Kindle Countdown Poll

Kindle Countdown DealThe Kindle Countdown Deals is a new program. Jim Devitt wrote an article about the inception of KCD and K.S. Brooks wrote about her experience with Kindle Countdown. And now, there’s an issue with royalties.

Amazon has an impressive history of programmatic successes. The early reports back on this particular effort seem less than stellar. While it is still too early for a comprehensive assessment, we’d like to know your thoughts.

If you have used a Kindle Countdown promotion for a book, please answer item A. If you have not used Kindle Countdown, please answer item B.

A. If you have used a Kindle Countdown (without any other advertising or promotion) to promote your books, how would you describe the impact on your sales?

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B. If you have NOT used a Kindle Countdown to promote your books, why not?

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23 thoughts on “Kindle Countdown Poll”

  1. I voted in B “Other.” The fact is that Amazon is just trying to revamp its Select membership which prevents authors to list their titles elsewhere than on Amazon. Sorry, but the Countdown is just too little an incentive to give Amazon the exclusivity. I don’t see anything that makes those who are still in Select stand out better than those who aren’t. It’s not like Amazon is doing anything to promote “its” exclusive authors’ list. It seems exclusivity for nothing in return.

  2. I also voted B, “Other.” I just can’t see the point of it. Unless someone is a majorly selling author, I can’t see how “counting down” a special price is beneficial. I enrolled my latest book, a non-fiction self-publishing guide, in Select just so I could see for myself what all the hoopla is about. I chose to do a “free” day (you can’t do both a free day and a countdown during the same signup period), and saw absolutely no benefit from that, either (no reviews, no boost in sales, no increased exposure via search, etc.). Like Massimo Marino (post above mine), I think Select has lost whatever it initially had that might have benefitted self-published authors.

    1. In the last two weeks I ran a Countdown that brought in $300 i sales. And a freebie that racked up 15,000 downloads… and generated about 15-17 sales in the few days sense–not counting what it brought in Christmas paperback sales. Neither of these are new books: both have had freebie runs before.
      If you have a book people want to own, and understand how to use promotion tools, these amazon things (despite their evil intent) can be very valuable.

      1. I certainly didn’t mean to imply Amazon has any “evil intent.” I’m grateful for the opportunities Amazon/Kindle/CreateSpace provide. As with any promotional tool, some will find it useful (congrats on your sales!) while others don’t. I don’t think there’s any “one size fits all” marketing or promotional technique. I love Goodreads ads – I always see a fairly substantial bump in sales – but I have author friends who say it never leads to any sales at all for them.

        The best path for any of us is probably to give various techniques and opportunities a try and see which has the best personal fit. For me, personally, I’ll bypass Select in the future, because given my history of selling my previous books through Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, etc., I think it’s safe to say I’ve missed out on sales by signing this last one up for Select.

        1. The “evil amazon” concept was my own, not yours, Melinda. I don’t like the company but, like you appreciate the opportunities it provides.
          And yeah, there are way to many variables to allow much comparison between writer on stuff like this.
          But I would bet heavily that a major provable variable would be testing Countdowns with and without promotional support, with a greatly larger success profile for the former.

  3. Tried it. It’s crap. With a capitol K. KDP has completely outlived it’s usefulness unless they can come up with something better than this malarkey.

  4. Countdown is in many ways the best promo tool amazon has come up with… far more useful to the maturity of a book than free days. What it does is extend the useful life of Select enrollment indefinitely, and at the same time allowing amazon to make something on it…though it’s more immediately to the author’s advantage.

    I didn’t complete the poll because it’s fatally flawed. How many would use this without supporting it with promotional activities? That would be silly, like a store running a big sale and not advertising it.

    My recne use of it (for a book that has already been freebied and most people in reach already have) brought in about $300 in sales.

  5. It didn’t do a thing for me. I realized after trumpeting the “going up tomorrow!” announcement over and over that it’s just trying to create a sales stampede where there is none. Definitely less than useful, not to mention how annoying the daily announcement could be to readers.

    1. The step-up is definitely useless. And promoting the increase is insane and a “daily announcement” is a way bad waste of time.. Set it to show the same discount for the entire period of the promotion.
      The big reason is that you could set up promo for it as a 99 cent book, but the mailing appear a few days later when the book has increeased in price, leading to cancellation of the listing or a really negative consumer message.

      These are not approporiate ways to use the this tool. It’s new, I’ve already learned a few things.

  6. Unfortunately, there are enough flaws in it they way it is set up that there is no point in promoting a book very strongly. Look at all the people who are getting sales reports that only give them the 35% royalty rate.

    It’s just an attempt to engender a new consumerism culture on the site: Instead of people waiting for a book to, inevitably, become free, now they will wait until the book is severely discounted from that godawful, intimidatingly high price of $2.99.

    What we need to do is foster a culture in which folks are willing to pay for books at regular prices ($2.99-9.99) and forget these trivialities. I know I won’t be using KDP Select anymore when my terms are up on my books. And I was an Amazon hold-out.

