Sales & Stats

Free Giveaway Experiment & The Department of Rocket Science

rocket science

I’ve already had a couple of periods this year where I’ve made Monkey Arkwright free to download from Amazon. The idea behind these offers is that you get your book out to people in the hope of building a fanbase and gathering some reviews.

However, with my latest two-day giveaway, I wanted to try a sneaky experiment. That’s right folks, authors are equally capable of a bit of skullduggery, just like their evil protagonists! In all seriousness, the idea was to see how many people would download my book if I gave zero notice. Without paying a promotion company, and not telling any of the people who usually help me spread the word, would people notice that there was a free book available? In other words, what effect do paid promotion and social media activity have on the results?

Well, the results are in, and I’m glad to say that 20 hardy souls have stumbled across my book and downloaded it for free during the last two days.

Contrast this to the January giveaway (£30 spent on promotion = 847 downloads) and the April giveaway (nothing spent and 768 downloads).

I made the comment on the last two giveaways that I think that the biggest factor in securing a high number of downloads was somebody kindly posting notice of the offer on the HotDealsUK website – I think that the most recent results back this up. Of course, I can’t ignore the fact that this latest promotion comes a mere four weeks after the previous one, so it may be that the free download community (the thought of a group of people living together and living on free downloads amuses me for some reason) is heartily sick of my book and almost everybody who wants it now has it.

Still, I think that it’s fair to say that the more you put the word out on the street, the higher number of downloads you will get. In a result that will have the Department of Rocket Science scratching its collective head, I have concluded that: social media coverage > paid promotion > nothing at all.

Experiment complete, and lab coat stuffed away in the locker for a while, I think that that’s the last free download promotion that I’ll do for Monkey Arkwright until the second book in the series is imminent.

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