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The Definitive Guide to KDP Select Free Giveaways

So, you’ve slaved for a long long time over your manuscript. You’ve written, re-written, edited, chopped bits out, added bits in, written a blurb, formatted like there’s no tomorrow, designed a cover. Now, you must decide where to host your work for sale. There’s Smashwords, which lists your work for sale across multiple platforms and boasts that it’s the ‘world’s largest indie ebook distributor’ and there’s Amazon, which is threatening to be the world’s biggest company. You can publish to both of these platforms if you wish, but if you opt to make your work exclusive to Amazon for at least 90 days, you get the option of up to 5 days where you can give your work away for free, almost worldwide.

But why would you want to give away your hard work for free? Well, it’s not easy to be an indie author and get your work noticed, read and reviewed. The majority of indie authors don’t have breakthrough moments like Rachel Abbott’s Only the Innocent, or the insufferably successful John Locke. We struggle to be author, editor, marketer, and everything else that goes with the process, often putting in long hours and getting little recognition.

But if you decide to go with the option of using Amazon’s KDP select then other avenues become available to you. First off, Amazon Prime members can borrow your book, opening your work up to a whole new audience (and paying you per borrow), and secondly, the (up to) five free days can have a massive effect upon your work’s visibility. If you do it right then you could see your work listed alongside works like 50 Shades of Grey, right up there at the top of the free chart sitting proudly next to the paid items, which in turn could have a huge knock-on effect on visibility and, in turn, further paid sales. By giving your work away for free you are also encouraging others to read it, and you will hopefully see more reviews pouring in. Reviews are the holy grail for indie authors. Without them, you will struggle to sell books, but with enough positive ones you’ll stand more chance of increasing sales and building an audience that will eagerly await your next book and subsequent work. You will gradually build an audience for your work and find your readers, and you will see your following increase over time.

How was it for you? Other people’s experiences

Still not sure whether or not a free promotion on Amazon is the right thing to do? OK, I know that it’s frightening to put all your eggs in one basket and decide to make your work exclusively available through Amazon for a whole 90 days. I’ve trawled the Internet and read plenty of tales about people who went with Amazon and ran a free promotion and expected to shift thousands of copies of their book without putting in hard work to make sure they reach as many people as possible.

That isn’t going to work.

Running a free promotion is easily as difficult and time consuming as all the other promotional activity I’m sure you’ve already undertaken. But that’s where I come in. I am sharing my experience here and am going to provide you with everything you need to know to make sure your free promotion is a success. Read the following testimonials from other people who have used the Amazon free promotion tool to great success, and then I’ll go through with you the steps you need to take to make sure you see huge download figures when you run your free promotion through Amazon.

Richard Stephenson – My First Experience With KDP Select

Linda Cassidy Lewis – Wow! The KDP Select Giveaway Experience

R.S. Guthrie – KDP Select Works!

John L. Betcher – Amazon KDP Select Lives – Part 2

Laura Pepper Wu – How a Free Promotion via KDP Select Can Produce BIG Results. (With Numbers!

Maya Lassiter – My Amazon KDP Select Free Experience, or, how I gave away 8500 books

Kirkus MacGowan – My Experience with KDP Select

James Wood – Amazon KDP promotions,why you should give away your ebook

Forum discussions

There are lots of articles about KDP Select giveaways, and some of the best discussion can be found on forums. Here is a list of some forum threads where people are talking about their experiences of KDP Select giveaways on a daily basis. Join in, take part, and see what information you can glean from them if you are still uncertain whether or not you want to try this avenue. Remember, no-one is forcing you – it is entirely up to you, but what do you really have to lose?

Fantasy Geeks Discussion on Goodreads – KDP Select

Goodreads Authors/Readers Discussion – KDP Select Results?

Amazon Forum Discussion – Good results with Amazon KDP free giveaway/lending library

Advice from others on how to approach your giveaway

There are also lots and lots of articles on how you should approach your giveaway. Here are some links to the best and most in-depth articles on the Internet to help you strategise your giveaway, but rest assured that I will cover everything you need to be doing and when you need to be doing it after the links.

