The eBook Marketing Saga – Free Giveaway

So, here is my first official update on my eBook marketing process. I know there are probably ten zillion blogs where a budding author documents his or her efforts in marketing their book, but I haven’t found one that does it from ground zero. So, here’s hoping this blog post helps others of you out. 

About a month ago I released the first volume of a three part novel called The Beast of Maug Maurai. I decided to release it exclusively on Amazon’s Kindle store for 90 days because they offer some groovy benefits if you do that. 

*Scans audience* Yes, you in the back, question?

“What sort of benefits, Mr. Calas?”

Oh, good question. Well, for starters, you can join their KDP Selects program. Which means that anyone enrolled in Amazon Prime can read your book for free.

“Um, how the hell does giving away your book help?”

Well, giving away your book for a limited time helps in many ways, but the KDP Select program isn’t really giving your book away. They pay you a royalty based on how many books were loaned out each month. But this blog isn’t here to market Amazon. Go read it yourself if you want:

You mean I just spent six years on something that I’m going to give away?

Another benefit of going with Amazon exclusively, at least for the first 90 days, is that they let you offer your book for free. Yeah. I know. Hear me out. Every ninety days, Amazon gives you five days in which you can offer your book for free. You can do it all at once, or you can split the days. I’ve heard it’s best to split the days, two days, then maybe three days later on. 

And here’s why it’s a good idea to give your book away for free: Ranking.

Those of you familiar with web marketing know that a good Google Ranking is the holy grail. If your web page comes up in the first five or ten listings on Google for a keyword, then you have made the world your bitch. It’s the same for Amazon. If your book comes up in the top ten on pretty much any Amzon list, then the literary world is your gimp. 

On Google, it takes an awful lot to earn a high ranking. You need to load your pages with keywords and anchor links, and get lots of people to link to you, and date Google execs and stuff. But on Amazon, it’s a little more straightforward. On Amazon, all you have to do is have sex with Jeff Bezos. See? Simple. 

Since Mr. Bezos’ secretary has refused to return my calls and Amazon security has kicked me out three times, and since I’m utterly and completely heterosexual, I have to do it the other way. I have to get my book into the hands of as many people as humanly possible. 

When the Amazon Killer Robot Computer sees a lot of people downloading a book, it thinks, “A lot of humans are downloading this book. It must be a good book. I will make this book available to more humans. I wonder if WD-40 comes in 2-liter bottles.”

Amazon is your friend. Amazon wants you to be happy.
Amazon wants humans to read. Give me the plant.

Okay, so you’re still not convinced. Well, here comes the science. 

When I first uploaded The Beast of Maug Maurai, Volume One, it had a ranking of 658,567,893,143 on Amazon (lower numbers are better). Okay, maybe it wasn’t that low, but it was somewhere in the 8,000s I think. I never documented so we’ll never know. But I do know that it was far below the 4,000 mark. So, I set up a promotion using KDP’s promotion tool. I set the Beast’s price at ‘free’ for two days: today and tomorrow. But I didn’t stop there. Oh no. 

Before the promotion started, I sent my book link to several websites that promote free downloads, like this one:

Got Facebook and Twitter? I think they are your best friends on your Free Promotion days. I tweeted as often as I could, telling everyone that my book was available for free, linking to my book, and begging everyone to re-tweet the news. I went on Facebook before it went free, to prepare everyone, then several times after it went free to remind them that the book is free. And yes, I groveled. I’m not above groveling. 

I also set up an event on Goodreads, telling everyone the date my book would be available for free. And I went on a few discussion boards on Amazon (ones that allow self-promotion) and listed when my book was going to be free.

There’s lots more than I can do, I know this. And I even plan to do more. But it’s not a bad start.  I plan to upload Book II to Amazon next week so that I can try to reap some sales while the iron is hot. Book II will get a bump because it will be new, so the two volumes should scream out to buyers pretty well for a bit. And when they don’t anymore? Well then, I’ll have another Free Promotion day for Book I. 

So, here it is, halfway through my first free day and what have I got?

Free Downloads so far: 206
Amazon Ranking in Free Category: 1,541 (out of 51,549)
Amazon Ranking in Epic Fantasy: 35 (out of 9,328)

Yeah, I’m not exactly in bestseller territory yet, but I’m only halfway through my first free day. I have one and a half days to go. Will the downloads slow down? Probably. But I will continue to market and shout out about my books, and, most importantly, I will continue to write. That’s the they key, the more books you have, the more they play off one another and the more your sales go up. At least that’s what I’ve heard. I’ll keep you guys updated as my journey continues.

Holy crap! While I was sitting here writing this blog, the numbers changed. New numbers:

Free Downloads so far: 215
Amazon Ranking in Free Category908  (out of 51,549)
Amazon Ranking in Epic Fantasy: 19! (out of 9,328)

Woohoo!! YAY! *Backflip* Woot!

ahem… I mean… those are positive numbers. I am encouraged.