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Stone and Silt
by Harvey Chute

$2.99
Kindle Edition published 2013-08-14
Bestseller ranking: 713665

Product Description
Big Al's Books & Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards: Young Adult Nominee

A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.

Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.

Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love....

Author Topic: FreeBookService (FBS) Update ,  (Read 67607 times)  

Offline Susanne.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #100 on: December 03, 2013, 11:27:55 AM »
I did a Bookblast promo in August for $50. I got 24000 downloads and sales after that were terrific for about three months. Your prices are pretty steep and your download promises less than what I got for so much less.

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Offline K.B.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #101 on: December 03, 2013, 11:36:00 AM »
I did some research into freebookservice and the results are at least worth taking pause if nothing else.

1. I did a domain search for freebookservice.com and came up with this
2. The nameserver the domain is attached to is casualmeetup dot com (This won't take you to the pornographic site, just a listing showing ownership of the site)
3. I found the email address that registered the domain and you find that here
4. When I did a search for that address I found another site that was registered to this email address with the same nameserver. This site is adencounters dot com.
5. Both sites require an email address to 'register' and nothing else. This leads me to believe the 'registration' form is really just a mailing list in disguise. The terms on the sites seem to indicate that as well.

Both of those sites are for hooking up and it really makes me wonder why they share the same nameserver as this free book service.

I would just caution any of you before you jump on this bandwagon without proper investigation. We're not wrong to question the validity of this service when we are expected to pay 150-300 dollars for it. Some other things to also consider, don't you find it just a tad bit strange that everyone is seeing the same results? We're used to seeing good results with bookbub but the rate of downloads vary widely. Not being able to subscribe to the list is also concerning.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 11:37:32 AM by K.B. Parker »

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Offline Kat Lilynette

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #102 on: December 03, 2013, 11:41:16 AM »

Both of those sites are for hooking up and it really makes me wonder why they share the same nameserver as this free book service.


It just means that the websites are hosted on the same server at the hosting company. You can have a ton of individual websites/services running off a single server, which would give them all the same nameserver address.

Offline K.B.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #103 on: December 03, 2013, 11:46:28 AM »
Every one of my domains I have hosted have had the domain name as the namserver. For example, if I had www.example.com, my nameserver has always been ns1.example.com and ns2.example.com. If it is the case as you stated I wouldn't want to be running a professional site on that server.


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Offline PhoenixS

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #104 on: December 03, 2013, 11:49:07 AM »
Here's a BB comparison for email behavior.

BB claims around 2 million unique subscribers, built with venture-capital backing.
Historical Romance has 390,000 subs, or 19.5% of the total subs.

Day 1, our book got 25,353 clicks from BB (yes, their results are trackable). That's about 6.5% of the Historical Romance list that clicked. We had about 26,000 downloads, so not all the clickers purchased. I work with an 80% purchase rate on a freebie for BB. That means about 20,000 DLs on Day 1, or about 5.1% of the list that downloaded.

Day 2, we saw 4381 clicks from BB. So about another 1000 downloads can be attributable. That's another 1.2% of the list that clicked.

So, Day 1, we had twice 10,000 clicks in a highly popular genre with a pro cover, a hot theme, and a previously trad-pubbed author out of 390,000 subscribers looking specifically for Historical Romance.

BookBub is heavily weighted toward Mystery/Thriller and Romance, as are ENT, POI, etc., so that 5.1% "buy"-through out of interested folk is probably fairly normal. That's 5% of 20% of the entire mail list. Or, 1%.

Which means this book service would need to have 1 million subscribers to get to that 1% download rate (10,000) for popular genres. To guarantee same for science fiction, fantasy, YA, etc, the mail list would need to be substantially larger.

That's a lot of sign-ups off of description pages on Amazon...

There is a reason we are skeptical.

