Kristen Otte

Finding Love and Laughter through Story

The Kindle Countdown Experiment


My young adult novel, The Photograph, is currently Amazon exclusive. I decided to go exclusive to try out some of the promotional tools KDP select gives you. With the Zelda release last month, I decided to wait until October to try the promotions. Last week, I ran a Kindle Countdown Deal from Sunday through Saturday on The Photograph. I set the price to $0.99 all week, a $3 discount from it’s regular $3.99 price.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Kindle Countdown Deals will not sell books on its own. On days I didn’t run an ad, the sales numbers didn’t rise.
  • Running a Countdown Deal in conjunction with ads is a good strategy. I set up a few low cost promotions during the week. BookSends and The Fussy Librarian netted me good sales, enough to move my book up the Amazon charts in my sub categories. I topped at #5 in YA Sports Fiction and charted in a few other categories.
  • I wish I had submitted to ENT earlier. I was too late to get the week I requested. With ENT and the other two sites, I think The Photograph could have hit the top spot in the category.
  • Kindle Countdown Deals net authors a 70% royalty, even at a $0.99 price point. The higher royalty rate made the sale much more worthwhile.
  • The Photograph’s cover and description will sell books if I get it in front of readers. The Photograph is a contemporary YA with mystery, basketball and a little romance, so it’s not in one of the best selling genres. It hasn’t sold well yet, but I think it can do okay with some extra push (and the next two books in the Eastbrook series available).

My remaining question:

  • I will stay in KDP select for another 90 days. However, I have mixed feelings about whether I should run a free promo or another $0.99 deal in this section. I think free will move more copies, but I’m worried free doesn’t equal people who will actually read the book. Any thoughts out there wordpress universe?

Overall, I’m happy with the deal. I’m glad to have my book in the hands of more readers. I look forward to trying more tactics when my second young adult novel is published in 2015.

What has been your experience with Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Promos?


14 thoughts on “The Kindle Countdown Experiment

  1. Hi Kristen, thanks for blogging about this. I have been thinking of running this promotion for the last few weeks and I’ve done some research to see where I can promote it. The truth is, there are tons of places to promote Free Kindles, but very few to promote the Countdown Deal. (and by promote, I mean for free.) I guess I will have to consider advertising. From my research, and from my experience with the Free Kindle promotion, I’ve garnered that the “free” promotion does get downloaded a LOT more. But I think you are right to assume a high percentage of those downloads will not get read. From my experience, the advantages of the “free” is this: if you promote the heck out of it so that the promos land during your “free” days and you can get a lot of downloads, it helps your ranking and you will get residual benefits days later (or even months later as I did, very fortunately). Great rank just keeps feeding onto itself, since readers search for books by ranking, ie. top 100 SF etc. – so it’s self-perpetuating. With the Countdown, its hard to sell the quantity of books that will make a difference, although it sounds like you were able to do that and your ranking really demonstrated that — congratulations ! I did the “free Kindle” for 3 days, and I think if I were to do it again, I might just do it for 1. It’s hard to give away that many books. But I think I will try the Countdown Deal for 3 days and see how it goes and advertise with it. Don’t forget that you can’t run both promotions within 1 90 day period. You’ll have to wait for the next 90 day exclusive if you decide to continue that. (Sorry I went on for so long here… ) Also you might try to play around with key words… you can even do this during the promotion.

    • Thanks for your input Eva! I plan to do a free run in the future–most likely when I have the sequel out in a few months. Hopefully it can spur both books up in the ranks, but who knows?

      Book Sends and Fussy Librarian are both cheap advertising options (around $10 for my genre), so it worked for me, and I think your book would have great success with those and ENT. It’s worth checking out for a $0.99 promotion.

      Do you have any sites to recommend for promoting free kindle books?

  2. That’s really helpful, thanks for sharing Kristen. I’m going through the Beta stage with my first book and I’m trying to whether to go with KDP select. Do you mind me asking, have you had much joy with Kindle unlimted or borrows?

  3. Hi Kristen, for what it’s worth, $0.99 feels almost free to me so I never hesitate to buy at that price. Conversely, I feel more inclined to actually read it….because I paid for it! Looking forward to The Photograph.

  4. I tried the countdown deal early on, but it didn’t do much sales wise- the free promos do get lots of downloads. My plan is to market the next countdown I do and try to advertise that more myself, just before it goes live. Like you, I am happy to have it not stuffed in the corner of my mind anymore, and out there. If one person likes it, then that’s one more than before I tried the whole kindle/createspace thing!

    • I see that you write children’s books too. Selling children’s books is a whole different animal. I’ve found marketing children’s books to be much more difficult. If you poke around my site, you might see a few posts on that.

      You have a good point though–if one person reads and enjoys it, even if it was free, that’s one more fan. They can tell someone else and maybe the word will spread.

  5. I personally tend to grab things that catch my eye when they’re free but never get around to reading them. That’s not to say I never will, though. At least they’re there, ready to catch my eye again if my TBR list gets low enough that I start browsing my own Kindle for things I haven’t read. Actually, I’m kind of like that for 99-cent books, too, but at least the author made some money. 🙂

    Interesting results from the countdown, thanks for sharing! I still haven’t decided whether my UF will be Amazon exclusive, so it’s really helpful to see what the potential benefits are.

    • I haven’t downloaded many free books, but my kindle definitely has a back log too, many of $0.99 books. I suppose I will get to them one day when I’m old and rich. (hah right).

      My Zelda books have always been on all platforms, but the Zelda books are another animal completely since it’s kids. When I have more books to follow up The Photograph, I may decide to back out of KDP select. Who knows?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s