Rachelle Ayala – Promo Sites – This is a quality resource for anyone undertaking a KDP Select free giveaway, as Rachelle explains website rankings and links to some great resources.

Ruth Nestvold – Promoting Ebooks with KDP Select

Rex Jameson – Updated KDP Select Checklist – KDP Select #Free Promotion Strategies

Weighing it up

If you’re still not sure whether enrolling in KDP Select for 90 days in order to use a free giveaway as a marketing tool for future sales, read these articles and weigh it up further. If you decide you do want to go down the free promotional days by enrolling in Amazon’s KDP Select programme, then read on, as I provide you with a guide to maximising your results.

Jim Kukral: Amazon: To KDP Select, Or Not?

Laura Pepper Wu – Should You Enroll Your Book in KDP Select? The Basics

Cristian Mihai – KDP Select

Russell Blake – Why I Learned To Love KDP Select and Ignore Falling Sales

David Gaughran – Why Giving Away Thousand of Free Books Is A Good Thing (Tony James Slater’s experience)

Squidoo – Going FREE! Kindle eBook Promotional Campaigns for Authors

When is the right time to use KDP Select free days?

Well, I don’t suggest you use the KDP Select giveaway as soon as your book is published. The simple reason for this is that reviews are important. With a dozen good reviews of your work, people are more likely to download it for free and actually read it when you give them the opportunity to do so. You’ve got to remember that somewhere in the region of 3,000 books a day are free on Amazon, and therefore you need to give your prospective reader some extra reason to not just download your work, but also to read it and not leave it mouldering in amongst the other thousands of books on their Kindle. Therefore, you should seek out reviews and let your book be on sale for a while. Use Twitter to promote, and sell to all your family and friends as well as your followers. Remember that reviews are what you’re looking for primarily, so don’t be too shy to ask for them. Even the odd bad review can help your work. You might be surprised to hear that, but some readers want to weigh up the good with the bad and some want to read something to find out if it’s really as bad as a particular review might label it. You can look for book review blogs online and there are plenty, but make sure you read their submission guidelines and make sure that they’re interested in your genre before submitting to them. Here is a very popular list of indie reviewers for you to use to find some contacts who might like to review your work: The Indie Reviewers List

Here’s a tip – In my debut novel, The Hunter Inside, I put all my website, Twitter, contact details and everything at the end of the novel, and a couple of paragraphs basically saying, ‘If you liked The Hunter Inside, and review it on and then email me, I will give you a free copy of my next novel before it is released for general sale’. then I put the first 10,000 word sample of my second novel, From the Sky (which you can read HERE).

If you can get about a dozen reviews, mostly positive, then you’re in the perfect position to make your novel available for free promotion. I suggest you run a three-day promotion, certainly the first time around, as you will see downloads probably drop off after the third day. My suggestion would be to pay for a day’s advertising directly after your promotion to keep your work visible and capitalise on the momentum gained through your giveaway. Some people suggest raising the price of your work directly after your giveaway to capitalise on your sales, but that’s entirely up to you. I won’t raise my price after free promo days, because I want to build an audience and don’t want to put potential readers off. I’ll list some sites where you can pay to advertise your work after your giveaway, and you can decide whether your budget will stretch to their charges. There’s a scale that increases as the popularity of the website goes up, but there are still some reasonable advertising options to consider.

So, there are several categories for you to consider and take advantage of to promote your free promo days.

  • Websites that will advertise and promote your free promo days without charge
  • Websites that charge a small fee to cover operational costs
  • Websites that will advertise but for profit at a larger fee
  • Goodreads / Library Thing
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Your own website / blog

First of all, here is a list of those websites that will promote your free days without charge or for a very small donation, and when to contact them.