Obviously, we had about 9000 DLs that are from other small site mentions, folk finding the book in the free lists, etc. Anything past 1 day becomes nearly impossible to suss out where the bulk of the sales originate barring a mention on another megasite.  We also had 180 sales above normal daily sales of the second book in the series on Day 1. That's about 50 sales per 10,000 downloads -- on the same day the freebie was downloaded.

Offline Kat Lilynette

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #105 on: December 03, 2013, 11:53:43 AM »
Every one of my domains I have hosted have had the domain name as the namserver. For example, if I had www.example.com, my nameserver has always been ns1.example.com and ns2.example.com. If it is the case as you stated I wouldn't want to be running a professional site on that server.



I think it depends on the hosting company you're using (if any) and how the nameserver is titled. I know my domains would be shown as mysuperawesomesite.com or thisawesomesite.com but the nameserver for both sites would be based on my server, which would resolve to something like: XXXX.hostgator.com and XXXX.hostgator.com - so regardless of domain, all my domains would have that same nameserver.

Offline K.B.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #106 on: December 03, 2013, 11:59:56 AM »
The hookup site isn't a hosting site. In my experience when I had example.com and another site that I was personally running off the hosting service, they both had the same nameserver, which was the name of the first domain.

And again, this could be nothing. But there are serious warning signs besides the domain registration.

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Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #107 on: December 03, 2013, 12:43:13 PM »
We are protecting our business, and we have made that decision from the start. We also have authors who do not want their competitors knowing exactly what their promotion methods are, which is another reason for this decision. If we changed our mind now, we could lose those clients which have been loyal customers for quite some time. We have had authors coming to us asking if we are promoting another author in the same genre. For what reason, we do not know, but while those of you on kboards may be happy sharing your earnings, promotion methods and tactics, not all writers are the same.

So ... you're passing up the opportunity to add several thousand avid readers (that's what KB is) to your subscriber list because the occasional (totally irrational) author might throw a hissy-fit if he finds out his is one of two thrillers you promote that day instead of the only one? Or because the occasional (paranoid weirdo) author may not want other authors finding out that she ... gasp! ... advertises her free book?

Since the size and quality of your subscriber list has got to be your No. 1 priority, and since KB is an outstanding source of new subscribers, the choice you're making here seems very strange. Self-sabotaging, really.

You seem very prepared to tell the many worried authors on this thread, "Our service is not for you." Why not save that message for the occasional obnoxious/weirdo person who gives you trouble for an unjustifiable, irrational reason?

Aren't you at all concerned about the accusation of running thousands of fake Amazon accounts? If I were you, I'd do whatever it took to disprove that idea, even at the cost of losing the business of the occasional author who wants to run a super-secret, NSA-proof marketing campaign. Those who value legality and transparency will more than make up for that loss. And the risk of drawing the enraged attention of the 'Zon ... well, that's not to be taken lightly.

Offline Kat Lilynette

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #108 on: December 03, 2013, 12:51:18 PM »
BookBub is heavily weighted toward Mystery/Thriller and Romance, as are ENT, POI, etc., so that 5.1% "buy"-through out of interested folk is probably fairly normal. That's 5% of 20% of the entire mail list. Or, 1%.

Which means this book service would need to have 1 million subscribers to get to that 1% download rate (10,000) for popular genres. To guarantee same for science fiction, fantasy, YA, etc, the mail list would need to be substantially larger.

That's a lot of sign-ups off of description pages on Amazon...

There is a reason we are skeptical.

This. So far, I'm seeing Horror, Romance, and Fantasy represented in this thread, all showing strikingly similar results. Which, once you start to do the math and compare it to the industry leader, Bookbub, doesn't add up.

The problem for people trying to suss out the legitimacy of this service is that even if they are downloads from "fake" accounts, once you're pushed up those lists, you start getting real people/downloads/sales from the Amazon site itself.

