Author Topic: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend (Post-Select Update)  (Read 5539 times)  

Offline ゴジラ

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Adventures in free on a holiday weekend (Post-Select Update)
« on: November 24, 2011, 09:44:46 AM »
Everybody else seems to be giving back with data on their free releases, so I thought I'd share too. (Do we have a mass thread for this? Should we?) As of this moment, Death's Hand has downloaded 3800 times in the US and 200 times in the UK. It's been free for about 36-ish hours, although I'm not sure exactly when it went free, so that could be wrong.

I'm #57 free in the Kindle store, and #1 in occult horror. I'm even above Amanda's Hollowland for the moment. :)

I didn't expect this to have any notable impact on my other releases, since Death's Hand is the first in a new series, and it's the first I've written for adults in fantasy. I do have another dark fantasy series for teens (Six Moon Summer and All Hallows' Moon), and I also have a steampunk novella for general audiences under a related pseudonym (Lady Reine). My YA books completely stalled after doing quite well at the beginning of November and The 19 Dragons was sluggish, so I'm certain that most of the sales are from Death's Hand going free.

Yesterday...
Six Moon Summer sold 5 copies in the US and 2 in the UK
All Hallows' Moon sold 12 copies in the US (???)
The 19 Dragons sold 8 copies in the US and 1 in the UK

It's very modest, but considering those all originated from "sales" of one unrelated book, it's pretty cool.

I believe that the visibility from going free will have an impact on all of one's works, even unrelated ones, so a short boost from "pulsing" a title to free occasionally is a nice way to jump sales after a lag. Surprise, surprise. Yet another person has deduced that freemium is a good marketing technique. :P

I hear that these "sales" figures are a lot lower than normal. Maybe people aren't browsing a lot at Thanksgiving?
« Last Edit: December 14, 2011, 01:58:05 PM by smreine »

Offline Carol (was Dara)

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2011, 09:59:08 AM »
Congrats, sounds like it's going well. I too am curious what kind of downloads non-holiday free books get - would be nice to have some non-holiday numbers to compare ours to, although I guess genres/covers/blurbs would still effect download numbers, making it hard to figure out what's average.

My own downloads are about the same as yours and I'm also noticing an uptick in sales. In my case, it's for a related title with a semi-matching cover though. My books in another genre don't seem effected.

Offline BTackitt

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2011, 10:03:27 AM »
For some reason you haven't been showing on EreaderIQ or jungle-search as a freebie.. once you hit those you'll see a TON of downloads.
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Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2011, 10:27:55 AM »
Dara: Thanks! You're kicking tush. We're dominating the top 100. ;) And a few other writer friends of mine, which is fun.

BTackitt: Do EreaderIQ and jungle-search pick up books automatically? Maybe it takes a little while. I don't know if Death's Hand will be free long enough to get picked up by all the sites, since I'm just trying to bounce it for a week or so.

Offline Gus Flory

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2011, 11:05:36 AM »
You guys are doing great. I think I went free the same time as both of you--sometime on the evening of the 22nd.

I have about half your dowloads at a little over 1100 at the moment.

I didn't know anything about EreaderIQ or jungle-search until this thread. I did a search and my book is listed on both.

Back to football for me, and checking KDP every five minutes.

Offline Danielle Kazemi

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2011, 12:04:05 PM »
I think today is slow. That or no one reads shorts. Lol (Yes, there is a third option but I really do not want to think of it.) My freebie is #8 scifi adventure and about mid #500 in the free store. It is nice seeing the stats go up. :)
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Offline MikeAngel

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2011, 12:11:45 PM »
2 weeks ago yesterday Dark Quarry, the 1st in the Mike Angel Mystery Series, went free on Amz. As of this a.m. there have been 14,052 downloads (I see none in the UK).

The position in various top lists has been too frenetic and jiggly to care about or chart, but it's been in the top 3 for erotica mystery I think.

I've normally sold right at 1 book per day for most of 2011, but since the free schtick through yesterday, I've sold 82 for November. I have to believe that some of the 14k downloaders have actually read DQ and have purchased the others. With six in the series, all at 2.99 except the last at 4.99, I have no problem leaving DQ up free indefinitely. Even with the current 200-300 d/l's per day, that's good exposure. Once they get to know Mike, Rick, and Molly, they'll be hooked.

Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2011, 12:16:05 PM »
I suspected things would be slow on Thanksgiving. I have universally bad timing at promotion. XD

I think all my Twitter friends spreading the word about my book helps a lot, though, despite the holiday. I've already heard a couple people read the whole thing. (Fast readers!)

I'm over 4000 downloads now. It's going much slower today than it was yesterday.

Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2011, 10:11:24 AM »
I'm over 6000 downloads now. The highest I saw Death's Hand on the bestseller was at #46, although I've settled back to #49 now. I don't think dark, gritty paranormal is much of a Christmas thing. ;) I still can't believe I'm in the top 50 free, honestly.

Offline Richard Raley

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2011, 10:19:52 AM »
Going to be interesting to see if you can keep it up. There seems to be some kind of drop off after 3 or 4 days as more books get added to being free.

Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2011, 10:52:12 AM »
I'm hoping a top 10 spot on occult horror (still #1 at the moment) will help me cling to the top 100 in free for a couple extra days. I don't expect to be top 50 for much longer, since yesterday's pace of 100 per hour has dropped. I think I've seen my maximum for this particular incident.

Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2011, 12:10:45 PM »
About 3.5 days after going free, I'm now at about 8500 downloads and clinging to #82 overall in free (still #1 in occult horror). I hope to keep hanging out in the top 100 through the weekend. No new reviews yet.

I was hoping to get back to charging money for this book pretty quickly, but for some reason, B&N isn't taking my update on the book. Smashwords shipped to B&N, and I know it "got" it because it changed the cover, but it's still free. Apple has already gone to 99 cents. I'm pretty sure that Amazon is price matching to B&N for this book, so I really wanted B&N to pick up the new price. Grump.

Offline Carol (was Dara)

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2011, 02:01:49 PM »
I'm with you. Since I know my book is being price-matched from itunes and my pricing update will have to filter through SW, I'm not sure what kind of wait I'm looking at. But I knew going in there would be no controlling the timing, so I'll try not to be impatient if it takes a few weeks. The downloads are still going strong (around 8,500 now) and I wrote the story to be a free promotional read anyway - I'm just curious what jumping on then off the free ride quickly could do with its sales and rankings. Ultimately, it may be wiser to keep it free permanently but I like to test these things.   

Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2011, 02:20:32 PM »
That's kind of my thought too, Dara. Once I've published a couple more books in this series, I'll probably see if I can permanently offer Death's Hand free (at least on my site, if not necessarily Amazon, should the gods frown upon it). I just want to see what happens when I go unfree. I'm a terrible tinkerer.

As a side note, Amazon UK has had Death's Hand free for longer than it was on US, but I had no rankings. They FINALLY appeared on my page this morning. Despite having only ~350 downloads, Death's Hand is #158 free in the UK Kindle store, and #5 in horror.

Why the heck can't I crack any fantasy-related bestseller lists? Horror fans will love Death's Hand (I do write very gory books), but I want my book hanging out with other urban fantasy more than horror. I suspect it has to do with the extreme competitiveness of the fantasy genre, but you would think getting to #46 in the Kindle store would have ranked me on SOME fantasy list. ???

Offline PhoenixS

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2011, 03:57:24 PM »
I'm with you. Since I know my book is being price-matched from itunes and my pricing update will have to filter through SW, I'm not sure what kind of wait I'm looking at.

Well, Spoil has been free on Amazon US now since Nov 2. I have yet to get Apple to change the price from free despite Smashwords sending them a message almost a week ago. It's been free on iTunes since Oct 25 and I immediately repriced it on SW on Nov 2 when it went free on Amazon.

Right now, it's had 18,291 downloads and has a rank of #384 overall. The highest I saw was #37 in the "early days." I wanted SO MUCH to go paid while it was it the top 100, then the top 200, then the top 300 - now I'm just hoping by 2012.

BUT, during this same time, I put another author's short story free on Apple and Amazon, and I was able to get it repriced on both sites within a week of repricing at Smashwords. Go figure.

As a side note, Amazon UK has had Death's Hand free for longer than it was on US, but I had no rankings. They FINALLY appeared on my page this morning. Despite having only ~350 downloads, Death's Hand is #158 free in the UK Kindle store, and #5 in horror.

Spoil went free on Amazon UK on Wed, Nov 23. I'm glad you posted your UK numbers, SM, because I didn't see a rank for the UK free site until today either. It's had 511 downloads now and is #113 (#2 Historical Fantasy, #7 Historical Romance). Seems to still be going the right way in the rankings, but clueless as to how the UK behaves.

