Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Going "Perma-free"

Since I started my self-publishing journey four years ago, sales tactics for self-published authors have constantly evolved.  Back in 2010, not many authors were selling their books for less than $2.99.  Some of us found traction selling ours at 99 cents.  My first book, No Cure for the Broken Hearted, really took off at that price, garnering 300 sales per day for months on end.  It was a good time.

Later, authors began giving away their books for free for limited time periods.  One could get a huge boost in visibility, and thus sales, coming off of a free run.  Amazon's algorithms favored this tactic by placing these books high on the "also bought" lists that customers see when they look at another book.

Eventually Amazon adjusted their algorithms and this benefit evaporated.  These days, one of the tactics self-published authors use is to go permanently free with one of their books, on the hope that if a reader likes it, they might buy other books by the same author.

To give my own sales a boost, I decided to go "perma-free" with No Cure starting last week.  The first week was interesting.  Downloads took off out of the gate, with nearly 500 the first day.  Then they dropped, and dropped and dropped again.  Here's what the sales chart looks like:

By the seventh day, I only had 10 downloads in 24-hours.  Not so stellar.  Oddly, I didn't announce or promote the book being free until the second day, where I posted it in a few places on Facebook and Twitter.  I'm not sure why it took off like that all at once in the beginning.  What I do know is that when I gave this book away for a week several years ago, I had 45,000 total downloads.  That time I was picked up for a mention by a prominent promotional website.

In any case, I'm planning to leave this one free for the time being.  I'll try promoting it here and there, and hopefully pick up a few readers along the way.  For anyone who wants to read the book but hasn't yet, feel free! :-)

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