The telling thing here, to me, seems to be the secrecy behind the multi-million user subscriber list necessary to sustain an operation that can have literally any genre thrown at it and get similar results. The primary reason being that lists have attrition rates, and in order to maintain a multi-million user reader list, you've got to have a huge, daily influx of new subscribers - never mind the fact that this service seems to support reader lists across multiple genres. Which means of all the voracious readers on this forum, someone would have a good idea who these guys are and what their reader recommendation service is.

Note that the book linked in the OP, the one abusing the Amazon description field, where Freebookservice claims to get his reader list from, was published Nov 13, 2013.

Even if this is how they're getting subscribers, you can bet Amazon is none too happy about someone manipulating their onsite features in this manner (adding popups, facebook links, mail forms and the like). Not even sure how they're getting these modifications through the review process, but you can be sure they're probably losing accounts and republishing books under different titles and what-not to continue siphoning users from the Amazon site itself.

Which means, they're either gaming Amazon to siphon off email addresses from browsers of the store, a practice you can be sure is nothing more than a cat and mouse game until it's nuked. Or, more likely, is that it's a simple ruse to distract from the more likely possibility of an army of "fake" Amazon accounts used to supply these downloads.

In either case, in my opinion, everything points to this being a "service" that will likely be nuked once Amazon catches on. And one is left to wonder if there will be any fallback on unsuspecting authors once the jig is up.

Personally, there's nothing I despise more than seeing the toxicity of Warrior Forum and its ilk seeping into other areas and trying to prey on hard-working people. And if all this stuff is completely off the mark (which I highly doubt) I would offer my apologies, but the cryptic nature in all the responses regarding your service won't permit me to. You've brought the scrutiny, for better or worse, on yourself.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 01:03:56 PM by Kat Lilynette »

Offline freebookservice

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #109 on: December 03, 2013, 12:58:57 PM »
So ... you're passing up the opportunity to add several thousand avid readers (that's what KB is) to your subscriber list because the occasional (totally irrational) author might throw a hissy-fit if he finds out his is one of two thrillers you promote that day instead of the only one? Or because the occasional (paranoid weirdo) author may not want other authors finding out that she ... gasp! ... advertises her free book?

Since the size and quality of your subscriber list has got to be your No. 1 priority, and since KB is an outstanding source of new subscribers, the choice you're making here seems very strange. Self-sabotaging, really.

You seem very prepared to tell the many worried authors on this thread, "Our service is not for you." Why not save that message for the occasional obnoxious/weirdo person who gives you trouble for an unjustifiable, irrational reason?

Aren't you at all concerned about the accusation of running thousands of fake Amazon accounts? If I were you, I'd do whatever it took to disprove that idea, even at the cost of losing the business of the occasional author who wants to run a super-secret, NSA-proof marketing campaign. Those who value legality and transparency will more than make up for that loss. And the risk of drawing the enraged attention of the 'Zon ... well, that's not to be taken lightly.

Yes I am concerned about the accusations. Im saddened that the pitchforks come out at the first chance, instead of the common courtesy to wait it out and see how the free promos I gave away to long standing members of this community turn out.  :(

You mention that I should lose customers to prove people that haven't even purchased-- why exactly would I do that? I appreciate your input into my business, but I see it differently.





This. So far, I'm seeing Horror, Romance, and Fantasy represented in this thread, all showing strikingly similar results. Which, once you start to do the math and compare it to the industry leader, Bookbub, doesn't add up.

The problem for people trying to suss out the legitimacy of this service is that even if they are downloads from "fake" accounts, once you're pushed up those lists, you start getting real people/downloads/sales from the Amazon site itself.

The telling thing here, to me, seems to be the secrecy behind the multi-million user subscriber list necessary to sustain an operation that can have literally any genre thrown at it and get similar results. The primary reason being that lists have attrition rates, and in order to maintain a multi-million user reader list, you've got to have a huge, daily influx of new subscribers - never mind the fact that this service seems to support reader lists across multiple genres.

