Amazon KDP Promotions Results – Yes, They Still Work

This is just a quick post to follow up on my first attempt at a free Amazon KDP promotion. I had some decent success with that one considering I was trying to achieve a specific goal: distributing as many copies of my work as possible. This time, though, the results blew me out of the water.

This was actually my third Amazon KDP promotion. The second one (which I didn’t report) fell short since it only ran for one day. Paradoxically, I gave away more copies of my novel ASHES with that promotion than with the first, but since it was only free for one day instead of two, Amazon did not grab hold of the free rankings and the book never jumped high enough on the charts to get noticed (long story short: run your promotions for more than one day—the downloads drop off significantly on day two, but it seems like your book still needs to hang out in the top free rankings for a while before it makes a difference to Amazon’s ranking system).

I had an ulterior motive for my third promotion, which was to plug my Kickstarter campaign for cover art for my upcoming sci-fi series of novelettes. I dropped in a blurb about the project at the end of my short sci-fi story A DREAM OF WAKING and made the ebook available for free on a Saturday and Sunday (historically big download days). If the goal had been a specific attempt at more sales, I would have run the promo on Thursday-Friday (like I’m doing this week for ASHES—reports on that later).

At any rate, fewer people downloaded A DREAM OF WAKING this time than they did during the first promo (~1600 vs. ~2300…can you say single-product market saturation?). Yet this time, the book climbed all the way to #1 in the Sci-fi High Tech ebook category by the end of the first night and stayed there throughout the entire second day. I have no idea why. Maybe I was the only one running a promo, or the only one advertising it well. As soon as the promo ended, the ranking plummeted (as is common post-free promo), but by the end of the first day after switching back to paid, the book shot up the charts to hold at #2. It’s been there for almost 2 days now:

A Dream of Waking Chart

What I’m getting out of this is that there is still a good deal of luck no matter how many people download your book during a promotion (by luck I mean factors beyond your control, like fewer promos being run by other authors, etc.). DREAM was downloaded over 700 fewer times during the second free promotion, yet it climbed higher in the rankings on Amazon and is staying there much longer. It will slip soon, I’m sure (just look at its company; I don’t know if you know who Hugh Howey is, but his bestselling WOOL series is extremely popular—ain’t no way I’m topping that), but this experiment proves that signing your books up for KDP with Amazon can be a great thing if it falls in line with your writing goals.