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How to Combine KDP Free Days with Paid Promotions to Get to #1 in the Free Kindle Store in Germany

If your book is in Amazon’s KDP Select program, you have the opportunity to do a 5 day free run every 90 days. I already talked about free promotions in a previous post, but in this one, I wanted to share which paid advertising sites I used to get a book to the #1 in the Free Kindle Store of Amazon.de.

I just want to mention first: It’s not as hard to get into the Top #100 of the German Amazon Free Kindle Store as it is on the US site because there are fewer free books available and you can reach a higher sales rank with lower download numbers. So, getting to #1 in the Free Store in Germany is not a huge achievement, but it doesn’t just happen by itself either (most of the time). You have to do something to get there, like booking additional  promotions on ebook promo sites that tell people about the free book.

I’ve run two KDP Free Promotions for the same book within the last half year and the results clearly show the difference that additional paid promotions can make. The first Free Promo was from May 25-30, the second from September 1-5. The graph below shows the sales rank in the Free Kindle Store in May and September. During the first five days, the highest rank reached was #13 on day 3 of the promotion and the book was downloaded roughly 1,100 times during the whole five days. During the second promo, because I had booked a number of paid ads for the first day, it shot up to a sales rank of #1 right on that day. The total download number was almost 3,900 for the five days, so 3.5 times as many as during the first promotion.

kdp free promotionSo which paid promotions did I book?

During the first Free Promo, I only booked a spot on a site called Ebooks-Gratis, a relatively new site, where the book appeared on the website and in the newsletter during all five days. For the second Free Promo, I went ‘all in’ and booked several promotions on sites that accept KDP Select books:

  • Buchdeals: I introduced this website in a different post. I bought the package where the free book is featured both on the website and in the newsletter as well as in their app “Book of the Day”. They guarantee with this promotional package your book will reach the Top 10 of the Free Kindle Charts. Since this wasn’t the only promo I booked, I can neither confirm nor deny this, but I’m sure it helped. – Costs: 49€
  • Xtme: Featured in the daily newsletter. On this day, there were 23 books featured in their newsletter and mine was on position 14, so I don’t know how many people stumbled over it there. It’s easy to ‘get lost’ in the number of featured deals these days. – Costs: 29€
  • E-book-news: Sponsored post including a reading excerpt featured on their website (which has 13,000 unique monthly visitors), sitting at the top of their blog for one week. This also included a banner ad featured in the side bar for a month. This is what the post looked like. – Costs: 133€
  • Ebooks-Gratis: Featured on the newsletter and website during all five days. – Costs: 13€

Before the first promotion, I had only 10 reviews, before the second promotion, I had 19. This might have made a difference in the download numbers as well, as more reviews can entice more customers to give the book a try. But I would guess that the additional paid promotions had a bigger effect overall.

Increased sales after the promotion?

Do Free Promotions lead to increased sales? They certainly have a positive effect on sales rankings as you can also see in the graph below. In this case, the blue line is the rank in the Paid Kindle store, the orange line is for the Free Kindle store during the Free Days.

kdp free promotions germanyMy theory is that the increased visibility during the KDP Free Promotion leads to more KU users downloading the book during and after it, which has a direct effect on sales rank, so for a good while after the Free Promo, you can expect your book to remain higher in the charts and also sell more copies. By the way, I raised my price after the second Free Promo from 2.99€ to 3.99€ and the effect was not diminished because of it.

Does it pay off? Well, my goal for giving away a single book for free was not to make money, but to find new readers interested in my books. If the book were the first in a series, this would be a different story. That said, it looks like I’m on my way to at least making the money for the advertising back pretty soon.

Reviews and Newsletter subscribers

It’s hard to say where reviews are coming from, of course. I would guess that about 2 new reviews came in after the first Free Promotion, and maybe 4 after the second – not too many in both cases, but I’m happy with it. But I did see a notable increase in newsletter sign-ups after the second round (mist list increased by about 40% within one week of the promotion, and it’s still going on).

Conclusion

Based on my experiences, I think KDP Free Promotions can work well in combination with paid advertising on other ebook promo sites, but also without. You can probably expect a notably improved sales rank shortly after the promo, and therefore better visibility, as well as more newsletter subscribers. So I think it’s worthwhile to do so even if you have just one book, depending on your goals.

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