Note that the book linked in the OP, the one abusing the Amazon description field, where Freebookservice claims to get his reader list from, was published Nov 13, 2013.

Even if this is how they're getting subscribers, you can bet Amazon is none too happy about someone manipulating their onsite features in this manner (adding popups, facebook links, mail forms and the like). Not even sure how they're getting these modifications through the review process, but you can be sure they're probably losing accounts and republishing books under different titles and what-not to continue siphoning users from the Amazon site itself.

Which means, they're either gaming Amazon to siphon off email addresses from browsers of the store, a practice you can be sure is nothing more than a cat and mouse game until it's nuked. Or, more likely, is that it's a simple ruse to distract from the more likely possibility of an army of "fake" Amazon accounts used to supply these downloads.

In either case, in my opinion, everything points to this being a "service" that will likely be nuked once Amazon catches on. And one is left to wonder if there will be any fallback on unsuspecting authors once the jig is up.

Personally, there's nothing I despise more than seeing the toxicity of Warrior Forum and its ilk seeping into other areas and trying to prey on hard-working people. And if all this stuff is completely off the mark (which I highly doubt) I would offer my apologies, but the cryptic nature in all the responses regarding your service won't permit me to. You've brought the scrutiny, for better or worse, on yourself.



That publication date of the book in question is modified. It has been up for much, much longer than that. They are grandfathered in with all of that HTML in their description pages. We simply had an opti-n on many book descriptions, which you were able to do before the end of this October. You can no longer add HTML in descriptions.

Another grandfathered-in book can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Ashly-Lorenzana-Blog-ebook/dp/B00EAEXHTI
This is an example of one thats doesnt have as many add-ons (click the show-more to see the optin)
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 01:05:32 PM by freebookservice »
Our website is Freebookservice.com and our email is freebooksservice@gmail.com

Offline Saul Tanpepper

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #110 on: December 03, 2013, 01:06:33 PM »
The problem for people trying to suss out the legitimacy of this service is that even if they are downloads from "fake" accounts, once you're pushed up those lists, you start getting real people/downloads/sales from the Amazon site itself.

This is also my concern, that indirect sales as a result of "gaming the rankings" might lend credibility to an otherwise illegitimate service. Not saying that's the case here, but without other data/information, of course we're going to be skeptical.

Note that the book linked in the OP, the one abusing the Amazon description field, where Freebookservice claims to get his reader list from, was published Nov 13, 2013.

I noticed this, too, but there are reviews which predate the publication date, so this appears to be another case of Amazon's screwy programming changing pub date whenever a change is made in the KDP dashboard.
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Offline Monique

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #111 on: December 03, 2013, 01:09:59 PM »
Freebookservice was generous enough to offer 3 test runs gratis. I'm one of those testers. Here's my take:

FBS did what they said they were going to do. They did indeed provide a service that produced over 10K downloads. I'm sitting at about 12k right now. I have not noticed many/any collateral sales, however the current glitch in KDP and an unrelated promo I'm running today have made it rather difficult to say with any certainty. Exposure is good, but without a decent push to other titles, the value of the service is diminished. Others may have different experiences and, again, my data isn't at all clear.

That said, I'm uncomfortable. The lack of transparancy is troubling. I fully understand wanting to protect your methods, but as others have pointed out, if it is indeed legitimate mailing lists, the number one priority would to replenish and keep those lists vibrant. It's illogical to put up barriers to keep a few paranoid authors happy. The risk of upsetting a few with unreasonable expectations of double-secret probation-privacy would be well worth the addition of thousands of avid readers. That's what you have here on KB. Thousands of readers. Readers who devour books. Readers who would add incredible value to your service. Turning them away is curious, and concerning.

The secrecy extends so far that I can't find any footprint for the service from a reader perspective. There's no happy subscriber out there who has mentioned the service. Unless you're using another name, which is possible, but why wouldn't you want to tell us? Why wouldn't you want readers shouting from their facebook pages and twitter accounts how many awesome free books they found through your service? That's gold. Why don't you want that gold? To protect a paranoid few? That seems an odd business choice.

