I sold 70 copies of it overnight. Yes, overnight.
It started like this. Kindle Direct Publishing (on Amazon, of course) has a special section called KDP Select. It’s completely free, with a few strings attached, but they’re worthwhile strings. Along with this is the opportunity to have Amazon promote your book for free on five days every three months. Catch is you have to give those copies away for free. It’s probably not for established authors, but it works wonders for getting your name out if you’re just beginning.
What sort of wonders? The free promotion began at midnight Friday morning. When I got home from work at 4 p.m., The Unseen had been downloaded 1,450 times. I watched the number rise all evening. At one point it was downloaded a thousand times in just twenty minutes.
I had been planning to let it run for two days, because last time I did such a promotion, I had 768 downloads in two days. But this time, I cancelled it at the end of just one day, because I reached a total of 10,974 downloads.
A print run of five thousand copies is a lot for a debut author being traditionally published. My exposure as an author here due to this free promotion is incredible. The book reached #3 on the list of top books in Historical Fiction in the Kindle store, and at one point, was #13 in the entire Kindle store.
Once the promotion was stopped, the sales started. I sell the book for $4.50 on the Kindle, so I wasn’t sure how well it would sell. The other book I promoted like this was only 99 cents and I sold one copy for every twenty or so downloads during the following three weeks.
The lasting effect remains to be seen, but twelve hours after the free promotion ended, I’ve sold 90 copies of The Unseen. That’s nearly $300 of royalties. Of course, this is the big boom right after the promotion. It’ll slack off, but hopefully there’s some lasting effect, and my other books get some attention as well.
I’ll be writing up some articles about self-publishing and promoting in the future, so watch for those if you’re interested.