Free eBooks – An Experiment

In December, I launched one of my short stories, Ooze, for free on Smashwords. Download volumes were as follows: Total downloads = 183

Dec 124
Jan    38
Feb   21

On March 1, I removed Ooze from Smashwords (as required by Amazon) and placed it and 2 other short stories on KDP Select, Amazon’s library and promotion service, providing free downloads for 5 days. Here are the results: Total downloads = 331

Mar 1: Ooze 55 Bird Watcher 89 Bartlett Rebooted 52 Total: 196
Mar 2: Ooze 35 Bird Watcher 44 Bartlett Rebooted 33 Total: 112
Mar 3: Ooze 11 Bird Watcher 4 Bartlett Rebooted 8 Total: 23

I cancelled the free promotion after 3 days, as the volumes were approaching zero, and I may be able to use the remaining 2 promotion days at a later date.

The breakdown between Amazon US : UK : DE : Others was: 228 : 94 : 9 : 0

I was quite pleased with the results. If my arithmetic is correct, 514 copies of my short stories, including 284 copies of Ooze, are now in the hands of (potential) readers. I’m not sure what I learned from the exercise. I suppose it demonstrated that Amazon hits are significantly higher than Smashwords (but we knew that). It also demonstrated that perhaps 2 days is enough for one of these freebie promotions, and I think it showed that there’s not really much of a market for my kind of humorous stories.

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