All of these odd choices leave me feeling uncomfortable. It leaves me thinking that it isn't just an enormous mailing list, but something else. I don't know what that something else is, but I can't think of any positive possibilities. There may be some, but because I'm left in the dark, all I see are boogiemen.

You have been polite and generous here. For that, I commend you. And I thank you for letting me try your service. However, I'm not comfortable recommending it, in spite of the fullfillment of your promised downloads. There are just too many things that make me uncomfortable. You can remove all of those doubts with better transparency. We don't need to know the mechanisms of how you got your massive list, but if we can't sign up, see emails, see *anything*, we can only draw one conclusion - you're hiding something. It's perhaps unfair. It's probably unjust, but it is how I feel. And it's completely in your power to reverse. Should you decide to do so.

I want you to succeed. I want your service to be legitimate and awesome and help hundreds of my fellow authors find their readership and catapult to stardom. I want this more than you can possibly imagine. If you are legitimate and awesome, show us. We'll lift you on our shoulders and carry you off into the sunset. We'll pay you enough to buy a fleet of yachts.

I know you've said that those who want information you won't provide can simply ignore the service. I hope you'll reconsider that. I hope you'll see that being completely upfront here will win the day and anything else just...won't.


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Offline Deanna Chase

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #112 on: December 03, 2013, 01:10:50 PM »
Yes I am concerned about the accusations. Im saddened that the pitchforks come out at the first chance, instead of the common courtesy to wait it out and see how the free promos I gave away to long standing members of this community turn out.  :(

You mention that I should lose customers to prove people that haven't even purchased-- why exactly would I do that? I appreciate your input into my business, but I see it differently.



The problem here is that we see the positive download results. We're excited about that. Trust me. We are. But it's tempered with, "Wait, are these real people downloading our books? How can we know?" We have no desire to game Amazon and we certainly don't want to pay for the privilege. So we are working really hard to figure out if the service is on the up and up. That only makes us dig farther and come up with a billion scenarios as to how this is working. With virtually no Internet footprint it makes it hard to trust there are real people on the back end of your service.

I really hope this is legal and ethical with real readers. If it is, I'll be lining up to throw my money at you, too. So far I'm wary at best.

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #113 on: December 03, 2013, 01:15:00 PM »
Yes I am concerned about the accusations. Im saddened that the pitchforks come out at the first chance, instead of the common courtesy to wait it out and see how the free promos I gave away to long standing members of this community turn out.  :(

But it's not just the results we're interested in. I mean, results are key, obviously. We're not sitting around waiting for ways to waste money. But we also want to feel confident that the services we purchase are legal and ethical. The three free promotions you've given out might prove efficacy, but without more transparency, we're left hanging about the other issue.

You mention that I should lose customers to prove people that haven't even purchased-- why exactly would I do that? I appreciate your input into my business, but I see it differently.

Sacrifice (or, better, attempt to reason with and hang onto) a few existing customers who are apparently making excessive and irrational demands that are limiting the growth of your business and causing it to appear illegitimate? That seems like a no-brainer to me, so yeah, I guess we do see things differently.

Good luck with everything.

Offline Kat Lilynette

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #114 on: December 03, 2013, 01:15:22 PM »
That publication date of the book in question is modified. It has been up for much, much longer than that. They are grandfathered in with all of that HTML in their description pages. We simply had an opti-n on many book descriptions, which you were able to do before the end of this October. You can no longer add HTML in descriptions.

Another grandfathered-in book can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Ashly-Lorenzana-Blog-ebook/dp/B00EAEXHTI
This is an example of one thats doesnt have as many add-ons (click the show-more to see the optin)

Even so, you're claiming you have how ever many grandfather'd books and published books with mailing list links in them that would be necessary to maintain a multi-million user reader list?

