KDP Select and online advertising so far

I put Trang into KDP Select (Amazon's exclusivity program) December 1, and today was my first free day, which I promoted doing my first online advertising campaign. So I thought I'd post about how all that is going.

Lots of people get lots of different results with KDP Select, but there are two advantages to it: 1. People enrolled in Amazon Prime can borrow your books for free (you get paid for the borrows), and 2. You get to make your book free.

Some people make so much money off the borrows that they don't even bother with the free days, but nobody has borrowed Trang since I enrolled it, so I get the feeling that's one of those things (like sale pricing) that works if people already know about the book or the author. Certainly in my case it's not going to do the job all by itself.

But I wasn't going to let the free days work all by themselves--I was running an advertising campaign on Facebook!

Well, it turns out I have something to learn about pay-per-click advertising. My first glimmering of this came a couple of days ago when I was reading an old post about online advertising by Lindsay Buroker. She wrote:

With Facebook, I tried some ads to direct people to the free-ebook tab on my Facebook Author Page. It didn’t cost me much (a couple of dollars most weeks), and it did get some people to click the links on the free-ebook page....

Note the bolded bit. With a pay-per-click campaign, you pay only when people click on your ad. If nobody's clicking, it doesn't cost you much to run one--you know, just a couple of dollars a week.

In other words: Better-known author than me + free book = little interest on Facebook. Doesn't sound so good for me, does it?

Compounding the problem, I didn't bid enough for the ads, so for most of today (which is Day 1 of a two-day period of free Trang) Facebook didn't actually serve up any ads. I'm assuming the price is especially high today because there are a lot of post-Christmas promotions going on. Anyway, I bumped my bid up (which you can do mid-campaign--beat that, dead-tree advertising!), and now Facebook is showing to ad to people. But they haven't clicked on it.

Which, apparently, is par for the course with pay-per-click ads! The upside is that this ad hasn't cost me a thing (and of course I don't know that I'm not benefitting from getting my name out there--I just know that people aren't clicking). It definitely seems to me like pay-per-click is better suited to a long-term campaign--I might not get very far running one for only two days, but given the low cost, I could keep one (or many) going pretty much indefinitely. Good to know!

Anyway, despite the Facebook campaign being kind of a flop, the free book is doing OK, presumably helped by me finally getting around to posting about it on Kindle Boards and Tweeting about it. Trang has even spent most of the day in the top 10 among free books in the science fiction: series category!

I went to see how it was doing in the science fiction: space opera category, and...whoops! It's not there! Yoikes--apparently when I got the books put into the science fiction: series category (which requires special dispensation), they lost their other categorization. So I put them back in science ficiton: space opera, but they're not showing up on that list, presumably because I didn't do that until late in the day. We'll see if Trang shows up there later on--I'm assuming science fiction: space opera is a bit more competitive that the science fiction: series category, what with it having 7,419 titles instead of 326.