I began an experiment with the Amazon KDP Select free promotion program yesterday. I just released my new eBook, How I Sold My Business: A Personal Diary, on Monday of this past week, and when I learned about the KDP Select program, I thought I'd give it a try, so I made my ebook from on the Kindle Store this weekend.
As I write this blog post, it's currently 2pm EST on Sunday, March 11th, 2012 here in the US.
To my pleasant surprise, I woke up this morning to find my ebook #1 in the free ebook Small Business category:
I was hoping this was coming when I watched the book climb from #20 to #17, then 14, then a jump to 6 and finally stopping at #3 last night.
Overall my free ebook has risen as high as #847 amongst all free Kindle ebooks, though I saw it just dropped back to #920. My book is such a niche book that I didn't have much hope to enter the Top-100 overall, and it doesn't look like that will happen. So I'll have to settle for being #1 in my niche category.
The day ended with my free ebook bouncing back and forth between #1 and #3 in the free Kindle ebook Small Business section. I don't think it ever got any higher than #847 in the overall free Kindle ebooks list.
One problem I ran into, which I didn't learn until later in the evening, was that there had been a problem with my credit card and Google AdWords. This had nothing to do with me or my credit, but for some reason the card failed, and then after I was unable to get it to work, it just started working again this morning. I haven't checked with Google or my credit card company, but to say the least, this was disappointing. (The message for why the card was declined was, "No reason given," so I think it was a failure in the Google or credit card payment systems, or perhaps a fraud check/concern by the credit card company, because this is the first time I used that card with AdWords.)
(Update: That problem was due to my credit card company's "fraud alert" system. I got their notification this morning, about fifteen hours after the problem.)
In the end I spent about $250 for my AdWords campaign. It actually cost $350, but I had a $100 credit/coupon, so my out of pocket cash was $250.
Of course if I ever hope to make money on this book, the question is, "Where do I go from here? How do I convert a #1 free book to a #1 paid book?"
I wish I had that answer. Other than hiring a PR person, I don't know what to do next, other than using images like the one shown above in my own advertising material.
From what I've read, the big goals of giving your book away for free are:
Time will tell if that happens, but at the moment nobody has reviewed my ebook. Of course it's still pretty early, so hopefully I'll get some positive reviews within the next week.
Another decision I need to make is whether I should leave the book in its current "free" state for another day. Is there any benefit to being #1 in the free small business book category for another day, especially if that day is Monday? I'll make that decision some time later today, but at the moment I don't think I will. With the Kindle KDP Select free promotion program, you can make your book free for five days out of every ninety, and I think I'd rather save the remaining three days for another promotion, maybe a month or two from now.
I'll update this article as the day goes on, but for now, that's what I know.