Yes I am concerned about the accusations. Im saddened that the pitchforks come out at the first chance, instead of the common courtesy to wait it out and see how the free promos I gave away to long standing members of this community turn out.  :(

You mention that I should lose customers to prove people that haven't even purchased-- why exactly would I do that? I appreciate your input into my business, but I see it differently.

You're getting the pitchfork because people aren't buying the whole "I'm not saying anything about anything, I'll just let the results speak for themselves." The reason being, as far as the numbers being posted in this thread, people aren't seeing anything that's not leading them to believe this isn't an army of fake accounts. Even though all lists aren't created equally, the difference in numbers when compared to bookbub are only serving to raise suspicion, not decreasing it.

Additionally, having a multi-million user list of readers spread across multiple genres to support your service is no easy feat. You do see why it looks strange for such an asset to come out of no where, with not one reader on this forum having heard of you and already getting your emails, right?

Offline dalya

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #115 on: December 03, 2013, 01:24:40 PM »
Just one point: It doesn't matter if the first 10k books are downloaded by dogs using computers. I've been saying for 2 years now that I'm surprised there aren't more services like this.

Once your book is on the top 100, it can be downloaded by other people, who are not on the mailing list or whatever it is. Download farm is what people are implying. I'm sure Amazon has things in place to stop massive bandwidth leaks to hacker servers in Russia ... I'd imagine. Who knows. People like free books. I actually do believe it's mostly humans on a mailing list.

But it doesn't really matter, does it?


Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #116 on: December 03, 2013, 01:29:56 PM »
I don't see any pitchforks here. Just reasonable skepticism.

For those participating by using this service, whether from free giveaway or by purchasing it, I hope you'll keep an eye on your series sell-through in the next couple of weeks and share the results with the board. Sell-through should be a really obvious indicator of whether or not these are "real" readers downloading the books. It often takes readers about 2-3 weeks to work through my freebies and show a bump, so return in a month-ish?

This is what I'd be looking for: When I run an ad for a freebie, I see about 2.5% of downloads go on to buy the next book in the series. So if I got 12000 downloads after buying the 10000 download package, I'd expect to see about 300 sales of book 2. If those 10000 downloads are not real readers and the extra 2000 are just from list visibility, then I'd expect to see more like 50 sales of book 2 out of it (2.5% of 2000).

Substitute your usual sell-through ratio in the above and we'll have a pretty good idea of how legit the 10k downloads are, whether or not OP becomes more transparent.

But it doesn't really matter, does it?

Setting aside the ethical concerns, it does matter in the "is this worth my money?" sense. You're not going to get enough collateral downloads from list visibility to earn out ad costs if the first 10k sales are really dogs. Unless the dogs plan on buying book 2 as well. In which case, ruff ruff, I hope they enjoy my series. But lists are too volatile for 99% of authors to see any lasting results and a return on investment.

Offline Greg Strandberg

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #117 on: December 03, 2013, 01:37:41 PM »
Looks like you did get three reviews since the promotion, though.

It is very difficult for computers to leave reviews.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #118 on: December 03, 2013, 01:39:36 PM »
Just one point: It doesn't matter if the first 10k books are downloaded by dogs using computers. I've been saying for 2 years now that I'm surprised there aren't more services like this.

Once your book is on the top 100, it can be downloaded by other people, who are not on the mailing list or whatever it is. Download farm is what people are implying. I'm sure Amazon has things in place to stop massive bandwidth leaks to hacker servers in Russia ... I'd imagine. Who knows. People like free books. I actually do believe it's mostly humans on a mailing list.

But it doesn't really matter, does it?



It does matter, because in monetary terms (not talking about legality), a fake download farm might be worth $50, but definitely not $300. That way, it becomes a venue for desperate authors which can't get a BookBub ad but have enough money to pay for advertising. In that case, I'd put this sort of service on par with vanity publishers who charge through the nose and don't deliver.

