Friday, June 15, 2012

The Free Experiment: One Week Later

As you may recall I signed my novel Boyfriend From Hell up for  Amazon's KDP Select Program.  This is the only way you can give books away on Amazon.  My goal was to give away 10,000 copies and get Boyfriend From Hell Propelled onto a number of lists.  These lists (mentioned in the earlier post) are how many book buyers find our books.  My gaol was to be on as many lists as possible and to be on the first page (many buyers won't look beyond a page or two).  At the end of the last post you will see that Boyfriend From Hell had made it onto 8 lists.  (*If you haven't read the two previous posts, I think you should scroll down and read them).

By midnight last Saturday night June 9th I had given away over 10,200 copies of Boyfriend From Hell.  That's where I was at the end of the giveaway.  And while I'd love to have sold that many books in three days, to have 10,000 possibilities for new fans is a very good thing.   But the question that begs answering is did giving all those books away positively affect my sales?  Read on.

On Sunday morning Boyfriend From Hell premiered back on the Kindle paid list ranked at 40,000.  By 10am it had reached 23,750 and was #83 in Children's Spine-Chilling Horror.  So far so good.  I was starting to sell books.  By 10am Earth Angel, the sequel, and not on the KDP program had benefited from the giveaway by reaching #6659 and ranking #19 in Children's Spine-Chilling Horror.  I was clearly selling more books on Sunday than I normally would have sold.  The only thing I could attribute this to is the giveaway.

So here we are, practically one week later.  As of right now (Friday June 15th) 6 days after the end of the giveaway, both books continue to sell pretty well.  Boyfriend From Hell is ranked 12,792 and #41 in Children's Spine-Chilling Horror.  Earth Angel is ranked 15,492 and #54 in Children's Spine-Chilling Horror.  The rankings for both books have been slowly creeping upwards since Tuesday, but both books remain on an Amazon Best Sellers list.

Earth Angel has already improved on its typical monthly sales by over 100%.  I have sold more than twice the number of books I normally would have sold by the middle of the month.  Boyfriend From Hell has reached 70% of a normal month's sales.  However, Boyfriend From Hell is now part of the Kindle Lending Library.  Kindle pays us approximately $2.10 each time someone borrows the book.  Boyfriend From Hell is priced at $1.99 which earns us 35c per book.  So one loan is equal to 6 sales.  As far as earnings go, with Boyfriend From Hell loaning is more profitable.  This month so far I have loaned 15  Boyfriend From Hells.  That's the equivalent of 90 sales. 

The result of my experiment is this:  by giving  away10,000 downloads of Boyfriend From Hell I have made possibly 5000 new impressions (50% of the people who downloaded the book will remember my name or my title).  I have have exceeded Earth Angel's (not on the KDP program) typical monthly sales by more than 100% at it is only the 15th.  I have reached 70% of Boyfriend From Hell's typical monthly earnings and it is only the 15th.  I don't know what the next 15 days have in store for me, but my conclusion (based on what I have seen so far) is that by giving Boyfriend From Hell away I have made many new impressions I may not have made, and possibly doubled my typical monthly sales on two novels. 

I hope some of you indie authors out there find this informative.  I can't say that giving your books away will have the same result as my giveaway did for me, but it seems to me that giving your books away is a sure fire key to bigger sales.



  1. Awesome so glad it worked. Can't do this for my first book for multiple reasons but will do this with my second book. These results talk volumes! I an giving my book away on dangerous though so hoping that helps.
    Thanks for sharing this and helping a fellow idie author!

    1. I meant smashwords, damn autocorrect lol

    2. The big drawback to giving it away on Smashwords (dangerous--LOL) is that you don't get to participate in the Kindle Lending Library. Be sure you market the fact that your book is free. People need to know it's available. Good luck with it.

  2. thank you for the numbers, this shows that giving away books does equal sales. Love that posted numbers- this is what authors what to see when trying to decide what to do.

  3. Congrats! A gutsy move that has paid off. :)

  4. Great post! Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

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  6. Congrats on your continuing success in book sales and your bold risk in giving your books away for free! I'll be sure to check it out and blog about it soon on my blog

    Good luck on your future endeavors!