I asked who could give us some insight on maximizing the KDP Select Program and she immediately suggested Kathy Lynn Harris.
I know some folks think the KDP Select program is no longer garnering the results it used to, but I’m still a big believer.
In fact, the KDP campaign for my debut novel, Blue Straggler, which was founded on invaluable advice from publicist Laura Pepper Wu of 30 Day Books, turned out to be a very good one. Thanks to a huge bump from the free days, Blue Straggler became an Amazon #1 bestseller in its category, and stayed in the top spot, for weeks. (More on the results in a bit.)
Here’s a snapshot view of the strategy, which Very Wise Laura called “layering.”
First of all, the book was released as an ebook in August 2011, and in paperback in March 2012. Between August and mid-March, positive reviews began coming in. By the time we launched our free promotion game plan, the novel had more than 40 reviews and a 4.5 star rating. I think this was paramount to the success of the campaign. That volume of reviews and a high rating snagged readers who had never heard of me or my work before.
I also had a modest fan following by the time of the paperback release, as well, which only grew in the weeks after the release. I was able to reach out to those followers via social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and via my established email list to alert them to the free promotion coming up. Many of those followers were awesome about sharing the details to their networks.
On April 8, I posted a funny, quirky essay on my blog (You can take the girl out of Texas, but …) about how I’d suffered not one, but two, “midlife” crises — one when I turned 30, and then one more recently when I turned 40. At the bottom of that post, I promoted the upcoming free days on Amazon. The post was one of my highest-ranking ones ever, and I wrote it strategically; it had some of the same themes as Blue Straggler. Laura and I thought it would resonate with the same type of audience.
I scheduled my first two free days on KDP two days later, beginning on April 10. I promoted those free days everywhere I could — blogs, Twitter accounts, websites, Facebook pages — anywhere that listed free Kindle books. I got a pretty good smattering of coverage. (Note to authors: This takes a huge amount of time, so plan on buying coffee in bulk, and apologizing to your family for neglect afterward.) I wish I had kept a running list of all the places I posted or submitted the information because I’d love to use it again myself. But I was working so fast and furiously, I didn’t keep great records. Those who know me well will tell you this is not a huge surprise.
I followed up after the two free days with another blog post on April 11 — another funny one that I’d hoped was share-worthy, about Texas women — another solid tie to the novel.
On April 12, we advertised on Kindle Nation Daily and reduced the book to 99 cents for 24 hours, which gave another boost to the plan.
On April 13, I attended a book-signing event in Denver (my “hometown”) and got some media coverage prior to the event in local newspapers and major metro web calendars, with links to the book on Amazon.
On April 16, I began a weeklong blog tour of women’s fiction blogs.
And finally, during the mid-point of the blog tour, I scheduled another KDP Select free day, and the free deal was again announced on a variety of blogs, social media pages, and websites, including Chick Lit Plus.
The results? Here you go:
30,000 downloads from April 10 – April 30
#6 in Top 100 Free
#1 in Kindle Store – ebooks – Fiction – Comic Fiction
#1 in Kindle Store – ebooks – Humor
#8 in Books – Humor & Entertainment
The book remains in the top 30 in Comic Fiction, 8 months later.
We want to know about YOUR experience with the KDP Select program! Did you have a plan, or did you just go free and sit back and see what happened?