Thanks for hosting me today, Dani.
I'd like to share with you today my FREE day results over the past year, but first here's how I got there: Wrote some books, self-published them, got picked up by a small publishing house, then decided to go indie. Simple, huh? Not so much.
Back before Kindle Direct Publishing and Createspace, self-pubbing wasn't all that easy. Sure you ended up with a book to show off, but without good distribution and a publisher to help successfully hawk your wares (thus the split with my publisher) all you end up with is a closet full of books you lug around to book signings.
But then a miracle occurred: Kindle Direct Publishing Select, and with it a chance to get your books out there. Of course by now I had re-re-re-edited my books into what many consider a good read, so that helps. No matter how much you spend on publicity, or how much social media you ascribe to, if you don't have a well-written and edited book to offer your readers, they won't bang your drum... and that is what a writer needs: readers who love your books.
Yabbut, where do you find them? Enter (drum roll) BOOK BUB! Which brings us to the topic of the day: Do freebies work?
I know, your mother always said, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk free?" Of course, we all know she wasn't talking about books, but you get the idea. Why, indeed, would anyone give away books? Because it works, that's why.
My last freebie, Just Add Water, first in my Hetta Coffey series (she's a sassy Texan with a snazzy yacht and she'd not afraid to use it!) was free on Amazon from August 16-18. But let me back up a year, when I first entered KDPS. During that time, I gave away approximately 60,000 books, and sold 6,000. My sales tanked over the winter when I was on my boat in Mexico without Internet (and if you don't think social media works to find new readers, quit using it for four months like I did and see what happens!).
In May I got back into marketing, and was slowly, and I do mean slowly, gaining ground, but it was the August Freebie that did the job.
August 15 Only 100 books sold for the month to date...pretty danged dismal
August 16 First Free Day, hit #1 on Amazon free list
Sold 280 other books, especially others in the series (there are five)
August 17 Still #1 Sold a bunch more books
August 18 Almost 50,000 free downloads. That means 50,000 new people now know my name!
August 22 Just Add Salt book 2 in the series hits the top 5000 in PAID on Amazon
August 29 1200 books sold since promo
Bottom line: I spent $240 on Book Bub, another $40 on other freebie promo sites, marketed the living daylights out of the freebie, and a month later my earnings are right at four thousand bucks since the promo. Not going to order a new boat on that kind of money, but what the heck. With my publisher I never sold that many books in a five-year period.
Will I do it again? You betcha. Matter of fact, my thriller, Troubled Sea is free from Sept 25-29, so grab a copy. Warning though, while Troubled Sea is about Hetta and Jenks, it is set in the future and not really part of the series. That's what happens when you write a stand-alone and then decided to back up in time and write a series based on WHEN HETTA MET JENKS.
Raised in the jungles of Haiti and Thailand, with returns to Texas in-between, Jinx Schwartz followed her father's steel-toed footsteps into the Construction and Engineering industry in hopes of building dams. Finding all the good rivers taken, she traveled the world defacing other landscapes with mega-projects in Alaska, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Like the protagonist in her mystery series, Hetta Coffey, Jinx was a woman with a yacht—and she wasn't afraid to use it—when she met her husband, Mad Dog Schwartz. They opted to become cash-poor cruisers rather than continue chasing the rat, sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge, turned left, and headed for Mexico. They now divide their time between Arizona and Mexico's Sea of Cortez. Connect with Jinx at her website, Facebook, blog, and Twitter.