Results of the Black Dog sale

Some of you are writers, I know, so I thought you might be interested in the results of the Black Dog free book promotion. This was a five-day Kindle countdown.

October 30 — first day, Friday, promotion on Freebooksy. I used a series promotion. Results: nearly 2500 people downloaded the free book. Discovery: a small but greater-than-zero number of readers will buy every book in a series as soon as they pick up the first book free. I had no idea. Kindle Unlimited pages read might have increased, but not significantly.

October 31 — second day, Saturday, Halloween, so it’s hard to say exactly how that would have compared to the Friday. Promotion on Ereader News Today and Fussy Librarian, both at once, which I realize was a mistake. I meant to make one of them November 1st, but must have stumbled when I selected the date. Results: nearly 1800 people downloaded the free book. Kindle Unlimited pages read rose by 50% over the typical daily number.

Nov 1 — third day, Sunday, post-Halloween. No book promotion. Effect of the Kindle Countdown alone: trivial, as far as I can tell. I mean, probably better than I could have done just mentioning the free book on social media, but a huge dropoff from the days when the book was promoted by one of the services linked above. Results: around 400 people downloaded the free book. Kindle Unlimited pages read: now up to more than twice the typical daily number.

Nov 2 — Fourth day, Monday, also moving toward a crazily stressful election, so who knows whether that might have influenced things. No specific promotion. Another sharp drop — I would have thought that the Kindle countdown would produce better, not worse, results as the countdown ticked toward zero. That does not appear to be the case. Fewer than 200 people downloaded the free book. KU page reads now close to three times the typical daily number.

Nov 3 — Fifth and last day, and though it’s still early, both trends are still very apparent. Plainly downloads of the free book are going to be very low for the day, comparatively. Plainly KU page reads are going to shoot up well above yesterday’s number.

Conclusions: Next time I run a free- book promotion, I’ll try a couple of different things.

First, I applied for a Book Bub ad but didn’t get it. I specified the dates I wanted, which evidently reduces the chances that your book will be chosen for an ad. Next time, if I want a Book Bub ad, I’ll try for that first, not specify a date, and if I get that ad, plan everything else around that.

Second, if I leave a book free for five days, I’ll definitely schedule some sort of free book promotion on each of those days. As far as I can tell, without jumping forward a month to look at sales for the whole series, those promotions are definitely cost effective. There are other services that do book promotion. I think it would probably be worthwhile to schedule a separate one of those promotions on each of the free days, or stack them all up on one free day.

Third, a significant number of readers must pick up free books and then, if they like them, switch to KU to read sequels in the series. I have no idea how long the KU boost will last, but at the moment it’s more important than the uptick in actual sales. That may reverse later. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this for the entire month because I’d think that probably the effects of a free book promotion take some time to work through the series.

If any of you authors have used these same promotion services, I would be very curious to know whether your experience with them was at all similar. I know that you don’t all write UF, so that would make a difference, but still, it would be interesting to compare.

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2 thoughts on “Results of the Black Dog sale”

  1. Yes, Allan, a little less than half a cent per page read. About six hundred pages equals something close to the royalty payment for one book read, for me — this would obviously be different depending on the price of the books. That is not too far off, as the Kindle standardized page count for one of the Black Dog books is close to 600 pages.

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