Tuesday, 17 April 2012

KDP Select: How was it for you?

Well, for me it wasn’t too bad. I had reservations when it first started because I wasn’t sure if taking my books off Smashwords and its distributors was such a good idea. However, as time went on and I read more and more success stories I looked at my sales figures and saw that a year on all the other sites had brought me around 30 sales, compared to hundreds on Amazon.

So, I took the plunge and enrolled on April 1st 2012. I then checked the borrows every 4 seconds but those zeros never changed. Sales didn’t pick up either, so I decided to use up some of my free days. Having read some other blog posts I thought it best to go for 2 days to start with, and found a few sites on the internet that would let me spread the word. I loaded up Tweetdeck for the weekend, let my friends on Facebook and Goodreads know about the promo, then sat back hoping to get Gray Justice into the hands of at least 2000 readers. I figured that might generate a few reviews and possibly some sales of Gray Resurrection.

Day 1 started slowly – so slowly that the promo started an hour late! Not to worry, it soon became free and the figures started to climb. By midday I had nearly 400! I was wearing out my finger, switching from the UK to US reports so thought it best to get away from the laptop and get some fresh air.

A couple of hours later the sales were climbing but not that quickly, but I went to bed having reached 3300 downloads for the day. I also had a few sales of Gray Resurrection, which was a bonus. The next morning the downloads had reached 3700 and I went to work hoping to reach my revised target of 5000 by the end of the promo.

I did. Plus another 4800 on top. That’s right, over 9800 downloads in two days. Once the promo ended, the figures kept ticking over, but this time it was paid sales. I went from a couple of books a day to over 100 and that took me straight into the number one slot in the Amazon UK Drama category, plus number two in thrillers, which is where I currently sit. I’m also number 12 in fiction and approaching the top 100 overall. Oh, and I was number 1 Mover & Shaker for a day!

Was it worth me taking the books off the other sites, even for just 90 days? Definitely. Would I re-enroll in KDP? Again, yes.

Would I do anything differently next time? Oh, yes! I will be booking a holiday for a start. It is nigh impossible to promote the freebie while at work, so I will be booking a few days off to plug the free downloads and deal with the aftermath.

I must stress that this success wasn’t all down to me. I had some wonderful help from my friends on Twitter and Goodreads and without them I would have been lucky to reach 2000 downloads. I won’t name names in case I inadvertently offend someone by missing them off the list, but you know who you are, and you will always have my gratitude.

Update: My second promo didn't exactly get me the same results. I gave away a similar number of copies of Gray Justice, but instead of leaping into the charts at number 325 as I did last time, I came back in at number 20,877. I have managed to drop a few thousand places instead of climbing them, despite giving away close to 13,000 books. However, over the next 24 hours I climbed up to the top 500 and on the 4th Gray Justice reached the top 100. The effect might not be as immediate as in previous months but I am still on course for some big numbers.

While you guys enjoy my books, I'll carry on writing GJ3...


  1. Fantastic and heartening to hear. i hope it carries on booming.

  2. Thanks Gwynneth! Sales of the book did very well for the first week but have dropped considerably, which is normal (I think it's called the Post-KDP Slide). That aside, I managed to get my work into the hands of many people, and hopefully a few hundred will be back for more.

  3. That's great to hear, Alan. I was toying with the idea myself. If I read it correctly, you are just locked in with Amazon for 90 days?

  4. Yes, Tim, just 90 days. I have around 60 left but have a feeling I will be re-enrolling come July.

  5. Hello, Alan! Congratulations, you received The Versatile Blogger Award. Here is the link to my blog, please take a look: http://ladaray.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/i-received-the-versatile-blogger-award-vba/ As they say, with great honor comes great responsibility :)

    BTW, great post!

  6. Thanks, Lada! I'll tuck this away with my KREATIVE Blogger Award http://jambalian.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/kreativ-blogger-award.html. Okay, now to find 15 victims...erm, I mean deserving winners :-)

  7. Hey Alan! Thanks for this post! I read it at the perfect time. I was about to give up on using KDP Select because I wasn't seeing any results. But after reading about your success, I'm inspired to try again! I always like starting my day with inspiration!

  8. Hi there!
    Thank you for following me at Dragonscale Clippings.
    Just wanted to let you know that I've moved my blog to: -
    Hope to see you there soon!
    Much love

  9. Hi, Alan -- Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I've been with KDP for one of my books since early April and used two free days over Memorial Day. Despite my sending not one bit of promo (stupid, stupid, stupid), over 5,800 copies were downloaded and the book made it into the top 100 for free books. Sales afterward were markedly improved over the pre-free days. I'm doing another two days around the 4th of July and can only hope for results like yours! Thanks again. Wishing you much continued success!

  10. Best of luck on the 4th, Leah!

  11. Great to read this, Alan! I may take the plunge myself.

    Did you think that maybe your rankings did not climb so high for the second giveaway because there are more books in the program now?

    1. No, Scott, I think it was an algorithm change on Amazon's part. Whereas before your free downloads counted towards your rankings immediately, there is now a delay (I guess of the number of days your book was available free). In my last promo it was free for 3 days and I didn't climb the rankings until 4 days after it went back to paid.

      If you can factor this into your promo, you can get some decent post-KDP sales.


My Zimbio
Top Stories