Bookbub and the decline of KDP Free Days

by Brandon Zenner

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Being a new author, book marketing and trying to increase my visibility has been the absolute hardest thing I’ve had to learn during my writing career. I didn’t know a thing about book marketing before I published my book, and I still don’t know much about book marketing several months later. I was all too happy when I received word that Bookbub had accepted my book to be featured on their email list. Happy and nervous was more like it. What if nobody downloaded my book? What a waste of money that would be. I decided on paying for a free promotion, rather than a reduced price, for two reasons: one reason was that I wanted my book to be as widespread as possible, and Bookbub’s estimated number of downloads ranged between 7000 – 25,000 for a free promotion. That’s a good number to spread awareness, and hopefully gain a few fans. The second reason was purely out of fear. I was nervous to spend a lot of money on something I had never tried. I had done a few promotions and features on other various websites, but there was never any payoff. So I did the free promotion, and when I woke up that morning and checked my dashboard, low-and-behold, I had already given away over 1000 books. And it was only 9:00 AM. That first day I gave away ‘thousands’ of books, and the second day I gave away many ‘thousands’ more. Without giving an exact number, it exceeded the estimate . . . by far. Bookbub did what it had promised, and distributed my book to readers all throughout the country and beyond. After the two-day free period, I was excited to see if my sales would immediately spike. My book went live on amazon in February 2014, and I’ve read countless articles about how much money many authors were receiving after giving away large numbers of their books through KDP free days. Before doing the promotion, I had only giving away a few hundred each free day, and made a sale or two following. How many sales would I get after giving away thousands-upon-thousands? . . . I didn’t sell enough books following the promotion to cover the cost. However, before the promotion, my book was at the bottom of the barrel, and now that it’s over, I’m still seeing a few sales a day. Not many, but a few. A start. The real positive experience I had with Bookbub was gaining exposure. Before the promotion my book had 19 reviews on amazon, and as of right now, while I’m writing this, my reviews are up to 73, and the promotion was less than a month ago. Now that it’s all said and done, would I do it again? Absolutely. There is no better way of spreading awareness, especially for a new author, when marketing is still a big grey-area. It’s well worth the price. I am very much looking forward to doing another promotion with Bookbub, but next time for $0.99 instead of free. I think I’ve given away enough free copies for now, and without a financial incentive, I don’t think I’ll be doing as many free days in the future as I used to.

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