Inkwell Editorial

Self-Published Authors: Ever Wondered, “Does ‘free’ still work to sell books on Amazon?”

Published by Yuwanda Black, Site Editor


Written by Yuwanda Black

Is it worth it to enroll your fiction (romance) book in Amazon’s KDP program and use your 5 days to give it away for free?

Right now, I’m currently running an experiment to see with my multicultural romance novel “The Courage to Love.” It has been enrolled in Amazon’s KDP program for months now, but I never used the free giveaway days.

My Previous Experience with Amazon’s KDP Program

As an aside, I’ve tried about Amazon’s KDP program before. I wasn’t impressed with it, but decided to give it a go again because:

(i) it’s a different genre (fiction (romance), as opposed to how-to, non-fiction, the genre I’ve written over 50 ebooks in);

(ii) lately, I’ve been giving away more copies of this novel (“The Courage to Love” — which is the only book I have enrolled by the way) in the KDP program (without the free giveaways) than I’ve been selling — double the number on average; and

(iii) After having an amazing September (earning over $3,000), sales have been a bit stagnant lately — down to about half that. Part of this is me — I didn’t publish a new ROMANCE novel for about six weeks (between the end of August and the beginning of October).

Free Multicultural Romance NovelRomance writing is such that you have to “feed the beast” so to speak. It’s one thing that makes it frustrating, but it’s also kind of exhilarating in that you can almost decide how much you want to earn. If you publish roughly a book a week (as a romance writer), within six months, you should easily be earning between $2,000 and $3,000 per month.

Now, I can count on between $1,000 and $1,500 per month pretty seamlessly.

With all of that being said, back to the subject at hand …

A Little About Running a Free Giveaway in Amazon’s KDP Program

FYI, when your ebook is enrolled in the KDP program, you can use 5 days of the 90 days to give it away for free. You can break this up any way you want, eg, 2 days this month, 3 the next; 2 days this week, 1 day the next and 2 days the week after that; etc.

I scheduled all of my free days to run consecutively. Why? Because I did some reading before I ran this promo and the consensus I gathered was that it’s best to use all five days at one time.

I also did some promoting, listing my free giveaway on my FB page; my Goodreads blog; my SheWrites blog and on the following sites (most of them are free). (for 99 cent promos) (Paid for $8.99 daily listing) (for FREE kindle books) (super, super easy to submit!)  (super, super easy to submit!) ( (Paid $5 for 5 day promotion) ( from

Note: Some of these sites are persnickety and may reject your book; some have time-sensitive deadlines.

FYI, I found these sites here, which lists 76+ Places to Submit Your Free KDP Select Promotion for Your Kindle eBook (the title of the post).

I’ll be doing an extensive blog post on this in the coming weeks. So far, here’s some preliminary data.


The Courage to Love” ranked at #158,613 in the “PAID” Kindle store before this promotion started.

I’d sold 5 copies of it from 10/1 to 10/22. I’d given away 15 copies in the KDP program.

Day 1 of the Free Promo (10/23)

It was downloaded 878 times (878 free giveaways).

I gave away 1 copy in the KDP program (for a monthly total of 16).

No regular sales.

By the time I logged off (10/23; 9:54 pm), it was ranked at #341 in the “FREE” Kindle Store and #8 in the Multicultural & Interracial romance category.

Day 2 of the Free Promo (10/24: Stats as of 1:14 PM (U.S. CST) )

Has been downloaded 1008 times.

Have given away 1 copy in the KDP program (for a monthly total of 17 so far).

No regular sales.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #238 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#7 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Multicultural & Interracial

Misc Stats

Sold 4 more books on AMZ OVERALL than the day before.

Ranking of some other books have increased.

Got 1 new subscriber to my AMZ feed.

So far, 2 new reviews have come in (on another novel; not the one this promotion is featuring).

FYI, my research said that the weekend is the best time to run free promos, so I’m interested to see how this pans out and if it leads to additional overall sales.


Like marketing any product/service, you have to constantly try and test new things to increase sales. And, one of the things I’m trying to get better at is getting more intimate with my numbers; hence, the close tracking of sales for this free KDP promo.

And so far, I have to say, I’m surprised by the number of downloads the book has gotten, but it won’t mean squat if it doesn’t translate into actual sales. You see, a lot of readers download free stuff and never get around to reading it, which doesn’t do you (the publisher/writer) any good because that’s where sales come from — when someone reads your work and comes back for more.

My fingers are crossed — and in a future post I’ll let you know how it all panned out.

Have a great weekend!

Share Your Experience

Have you ever run a free promo in AMZ’s KDP program? How did it work for you? Did you get more sales/less/they stayed the same? Share your experience in the comments section below.


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Posted on October 24, 2014 
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