How KDP Select Helped My Book Promotion

Title card for Marketing Your Novel, photo from AwesomeCon 2019 table, The Warden of Everfeld: Memento fantasy novel, Steve D'Adamo

Two weeks ago, I suggested in my wrap-up post for 2020 marketing goals that I hadn’t yet reached my goal for sales/giveaways of my books in 2020. I just wanted to run one giveaway through KDP Select to close out the year.

After a modest performance the first day and a half, my KDP Select giveaway picked up some steam and lifted me well beyond my original goal. Here’s how it went.

Why KDP Select?

My book marketing goals this year had been predicated on publishing some new stories, which has yet to happen. However, I didn’t want to end 2020 on a sour note.

Since I have only published the ebook of The Warden of Everfeld: Memento on Kindle, it was eligible for KDP Select, Kindle’s program to help Kindle authors promote their books.

Now, I originally published WoEM in July 2018, so I did not want to spend money on promoting a two-year-old book. That will come once I have some new content to sell. KDP Select gave me the opportunity to promote the ebook version of my novel at no cost.

I enrolled my ebook in KDP Select on December 15 and scheduled a five-day giveaway to begin on December 16. Because it’s a giveaway, I didn’t make any money, but it also didn’t cost me anything, because there is no overhead for “giving away” copies of a digital book.

Thus, my main goal for running the giveaway was just to get more readers’ eyes on my book. Before the giveaway, I had sold or given away about 70 copies of The Warden of Everfeld: Memento, all time.

How Did I Do?

We’re going to break this down into two parts, because it’s important to look at the whole picture of a marketing campaign, and not just the end result.

The Promotion

On December 16, I posted on this site announcing that I was running a giveaway for my novel on Kindle. Through Sunday, that post received a total of 8 direct Views. In that post, I linked to the Amazon page for my ebook. That link received 2 direct clicks.

Now, it’s completely plausible that there were more indirect views on my post from people who just read it on my main blog feed or in their WordPress readers.

This doesn’t seem like much, but through the early afternoon of December 16, I already had 3 downloads of my novel on Kindle, indicating that at least a few people saw my blog promotion and downloaded.

Then, the evening of December 16, I created a post on Imgur announcing my giveaway. Over the next few days, that post received 81 Views. Not great, but not terrible. I didn’t have much engagement on that post, but it wasn’t downvoted into oblivion, so that’s good.

And that’s it. Two posts on “free” platforms. (I technically pay for WordPress, but that’s a sunk cost I’ve borne for 5+ years.)

The KDP Select Giveaway

On the morning of December 17, I checked my KDP author dashboard to find 3 downloads of my ebook on the 6th, and not many more downloads so far that morning. Given the less-than-inspiring performances of my blog and Imgur posts, I mentally resigned myself to not seeing much activity.

Boy, was I wrong. I didn’t check my KDP downloads for another day or so and returned to find an outstanding performance:

Per day, this breaks out to:

  • Dec 16: 3 downloads
  • Dec 17: 22 downloads
  • Dec 18: 31 downloads
  • Dec 19: 5 downloads
  • Dec 20: 2 downloads
  • Total: 63 downloads!

I was floored. I could not believe how quickly my giveaway accelerated over the second and third days. At one point, I checked my KDP rankings and found that my ebook was ranked #103 in Coming of Age Fiction and #158 in Coming of Age Fantasy ebooks.

Those are pretty specific categories, but clearly, people were finding my book and finding it intriguing enough to download. Even though it was free, I cannot overstate how much of a confidence boost this gave me.

Lessons Learned

  1. Don’t lose hope on the first day of a promotion. I knew this in the back of my head, but I find social media quite volatile, so seeing poor performance on my Imgur post was disappointing. I stopped checking Imgur and just leaned on my KDP dashboard to bring me some good news, which it ultimately did!
  2. KDP giveaways and rankings build on momentum. The more downloads you have over a short period, the more KDP will promote your ebook, get it in front of more eyes, and increase the chances of people downloading it. I think the next time I run a giveaway, I’ll try to boost it with additional promotional activities.
  3. Experiment with the length of a promotional giveaway. For a giveaway I only promoted on two pretty niche social media accounts, 5 days was likely too long of a giveaway period. If I had decided to run additional promotions, scheduling them for December 18 or 19 could have helped me keep momentum going on ebook downloads through the end of the giveaway.

There are likely other lessons I can pull from this brief promotion, but I’m so pleased with how this went. I’ll be using this experience to plan further promotions in 2021.

And sincerely, thank you to anyone who downloaded my ebook. I hope you enjoy it!

Steve D

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