Free promotion – the aftermath

Let me start by saying thank you very much to everyone who reblogged my free promotion post. I know I’ve made a number of extra ‘sales’ though that, and I appreciate it very much.

As I write this, it is about 8 hours since the promo finished, and I thought it might be interesting to give some feedback, statistics and general musings on how it went. Hopefully it’ll be of use to others planning to do the same.

Basic stats first: I shifted a total of 1273 copies of my book in the five days the promotion ran for. I realise that in the grand scheme of things that’s nothing (I mean, Dan Brown probably sells that many copies of his book in five hours), but to a little bottom feeder like me that’s a pretty big deal, especially since I was selling virtually nothing before this.

The fun thing about it is that Amazon gives exact numbers for each site, so I know that I sold only one copy on (ze French, zey do not like me!), but a surprising 122 on I would have expected to shift the most copies through the three English-language sites, but strangely enough I only got six sales on

Before I went into this, the general advice was that the longer the promotion runs, the better it is. Based on personal experience I have to dispute this. I sold around half of the total on the first day alone, and after that the sales dropped off sharply. It might have been different if I’d made it into the top 100 free rankings, but the highest I managed to get to on both .com and was about #310. Personally I think that whenever I do this next, I’ll run it for two or maybe three days.

So, let’s talk about expectations. With regards to what I was hoping to get out of this, then it’s two things really: 1) more reviews for The Ritual and 2) more sales for The Conspiracy. Let’s say that 10% of the people who got it will eventually review it, that will give me another 120-ish reviews. In the same vein, if only 10% of the people who got it liked it enough to buy The Conspiracy, that’s another 120-ish copies sold. It’s early days, but I do already have one extra review on (five-star too, pretty chuffed with that), and I have also sold a few extra copies of The Conspiracy, again on This is another thing that baffles me – I know I am based in the UK and my book is written in British English, but it’s not like Americans don’t understand this. I do wonder whether it is something to do with the fact that my book has a fair amount of sex in it, and Americans appear to have more of an issue with that, but I honestly don’t know.

What I think I will get out of this are a few things. First of all, I’m expecting to see my first two- and one-star reviews. This is not a problem in itself, I just hope that they’re going to be a little more than just ‘omg this book sucked’. I am fully aware that not everyone is going to like my book, but I do hope that the overall rating will stay good.

I also think that whatever reviews I’m going to get will take ages to come through. If I use myself as an example, I know that I have downloaded a number of free books on my Kindle, and have yet to read them. It stands to reason that many other people will do the same to my book. Whether they will bother to review it at all once they do finish also remains to be seen, because I know the majority of people just can’t be arsed. My estimate of 10% might be highly overrated, but we’ll see.

Ultimately, what I really want is feedback and honesty. I have so far had mostly positive responses to my book, but it’s not being translated into sales, and I don’t know why. Is my hook not engaging enough? Is the cover the problem? Are there people slagging the book off behind my back? Is it simply that I don’t have enough reviews for people to take the risk? If anyone can offer any insights or suggestions on this then I’d be very interested to hear them. I believe my book has merit, or I’d never have thrown it out to the masses, but unless people tell me where I’m going wrong, I’m never going to get it right.


6 thoughts on “Free promotion – the aftermath

  1. storytimewithbuffy

    It’s on my TBR list. I really like your honesty and that you have the balls to ask for feedback. I shall bump your book up the list and get back to you once I’ve read it. 🙂

      1. storytimewithbuffy

        I’ve started reading your book. I’ve read 25% of it now. I feel that I have to tell you that I’m not a huge fan of romance books but I love fantasy. I won’t give you a critique of the actual story because you state up front that it is romance and that’s exactly what it is.

        I’ll talk about style instead. I’ll do a post on my blog as well, but you seemed eager for feedback and I wanted to give it to you while it’s fresh in my mind.

        Your writing is superb. You have a fantastic way with words. What I would say as a critique is that perhaps sometimes you could be a bit more concise with your sentences especially during times which are tense, scary or when characters are angry with each other. (I’ve noticed this because I’m trying to do the same thing with my writing.)

        The characters are interesting and deep and your world building is excellent. This book is very impressive. I would never have thought that this was your first novel. Well done.

        I think that the only reason you wouldn’t get higher sales on it is for marketing reasons. You should plug the hell out of this book. Find every way possible to get it on the internet.

        If you would like more detail as to my thoughts, I would be happy to email you. This reply is already getting very long. 😀

      2. Erica Dakin Post author

        Wow, thank you so much! I am aware that I am the queen of long sentences, though I do believe that part of that is just my writing style. I’m still trying to find the balance between where they’re ok and where I need to chop them up into smaller bits, but that’s all part of the learning curve!
        I would love more detailed feedback, you can email me at pluisje at And thank you again, you’ve just made my day. =)

  2. H. Anthe Davis

    I really don’t think the sex is putting off Americans. Hell, go to the romance section in my library and open to the most creased part of almost any book and it will be graphic sex, for shelves upon shelves. Not kidding. Maybe you just have more Euro friends, and therefore the word-of-mouth is spreading more on that side of the pond?

    Also, as you noted, there are at least 310 people pitching a free book that’s more visible than yours — while you’re running a special freebie promotion. It’s a big ocean and you’re still a little fish. I doubt there are people out there slagging the book, they’re just unaware of it. Internet posts and mailings can only reach so much of an audience.

    Keep going though! Your audience can only grow!


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