My ebook is enrolled in KDP Select. I gave it away for one day (yesterday) and it was downloaded nearly 100 times. It boosted my bestseller ranking to top 3,000, and top 10 in certain topic fields. As soon as the promotion finished, it went back to being on sale, and the bestseller rankings went completely blank. A few hours later, it's number 400,000 on the bestseller list....(Even with no sales, a book never drops that quickly, and the fact that the bestseller rank went blank when it went back on sale probably has something to do with it.)
This has never happened before. I don't understand. Can anybody give me any insight on this?
I have given away eBooks for free through KDP before. The free downloads would move the book up in the bestseller rankings, and after the promo was over, the book would "slowly" drop in the rankings if sales were being made. Even if sales did not trickle in, it would still move down the bestseller rankings at a fairly slow rate, which is understandable. But in this particular instance, my book went from top 3,000 (during promo) to 400,000 (right after promo was complete) in the bestseller rankings within a half day. Something has definitely changed recently. This isn't normal. I'm just trying to figure it out.
And if giving away free copies through KDP only moves your book in the rankings while it's free, then it goes back to the original rank it was at before doing the promo after it goes back on sale, then what's the point in even having a promo?
I understand that, but that's not what I'm asking.
The point of doing a promo is to have your book climb in the rankings, right? So what's the point in doing a promo and having your book climb the rankings, only to have it sent back down to where it started before you even did the promo as soon as the promo is finished? This makes no sense, and this is not how KDP has operated in the past. So what I'm asking is if they've changed the rules of the promotions or if I've run into a glitch?
The best-seller lists for free books and for paid books are totally separate. So a great ranking among the free books has no effect whatsoever on your paid ranking. Your paid ranking is low because you haven't been selling many books for money in recent days (including the days it was free). I believe there used to be a small algorithm tweak that gave a small bonus bump to your paid ranking if you did well on freebie days, but they changed that a few months ago (if it ever existed).
"Freebie days" were never intended to improve your paid ranking. The idea was to get exposure, maybe (and good luck with that!) get enough people to download your book and read it and tell their friends that a bump in genuine sales would result. These days there are so many free books out there that, unless you get literally thousands of downloads, this doesn't happen. It can however still (sometimes) help to sell a series if you briefly give away Book One for free.
The ranking system that I'm referring to is the "Amazon Best Sellers Rank." Freebie downloads do indeed help your eBook to climb this ranking system significantly (or at least they did a week ago). My current book sat at around 200,000 before I listed it for free and it climbed to 3,000 or so after around 50 downloads (no sales). It sat at around 3,000 until the promo ended, then dropped to around 400,000 immediately after it ended. Does that make sense to you? Because this was not the case last week when I ran a promo on another book in which it was downloaded several times, climbed to higher than 5,000 on this same ranking system, and although it didn't sell any copies afterwards, it dropped at a steady pace. (15,000 after an hour of the promo ending, 40,000 after a day, 100,000 after a couple days, and so on and so on...) In fact, it's been over a week and even though that book still hasn't sold any copies since the promo ended, it's still nowhere near 400,000, which is where my recent eBook plunged to after only an hour of the promo ending.
Sorry, I'm just trying to understand the system since I'm getting a completely different experience with two separate eBooks within a week of each other.
There is not a single or unified Amazon Best Seller Rank. There are two rankings, one for free downloads, one for paid sales. Your book, compared to other books being sold for money, was ranked at 200k. Then it moved into an entirely different ranking system, that of free books, where it did much better--in part because there are fewer free books out there at any one time than for books that cost money. All during your promo, it maintained its rank in the freebie lists. Then when your promo was over, it was again being compared to other books for sale for money. Having not sold any for money at least for a few days, it dropped to 400k.
Your other book subsided more slowly but still subsided. My guess is that it had been selling better before the promo, or the promo lasted less long. The algorithm that determines rankings takes how many sales total into effect as well as recent sales. Nothing's changed in the last week.
And no, I really am afraid there's no way that a good ranking as a free download will change your paid-ranking (unless people who download it urge their friends to spend money on it). Sorry to seem to belabor this, but I'm afraid you've not fully understood how rankings work. Reread my previous post.
Gotcha. I didn't know there were two separate ranking systems; one for sales, one for free downloads. I thought they were one and the same. That's why I was confused. That's the answer I was looking for. Thanks for your help.
I started my first book, "Begging For Acceptance," as a 5-day free promo in December. About 356 free books were downloaded, mostly in the US but a few in the UK as well as Germany. When the promo ended, the sales quickly leveled off to what most people are experiencing right now: quite slow. I hear now that the free promos aren't as helpful as they used to be and I don't plan to do that in the future. This marketing philosophy seems to be the same thing that musicians experience: if you give away services in hopes of being hired later, you're going to be disappointed; too many talented and well qualified people are waiting in the wings to give their own services away for free for the same reasons.