Monday, July 8, 2013

Perma-free and Lessons Learned

Back in April, I decided to take Mark Taylor: Genesis out of Select by not renewing another 90-day stint. In fact, I was planning for all of my books to come out as their previous 90 days expired, but Genesis was the first. I put it up at Barnes&Noble, but opted not to use Smashwords, so I couldn't go free there. I used Draft2Digital to publish to Kobo and iTunes, setting the price to free. It took a little while, but in mid-May, Genesis was price-matched to free on Amazon. (U.S. only, unfortuately. It was price-matched in the U.K, but only for a week before it reverted back to paid. Stange.) EDIT: Since I posted this only an hour ago, Amazon price-matched to free in the UK also! 2 downloads so far. lol. I'm leaving my links below just in case it reverts back at a later date.

So, what's the lesson I've learned? I learned that perma-free doesn't give itself away. I had the idea that after an initial surge of downloads the first few days when it would show up on newly free book lists, that it would then just kind of chug along under its own steam with a steady number of free downloads every day. Well I guess I was right to some extent. I just didn't expect the 'steady' stream to be less than 10 downloads a day! 

All of June, I was thinking there was nothing I could do beyond some tweets and occasional postings on a few FB pages that allow authors to post their freebies. Perma-free books aren't like free books in Select where you can set a in advance and then submit to blogs and FB pages that announce free books. With the great free book shake-up in February when Amazon restricted the number of free downloads an Amazon affiliate could have, it's been harder to advertise free books of any kind and I figured that Select books would get the nod over perma-free--for example Bookbub won't take perma-free books. 

With poor Genesis languishing in the 5-7k ranking in the free books on Amazon, I was getting desperate and applied to some sites to get listed. Most aren't the big sites but I figured if I could bump up my downloads even a little bit, it would help in the long run to get more readers for my series. I even found a person on Fivrr who promoted my book for a few days for 5 bucks. This first few places that placed my book on their page started on 7/3. My hits on my book's Amazon page spiked from an average of about 30, to 90 that day, and the next three days, when a few more sites listed my book, the hits went up to 300/day. Downloads have already surpassed the total downloads the book had in June. 

Now, I'm not talking huge numbers here, but the ranking has gone from about 6k at the beginning of the month to in the 1-2k range. It even made it into the 900s for a little while. I know for those who get thousands of downloads in a few days, the numbers might seem laughable, but I'm looking long-term here. I've done the free thing via Select and had my books reach the top 5 in the free store, but I don't think that is sustainable for a perma-free book so I have set my sights lower. I'd love to average at least 50-100 downloads a day. That would be 1500-3000 downloads in a month. Right this minute, downloads are down again (although I had more overnight than I was averaging in a day in June, so it's still better than it was.) but I have several more promos lined up in the coming weeks. 
I haven't reached my goal yet, but I know other perma-free books do well and I'm hoping to just gain some traction this month. I feel like I wasted all of June waiting for the book to be discovered all on it's own. Duh! Don't we all wish that would happen? 

Mark Taylor: Genesis

Ordinary guy, extraordinary hero
Mark Taylor's life changes forever when he finds an antique camera in an Afghan bazaar. Back home in Chicago, he discovers that the camera has a strange and unique ability--it produces photographs of tragedies yet to happen. Gifted with powers to change destiny, what drives him to risk his life for others? And when presented with photos of 9/11 a day before it happens, what else can he do but attempt to save lives and thwart catastrophe?

In this prequel to M.P. McDonald's Kindle Bestseller, No Good Deed, find out how Mark Taylor was gifted with powers to change destiny. What drove him to risk his life for others, and why did everything go so wrong on that fateful September day?

Help me get Mark Taylor: Genesis price-matched in the U.K. and Canada? To do that, you just have to copy either of the links below, and then go to the UK or Canada link, and paste them into a Report a Lower Price link that is found on book's page.

UK      Canada 

Sites that have posted Mark Taylor: Genesis so far:

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