Attract more readers with price discount promos
Updated: May 16
One of the most effective ways indie authors can attract more readers for a book is to use a price discount for the Kindle version. A key question is how to make people aware of the price discount.
For starters, you could decide to rely on social media posts and your email list of followers in addition to platforms such as LinkedIn. Maybe even Facebook ads or Amazon ads. Or you could think about using paid promo sites.
During the first two weeks of May, I’ve seen several price discounts from authors because I follow them on social media and LinkedIn and Amazon. Here’s a sample:
A bundle of freebie Kindle titles in a variety of genres by eight members of a Facebook group I help administer. The promo relied on individual authors (including me) to promote the freebie bundle. All of us used some combination of Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Some also sent emails to a few followers, and one author paid to boost her free Kindle title by using Fussy Librarian and Kindle Nation Daily.
THREE separate promos for extensive collections of free eBook downloads in the crime and thriller genres. Both promotions used BookFunnel as the promotion and delivery mechanism and one of the authors, Dan Petrosini, posted the promos on LinkedIn.
A 99-cent promo for a book about balancing financial goals and happiness. The author, Canadian financial journalist Andrew Hallam, targeted FB groups where he is a member. He also has a paid BookBub promo scheduled this month.
All of the authors had the same objective—to attract more readers. They used different communication channels to make people aware of the price discount. Each channel has advantages and limitations (see perspectives below).
The preliminary results indicate that genre, price, and paid promos affected the results of these price discounts for Kindle books.
Genre is always a major factor in Kindle price discount promotions. Readers might be more interested in fiction about crime and thrillers and adventure than they are in nonfiction.
Price is a key factor. Freebie offers usually attract more downloads than 99-cent price promos.
Paid promo sites can boost downloads. For the bundle of freebie Kindle titles involving eight authors, the data from Jinx Schwartz show she attracted more than three times as many downloads as an author in the same genre who didn’t use paid promo sites.
A major reason to offer price discount promos for Kindle titles is to steer readers to other titles by the same author. To accomplish this, almost all authors include hyperlinks in the back matter of Kindle versions that go directly to Amazon. Some authors also include glimpses of forthcoming books, along with links to websites and blogs and newsletters.
The bottom line is that every author wants more readers to become better known. Attracting more downloads via price discounts often results in more reviews on Amazon. More reviews may help boost future sales. And some readers may become faithful fans anticipating the next book in a series by an author.
Try it. You may like the results.
Personal perspectives: Beyond attracting more readers, price discount promos can briefly boost Amazon's rankings in niche categories.
Hallam’s Kindle title jumped to #2 in paid sales rankings in the niche category for Budgeting & Money Management on the first day of his 99-cent price promo on Amazon.ca. I don’t have the data on the number of units sold, but the paid sales ranking was #1,201 in the overall sales rankings. One online calculator estimates that represented 172 units sold in a single day.
Two of the titles in the Kindle bundle I described above jumped to #1 and #2 among free titles in the same niche category of Sea Adventures Fiction. Data from Schwartz show she attracted more than 2,000 downloads during two days, and data from Lock show she attracted more than 600 downloads during the same period.
The same price discount bundle boosted my Kindle title to #1 among free titles in the niche category of Travel Reference, even though I attracted only 16 downloads.
Data from Carmen Amato, who proposed and managed the Kindle bundle project from start to finish, show a total of more than 1,000 downloads for the two titles she included in the bundle. I don’t have screenshots showing the impact on Amazon rankings in her niche categories. And I don't have the final data or screenshots from the other four participants in the Kindle bundle,
Social media channels and platforms such as LinkedIn don’t cost anything to post promotions (unless you buy ads). But independent data show that organic reach and engagement rate are relatively low compared to paid promo sites and email. For example, my promo posts on Facebook and Twitter for the Kindle bundle received only 18 views and 8 likes. That indicates the posts by other authors for the same promo boosted my visibility beyond the reach of my posts.
As an alternative, BookFunnel is a highly effective method for delivering a free eBook to readers. It’s independent of retailers, so free downloads via BookFunnel don’t register in the Amazon stats for free downloads. However, an option in BookFunnel enables authors to collect the email addresses of people who receive the free downloads. You can't do that with freebie downloads resulting from social media.
That’s how I got a free copy of The Barrow Case by Petrosini, who is a LinkedIn connection. I don't have data about how many downloads he attracted. You can learn more about BookFunnel in this article by Reedsy, which also explains the cost if you want to use a freebie to attract newsletter subscribers.
Later this year, I may test BookFunnel to offer one of my backlist Kindle titles free to attract subscribers to the monthly newsletter I’m developing. That’s what Petrosini did. That's also something that book marketing professional Tim Grahl recommends.
I welcome your feedback based on your personal experiences with using Kindle price discount promos. Just post a comment or send an email to email@example.com. And I hope you’ll take a minute to join my network and receive regular updates about publishing and promoting books.
Thanks, and best regards.