Why the heck can't I crack any fantasy-related bestseller lists? Horror fans will love Death's Hand (I do write very gory books), but I want my book hanging out with other urban fantasy more than horror. I suspect it has to do with the extreme competitiveness of the fantasy genre, but you would think getting to #46 in the Kindle store would have ranked me on SOME fantasy list. ???

One thing I noticed about Death's Hand is that it ONLY has a horror categorization on the product page. Are you sure you added a Fantasy category when you uploaded? Sometimes Amazon makes up a category or two for you, but in general it goes by what's input there. That could be why it's not on any Fantasy BS list.

Spoil is listed under Historical Fantasy and Historical Romance. I notice the US product page always displays the Historical Fantasy rank (which has bounced around at #1,2, and 3) but even though it hasn't dropped below its current #14 rank in Historical Romance, the product page only shows that rank intermittently. Clueless. But it means we all need to be manually checking those lists if we think the book should be on them.
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Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2011, 04:20:31 PM »
Quote
Well, Spoil has been free on Amazon US now since Nov 2. I have yet to get Apple to change the price from free despite Smashwords sending them a message almost a week ago. It's been free on iTunes since Oct 25 and I immediately repriced it on SW on Nov 2 when it went free on Amazon.
That's odd. Apple changed the price on Death's Hand immediately for me.

One thing I noticed about Death's Hand is that it ONLY has a horror categorization on the product page. Are you sure you added a Fantasy category when you uploaded? Sometimes Amazon makes up a category or two for you, but in general it goes by what's input there. That could be why it's not on any Fantasy BS list.
It's categorized under fantasy > urban life as well, and it does show up as being categorized in fantasy on the Amazon UK site. It doesn't show up on the US site, though.


Offline brinacourtney

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2011, 04:45:48 PM »
I think today is slow. That or no one reads shorts. Lol (Yes, there is a third option but I really do not want to think of it.) My freebie is #8 scifi adventure and about mid #500 in the free store. It is nice seeing the stats go up. :)

I was doing easily 300 a day until Thursday, now I haven't even done 100 a day since.  Where did all the readers go?


Offline George Berger

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2011, 07:18:22 PM »
I was doing easily 300 a day until Thursday, now I haven't even done 100 a day since.  Where did all the readers go?

They're buying paperbacks.

I had a short story go free on Wednesday. Made the top 500 free, top 10 in short stories, top 20 in humor. Made the short story top 10 with less than 300 copies given away, on Thursday. Just passed 500 copies (no, I didn't miss a zero there...) downloaded this, Saturday, evening, and am still holding onto the top 20 in both categories, albeit just.

By contrast, yesterday I had a sale on one of my paperbacks, which was hanging out down in the 1,3nn,nnn range, I think. Normally one sale at that point will get me up to the 15n,nnn range, give or take 20,000 or so. Instead it went to 307,nnn - and has dropped to 399,nnn less than a full day later.

To me, that says physical book sales are way, way up this week.

Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2011, 08:32:43 AM »
I was doing easily 300 a day until Thursday, now I haven't even done 100 a day since.  Where did all the readers go?
Probably to other free books. The exposure drops significantly after awhile. It just means you need to release your next book. :)

Quote
They're buying paperbacks.
If they are, they aren't buying mine. I've only sold one in the last couple of days. :D (Although LightningSource isn't always prompt to report.)

Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2011, 10:23:39 AM »
Just a note to add that Death's Hand passed 10,000 downloads this morning. I think I went free around 7-ish on Tuesday night, so it took about 4.5 days to get there. I expect it will be awhile before my sales for a single title reach five digits in one month again, so this is screencap time. ;D

Offline Gus Flory

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2011, 11:22:02 AM »
Just a note to add that Death's Hand passed 10,000 downloads this morning. I think I went free around 7-ish on Tuesday night, so it took about 4.5 days to get there. I expect it will be awhile before my sales for a single title reach five digits in one month again, so this is screencap time. ;D

Holy mackerel. I think I went free the same time as you and I've got 2090 downloads as of right now.


Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2011, 11:30:04 AM »
That's still quite good. Like, #403 in the Kindle store good! Have you noticed any appreciable difference in sales on your other titles?

