Monday, October 1, 2012

Amazon Book Giveaway is a Giant Success

I have no idea if what I say below is typical or phenomenonal. To me it's the latter. I'm sure not bragging about how smart I am - just how lucky.

As always, I went into this giveaway business not really knowing what I was doing. How could I? I hadn't done it before and I had no one to advise me. I was just hoping it would be kind of a good idea.

It” being to set up a one day ebook giveaway on Amazon of my book “Escaping the Arroyo”. The reason I came up with the idea was because my unit sales were going nowhere. As of the morning of September 28th, when I commenced my giveaway, I had sold a total of 18 units for September. I had been told by someone who was a “real” published author (not self-published like myself) that if you give away between 400 to 1000 in a day, you are doing well.

So on Friday, the 28th, at about 9 AM (my giveaway had started at 12:01AM PDT, some 8 hrs earlier – I'm in Albuquerque, NM which is MDT) the number given away was 102. I was pleased. Pleased that it was only 9 in the morning and 102 people had found my book interesting enough to download.

At 12:30, I looked again and I saw the book was at 307. In my mind that was great because it meant for sure I would at least make it to 400 (like a “real” published author). I then went out to run some errands.

Arriving back home at about 2:45, I soon checked again and that's when it started to go crazy. I
saw that the number of downloads was up to 1,385. I couldn't believe my eyes. I called my friend Margaret and told her of this strange turn of events and she didn't understand why it had jumped either. I looked at the numbers again while still talking to Margaret and BOOM, ten minutes later, they had jumped another 50 units.

And that was just the beginning; soon thereafter, the tally was going up about 100 units every 5 minutes. I was deliriously happy but mystified. It went from 3,000, to 5,000 and then by the time I went to sleep at about 11, it had reached 7,500. Flabbergasted I was. In the meantime, the book had also reached #1 on True Crime and #1 on Inspirational and #5 overall on FREE Kindle.

The final giveaway total for one day was 8,750!!!

Some people might wonder what is so great about giving away a lot of my product for free? I didn't feel bad about giving away my books because I knew without the giveaway those people were never going to download the book onto their Kindle – ever - and never would have even considered reading it. (I know most of the free books downloaded aren't read – sadly)

But I thought I might at least get some reviews and maybe some of those readers ( I was hoping for a 10% read rate) would tell their friends. That was all that I was hoping . . . but there was more good news to come. I just didn't know it right away.

On September 29, Saturday morning at 9 AM, the day after the giveaway, I looked at my numbers (yet again) and saw that my sales still stood at 18 units and one unit had been borrowed. Okay, I thought, that's alright, probably later I would get some reviews and maybe a few more borrows. Besides, I had read in someone else's blog at some earlier point that giveaways were really only good for sales if you had other books to sell.  I only had the one. 

It should be noted that the only methods of advertising I used was Twitter and Facebook, mostly Twitter. I had 120 followers as of September 28th.   I spent the whole of September 27th composing my nine different tweets. I tried to use my hash marks judiciously (I had heard that hash marks were important) and tweeted all day long the day of the giveaway. I have two video book trailers, which were mentioned in most of my tweets. If you haven't seen the trailers yet here's the link. I did not use the help of bloggers, portals, reviewers or Facebook groups to publicize the event. It was “Follow Friday on one of my Yahoo groups and they tweeted for me. That obviously helped.

Later on Saturday, about 2:30 PM, I looked at my sales numbers and saw that I had sold 50 units. Wow! Sunday morning, it was up to 155. Triple Wow!!!  I had never sold more than 120 in a month in the three months the book has been out. By Sunday night sales were up to 200 units and the book was #3 on the paid Kindle True Crime.

It's Monday now and I don't know how all of this will turn out and not to cuss or anything, but I am damn happy with this giveaway.

ps If anyone has any thoughts on this  subject please comment or email me at thanks


  1. Joyce, this was the sole purpose of the Corner Cafe project at the BBT Cafe. We tested three rounds of free books to see how it boosted subsequent sales. And it did each time, even though the price increased with each round. Very interesting test. It made all the difference in the world getting into Pixel of Ink and E-Readers News mail, too. Congratulations hitting #1 - that gets you noticed!~ Dani

  2. Thanks Dani, you guys are great. And thanks for the additional tips of where to spread the word. I believe I downloaded your book the first time it was free. I liked it. -joyce

    ps Even though I know what happened, it still makes no sense to me.

  3. Your book sounds interesting and great to read .
    Goof luck