The One Day Freebie


I was going to blog about something else today, but I changed my mind.  Instead, let’s talk about torture.

Well, Tortured Dreams at any rate.

Yesterday, using KDP Select, Tortured Dreams was made free.  Around nine a.m., something happened… It took off.  The free downloads began to climb faster than I could keep up with it and it eventually skyrocketed to the #1 spot on Amazon’s Free Mystery/Thrillers/Suspense category and #112 in the Kindle Free Book Store.  It never broke the 100 for this coveted spot, but I’ll take 112 and 1 in mysteries.

In 24 short hours, I had downloads from every Amazon site.  Even countries where English is not a native language, but German took the top prize there with 22 downloads (however, I know a ton of native English speakers live there).

I just finished crunching all the numbers and total, I had 1,715 downloads.  Most of those came from the US, UK and Canada, but as I said, I had downloads in every country, including Brazil, Italy and Japan.

As most of you know, I keep very detailed records of sales and can calculate retention rates as well as a few other numbers important to me.  I haven’t added these freebies in to the equation yet.  It drops my retention rate from 19.4% to 5.9% and it’s only been a day, so I don’t expect there to be purchases of Elysium Dreams coming from it the next day.  They will trickle in over the next few months.

Here comes the conflict, as an author, I think “wow, that’s a lot of downloads.  If I keep my retention rate, that’s good sales of Elysium Dreams and in a month, Mercurial Dreams.”  As a not-so-rich author, my thoughts were much different “there goes another $0.35 and another and another.  If those were all sales, I’d make $600 today alone.”

The thing is, those would probably have never been sales.  I have discovered that one-day freebie downloads not only introduce my work to potentially new readers, but they are readers that would not have spent the $0.99 for the book to begin with.  Not because they are cheap, but because they would never have heard my name or the name of my novel or anything else about me for that matter.

And so it is that Tortured Dreams has found a new group of readers from the one day freebie.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll incorporate the freebie downloads into my spreadsheet.  And I’ll see how many reviews and purchases of Elysium Dreams come from it.

For the record, it was slightly torturous to see all those downloads and wonder if any would come back for book 2…

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4 Comments

  1. I’m sure some of them will come back for more. Even if you only gain a small percentage of new dedicated readers, that still ups your readership and profit. Can you see on Amazon after a few months how many of them came back for more?

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    • Nope, I can just track sales of each book and run the numbers. I have good retention for this series and I have readers who comment with things like “I started with Elysium Dreams and then went back and read Tortured Dreams”. Since each book works as part of a series and as a stand-alone, it will be interesting to see what happens. Especially since I have a huge ad campaign set for Elysium this month and next month and the release of Mercurial next month.

      I think what surprised me the most was that I had SO many free downloads. I was expecting 200 or so, not 1700.

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      • Well, maybe something about the cover art drew in more people? I know that is what initially grabs or turns away people on websites like Amazon.

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      • Oddly, I had good sales of Tortured Dreams yesterday… Even though it had been free all weekend. I sold enough to break into the 100 rankings on Amazon for Crime Thrillers. And I’ve already started to see a boost in Elysium Dreams sales. So, whatever caused it, it worked. I’ll be posting towards the end of the week on it some more.

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