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Well that was fun!  I was trying to think of anything I could do to make people feel a bit better and my husband suggesting offering a free book, and the first Sam book – “Fatal Forgery” – seemed the obvious choice.  I now realise that lots of authors are doing this, and it’s wonderful – I’ve snagged a couple myself.  (The more escapist, feel-good and light-hearted the better – I’m certainly in no mood for dark or dismal disaster.)

When I explored KDP to find out how to do this, it turns out that as my Sam e-books are listed with KDP Select – which means that they are sold exclusively through Amazon (and the exclusivity brings me a higher royalty rate from Amazon) – I can take advantage of a couple of promotional schemes that they offer.  And one of these is the chance to offer my book for free, for five days out of every ninety days.  (Obviously Amazon does not want people offering their books for free all the time, otherwise they make no commission on the sales…)  And I decided to take all five days in one hit, rather than spreading them out (which you can do).  I did consider doing a day here and a day there, but I thought that with the time difference (days are according to US time zones, not European) I would confuse myself and everyone else about when the day started and finished, and by the time I got the word out it might all have ended – so I went for simplicity.  I publicised the offer on this blog, on my personal and author Facebook pages, and via an e-newsletter that I send out as part of my day job (to people who are tackling financial crime every day, so I thought some of them might like to read about historical financial crime instead).  The one thing I forgot to do was to ask people to leave reviews, but here’s hoping that some of them do it anyway.

So how popular was my offer?  Here’s the breakdown:

  • Day one: 31 copies downloaded
  • Day two: 55 copies
  • Day three: 36 copies
  • Day four: 8 copies
  • Day five: 10 copies

So that’s a grand total of 140 copies.  Turning to my spreadsheet of “Fatal Forgery” sales, I can see that since it was published in July 2013 – and discounting this recent free promotion and another free promotion I did in January 2019 – I have actually sold 348 e-books.  I’m not sure what that tells us, except that people like free books!  (And that day two of the offer is the big one – by then, the word’s out.  But by day four, everyone who wants it has downloaded it, and I don’t think the word is spreading any further.  So perhaps – for commercial purposes – two widely-spaced two-day promotion periods would work better.)

During the promotion I did look every day at the Amazon list of 100 free best-selling e-books, always hoping that “Fatal Forgery” would appear, but it did not.  Nonetheless, I have had some lovely emails from people saying that they are already enjoying the book, and it’s a small thing that I can do.