Is it worth doing a FREE sale? Latest update, 1 month on #bookmarketing

I thought I would do a 1 month update, after my marketing round up at the end of January following my experiment of setting book #1 in this series to FREE and advertising it fairly heavily.

To remind you, using figures over the 6 months leading up to my free promo, I calculated pre-promo regular monthly sales figures for this series of:

The Prince’s Man (#1)8.5
The Prince’s Son (#26.2
The Prince’s Protege (#3)5.8
The Prince’s Heir (#4)5.3  

So here are my sales figures for February:

The Prince’s Man (#1)6
The Prince’s Son (#210
The Prince’s Protege (#3)7
The Prince’s Heir (#4)6

While organic sales of #1 are a bit lower, that is not significant compare to some months in the sample 6 months.

Sales of #2 are clearly up, and #3 and #4 are a little higher, though not by much. It remains to be seen if my regular read-through rates hold up, and #3 and #4 show a greater rise next month.

At this point, I’m not overly impressed with the results. I do expect to earn back my advertising outlay eventually, but it isn’t quick! I suspect I will stick with 99c promos going forward.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out over a longer period (say, 6 months), when I will do another update.

As promised – the best performing promo sites

From this specific sale which, of course, took place over Christmas and New Year, which may well give a very different metric to other, non-holiday, periods. $25 bringing around 350 downloads – free to advertise and around 100 downloads $40 and 850 downloads

Reign of Reads $9.60 and around 1200 donwloads! This one is an SFF specialist site.

Several of the others were okay, but these were the best, short of getting that elusive BookBub featured deal.

Anyone else dabble in free promos? Or do you have a permafree?


  1. That was interesting. It seems a lot of work for moderate success. Not sure though. Thanks for sharing your results.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I say, I think the results will be more visible in the long term, but I’m definitely preferring the 99c sale for quicker ROI.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s kind of my take-away, too. I wonder if people don’t value free. I do offer all my books on KU–so that’s free. Maybe that’s enough.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think KU is a bit different – they are paying for it even if they don’t have to buy individual books. I know myself that I download far more free books than I will ever read, and I’m certain I’m not alone in doing that.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It makes sense that your sales of The Prince’s Man would go down if readers picked it up for free. Read-through to the others will be interesting to watch. My largest number of free downloads has always been through Freebooksy, but they’re over $100, so it’s really hard to recover the cost. It’s more a matter of getting books into hands. Reign of Reads really appealed to me – one I hadn’t heard of and will give a try! Thanks for sharing, Deborah. All great info.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I took a Freebooksy series ad, which cost me $170 and it did give me around 1400 downloads, but compared to some of the others that was pretty expensive. I like Reign of Reads – great value.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I already looked into them and liked what I saw. I just need to get off my duff and schedule something. 🙂 Thanks for the tip!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting – I’d not heard of the first two sites – I’ve always used BargainBooksy and TheFussyLibrarian.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a huge list of sales sites, and I’ve tried them all over the years. I am now down to the ones I know work best for my genre.
      I used FreeBooksy and Fussy in this promo, but they didn’t give me the best ROI, which is why they aren’t included in this list.


  4. Thanks Deb. I always appreciate your sharing of how your ads go. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Only too glad to do so. I’m only small fry in terms of sale figures, but then so are the cast majority of indie authors, and if I can help anyone either make more sales, or save time and money, it’s worth my while 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And we appreciate that 🙂 x

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting – I’d not heard of the first two sites – I’ve always used BargainBooksy and TheFussyLibrarian.


    1. I used both of those in this promo, and they gave me fair results but not the best ROI compared to the ones I’ve listed in this post. I have a huge list of promo sites that I have slimmed down to the ones I find work best for my genre, there are others that do the job better for other genres, no doubt about it.


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