Why make your book free?

Realmshift Trilogy Book 1 – Medar set to Free for 4 days

I wasn’t sure whether it was a good idea when I signed up to a weekend promotion with Hello Books. Well, I’m pleased to report that it was a HUGE success, and I’ll definitely do it again in future.

So, how did it work? Hello Books has a massive mailing list, and every week they offer bundles of free books to their mailing list (depending on which genres people have signed up for). Once my book was accepted by Hello Books, all I had to do was pay $30 and set my chosen book to free on all platforms that it was on for a certain period in all US and UK market places.

That, however, was easier said than done. It was easy to set my book to free via Draft to Digital (the online distributor of my e-book Medar), but Amazon was challenging because my book is not exclusive to Amazon. Hello Books had provided exact instructions on how to request Amazon to set a non-exclusive book to free (I had to request a price-match, provide the ISBN and links to where it was free). Amazon took a couple of days to process my request, then advised me that the price for a completely different book (not even one of mine) had been updated, but when I checked Amazon it was unchanged.

At this point I received an email from Hello Books advising that my book was still not free on Amazon, so they’d have to exclude me from the promotion if I couldn’t get it sorted in the next 2 days. I followed up with Amazon again and they said they’d need a couple of days to investigate ‘my pricing issue’. Help! I was running out of time, and now only had 48 hrs before the promotion was due to start. I had Amazon email again advising that they were still investigating. I let Hello Books know that I was trying to get my book set to free on Amazon, but was having trouble. They wrote back telling me that my book had been set to free on the US Amazon, but not on Amazon UK. However, they could include my book in their promotion, but limit it to their US customers only.

Whew!

So with hours to spare, my book ended up in the Hello Books promotion. And then the downloads started to happen! It was hugely exciting (although, of course, I wasn’t earning a cent). The first day I got over 300 downloads, and over the next few days another 150.

So, what were the benefits of having set my book to free?

  1. Firstly, my book rocketed to #1 (earning the coveted orange banner) and #2 respectively in all its categories, which also improved my author ranking to as low as #369 on the first day (it’s normally over a million, because I sell so few books). This of course has the knock-on effect of my book showing up on the first page when someone does a search
  2. Then I started getting sales of the next 2 books in the series – three weeks later I have already recouped the money spent on the campaign
  3. These few sales FINALLY added up to the required accumulated USD100 in a single Amazon market to qualify me for my second ever royalty payout from Amazon (because I’m a kiwi and don’t have a bank a/c in the US, I have to accumulate USD100 before I get paid any royalty. Given that some months I was only earning USD5, you can figure out how long I’ve been waiting for that!)
  4. It pushed my total ‘sales’ to over 1,000 – woo hoo!

So, as I said, I’m super happy with the results and would recommend anyone to promote via Hello Books.

Book 1 Medar – published August 2017. Click here to purchase.

Book 2 Tyrelia – published March 2019. Click here to purchase.

Book 3 Golden City – published November 2020. Click here to purchase.

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