On April 9, 2012, in KDP Select, The Market, by rsguthrie

I’m finally ready to deliver my verdict. Each of the past three or four times I have run one or both of my books free on Amazon, I have seen a nice increase in sales post-freebie. It does drop off a bit after a few days, but I think the key here is that your name is getting out there on the lists.

When Amazon posts its “Bestseller” lists, the PAID and FREE are side-by-side. So as you climb the FREE bestseller list, your name is up there for all to see (even those looking at the PAID Bestseller list).

Early in the Indie writer’s career, name exposure (i.e. BRANDING) is almost more important than any other element. When you put your book up as free for day or two, you may get 500 or 1000 or 2000 downloads.Yes, some of those downloads are going to Kindle Hoarders who will never read (or likely even notice) your book versus the thousands of others cluttering their electronics. But I don’t think that’s the greatest advantage to KDP Select and the free giveaway.

It’s name exposure. It’s getting to #22 on the Horror Free bestseller list. I am currently running a free promo for LOST (though Wednesday) and after approximately 12 hours up and running, I am actually holding the #22 spot on the Free Bestseller List in Horror. Might not seem like a big deal, but when you look at the list (pictured here) you see how Amazon puts the two lists side-by-side and opposite my book on the PAID list are two Stephen King books.

So you can see what the exposure can do for you. If nothing else this helps with your name recognition (and also supports my friend Sev Winters‘ contention that the author name needs to be prominent on the cover because THAT’S what you want them remembering).

I realize many of you are unsure whether or not you want to limit yourself to Amazon sales only (for the digital version of your book, that is). It’s a fair question and I think each author needs to evaluate their own situation. For me, I wasn’t moving many digital copies in the other online markets, so the decision was fairly easy. I also received a nice check from Amazon last month for participating in the book lending program, so that didn’t hurt my feelings any.

Bottom line is, I love the free promo. I think it works. So for now I will be continuing the KDP select program.

You might want to try it for yourself.


16 Responses to KDP Select WORKS!

  1. Rob,

    I am having the same experience and plan to do just as you are doing. BTW, I am running a free day today and am at #18 in suspense. I have to admit that it is nice to see those big names across the page in the paid column.

    Good luck and knock ’em dead.


    • rsguthrie says:

      Thanks, Stephen…best of luck to you, too! I’m up to #17 and one above Amanda Hocking on the Free Side. Also noticed Kathy Lynn Hall and Red Mojo Mama is at #5 on my list!!

  2. Great update on your experience with KDP Select. I am currently running giveaways that are good until July, but I can’t wait to try this out myself.

  3. Well done, Rob!! One day, maybe even Stephen King will buy your books and think, “WOW, this guy really knows what he is writing about”…. LOL Good luck with your sales!!! xx

  4. I’ve had the same experience Rob. Best of luck, happy to see that it KDP works across the board 🙂

  5. Let’s hope you are right because after 20 hours of the promotion our book ‘A Vested Interest’ is #1 in techno-thriller in the UK and #2 in the US. We are hoping readers will like it enough to buy the other books in the series.

  6. Caleb Pirtle says:

    Invaluable information for us to know. I appreciate your sharing your experiences. They become a guideline for all of us to follow.

  7. Jeff Currie says:

    Thanks, Rob, for sharing and for making the point about your name being alongside the heavy hitters in the paid bestseller’s list. I have been collecting KDP Select experiences on my blog, and no one, ( that I recall), has pointed that specific benefit out in quite the same way. It not only pays to be on that free bestseller list but keeping company with the other list is a huge benefit as well. Adding your update to my list!

    • rsguthrie says:

      Thanks, Jeff! Plus there is a nice massaging of the ego that takes place seeing your own name next to someone famous, if only for a day. 😉

  8. Rob,

    As a self-published author (Martin Sandforth), I recently used KDP Select to promote my book “The Reverse Deal”: and I can confirm a surge in paid sales after the promotion ended. Used wisely in conjunction with a backlist of other paid books, I think this technique could be used to skyrocket paid books into high positions in the Amazon ranks. To test this theory, I am writing a second thriller that will be published this year.

    Good luck with your book sales, Rob!

    All the best – Martin Sandforth.

    • rsguthrie says:

      Best of luck to you, too, Martin. I think your multi-book theory is solid. I experienced an increase in sales of my first book while the second book was on a free promo. 🙂

  9. Matthew Rowe says:

    I’m a believer too. I was not selling anything until after a few promotion days on KDP select and now I get a few sales every day. I’m about to start another promotion day, this weekend!

  10. Rob – I want to say thanks !!
    yesterday evening I read your post (above) and then and only then thoroughly read the terms of KDP select that I enrolled in a week or so ago, after discussing with our good friend @torrenstp.
    Today after just 8 hours or so I’ve ‘sold’ 800 free copies and I’m at 38 on the Fiction/Crime-Mystery category. I wholeheartedly agree with your comments and |I always feature my name prominently on the cover.
    As you say exposure is paramount, all the best Rob

  11. Hi Rob thanks for that info. I only have one title out at the moment and I’ve been told by other authors the kdp select program may not work as well for an author with one book out. Do you think that’s the case or what’s your take on it?

    • rsguthrie says:

      I do think it’s better for authors with multiple books, but I think that’s true for everything with Indie writers. Everything I’ve read says Indies need multiple books under any circumstances (so that should be a goal regardless). From a KDP Select perspective, I do think that the biggest question is how much non-Amazon business are you doing? If it’s not a lot, it’s a fairly risk free option. It does get your book into readers hands, which can’t hurt. 🙂

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