Feb 01

The Business of Books: Giving it all Away

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the-business-of-books-interviewswithjanecableJane Cable’s Another You goes on free download on Amazon…

Two weeks ago I wrote about trying to be empirical in judging the results of marketing – and also that Another You would be on free promotion. While an ideal opportunity to see if I could actually learn what worked and what didn’t, it felt a nerve-wracking and risky time, because if you can’t give your book away, what hope do you have of actually selling it?

Another You proved in spades that it could be given away. The entire week of the promotion it stayed in the Kindle UK top 200, most of that time in the top 100, rising to a highest position of number 20 and topping the free women’s historical fiction chart. Far, far, beyond my wildest dreams. So what did I do to achieve this?

First, the day before the promotion I sent round robin emails to all my friends and contacts who have shown an interest in my books. It was flattering that many of them had already bought it but I am sure there were a few who downloaded during offer week.

It was also a case of extending my network to people I used to know and I used Facebook and Linkedin to reach the alumni pages of both my secondary schools and the large accounting firm I trained with. From my former sixth form in particular the response was most enthusiastic, but then we always were a rather bookish lot.

I devised a number of campaign graphics on Canva, some with review quotes from other authors, another pushing reviews in aid of Words for the Wounded. I used a different one each day on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. I also did some paid advertising and post boosts on Facebook. This included a ‘shop now’ promotion with a link to the Kindle UK download page which received 42 click throughs and cost £18. I messed up another boost later in the week by not noticing I’d reach the spend limit on my account, but by that time the book was flying and it didn’t seem to matter very much.

publishing, Jane Cable, writing

I also spent a little money (around £10-£15 each) on three free book promotion sites. For the UK market I tried Book Bongo but I have to say I was disappointed with the amount of coverage on social media and the book didn’t appear in their newsletter until after the free period was over. There was also a free listing on Book Angel.

For the US market I tried Awesome Gang and Pretty Hot on different days. The jump up the free chart was far more impressive on Awesome Gang day when Another You rose to number 671. The main Amazon.com marketing came from my publisher, Endeavour Press, who sent out hourly promotional tweets with a link to the site throughout US book buying hours. I can only think this was hugely successful because at the end of the week the book reached the dizzy heights of number 68. Amazing – as a quintessentially British author I never expected to have such appeal in the USA.

Overall the key must have been to reach enough downloads early in the promotion for the Amazon algorithms to kick in. Endeavour advises getting as many people as possible to download on the first morning and I suspect this is the reason.

Although I wish I’d had more time to prepare for the free offer period I really couldn’t knock the results and in the week since it ended Another You has continued to sell well and remained in Kindle UK top 20 women’s historical fiction. Now I need to somehow launch it closer to number one and that coveted bestseller label.