It's been almost two months since I removed both my books from Amazon's KDP Select Program. Once again, I wanted to give readers who have other devices besides the kindle the opportunity to read my books since KDP Select is an exclusive platform. At that time I felt I wasn't getting enough borrows to justify keeping it in there, so wanted to "test the waters" again. That's what's great about being an indie...I can make my own decisions/mistakes.
I immediately offered my short story, The Valentine's Day Curse, free, on Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes & Kobo. Amazon does not allow me to price it at zero, however, I did hear that they price-match. So, I hoped that would happen. Meanwhile, I waited to see how many free downloads the other sites would garner. After six weeks, the short story was downloaded a half-dozen times on Smashwords. I have no idea if it was downloaded on iTunes or B&N because they take forever to report to SW. There were zero downloads on Kobo. My novel received zero downloads, not even a sampling, on all those sites, yet I had sales on Amazon.
I think part of the problem is that when your book is on different sites it becomes difficult to promote them all. Although I have tried to point potential readers to my website for all the links, it's just easier to tweet one link to a direct outlet like Amazon, and more convenient for a reader to just one-click purchase it there. Even I don't like to download from Smashwords because it takes a couple of steps and I have to hook my kindle up to my computer.
Amazon wasn't budging on price-matching, and a reader of mine did contact me to let me know they had reported the free price to them, and had received an email stating that they no longer price-match, but "here's the link if you want to buy it." I was disappointed. Then yesterday I noticed the brown bar of shame on my monthly Amazon sales report was white. Sure enough there were downloads of The Valentine's Day Curse entered into the price match column. When I checked the listing, yup, Amazon finally price-matched it to zero. Happy dance!
Now, why, you may ask, would I want to give away my short story for free on Amazon and everywhere else for that matter. Two words...new readers. If I still had Fractured Facade in KDP Select there would be two more words...potential borrows. My hope has always been that after someone reads The Valentine's Day Curse they will seek out other books I have written. Well, other book, I have written. Still working on the next one.
Advertising is pretty expensive and not in my budget. I'd rather lose the royalty, a whopping $.35, by giving away the short story and think of it as advertising. So how is it working thus far? Well, it's been free on Amazon for one day, and I've already had ten times the downloads I had from all other sites in two months. As of this posting, it's #43 on Amazon's Best Selling Kindle store for Short Stories. Will this translate into sales for Fractured Facade? Maybe, maybe not, but I know I have a better chance of exposure by being in Amazon's Top 100 list than anywhere else. No matter what anyone says, Amazon's the big dog. So is PermaFree for me? Well, right now it is, but that's subject to change...