The crazy, mad crack high of free books is now officially over.
I can’t say for sure, but I am about 99% confident that Amazon has made changes to its algorithms, so instead of seeing massive spikes in sales coming off free, you will see a paltry spike, if that.
I have several friends who just came off free in the last week, saw 15K downloads, and saw a marginal increase in their sales – maybe 10% of what they would have seen a month ago.
BREAKING NEWS: New interview with Kevin Rau and yours truly. Because it’s all about me.
NEWS: An excellent new blog featuring my thoughts on promotions by @inkwellHQ. A good read.
MORE NEWS: New book review for King of Swords sequel, Revenge of the Assassin, by bestselling author Steven Konkoly.
UPDATE: Yours truly was in the Top 50 indie authors by sales for the second month in a row!
UPDATE TWO: A lengthy interview wherein I cover everything from the war on drugs, to central banking, to writing.
I just did the same thing with Zero Sum. Actually, that was an odd one. I think Amazon hates Zero Sum. Remember that it “lost” the book for 24 hours, trashing the ranking when it “found it.” Went from #1300 or so to #8500, and never recovered. Nice. Thank you, Amazon. Whoops!
But this time, Amazon didn’t pull it off free at midnight when it was supposed to, at the end of day two. No, 12 hours into day three, and it was still free. Which made the promotions I’d scheduled a moot point. But it saw over 10K downloads and hit #30 overall. So not terrible. Certainly not bad for the third time it’s gone free.
Day one paid, I priced it at .99 for one day, to boost paid sales on the critical first 24 hours, when the algorithms used to give a sh#t. I saw a whopping 100 sales at .99, versus 350-500 on similar promos just a few months ago. So not as large a bump – maybe a quarter or less what April might have brought. Then, in the first 24 hours at a discounted price of $3.47, I saw 21 sales.
To put that into perspective, the book typically sells 20 a day. Some days 15, some 25.
So a modest effect on deeply discounting the book, and then virtually nothing once at normal price.
Two months ago, I was seeing 150 a day following a free promotion at full price, and that lasted 7 days. Now, not so much.
Thus, the giddy days of big sales from going free are officially over. I’m hearing similar tales from everyone I know. So it’s O-V-E-R. We’ll have to come up with something new.
I won’t be doing any more free promos if there’s no lift from the free days. Makes no sense. I’ve already seen well over 150K of my books downloaded free over he last 6 months, so another 10K of one title or another ain’t going to bring in the tide of readers. I’ll run out the clock on the existing promos, and collect the loan fees on the borrows – which DO offset sales, contrary to some claims to the contrary (I’ve seen it now for several months, where the first few days of the month borrows go through the roof, and sales drop by precisely the same amount – makes sense, as those folks are waiting for their free book from Select, rather than buying the title). But as to breaking big on a book because of free, I believe that’s finito. It was certainly fun while it lasted. But now the hangover sets in.
I wonder how long it will take others to figure this out? My prediction is 30-60 days, if they don’t read this blog. Allow me to be the first to proclaim the end of the free era on Amazon. Long live the new, new thing. Whatever that might be.