Friday, February 22, 2013
An Experiment in Free Promotions
I tried an experiment with free promotional advertising last month. I put out Tapestries of Betrayal, a new title, for free for five days and promoted it everywhere I could for free. I had five free days on Tales of Woe and Wonder, an older title, that were going to expire, so I put that book up for free for the same time period but didn't do any advertising. Tapestries is a single story; Tales is a collection, but both fall in the fantasy genre.
I expected the promoted title to do much better considering the hours I spent filling out submission forms. Ultimately, the promoted title out performed the non-promoted title but not by that much. Tapestries accounted for 58.5% of my free downloads while Tales took 41.5%. Remember that I had already done a free promotion for Tales a few months earlier. So, advertising appears to help some but readers still found the non-promoted title.
Most of my downloads happen during the weekdays and fall off during the weekends. As I watched the download counts I noticed a bizarre but very telling pattern if my hypothesis is correct. Tapestries initially led the race and surged ahead, but when the weekend arrived, the counts for Tales surged and passed Tapestries. The early part of the new week saw Tapestries move ahead of Tales. So what happened during the weekend when Tales started doing so much better relative to Tapestries? I place advertisements in the back of my books for my other titles. I'm speculating that some people read Tapestries, liked it, and clicked on the link for Tales. When they saw that one was free, they downloaded it, too. If I'm right, it appears those in book promotions of your other titles are one of your most valuable selling tools.