Thursday, 24 May 2012

Lessons learned from a successful free promo

Dear all
Sorry it's  taken a little longer to put together this post than I had wanted, but life got in the way. Life to be more precise consisted of the 3 long free promo days plus the hectic 3 days aftermath.  I was lucky enough that Sign of the Times hit the number 1 spot. Now it's about keeping the momentum going.

Every day I learn about ten things I need to be doing to build my platform,but that will be the subject for another post.  If you're read my mini-posts during & after the free promo, you will know that I was almost dead from exhaustion, after putting in 3 x 19 hour days to get it to the #1 spot. I could not have done it without Twitter. No other platform has the same community spirit of authors supporting other authors and followers happily retweeting their favourite writers' tweets and indeed acting upon them and buying a book, in this case mine.

From Fri to Sun, I had 6160 free downloads. Since then my paid sales have increased by 800% in 2 days.  The level of exposure the free promo has given me, and reaching number #1 has catapulted me and my book into a realm I never thought possible.  Now I am chasing for the Amazon top 100. I was at #208 this morning, but it's slipped back a little to #243. I am trying to reverse that again. I've been trying to work out when my readers are buying and I am actually staying up until midnight and 1am because they are still buying, rather than hit the sack at 10.30am as is my wont. But each day the trend is different!

I've been asked to do a few author interviews, which is nice. The more ways to get the novel recognised the better, plus they can be fun. I will post links to these when they are available. 
I suppose the number one thing I can take from the free promo is BELIEVE.  Believe in yourself, believe you can do it.  I am very hard-working and I was determined that if it didn't hit the #1 spot, I would be able at least to look myself in the mirror and know that I had done everything humanly possible to get it there.
I also am humble enough to recognise that my efforts weren't perfect. I screwed up organising a particular marketing initiative, which would have dramaticaly increased my US downloads and potential immediate future sales. For the record, of those 6K+ downloads, more than 5K were in the UK. I have learned that lesson and will know next time. But I don't beat myself up about it. I have only been doing this two months and I have learned so much and I have hit the #1 Amazon spot! I think that's an achievement in itself, but I am aware that I need to be planning for the future now - dividing up my time into marketing, selling, admin, writing, editing and so forth.

And the free promo success has laid to rest two of my initial doubts - should I be giving my books away for free and should I be using Social Networking to promote my book ( I was very anti-SN sites a few months ago). Incontrovertibly yes, to both questions.  Without Amazon KDP free promo, my little (or not so little at 370 pages) book would have gone unnoticed. There are several hundred thousand titles available from Amazon UK. Prior to the promo, I was around 35,000 and my best position had been 9,000 something.  It speaks for itself.

One parting note - on Mon morning when the free promo finished and I was number #1, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought, great, I can go to bed now. How wrong was I? It took me about ten minutes to realise, this is just the beginning....

NB: If you missed the free promo - you can still get Sign of the Times here - (UK) & (US & other)


  1. Hey Sooz - I remember you saying about how long you were at your laptop for - til 3am! I'm so glad it paid off for you though! If I had an e-reader I would buy your story in a heartbeat but I only have a crappy Kindle app on my phone that doesn't seem to want to work! But anyway...

    Congratulations! It's always so heartwarming to see good writers get the recognition they deserve! I really do wish you the best of luck - I hope you can make it into the top 100 though I'm definitely sure you will!

    -Kazzy x

    1. hi Kazzy, apologies to you for not replying sooner. Thanks for all your Twitter support. One of my friends has just finished reading Sign of the Times on his Android phone - and apparently the app told him there were 77 pages still to go and then he came to The End just a few pages later! Technology! Thanks for your kind words and either ask Santa for a Kindle for Christmas or you can download the app for PC! You don't want to miss what's happening with Holly and the guys now, do you?