Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Experimenting With KDP Select

When we had trouble recently adding me to the White Raven Press account on Smashwords, I decided in a fit of wanting to do something to try signing Vixen up for the KDP Select program for three months. What this means is three things (or so):
  1. Vixen will be available exclusively on Amazon for three months (I believe the end date is March 24, 2012).
  2. Vixen will be available to Amazon Prime members to borrow for free during that time.
  3. Amazon has given us five days in which we can set Vixen as free for promotional purposes.
Of those points, the first is an annoying necessity to comply with the terms of service. But since it's only three months, it's not a big deal. I hope. It won't affect the paperback, which should still be out later this month.

Point two is of no particular interest. In the unlikely event that a gazillion people borrow it, I'll get a little bit of money, but when people can borrow $9.99+ best sellers, why would they waste a borrow on less expensive books? It would be cool if someone borrowed my book, but I won't be crushed if no one does. I expect no one will.

The main reason I signed up was for the promo free days. It's possible to get your book set to free on Amazon by having it free elsewhere and then reporting it to the Amazon price-checking bots, but you can't actually make it free otherwise. And there's no way for micro-publishers using KDP to discount a book temporarily. But using the free KDP Select days lists the book as free, but shows it as discounted from the regular cover price (which, for Vixen, is $4.99).

So, for the first three days of the new year, we made Vixen free on Kindle. We gave away over 1200 copies on Amazon US (I assume this includes Amazon Canada, but I'm not sure), more than 400 on Amazon UK, and 4 on Amazon Germany (and White Raven Press has never sold anything on any of Amazon's sites other than the US and UK ones, so that was a nice surprise).

Vixen spent part of the first day and all of the second and third days in the top 20 (in other words, on the first page) of Fantasy > Contemporary. In the free books, of course. For a while, it was at #9. It might have gone higher, but I tried very hard not to check every five minutes.

So what does this mean for the book's future? Possibly nothing, but I hope it's given Vixen a little boost into better visibility. The fact that a copy sold today at cover price is a good sign (it hasn't even been up a month, and I've done no promo outside this blog and Twitter (find me @liesthrusilver). The fact that two people I don't know added Vixen to their "to-read" shelf on Goodreads is also a good sign. I think.

I'm hoping, too, that a few people leave reviews once they've read it. Assuming some of the people who downloaded actually read it.

Now I'm going to try to stop looking at numbers for a while and concentrate on finishing Hexen. My plan now is to use my last two free promo days for Vixen when Hexen is released, so it might give both books a little boost, and encourage folks to give the series a try.