Offline dalya

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #119 on: December 03, 2013, 01:39:43 PM »
...
Setting aside the ethical concerns, it does matter in the "is this worth my money?" sense. You're not going to get enough collateral downloads from list visibility to earn out ad costs if the first 10k sales are really dogs. Unless the dogs plan on buying book 2 as well. In which case, ruff ruff, I hope they enjoy my series. But lists are too volatile for 99% of authors to see any lasting results and a return on investment.

I wouldn't pay for it. $229? Not worth it for me, personally. When I do freebies, the books either get way up there on their own, or they don't because they aren't what people want and no amount of advertising is going to change that.

 :D
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 01:50:20 PM by Mimi, aka Dalya »

Offline CDForness

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #120 on: December 03, 2013, 01:39:52 PM »
At the risk of being banned or at the very least flamed...before I even launched my writing career.

Why I won't be using this service...or How to Not Win Friends but Possibly Influence Some People

I spent a lot of time on Salty Droid the last two years, after being ripped off by a few marketers for a lot more money than I could afford to lose in the late 2000's.  If you want an education on buyer beware and don't mind the Salty part, it's a good place to go.  Shoemoney was a favorite target there....and since he is one of the one's I gave my money to, I'm a bit obsessed with tracking some of these guys.  Call it bitterness...well you're right.

OF COURSE, I would never allege that OP is doing this...just brainstorming here...

One can easily buy thousands of email accounts on fiverr.  Go ahead, stop over at fiverr right now and Search for Hotmail accounts or something similar.  One can also buy software for under a hundred dollars and with some proxies create tens of thousands of email accounts.  One can also use another software that costs a few hundred dollars that will happily run an automated program to use all the email addresses to create Amazon accounts.  Then one can use that same software to login to the emails, click on the buy link and download the book from Amazon.  They even make multi-threaded software so it can go lickety split.

An unethical marketer (allegedly) named Shoemoney did something similar recently to game Amazon (but with a paid book.  I remember this going on in late August) and was bragging about it on Facebook (though i recall him saying he outsourced the account creation).  A month later, OP has his service on WaFo.  I am NOT saying he is Shoemoney...but I am saying that the info on how to game Amazon is out there and certainly your career internet marketer would know about it.

Ok, I just spent about 20 minutes googling to find this story again, and I found it on page 3 for the search "how shoemoney got his book to number one on amazon."  There's a site called Feedurbrain, where the article (thread) is.  In fact if you google "feedurbrain how shoemoney got his book to number one on amazon" you should find it on page one.  I'm not direct linking because it is a marketing forum similar to WaFo and there are a lot of curse words on the page.  Another poster in that thread shows how this can be done cheaper for freebie giveaways, and one could easily create a list in the millions of fake accounts.  How else can one GUARANTEE a certain number of downloads unless they have dominion over all the variables such as this?  This is similar to sites a few years ago that would guarantee traffic to your website...none of which converts and then people get their sites banned from Google Adsense.  I'm not saying this is fishy, but it smells that way to me.  Especially since it looks like all genres are accepted by OP, according to the the WaFo sales thread.  Hey yah, thx for sending me that email about this Cozy little Mystery, AND "101 Ways to Rid Yourself of Pimples on Your Bum."  I DL'd 'em both!

The only benefit this has is that it raises your visibility, which I am suspecting is artificial, and thus hopefully you will catch some buyers who are wondering what all the hullaballoo is about.  But at what cost to your credibility?  Ask John Locke about that.

EVERY scam eventually gets caught by Amazon and I 1000% agree with others here who have said that it is not worth tarnishing their brand, even as an unwitting participant, by getting involved in these GUARANTEES, when OP cannot be upfront about the nature of the list.

As Zig Ziglar was fond of saying, "There ain't no free lunch."

