Besides paying for promos and running Amazon ads, the other advice given to me was to publish a book that’s permanently free on various outlets. Usually, this idea is used for Book One of a series. The hope is that by making Book One free, a new reader will be willing to read something written by an unknown author. Hence, a reader will download the free book, get hooked, and download the rest of the series.
For an unknown author, like me, this idea was perfect. But I hadn’t written Book Two yet and didn’t want to offer Book One for free.
I have two novels published, and one of them is a standalone. My most recent release, Scythe of Darkness, came out June 13th. This is the one I'm marketing. I plan on writing the sequel (draft one) in October/November. After the novel released in June, I decided to write a short-story prequel. I knew that it wouldn’t require as much time to write, and I was willing to make it permanently free.
For an unknown author, like me, this idea was perfect. (ClickToTweet)
How to Increase KDP Sales (KENP)
Two weeks after my novel released, most sales came from Amazon. A few trickled in on Nook, zero from other outlets. With my book being new, I went ahead and took it off other online outlets, and then opted it in for KDP Select. I know this is a touchy subject for some authors, giving all the power to one retailer. But for me, it was the right choice (for now). A couple of weeks went by, and I had zero KDP reads. I knew that having a short-story prequel could help boost sales/KENP, so I started writing one.
A Free Book Represents Your Other Books
A mistake I could see a new author making would be to release a free book without it properly edited and with an unprofessional cover. These were two mistakes that I didn’t want to make. Been there, done that. If I’m making a book free, it needs to represent the rest of my work well. If a reader finds errors and thinks the cover looks bad, they’re less likely to buy anything else from me.
When I wrote my short-story, I studied other short-story structures and spent a couple of days outlining. Once I finished writing it, I sent the story to three critique partners. After receiving feedback, I made the necessary changes and sent it off to an editor for polishing. The editor also made sure the story was developmentally sound and that every question was answered. My prequel, Touch of Darkness, released August 16th.
Does Publishing a Free Book Increase KDP Reads?
After the short-story prequel was published, I immediately saw a jump in KDP reads for the novel. A snapshot of sales is below. The blue spikes are from the prequel, Touch of Darkness. The two things I wished I had done differently were:
This past Sunday, I placed the prequel on Instafreebie, and it will be involved in a Group Giveaway for the month of October. I’m hoping to gain more reviews, grow newsletter subscribers, and increase sales for the novel. I’ll keep you posted!
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