Pixel of Ink – If your book is free within the next 30 days you can submit the details to POI. If you get featured you will make it to a huge audience – almost 300,000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook and well over 4,000 Twitter followers.

Ereader News Today – Almost 142,000 newsletter subscribers.

Books on the Knob – 2,000 Twitter followers and 1,600 Facebook ‘Likes’ – This site gets LOTS of traffic! Submit your book’s details and when it will be free a couple of weeks to a month before the promo days to have the best chance of being featured.

Flurries of Words – Give at least 48 hours’ notice (but give a week to be on the safe side) – there are various options here, but you can get date specific book promotion for a donation of $1 dollar per book per day. Simply make your donation then email for confirmation.

Centsible ereads – If your book is free in the next 30 days you can submit it here. There are no guarantees if you try for a free listing, but if you have $25 in your budget then you can guarantee a listing.

Free eBooks Daily – There is no charge to list your book here, but please submit the details one week before to have the best chance of being featured.

Free Kindle Books and Tips – This is free to get listed, but you must have an average review rating of 4 stars on Amazon. Fill in the form on the site at least two weeks before to stand the best chance of being featured.

Digital Book Today – There are free and paid options for being featured on DBT. If you’re planning on paying for an advertisement with DBT I recommend you submit your details at least a month in advance, possible even 6 weeks, as they’re advertising space sells quickly! They are very popular! You can submit your book to be featured on the Top 100 Best Free Kindle Books list, free of charge, but you must meet certain guidelines (available HERE).

eReaderIQ - Submit a couple of weeks before using the ‘Contact us’ option on their webpage to get listed on your free promo days.

Author Marketing Club – You need to register to submit details of your book promo on this site. As I write this the site is still growing, but looks very promising and gives the option of paid advertising alongside free promotion, forums etc (although they do send you an email almost every other day so beware of this). I submitted details of my promo two weeks before the date. They do say they distribute your book promo to be advertised on eight popular affiliated sites, so it’s worth a try.

Good Kindles – Again, there are certain requirements, including a $1 donation to list your book. Give a couple of weeks’ notice if you would like to be featured, although this site is still growing as I write this piece.

Bargain Ebook Hunter – Submit one week before. There’s a free option or a guaranteed option with $5 charge. Still a growing site as I write this piece.

The Digital Ink Spot – A great supporter of indie authors. Submit about one week before for maximum chance of getting listed. Free of charges.

Indie Book Promotion – You can fill in this form to get your book listed for free on the website. They also have paid advertising available. From $25 they boast they can introduce you to a total of 59,000 readers. Your call whether to pay – I went for the free listing here, but with the first two months advertising free it’s definitely tempting!

The Frugal eReader – Give about three to four weeks advance notice to stand a chance of getting listed for free. There are a whole host of paid advertising options if you have a healthy budget to spend, but I won’t detail them here. Head on over and check them out for yourself (they range from $10 to $150). – Free of charge to be listed, but please fill in the form on the website about three to four weeks in advance of your free promotion. You could reach more than 20 thousand readers through Freebookshub!

Free Book dude – Again, free, but give a few week’s notice when filling in the form on their website. A great supporter of indie authors – you can inquire about a blog tour stop or author interview too!

Free Kindle Fiction – You can try and get your book listed for free, or you can guarantee it is listed for a fee of $5. Form to fill in on site. Give at least a couple of week’s notice.

Indie Book of the Day – There is a submission form on the site, but please make sure you read the terms, and submit your details maximum 30 days before promotion.

Awesome Gang – Free promo for your book, not just when it’s free! Fill in the form on their awesome site!

The Cheap Kindle Daily – Read the conditions under the Submissions tab – free of charge to be featured, as long as you play by the rules!

Bargain eBook Hunter – Guaranteed listing for $5, or you can try to get featured without paying. There are other sponsorship deals available, but the costs add up quickly.

