don’t be shy, we are all still struggling to do what we love the same. And buy my book HERE! Always end your blog with that advice. And repeat it for any reason: Now only ninety-nine cents now HERE! Lol! But don’t overdo it. LOL!!! Good luck on your publishing journey and if you enjoyed this article, follow me on Facebook here, and twitter here, where I post whatever I’ve written, unless it’s a NYC Times Bestseller and I’ve retired to the Bahamas with Mable and/or Fred!