Monday, February 17, 2014

My experience using Smashwords coupon for promotion (Updated 2/23)

This past week I tried using Smashwords coupon manager for promotion. I was curious to see how successful doing a free promotion through Smashwords would be. Technically, there is one more day in the promotion, so I will probably update this post again later this week. If anyone is interested, here is the link to Beyond Heights and Depths on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/282737. The coupon code is: ZH99P.

I have to say, I am quite disappointed in the results so far. Through other free giveaways, such as, KDP Select, I have given away over 500 books during a 5 day period. With almost no effort at all, I have usually been able to giveaway more than a hundred books in 1 day. I thought I would be able to use what I know about promotions to produce similar results through Smashwords. Unfortunately, I was completely wrong. I have not seen anywhere near the numbers on Smashwords that I have on other mediums.

I did everything I usually do for a promotion like KDP Select Promotional Days. I submitted my information to promote my free day on several sites that I typically use. I also submitted info on one site that only takes submissions on the day of the promotion, which has worked very well for me in the past. I also made sure to tell others about my free day on Facebook and Twitter. These are all the things I have done before and had successful promotions, but this promotion was the most unsuccessful I have ever done.

The only significant difference I can discern at the moment is the site and method of promotion. I will have to do further research to see what went wrong, but so far the biggest problem appears to be the use of Smashwords and the free coupon. I wonder if people really don't want to do the extra step of entering coupon information. In any event, it was a good learning experience. I'm not sure I ever want to try this type of promotion again. The amount of work that goes into it and receiving such undesirable results leaves little incentive to try again.

So, tell me: Have you had similar experiences? What do you think? Is there something I could have done differently to produce better results? Let me know. I'm interested in hearing from you. Thanks everyone and have a wonderful week!

Update - February 23, 2014

I ran the promotion through the holiday. I had high hopes, but none of my goals were met. I did everything the way I would normally do for a regular promotion. The results were horrible. There really is no nice way to say it.

I sell more books on a regular basis than I gave away with the Smashwords coupon. I've been researching for answers, but I still am not entirely sure why this promotion went so bad. The only conclusion that I can draw from this is the use of the coupon. I guess people don't want to deal with coupons, even if it means just punching in a code at the end of a transaction.

I'm not quite ready to abandon Smashwords altogether. I am still selling books on Nook, Kobo, and iBooks. Thus, Smashwords is not a total loss. I still can't figure out why the coupon thing sucks so bad. I normally manage to giveaway hundreds of books. This one was such a big failure I just can't understand what went wrong. In any event, it's a good learning experience. I still have a lot to learn, so I'll keep on trying until I can make this thing work.

Again, I'm wondering, have any of you had similar experiences? What do you think? Is there something I could have done differently to produce better results? Let me know. I'm interested in hearing from you. Thanks everyone and have a wonderful week!