  7. I’ve tried it with about ten of my books over the last two months and have had pretty good success. Three of my eBay guides sold another forty to sixty more copies during the Count Down Promo. The other seven books saw mixed results some of them jumped ten and fifteen copies during the Count Down Deal, some titles sold only two or three extra copies, and two of my books didn’t sell a single copy during the Count Down Deal.

    Best thing I can say is if it’s a good book that people want the Count Down Deal is going to boost its sales, if your book is dead in the water you need to try something else.

    I’m running a second round of Count Down Deals starting December 28th hoping I can catch some extra sales from the people who received new Kindle devices for Christmas. After that I think I’m going to spread my wings and put all of my books for sale on Barnes & Noble, SmashWords, and others.

    Don’t get me wrong, Amazon is a great source of sales and income for Indie authors. My Create Space paperbacks were strong sellers through the holidays. I had three of them enrolled in expanded distribution, and when Amazon offered the program for free last month I added all of my books. The next few months will tell how that goes. Normally I sell 150 to 200 paperbacks through Amazon, and another forty or fifty through expanded distribution. Hopefully that number will double with twenty books in expanded distribution.

    I would still like to see more promo types available from Amazon. Hopefully they have more in the pipeline.

    1. Thanks for the info, Nick. What you’re doing makes sense to me.
      And your estimation that a lot of the results have to do with the desireability of the book itself. Major variable.
      Just the difference between how many take a free download vs how many pay for Coundown downloads would be a measurement of that, if you could A/B it. Like with two different mailing list segments or something.

      1. I spent about fifty bucks advertising one of my history books Bad Ass President, and got no where. i think it sold eight copies at 99 cents and a $1.99. i didn’t spend any money promoting the more successful ones. They just took off on their own, so that’s the way I’m playing it again this time. I’m going to let Amazon do all of the heavy lifting for me.

  8. A new tricky bit this tool creates is juggling the use of freebies and coundowns, since only one can be used in one 90 day enrollment period.
    Again, to soon to have much in the way of experiential results, but what it looks like to me is that you start a book off using freebies. A two day for fans and reviewers for the “soft Launch”, at some later date when some reviews and boughts are in place, the other three days for general promotion. Depending on those results (and how well you used it) the next 90 days might be the time to do the Countdown. I used my 5 days all at once since it’s close to the end of the enrollment period and I wanted to see how the step-up worked, but I’m guessing there might be raasons to go with all 5 days at once. But then the next period? Go back to free? Do more Countdowns? Why not? Or get off and use other eTailers?
    It’s an interesting puzzle that evolves as you move through it.

  9. I checked B “other” because I’m in the process of trying it as I type. This is my first experience with the Kindle Countdown. I have a book enrolled from Dec. 26, 2013 – Jan. 1, 2014. Since the “Deal” starts today, I don’t know how it will all shake down. I also checked “other” because I enriched the countdown with several other promotional tools, including social networking and free and paid book promo sites. Love at First Click is a new release. I’ve priced it at $2.99, with the countdown deal of $0.99 for the duration of the week. We’ll see how it goes.

  10. “B” Other – because I don’t like giving control over to one outlet, and from what I’ve read about it, it really is scrapping the marketing barrel.

  11. B-Other. In my certifiably twisted mind, I liken the CD deal (as well as Select) to buying stock in only one company–and we all know how well that went for Enron employees. I’m investing in my future as an author and I’ve always diversified when I invest (not to say I wouldn’t try something else if it penciled out) It ain’t sexy, but it’s solid. OTOH, just like investors there are lots of different ideas of what’s acceptable risk to authors. You just have to find what fits.

  12. I voted B – Other because I did not enroll my book in KDP Select. Not sure if I will give it a try in the future or not. Though my book is not selling well in the other publishing platforms, I’m not sure I want to give Amazon exclusive selling rights to my book.

  13. I voted in column A – moderate success. I did a 5-day countdown with the Pipe Woman Chronicles Omnibus, the list price for which is $8.99 — which sounds like a lot, but it’s $1.79/book for the 5-book set. Before the countdown, I had sold one copy (and not to myself!). During the countdown, I sold 3 copies. My lowest price was $3.99 — so bargain hunters might have passed it by without realizing they were getting 5 books for 80 cents apiece. Or, y’know, maybe nobody saw it. I didn’t advertise, other than boosting a post on Facebook.

    I did have an acquaintance from Australia message me on FB, asking why she couldn’t get the deal. I made Smashwords coupons for the individual books for her, and she was okay with that. So I guess I really sold 4 copies during the Countdown. 😀

    Anyway, I’m not sure I’ll do it again. Will have to think about it. I will definitely try harder to get the word out, if I do it again.

  14. I have not stopped long enough to set up my Kindle Countdown, since the book came out in November but I’ve had a death in the family and Christmas. I do plan to do it within a few weeks.

  15. I voted large success. Sold about a hundred more books than the week before, covered all costs of advertising with a moderate profit. I’m brand new with just the one title (which needs an update to its cover) so someone with a larger catalog might see more success.

    Overall, I’d say it’s a neat feature but unsure if it’s worth staying in Select for. Now that I’ve tried it, I’ll be pulling out of Select in February to publish in other venues.

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