It is certainly a long time since my post about my free book promotion “Success is all about the brand“. Now I have the results I am no more sure about the benefits of a free book promotion.
All this is said in recognition that my book may not be good enough (aghhh – that was hard).
Sure, we have all heard of authors that became successful because they gave or give away books. I have a few observations before telling you more about the outcome of my giveaway.
- We have no metrics to tell us what proportion of authors giving away their books sell more as a result.
- Indeed, we have no way of unravelling the effects of the giveaways from other marketing efforts.
- The successful authors have a series of books and, generally, gather a following with free copies of the first couple of books, then sell the rest.
Despite this knowledge, I decided to see what would happen if I gave away my book. I opted for three disparate days 2, 16 and 30 January. I chose 2 January as it was a Bank Holiday in the UK, 16 January because it is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year (according to research I disparage in my book) and 30 January because I didn’t want it to drag on and take focus from my other activities (the equi-spacing was a lucky coincidence).
I used a collection of free and paid for advertising and paid (micro-payments) on 16 and 30 January. My success measures were two fold
- Get reviews
- Get some real sales
This is the outcome:
Amazon provide some support to authors, but they don’t give numbers of downloads, they give change in rankings. The three orange points are the giveaways. My ranking improved 10 fold for each of those days. However, my ranking also improved on 1 September, to almost the same extent. Further, of those three days, the day with no paid advertising was as good as the day with two sets of bought adverts.
Does this data give any insight into my two success measures?
- No, but I have checked and there are no new reviews.
- Yes, it does and the free days did not convert immediately into real sales.
Another thing struck me as I was setting up the promotion. Lots of friends and family bought the book. I felt rude and ungrateful giving it away within a year.
So, would I do a book giveaway again? At this point in time, hand on heart, prevaricating to avoid answering, I think the answer is a resounding maybe.