Free love, day three


It is the morning of day three of my five day giveaway. The downloads have slowed substantially, but they are still higher than when I ran a giveaway without advertising.

Here are the numbers:

Love, Death and Tea, September 2014 (five days) – 279

Love, Death and Tea, 8 October – 2,664

Love, Death and Tea, 9 October – 662

I was overjoyed with the first day’s 2,664. It was much higher than I expected. But yesterday’s 662 was a letdown. It is much higher than the previous campaign total, but lower than day one.

Part of the reason may be that some of the sales come from targeted email newsletters that the advertising companies send out. Presumably readers are grabbing the books that interest them straight away. That means we get an early burst of sales, but then nothing.

But I’ve noticed something else. Some of the advertising sites list your book for the entire period that it is free, but at least two of the websites only gave me one day of advertising.

Love, Death and Tea is still being advertised on Freebooksy and Englishbooks.extme (the German site). But we have dropped off Book Barbarian and BKnights.

The BKnights one is a little weird as their sales bumph did say that we were getting seven days of publicity. I’ve emailed them to query this.

It is interesting to break it down by country. Most of the downloads have come from America: – 3,077

UK – 111

Germany – 70

Australia – 12

Canada – 47

That is perhaps not surprising as most of the advertising websites seem to be aimed at American customers. The 70 downloads from Germany must all be down to the English books website. But it begs the question – how do you get to UK readers?

Then there is the Goodreads effect. I posted about the book on a number of Goodreads forums – taking care only to post in the sections where authors are allowed to promote their books. I got a fabulous response from the UK Amazon Kindle Forum where several friends have promoted the books to their friends.

But the other Goodreads forums have been far less successful. I have had one or two views of a post advertising my book – and there is no guarantee that those views translated into a download.

The moral seems to be that Goodreads works when you take the time to make friends. It doesn’t work when you cold call. Some of the forums have far too many books on offer that they are not really an effective way to sell. Or even give something away.

I had an interesting comment yesterday from KNOWTHYREADER who said:

Will, be careful not to get caught up focusing on the wrong metrics, remember that downloads don’t equal reads.

If the downloads are what you are aiming for, that’s good, then think beyond that stage, what do you want to happen next?

He/she is absolutely right. Free downloads are not sales. Many people will pick up a free book and never read it. I know. I have done exactly that.

But I don’t think that’s how marketing works. The idea behind a free giveaway is that you advertise to many. A proportion of those people download your book. A proportion of the downloaders actually read the book. A proportion of those people will like it. Some of those will leave a review and/or go buy one of my other books.

You don’t focus on the people that you haven’t reached or the ones who download your book but never read it. They probably wouldn’t have bought your book anyway. What matters is exposure and getting known.

The free downloads are a stepping stone. Nothing more, nothing less. If I can step into this hollowed-out volcano and stroke my white cat for a second, I will tell you my plans for world domination…

If someone reads Love, Death and Tea and likes it, there is a plug at the back of the book for my other books.

They might be tempted to sign up to my email newsletter.

A review or two on Amazon and Goodreads would be nice.

They may want to buy my next book coming out on 24 October (To Know the Dark). Hey, that’s by that Will Once fella! I’ve heard of him.

I am currently working on the sequel to Love, Death and Tea. So if you enjoyed the first book, you can continue the adventures with the same characters. Then a sequel to Global Domination. Then a sequel to “To Know the Dark”.

That’s the plan. It may not be the most original plan that the world has ever seen. It may take several years. But it’s a plan.

I happen to believe that if you have most of a plan, then you should execute it with all of your energy and commitment. You can work out the missing bits as you go along.

We never get anything done if we wait for a full and perfect plan to be ready.

Update 3 o’clock, Saturday 10th – we are half way through the five day promotion and the number of downloads have slowed down. After 2,664 downloads on day one and 663 on day two, day three so far is giving us just 46.

I have had a reply from BKnights who have said that their promotion is for only one day. I am a tad disappointed with that. Of the four marketing campaigns that we paid for, two ran the campaign for only one day – bookbarbarian and BKnights. The other two – Freebooksy and the englishbooks.extme German site – are continuing to advertise the book.

Interesting. Not all book marketing sites offer the same value, but it wasn’t obvious when I booked them that there was such a difference in approach.


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