Addicted to eBooks – You must register to post your free book on this site, but it is completely free to do so, and very easy to submit the details of your giveaway under the ‘Today’s Free Kindle Books’ tab. Please note that the earliest you should submit to this page is the night before your promotion begins. – Fill in the form on the link, but only on the day your promo starts. Completely free to submit your giveaway!

Facebook pages for authors to post to to advertise free days.

The next avenue to consider is Facebook. We all know that Facebook is bigger than Jesus (allegedly), so you cannot ignore it when promoting your free book giveaway on Amazon.

The first thing you can do is to create an event to which you can invite all your friends and family, and make the event public and ask them to invite everyone they know. Chances are, with them being your friends and family, they’re most likely to spread the word for you. Do this a few days in advance of your promotion to see what results you can achieve – that way people only have a short amount of time to remember and get the novel. Some people might really want to download it, but will forget if you give too much notice!

The other thing to do is to post to Facebook groups who support indie authors and free book promotions and Kindle users. Below I am providing you with a list of Facebook groups. Visit each of these on each day of your promotion and post a message on their wall stating the name of your book, the genre and that it is free, and provide the Amazon link. Facebook will then display the cover image of your book alongside the post, and you will be reaching a much wider audience. If possible, include the UK and US Amazon links to make navigation easier for those who see your post and wish to download your book.

Here are the groups to try:

NOTE – I’m sure there are lots of others. I did have more on this list but could not seem to get links that would load to them. Therefore, I will try to come back and address this and find a solution soon. Please feel free to comment and let me know of other Facebook groups I have left off this list. Oh, and please ‘Like’ the groups you post to – it’s just good manners!


Twitter is the main way of reaching a lot of people with your free giveaway. I am presuming that you are already a Twitter user and that you understand how it works for the most part, but be sure to network and build your follower list long before you set up a free promo on Amazon. I had just over 2000 followers when I did my first free promo.

A note to inexperienced Twitter users – l use Tweetadder to manage my Twitter for me. It is software that enables you to automate all aspects of Twitter, from follows to tweets and retweets. It is an awesome bit of software, but it does cost $55 for one license. However, I still need to generate the tweets – which takes a bit of time – but once they’re set up I can schedule how often I want tweets to be sent out which is perfect for a free book promotion. You can use socialoomph or Tweetdeck or any of the others that are out there, or you can sit all day tweeting manually if you prefer! Tweetadder is great as it is very easy to generate and schedule when tweets will be sent out, which means you don’t have to sit tweeting all day of your promotion when there are other things you need to be doing. I’m not sure about the cost of the others, but I seem to remember socialoomph wanting money to allow you to schedule tweets. These pieces of software are not overly expensive though and really do make your life easier. Just do not rely on them full-time to manage Twitter for you, as you become just another voice in the crowd in an arena where it’s much better to be an individual. Oh, and Twitter might ban you if they think your account is automated!

Anyway, back to how Twitter will benefit you. Some of the groups you notify through their websites will send out tweets about your book. That means they will send a message out to all who have followed their page (basically opting into messages from them). So, this means you will have tweets being sent out from the websites that decide to feature your free book on your promo days, greatly increasing the reach of your promo.

You will also obviously want to tweet non-stop during your promotion to your army of followers, and ask for a retweet (do this by writing a short tweet, include the Amazon link and ask for a retweet at the end. For example: ‘The Hunter Inside Free 25-27 August 2012 Please RT’ (you can then add hashtags to make your tweet even more effective – we’ll cover these later!). Remember, if the link is too long or you would like to shorten it, you can use services like or (there are others – just search ‘link shortener’ at Google). So, to recap on this point, sit down a week before your promotion and think up as many keywords to describe your book as you can, then make lots and lots of tweets that include keywords, the link, a request to re-tweet and hashtags, and send and send and send during the promotion – a couple of general ones every hour that aren’t addressed to anyone (I’ll explain what I mean by ‘not addressed to anyone’ shortly). Hopefully your followers will retweet and others who don’t even follow you will help to spread the word about your promo by retweeting too. By the time your retweets are done you’ll have reached hundreds of thousands of people (you must network long before this to make sure there are people out there who will be willing to support your promotion and help you out with retweets – the simplest way is to retweet other people’s tweets that interest you and start building relationships that way – you’ll be surprised how much fun you have and how many great people you meet along the way).

