If not, I’ll explain.
When you give Amazon exclusive publishing rights for at least 90 days, you can enroll your e-book in Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select. From there, you have the privilege to run a free e-book promotion for up to five days.
It’s a prime opportunity for new indie authors to increase exposure.
Everyone knows that people like free stuff. So even if you’re relatively unknown as an author, you’re still able to get a lot of people to download your book by offering it free.
More downloads boost your book’s rank in the Kindle store. As ranking increases, more people download your e-book. And if you get enough free downloads during the promotional period, you’ll enjoy a higher ranking in the Kindle store–and more sales–once your e-book reverts to its original price.
As I mentioned before, it’s a good chance to expand your reach.
But there’s a way to go about it. KDP Select only gives you five days to promote your book to as many readers as possible. You want to get the most out of those five days! So it’s a good idea to learn more about what works in online marketing.
One tactic that benefits indie authors is “scarcity marketing.” It’s using the fear of shortage to sell more of your books.
To use scarcity marketing for more downloads, here’s the first thing to remember: Don’t use all five of your free promo days at once.
It may seem that the longer you promote your free book, the more downloads you get. That would be correct…if it wasn’t for basic human nature.
Fact is we procrastinate. And there’s no way around it. So as an indie author, you have to know how to promote your book to those people who will “just wait until later to download the book since it’s free for another 3-4 days.”
…Three or four days later, they’ve forgotten about your free promotion, so they miss out. Not only do you lose a download, you also lose a potential book review.
But you can prevent that with scarcity marketing. Infuse a sense of urgency into your free e-book promotions. You have to make your audience believe that they’ll miss out if they don’t act quickly.
There are several ways to do that, but the most important for indie authors is NOT running a promotional period for five consecutive days.
Although there are success stories about people who get thousands of people to download their e-book by running a full five-day promotion, most of them are people who have an established community following–or the money to spend on a strategic marketing campaign.
Most indie authors don’t have those luxuries. So scarcity marketing is your new best friend.
Chop your promotional periods down to 24-hours each. Or only give your book away free for a weekend. However you choose to chop the five days up, the limit is 72 hours, or three days. Past 72 hours, promotions lose urgency.
Don’t give your audience the chance to miss their window of opportunity. A noticeable time limit makes people want to act quickly. Think about the ticking timer you see in many infomercials. They’re on the screen to urge viewers to make a decision fast.
Do the same with your e-book.
When you announce that it’s free for five whole days, that doesn’t give procrastinators a reason to act right then and there. On a deeper level, you’re missing out on a long-term relationship with that person because you aren’t making your book a priority.
If you’re hesitant to cut down your free promotions, here’s another reason:
With multiple promotional periods, you can identify the marketing tactics that work best. Split testing shows you what you’re doing to bring in the most downloads. If you develop different marketing strategies for each free promotion, you’ll come to a conclusion about which of those strategies attract the most e-book readers.
While with a five-day promotion, you’re pretty much blitz marketing and hoping something works.
Effective scarcity marketing takes longer than a five-day promotion, but it’ll pay off when your book becomes a best-seller in its category–all because people felt an urgency to download it right when they read your status, email or announcement that it’s free.
It gives credit to the old adage: “Less is more.”
Nikki N. Robinson is the author of “The Young Professional’s Guide to Building Passive Income in Your Career Field.” She is also a career coach who helps young adults define their own paths to success in life after high school at www.byehighschool.org.