My First Free Book Day

Its been just about a month since the release of STAR BRIGADE: Resurgent, enough time to get some sales and see which Amazon markets are really hitting. Amazon US makes up about 90% of my sales, with Amazon UK, Germany and Australia as the only others. Thus far I’d sold about 150 books in close to four weeks, which isn’t bad given that I’d really only used Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Google+ to advertise.

I didn’t want to blow through my free days yet, but space them out across the 90 days of my KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select enrollment. Yesterday (6/13) I used the first of five free book days. Of course, there’s a huge part of my cringing at the thought of selling my eBook and not earning a dollar on any sales. But at the end of the day, the free book is all part of a bigger picture. More people will have my eBook to read, which could lead to more reviews on Amazon, more people to tell their friends about my book if they liked it and more people who could turn into potential buyers of my next books. Positive thinking!

And most importantly, I wanted to see if any surge in sales on a free day could translate into higher paid sales afterward. During the first month of my book’s release I’d been flirting with the lower rankings of the Military Sci-Fi bestseller lists (between 79 and 100) and never selling more than 12 eBooks a day. Could a free day or two change that?

In order to insure higher than normal sales, I was fortunate to discover a few sites that provide promotion for free or bargain priced eBooks.

With many of these sites becoming a go to for self-published and traditional authors wanting to boost their book sales, spaces for free book promotion were limited and not guaranteed. But for a few (or a lot of) dollars, spots for free books are guaranteed. Funny how that money thing works, right? Packages for many of these sites usually include premium posting on their website or blog, promotion on social media and being included in their email newsletter blasts. So I figure, why not give it a whirl?

The cream of the crop for the free/bargain book sites hierarchy are Book Bub, Pixels of Ink and EReader News Today. All three are lauded by many indie authors as the best at promoting bargain and free books, which means they are the hardest to get a spot on even if you’re willing to pay for it. Book Bub is the most expensive of these sites, but from what I’ve heard from other authors, its worth every penny. I submitted for a slot on Book Bub but didn’t get selected. But given how any submissions they receive and the fact that I only have about 10 reviews up on Amazon, I can understand why.

Some of the promotion I acquired for the 6/13 date was on the following sites – Kindle Books and Tips, Ebook Bargains UK, Freebooksy, OHFB.

A note on a few of these sites. Most focus primarily on Amazon’s Kindle US site, with optional fields to promote on Kobo, iBooks and Nook. Only Ebook Bargains UK really helped promote my free book day on international Amazon sites (CO.UK, ES, DE, CA, etc.).

OFHB was a surprise, as I didn’t even know they were promoting my book until a friend gave me the heads up (thanks Mandy!).

So midnight 6/13 (Friday the 13th mind you) rolls in and the book drops from $3.99 to 0.00. Here we go.

By early morning as I obsessively refresh the book’s units ordered chart, the books already moved around 7 free copies. A bracing start.

By mid-morning, sales have passed 1000. I’m super happy at this point. And I can see from the charts that clearly eBook Bargain UK is doing their job as I’m seeing actual sales in international Amazon stores where I’d previously sold zero copies.

By mid to later afternoon free sales are now north of 2000 and heading toward 2500. I’m flabbergasted and blown away by how well the books doing and charting (on the overall Kindle eStore chart, not just the specific ones). I cracked the Top 100 Free book bestsellers’ list by around 8 PM, and have reached the top of many sci-fi subgenre bestseller lists.


At the end of the day, what was the final tally?

2,666 free units sold.
#1 on Kindle US’s Free Galactic Empire Sci-Fi bestseller list
#1 on Kindle US’s Free Military Sci-Fi bestseller list
#1 on Kindle US’s Free Space Opera Sci-Fi bestseller list
#1 on Kindle US’s Free Military Sci-Fi bestseller list
#3 on Kindle US’s Free Science Fiction (overall) bestseller’s list
#74 on Kindle US’s Free (overall) bestseller list.


I was blown away and quite satisfied by these results. Hard to say which site contributed the most to my success, but I have a pretty good idea which site helped with my international sales. It also told me that an eBooks needs to sell around 3-4k units per day to reach and stay in the top 20 of the free or paid bestseller lists. Craziness.

Even better, today (6/14) I’m seeing a decent uptick in sales now that Resurgent is back to its $3.99 pricing. Not huge, but much higher than 12 books in one day.

Next steps. I bunched two free days together for the upcoming Independence Day weekend (7/3 – 7/4) and then another pair at the very end of July. Should be interesting to see how the book does over two days instead of one. More details to come on that! Till next time…

For an authors looking more detailed analysis on KDP Select along with its positives and negatives, check out CJ Lyons’s article on

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Posted in Book Promotion, Cool Shit, Publishing, Science Fiction, Star Brigade, Writing
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