It's kind of surprising how drastic a difference there is in downloads between #84 and #403. One of my friends is up around #10 right now. I can't imagine how many downloads she must be getting.  :o

Offline Gus Flory

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2011, 11:50:08 AM »
That's still quite good. Like, #403 in the Kindle store good! Have you noticed any appreciable difference in sales on your other titles?

It's kind of surprising how drastic a difference there is in downloads between #84 and #403. One of my friends is up around #10 right now. I can't imagine how many downloads she must be getting.  :o

Sales of Part II in my Galaxy of Heroes series have more than doubled from last month. But I only had 8 sales of Part II in October. For November, I just hit 19. I started getting a bump two days after Part I went free. If readers downloaded Part I for free and then bought Part II, they must be speed readers because Part I is over 300 pages. I'm hoping the bump continues.

I tried advertising on Facebook and spent over 200 bucks and my sales actually declined. I've gotten no value out of Facebook or Twitter, but I haven't put much time or effort into them.

Appearing on Daily Cheap Reads was great. Emailing fans to let them know that Part II was out was the surest way for a sale for me. People who have emailed me about my books have been nothing but nice and have lifted my spirits. Far and away, going free on Amazon is the best exposure I've gotten so far.

You are doing something right. I would love to have your numbers!

Offline Danielle Kazemi

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2011, 08:51:49 PM »
I was poking around online and noticed quite a few new sites just listed most of us who went free this past week. I guess they took a break for the holidays. I have already seen free downloads start up again. Just wanted to let you all know in case you noticed it and was wondering where those new downloads were coming from.
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Offline Carol (was Dara)

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2011, 09:32:43 PM »
Have you noticed any appreciable difference in sales on your other titles?

I'm not Gus but I can say making TMT free has definitely effected sales for my other title of the same genre. I'm about to hit 14,000 downloads for the freebie and as the numbers grow I can see the numbers for the other title rising as well. It's not an amazing rush of sales or anything but a slow and steady uptick. Hopefully it'll continue for some time to come as people who've already grabbed the free story get around to reading it and discovering the ad at the end for the other book.

Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2011, 08:47:12 AM »
Death's Hand left the ranks of the free yesterday afternoon around 19:00. Its new sales ranking hadn't appeared when I went to bed, but I awoke this morning to it hanging out around #850 in the Kindle store. It seems to be slipping relatively fast (down to #890ish now), so I'm interested to see how long it takes the temporary boost to wear off.

Interestingly (but not surprisingly), I got a little burst of simultaneous refunds when it stopped being free but was still on the free ranking list--about 10 of them. I wonder how many people blaze through the "top 100 free" list and download everything without looking at it.  ;D

For the number lovers out there, Death's Hand spent six days free on Amazon US and was downloaded around 12,400 times.

Offline PhoenixS

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2011, 12:33:23 PM »
Thanks for the milestones, from a fellow data junkie (who's still waiting for Apple to unfree her book) :)

Hope you get some long-tail sales from this!

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Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Adventures in free on a holiday weekend (Post-Select Update)
« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2011, 02:09:51 PM »
DATA JUNKIE ALERT

An overview: Death's Hand was released on October 21st and wasn't doing well. I planned on starting it out at 99 cents as a promo, but it wouldn't sell. By the end of the month, I'd only shifted 20 copies, which is what I sold on Six Moon Summer's first day of release. And that was my first book, sold at $2.99. Despite having a book tour on some awesome blogs and nice reviews, Death's Hand flopped.

???

Realizing part of the problem was an ineffective cover, I changed it. Then I put it on the free train, because... well, what the heck, it wasn't selling anyway.

It went free for six days and was downloaded over 13,000 times. It went back on the paid lists on November 28th at 99 cents and sold about 250 copies. According to Metric Junkie, it peaked around #630 on the paid charts and slid to #4300 in about a week.

I enrolled it in Select as soon as the option was available without expecting it to change anything. Instead, it peaked at #875. It's taken six days for me to start sliding again. (I'm averaging at #1600 today.) For the record, lending has had a notable effect on my rankings.

Here's a little illustration:



In a little over two weeks since going unfree, it's been purchased over 1000 times, which is a milestone for me. It's out there on over 14,000 Kindles at the moment and has earned positive reviews and several subscribers to my mailing list. All in all, I consider this to be a successful experiment in free/Select, although free has obviously changed since then.

Hope you guys find this interesting. :)