Then again, what do I know?  I'm wrong more than I'm right.

Till then, I'm going to make some more popcorn to watch this one play out.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 01:42:25 PM by CD Forness »

Offline Arkan9

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #121 on: December 03, 2013, 01:43:15 PM »
Quote
The bulk of our reader-base has come from including opt-in forms on our own books. We placed forms in the description area using HTML, and with that, were able to build our list.

This never happened and is an obvious lie, fabricated in response to our continued insistence on transparency. Nobody is buying into that I hope. When's the last time any of you saw a single opt-in form on a single book description?

Serious authors, take it from a software & internet marketing pro (me) who has been around since myspace spamming was big (and I made a lot of money at that). You need to understand the risks of this service:

This is obviously done by using 10,000 fake amazon accounts and a script.

Amazon obviously isn't going to like it when they catch on (and you can bet some of us are telling them about it right this minute).

They will figure out how to stop it one way or another. Lots of options here, all of them unfortunate. This could be the end of free downloads boosting visibility at all within the kindle bookstore. Or this could be the end of amazon accounts which have never purchased anything being able to download free books. Who knows, could even be the end of free books.

It is probable that Amazon will be able to identify the fake accounts and see which free books got downloaded by them. Will Amazon then take action against the books/authors who gamed their system by using this service?  Perhaps the risk of this is small - but the potential consequences so severe that I cannot see serious authors messing around with this at all.

The temptation is certainly there because the service works - for now, anyway. Succumb to the temptation and you are gambling your very self-publishing career, in my opinion. Your decision.
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Offline David J Normoyle

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #122 on: December 03, 2013, 01:44:01 PM »

But it doesn't really matter, does it?


For a standalone, it mightn't make a huge difference. But for series books, it matters a lot whether the initial surge of downloads are real readers or not.

Not saying that there couldn't still be a return on the investment if it is just downloads with no one on the other end intending to read. But it suddenly seems steeply priced.

Then there's the whole ethical question.


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Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #123 on: December 03, 2013, 01:45:32 PM »
It is very difficult for computers to leave reviews.

That book got two reviews today, one yesterday, two on 12/1, one on 11/30, three on 11/29, two on 11/28 ... there's no change in the rate of reviewing.

Offline Kat Lilynette

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #124 on: December 03, 2013, 01:49:49 PM »
This never happened and is an obvious lie, fabricated in response to our continued insistence on transparency. Nobody is buying into that I hope. When's the last time any of you saw a single opt-in form on a single book description?

Serious authors, take it from a software & internet marketing pro (me) who has been around since myspace spamming was big (and I made a lot of money at that). You need to understand the risks of this service:

This is obviously done by using 10,000 fake amazon accounts and a script.

Amazon obviously isn't going to like it when they catch on (and you can bet some of us are telling them about it right this minute).

They will figure out how to stop it one way or another. Lots of options here, all of them unfortunate. This could be the end of free downloads boosting visibility at all within the kindle bookstore. Or this could be the end of amazon accounts which have never purchased anything being able to download free books. Who knows, could even be the end of free books.

It is probable that Amazon will be able to identify the fake accounts and see which free books got downloaded by them. Will Amazon then take action against the books/authors who gamed their system by using this service?  Perhaps the risk of this is small - but the potential consequences so severe that I cannot see serious authors messing around with this at all.

Was beginning to think I was the only one who could see the writing on the wall.

The temptation is certainly there because the service works - for now, anyway. Succumb to the temptation and you are gambling your very self-publishing career, in my opinion. Your decision.

This is the primary concern. Ethics completely aside, there's no telling how Amazon may or may not decide to handle offending accounts who, after using this service and gaming their system for monetary gain, are linked to thousands of malicious accounts. If they decide the want to make an example of people, authors could lose their publishing rights on Amazon for good. While probably not the route they're most likely to take, it's still pretty damned scary, especially for people making a living publishing at Amazon.

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