Friday, 27 February 2015

How to Run a 99cent Kindle Countdown Deal Sale

If you enroll your book in KDP Select (Kindle Direct Publishing Select) you can enroll your book in two types of promotions. You can run either a Free Book Promotion or a Kindle Countdown Deal. To my understanding, you are permitted to enroll a book for 7 days per three month period, into either or both of these promotions.

Kindle Free Book Promotions

A quick word about running a Free Book Promotion. Unless your book is the first of a series and you have already published one or more sequels to the book, don't waste your time.

The first time I ran Forager Book One in a Free Book Promotion, I saw 800 copies downloaded, and zero follow-on sales. However, once I had published Infiltrator, Forager Book 2, I put Forager for free on B&N, iTunes, Kobobooks, Free-Ebooks and Smashwords, and Amazon soon followed suit by price matching the book to zero. Since then, I have promoted Forager Book One on numerous free and paid advertising websites, and have seen consistent follow-on sales of both Infiltrator, Forager Book 2 and Expatriate, Forager Book 3. In conclusion, the best way to sell the first book you write is to write a sequel, and then promote the first book on its free days or price-matching free days, which will then sell the sequels.

Kindle Countdown Deal Promotions

Websites The Complete Forager Trilogy was submitted to during its 99c Kindle Countdown Deal.
Once I had completed all three titles in the Forager Trilogy, I combined the three titles together to form The Complete Forager Trilogy. I decided to enroll The Complete Forager Trilogy in a 99cents Kindle Countdown Deal. I was treating my book as a 'new release,'  and the prices listed below are what I believe I paid at the time. Note that prices are subject to change, and vary according to the book's genre and promotional package ordered.

Digital Book Today $30.00
Readcheaply Free
Bargain Booksy $35
eBook Lister $10.00
eReader News Today $15
Korner Konnection Free
Flurries of Words Blogspot $5.00
People Reads $8.99
The Fussy Librarian $14.00

This is a snapshot of The Complete Forager Trilogy's ranking on Amazon's Best Sellers Rank list just after it had hit its highest point (it had got up to 2,450) durinng the Kindle Countdown Deal week. I sold over 230 copies of the book. Unfortunately, I do not know which of the listed websites brought in the greatest numbers of sales, apart from eReader News Today, which brought in 89 downloads in one day.

More Comprehensive List of Sites to Submit a 99cents Kindle Countdown Deal

Here is a more comprehensive list of websites to which you can submit your ebooks to during a 99cent Kindle Countdown Deal. Note that prices are subject to change, and vary according to the book's genre and promotional package ordered.

Addicted to eBooks free but queue
Ask David $15?
Author Marketing Club $49 for a day
Awesome Gang $10 $35
Bargain eBook Hunter $15
Best eBooks Free free
Book Basset $22
Bookbub Many options
Book Goodies free Book Gorilla $50
Book Sends $40
Books on the Knob free
Digital Book Today Many options
eBook Lister from $5 to $20
Ereader Utopia from $5 to $15
eReader News Today/ $15
 Fiverr BKnights $10
Free Kindle Books and Tips $25
Flurries of Words from $5 to $15
Free Discounted Books Varies
Girl and Kindle Book Promos $5 and up
Kindle Nation Daily $99 +
Korner free
People Reads $8 and up
Pixel Scroll $15
Read Cheaply free submission
Sweet Free Books $5
Sweeties Picks $5
The Fussy Varies
The Kindle Book Review $40

Things to Note:

Important Note - Many websites recommend that you increase your Kindle book's price immediately before the Countdown Deal, and then lower it immediately after the sale. eg. Book's price is normally $2.99. You change it to $5.99 before the sale so that when it is discounted to $0.99, it seems a better deal. After the sale you change the price to $2.99 to try to keep sales going. Please note that Amazon have clamped down on this unscrupulous practice. If you change the price on a Kindle book, KDP will not permit you to enter the book into a Countdown sale for the next 30 days. Furthermore, as soon as a Countdown sale is concluded, the book's price is locked for 2 weeks.

Bookbub is reputed to be the best place to submit Kindle books on their free days and Countdown Deal days. Sadly, I cannot personally report on their results, because each time I submitted a book to them, the rejection email came back so quickly that the ink had not yet dried on the submission I'd sent to them. Things that may help in your book getting accepted by them are: have a professional looking book cover, have the book professionally edited, have a ton of 5-star reviews.

Facebook boost page/post advertisements. I tried once, and got back 10% of the 'likes' per $5.00 that Facebook had anticipated I would get. None of those 'likes' equated to sales/downloads. I cancelled the ad before the day was out.

Facebook Groups. There are many Facebook groups for authors to post their books during their free or 99c days. However, be aware that most of the people who follow those groups are authors and therefore have zero interest in the books you post on the group's page.

Fiverr. Be careful of Fiverr ads. Some ads promise top results, but when you examine the sites they submit your book to, you may find that they submitted your book to sites that require payment, such as Bookbub. And as they obviously did not pay, those submissions were ignored.

Twitter. Firstly, I would like to thank all who tweeted and re-tweeted my tweets about the Forager line of books. However, on only a couple of occasions when my book was tweeted as being free was there a small increase in downloads, and when the trilogy was tweeted at 99cents, there were zero sales. And to be honest, it is no surprise. So many twitter accounts follow 2,000 accounts and have 2,000 followers themselves. Unless you are a celebrity, your tweets simply get lost in the crowd.

Banner Ads, I tried this once on a website that had high traffic, but it resulted in zero downloads of Forager, even though it was advertised as being free on the ad. Let's be honest, when is the last time you clicked on a banner ad?

Book Blog Tours sound promising, but I had no success with them. I submitted Forager to a promotional book blitz tour when it was $2.99. It was featured on 37 websites, but resulted in zero sales. A mere 8 people listed it on their to-read list on Goodreads. One positive thing from book blog tours, though, is that some of the hosting sites may review your book. Although Forager got a few reviews that way, most bloggers simply listed an except from the book rather than reading and reviewing it.

I have also had a great deal of experience in promoting Forager after it was price matched by Amazon to free. Since then I have seen over 6,500 copies downloaded. I may at some stage write a post about which sites I used and the successes I had with them.


  1. thanks so much for this post--totally pumped to throw my three novels into a box set!
    My only question is about reviews. I've already racked up over a thousand combined. Will I have to start back at zero with the box set, or does Amazon have a way to move them all into the set?
    Thanks again!
    Chrissy Anderson

    1. Hi Chrissy

      Sorry, you will have to start back at zero with the boxed set :(

      Though if you have a good social media following, just pop a request out for readers to review it, and you should have plenty of reviews in no time.