OK, here it is: the summary of my experience in the KDP Select Program (I’ll stick with the American spelling, seeing as it’s Amazon’s)!
I joined KDP Select in early January after my debut novel, an all-ages contemporary fantasy entitled The Serpent in the Glass, languished on Kindle and Smashwords for about two months with only a few sales (4 throughout Smashwords channels, and about 20 on Kindle).
In early-to-mid January I ran a 2-day campaign on KDP with no clue what I was doing, and no preparation, and little promotion during those 2 days. It got me around a 1000 downloads (over 900 in the US). I had no sales swell afterward, but my sales did climb up to 2 per day for the rest of January, and to 2.2 per day in February. In the first week of March they had climbed up to 3 per day (again, nearly all in the US). Borrows did not exist prior to the first campaign, but were still very weak (I had 11 in the first week of March).
Then I read a couple of sites about how to go about doing a KDP Select promotion with a little more intelligence. So here’s what I did (as best as I can remember!)
1. My book is not too fast-paced near the beginning, so I added an excerpt to the beginning of the book that would show up in the sample on the Amazon “Look Inside”.
2. I had my book in 2 children’s categories. I decided to switch one of the categories to adult contemporary fantasy in order to garner more visibility (my book appeals to both adults and children).
3. I scheduled 2 days for the campaign – many people will miss the first 24 hours of a promotion, so I wanted to not block the momentum; I also scheduled a Wed and Thu so that the momentum would carry into the weekend higher sales period (with latency, my campaign ended about 11am Fri morning my time (GMT)).
4. I sent or submitted notifications to some freebie sites a good few days before – including Ereader News Today, PixelofInk.com and All Things Kindle on FB. I also set up a GoodReads event to notify friends of the free promotion.
When the campaign began I posted in the normal places: FB, Twitter (#freekindlebook, #freebook, @kindlenews), LinkedIn, Goodreads and a few forums such as FB’s Author on the Cheap and Indie Kindle WLC, and the Book Bazaar of kuforum.co.uk. I also added the “kindle freebie” tag to my book just before the campaign went live (there are freebie sites that monitor for books that add that tag).
With the sites that automatically pick it up, the book got quite a good exposure for those 2 days on the free listings at Amazon.
24 hours into the campaign I had about 6000 downloads in the US, 700 in the UK and about 50 in Germany. I hit into the 30s and 40s overall in the US/UK and #1 in 2 categories.
As the second day of free downloads progressed, I hit # 1 in my 2 categories both in the US and UK, and went to at least #13 overall in both the UK and US. I ended up with about 15,000 downloads at the end of the 48 hours (over 13,000 in the US).
After the campaign ended my ranks dropped significantly – I assume because of technically no sales for 2 days. However, they went up pretty sharpish within that first day after the campaign. At exactly 24 hours after the end of the campaign I had made over 100 sales, about 30 borrows, and was at #796 in the US (and in the teens for y categories). In the UK I only had 6 sales (making up for the 2 lost days!) and was at #5791 overall, and at #21 and #52 in my categories.
I was not able to get to my PC on the second day, but at the end of the third day from campaign end I had the following stats:
US sales: 457, 13 refunds, overall #374, category rankings of 7,7 and 8 (seems you can get up to 4 categories because it lists book and kindle counterparts separately)
UK sales: 86, 8 refunds, #440 (6,6,12)
Also 9 in Germany and 1 in France. So, 553 sales in 72 hours.
Sales stayed pretty strong, as did borrows, with daily sales declining thereafter from 133, to 80, to 70 and then down to 50 by day 6. I kept at 50 sales per day until day 10, then it slumped to about 20 sales per day. Then, for the past 4 days, up until March 30th, it’s been around 15 sales per day. I stayed in the top ten for approx. 6 days and hit the Hot New Releases.
As I am still – 3 weeks after the campaign – getting a daily sale count of five times my pre-campaign amount, I’m happy with it! Will it decline further? I don’t know. All I know is that I really should have more than one book out to make the most of it, so I’d better get back to writing! Do post if you have any questions.
Oh, almost forgot. My total sales and borrows for March (not including the 30th or 31st) are 1223 and 284 respectively, and a refund rate of 3.8% (so I actually had 1269 sales). I am currently around #7000 overall on both UK/US and am #67 in Kindle Contemporary Fantasy (UK). By the way, judging by the rankings during this period, I’d say I got a lot more sales from putting my second category in adult contemporary fantasy than I would have done if I’d left it in children’s…