Monday, September 16, 2013

Experiment with "Free" results so far...

Last month I announced that I'd put one of my best selling titles up for free and reported that the rest of the series had pretty much immediately started selling better, particularly the title that came afterward in the series. This month I'm going to report further on how this experiment is going.

Beloved Enemy has now been available as a free download at Smashwords, Apple, and Amazon for a month. In that time well over 13 thousand copies have downloaded. Copies of Beloved Traveler have doubled, and the entire series saw an increase in sales from about ten to fifty percent per book. Also traffic on my website has increased, which certainly helps my visibility. I've doubled the number of reviews on Beloved Enemy and fortunately they've all been pretty good reviews. Sales in Germany and Canada for the rest of the series have picked up to the point I now have separate pages in my spreadsheet for their weekly sales at Amazon.

Overall this experiment has been a quantifiable success.

The question at this point is whether to continue to let this book stay free or put it back to full price. Eventually I'd like to start earning money on the book again, the question is when? One thought would be to continue running the book as free until I have a new title out to catch people's attention. That might be a good idea. Another would be to take if off free when interest in downloading it ends. At this point the downloads have fallen to about 150-200 per day, but I still see a lot of traffic per day on my website, much of it from direct links inside my book. So it seems reasonable at this point to continue as things are.

I'm now working on setting up my first Cricket Starr novel, Violet Among The Roses, as a free read under its new series name Mythical Seductions. That is the series name I picked to replace Divine Interventions since without the Ellora's Cave banner to indicate the book was erotic romance, it was likely people thought the books were Inspirational.

The series was intended to be inspirational in many ways (particularly the bedroom) but not Inspirational in the religious sense. I felt my target audience wasn't being drawn by the title.

So now Violet Among The Roses is already available as a free download at Smashwords and I expect it to be set to free at Apple within the next week. Once that is done we'll see how long Amazon takes to price match. I'll post in October how that works out. I hope to get enough downloads to at least make the Cricket Starr name viable again.

Has anyone else played with going free on a title, and did it have good results? I'm curious to find out what other people are experiencing.



Mona Risk said...

Very interesting report, thank you Janet. I have put many books free on Amazon under the KDP Select program but my free promo usually lasts from 2 to 5 days. Last year the free promo greatly improved the sales. Not this year!

Janet/Cricket said...

I did KDP select when I first started out self-publishing and like you didn't see the "super" results a lot of people reported when using my free promotion days.

Some of that might have been only doing one or two days at a time, thus not giving readers a chance to find the free book. Doing the "permafree" method seems to work much better for me. Also that way I don't have to be exclusive to Amazon. Given that about ten percent of my sales are on platforms other than Amazon, it seems wise to not cut off those other sources of income.

Gemma Juliana said...

Thanks for sharing, Janet. This is an issue I am currently contemplating. I've done KDP Select with a holiday story and didn't have great results. Now that I released a new novella in my series today, I am considering putting the series prequel free across all platforms. By the way, I love the name of your Mythical Seductions, and the cover of Violet Among the Roses is fab! Do you do your own covers?

Ana Morgan said...

Thanks for sharing your marketing experiences. I think that many downloads is fantastic--plus the increase in website traffic and sales on other book(s) in the series.

Janet/Cricket said...

Hi Gemma,

Thanks for the vote of confidence on the cover. My concern is that it doesn't look particularly erotic, but once people download it they might find they like it. I have a cover artist I really like, Dar Albert who is very reasonable.

Janet/Cricket said...

Hi Ana,

I've been pretty satisfied so far. I'm going to leave the sale going for a little longer and hope that things continue in this direction.

Terry Spear said...

I didn't find that putting two of my titles on KDP Select helped, but neither were series books either, and I've heard they do better. I had 10,000 downloads of the one, no advertising or promotion on it, because I'd forgotten and was on a trip. But it really didn't have borrows or sales much back then.

I'm going to try the preorder for Oct 21 release of The Highlander to see if that makes any difference or not. It's interesting to see what will work!

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