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Some of you may have caught wind of the I Didn’t Mean to be Kevin free Kindle giveaway that is currently going on now through August 28th. What you may not know is that I am also planning to post details about the giveaway—details such as the giveaway totals and the tactics I used to make people aware of the giveaway—every evening here on my blog as part of my Book Marketing Tests and Studies category. This post serves as the first in the 5(ish) part series.

The plan

I am giving my newest novel, I Didn’t Mean to be Kevin, away for FREE through the Amazon Kindle store from 8/24 through 8/28. No catches. No gimmicks. Totally Free. My hope is a simple one: I want to see how many free copies get downloaded, which I hope translates into a few reader reviews, which I hope perpetuates future readers to buy the book (once the free giveaway is finished).


I will be measuring 3 things:

  • Total copies downloaded
  • Daily highest rank (that I happen to screen capture) in the free Kindle store
  • Daily highest rank (that I happen to screen capture) in the book’s category/genre (which is Fiction > Literary Fiction)

What would I consider a successful campaign?

Honestly, I don’t have any context for success here. How about:

  • 1,000 total downloads
  • 2-3 Amazon reviews
  • a top rank in the free Kindle store of 300
  • a top rank in the Literary Fiction category of 5-10

The total download count is arbitrary; I just pulled a number out of my ass. The Amazon reviews might be asking too much considering someone would have to read the book within the short 5 day giveaway time. As for the rankings, I don’t know if those are realistic or maybe even if they are ridiculously easy to attain. We’ll find out.

Day 1 tactics

  • 12:00 am (CST): The giveaway goes live. No way was I going to try to push any books any earlier than 9:00, so any downloads that came during this first 9 hours are just icing.
  • 9:14 am: I sent an email to 70 friends alerting them to the giveaway. In this email I asked if they wouldn’t mind sharing news of the giveaway however they feel most comfortable doing so (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blog, etc.).
  • 9:58 am: I sent a tweet via my personal Twitter account. My personal twitter account has 7,438. My guess is that like 10 of those aren’t auto-follow bots, and of those 10, maybe 3 actually saw the tweet. Takeaway: I don’t put much stock in the reach of my Twitter account.
  • 10:33 am: I posted a message to my Google+ page.
  • 10:35 am: I posted a FB message on my “fan” page. My “fan” page has 871 likes. As of 8:54 pm, 135 people have seen the post.
  • 9:59 am and 3:58 pm: I sent a tweet via my literary news aggregator Twitter account. This account has 3,528 followers. Perhaps there are a lot of bots here, as with my personal account, but I assume the “true” follower ratio is quite a bit better than my personal account.
  • 8:48 pm: CPM Facebook ad goes live. This is a very simple ad targeted to people who are already somehow connected to my Facebook page. I know, it’s probably a bit redundant to speak to people who already know me, but my thinking is that perhaps the people who “like” me have read a book by me that isn’t I Didn’t Mean to be Kevin. I might change this targeting after a couple of days.

Day 1 results

As of 8:22 pm, 8/24/12, the metrics are:

  • Total copies downloaded: 390

  • Daily highest rank (that I happen to screen-capture) in the free Kindle store: #570
  • Daily highest rank (that I happen to screen-capture) in the book’s category/genre (which is Fiction > Literary Fiction): #24

How am I feeling after this first day?

Great, honestly. The numbers seem pretty good for the first day. I hope the momentum gets going.

Click here to read the Day 2 results > > >


  1. […] For full details about the test, see the first post here. […]

  2. […] For full details about the test, see the first post here. […]

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