Authors selling Kindle books have the opportunity to join Kindle Select, through which they can run occasional promotional offers – either free giveaways or Kindle Countdown Deals. In exchange, they have to give Kindle exclusivity on the digital version of the book – so no selling for Nook, iBooks or any other ebook platform. Opinion is split on whether joining Kindle Select is beneficial or not, and I’ll be debating that in a future post. However, I recently decided to try out the new Kindle Countdown Deal and found it an interesting experience – though I don’t know if it will have any long term benefits.
Not so long ago free giveaways were an excellent way for authors to raise the profile of their book, because if you could get your book into the top 100 chart through a giveaway, your book would remain in the charts when it went back to paid status and, being more visible, you were likely to see a surge in sales. In fact, some independently published books have become best sellers as a result of clever use of the free promotions. However, the algorithm Amazon uses has changed, which means your book now sinks back into obscurity once the promotion is over, no matter how many free downloads you get. Buyers have got wise to free promos and there are also stories of buyers leaving 1 star reviews on free books they downloaded but had no intention of reading, which can actually do your book long term harm. So while the free giveaway option still exists, the benefits are not so good now.
What are Kindle Countdown Deals?
Kindle Countdown Deals are staged promotions, where a book is on offer at a reduced price for a fixed period of time, with the price increasing in increments – for example, it might start at 99p, then rise to £1.99, then to its full price of £2.99 over a period of seven days. A countdown clock shows shoppers how long they have to buy the book at the discounted price till it goes up. There are a few immediate benefits to using a Kindle Countdown Deal rather than a free giveaway. For a start, customers are still paying for your book, even at a discounted rate. Better still, if your book is normally in the 70% royalty category (priced between £1.49 and £7.81) then you will still get 70% royalties, even at the 99p price point. Another benefit is that you’ll get extra exposure on the Amazon website through the Kindle Countdown Deals page.
In a future post I’ll be showing you how to set up a Kindle Countdown Deal. You can also read about my own experience of running a Countdown Deal on Amazon UK, and see if you think it’s worth a go.