Marketing Self Publishing

Promoting Your Free Book

When I published my first book, way back in 2011, the only way to have a book free on was to make it free on Smashwords and wait for Amazon to price match (or get your mates to tell Amazon to price match). Being  fairly lazy, I never bothered. 

Going Free 8/9/10 August
Going Free 8/9/10 August

However the KDP Select program changed things up. And I’ve enrolled both my two most recent books in it to see how it works. If the book is in Select I can set it free for 5 days out of the 90 days that the Select contract runs for. 

My initial thought was to set a new book free immediately, in order to get reviews. The resounding response on forums was that this doesn’t work as people who download free books rarely read them, never mind review them. Sounds true, after all I have quite a lot of unread books on my Kindle! 

Also who’s going to take the risk on a book with no reviews from an unknown author – even if it is free? 

So instead I decided to price low – as in my Kindle Launch and Pricing Strategy. This worked, I now have nice reviews and a 5-star ranking. 

Choosing Free Days

So then I started looking at the “when” question. When to go free and for how long? I could go free for anywhere between one to all five days. Initially I was going to do one day, but then I realised there are lots of sites that promote free books, so it seemed that I was likely to miss being promoted by them. 

Then I discovered that most (many?), Americans are paid on a Friday (who knew). So I’ve taken an educated guess and decided my book would go free 8/9/10 August (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday). 

The theory is that if you get some downloads, that should push my book up the bestseller lists for free, so that when it goes back to paid, 

Oh and when I decided on the days I was going free, I put the price back to $2.99, so it shows as a bigger discount when free, plus will go straight back to that price (which is my standard pricing for this series for the moment). 

Promoting Free Days

There are HEAPS of places to promote free books, some require some notice, so I spent a busy day yesterday submitting my book to a list of sites. Not all accept nonfiction, but this is the list I have that do. 

First this Group You Can Submit To A Few Days In Advance useful site developed by Jim Kurkal who knows what he’s talking about in respect to marketing.  The forums are a bit quite but their videos are worth watching. 

Editorial Submissions 

Plus This List To Submit To On the Day

Lucky for me middnight in Amazon-land is about 7pm my time -so I’m going to have a busy evening: 

Latest Books – quite a nice forum this, looks like it could be more useful than just for book promotion.

Adding Tags To The Listing 

Also suggested was that you add tags like “free kindle book”, “free kindle nonfiction book”, “kindle free nonfiction”,”kindle freebies” ,”kindle free books” to your listing so those site that build automatic “free book” lists will find it. 

Apparently I can spam Twitter as well, but as I don’t really do much on Twitter I’m not sure whether that will be worthwhile or not. 

So my calculation my book will be free in about an 1.5 hours – that’s if they are prompt at price changes? I have no idea! EDIT – apparently not still paid at 1:30am there time :-< 

Oh yeah the links

7 replies on “Promoting Your Free Book”

Interesting ideas to promote your free days! Have you tried testing how many downloads a book gets for 1 day with promotion then wait a few weeks and do another free day without promotion? That would be interesting to see if the promotion is making a big difference…


The problem with doing only one day is that you won’t necessarily get picked up by the sites that look automatically for any book marked as free – that’s why I’m doing 3 days.

The question is the sales rank after it comes off free, sales I can’t control, but sales rank is the key

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