Finally, the last sure fire way to reach lots and lots of people with your free promotion using Twitter is to send tweets to Twitter accounts that have been set up to support free book promotions. There are lots of great people out there who love their Kindles, love to support authors, or love a free book and want to spread the word to others (or perhaps all of those things!). Please make sure you are following all of these Twitter accounts before asking them for retweets, as it’s a little bit rude to ask for retweets if you’re not following them! You can click on them here to visit their Twitter pages and follow them. Here are all the Twitter accounts you need to follow and tweet to when your promotion is taking place. Depending on your genre you’ll find others. My genre is suspense/thriller/crime/supernatural, but if you write romance, real life, erotica, cookbooks etc etc then there’ll be others that I haven’t researched as I’m not using them personally. A quick Twitter search for your particular genre should yield some more.

Anyway, tweet to as many of these as possible across your promo days. You need to get as many downloads as you can, as not everyone who downloads your work will read it. It’s and then the following to find and follow them, and if you’re asking them to promote for you then don’t forget – it’s good manners to be following them! To tweet to them you need to compose a tweet and use the @ symbol followed by each account name, as shown below (this is as opposed to sending tweets not addressed to anyone where you don’t have @dmcgowanauthor at the beginning or similar to tweet to a person):










































So, an example would be: @Kindlenews The Hunter Inside #freebook #freekindle #bookgiveaway #suspense #thriller #supernatural Please RT

So, you’ll ask all those accounts to retweet the news about your giveaway, and guess what? If they all did retweet your tweet and sent the message out to all of their followers, what do you think the potential reach of messaging just those Twitter accounts would be (as I write this)? No idea? Well, it would be 255650 – that’s over a quarter of a million people. Even if only one percent downloaded your book as a result of this, that’s already a couple of thousand! EDIT – I’ve added a few to the list, so it would actually be more than that!

See the things I added to the tweet? # < those things? Well, those are hashtags, and they make a topic or subject searchable to other Twitter users. Therefore, if I search for freebook, that tweet would appear, as would others that included the same hashtag. Then I could find lots of free books. Good hey? So, basically, you are wanting those Twitter accounts above to retweet you, and you also want to use some well-known free promo hashtags to make sure people can discover your free book promo who are not in any of the networks we have already reached.

It is worth reminding you at this point that you only have 140 characters for a tweet, so round about now is where you might need to think about shortening your link to the actual page on Amazon by using or or one of the other URL shorteners as mentioned above.

Anyway, here are some hash tags for you to use.

Don’t forget the hashtag, before adding what follows without spaces:






#Freethriller #freesuspense #freeromance #freehorror #freeerotica (-or whatever your genre!)
























Goodreads Promotion

Goodreads is a great site for both readers and writers that you can join and use for free. You can find, rate and review books and meet people with similar reading interests to you. There are also lots of groups you can check out and join, and if you’re a writer running a KDP free promotion, you can set up an event and invite people from your friends, groups you’re a member of, or other Goodreads members. It’s a good way of reaching another potential audience for your work, and of course you can create pages for your books where people can mark them as to-read, or rate and review them if they’ve already read them.

When you set up your event and click ‘Invite People’, it can be very slow. On all the browsers I’ve tried this has been the case. They might have ironed it out by the time you read this, but a few words of warning follow!

You must make sure that the button to click to invite people appears at the bottom, or you’ll be clicking on people all day with no way of actually inviting them! If it doesn’t appear straight away just click on one of the other tabs (for example, if you’re looking at ‘Groups’, click ‘Friends’) and then click back on the other tab. This usually remedies the problem. Note also that the users might scroll very slowly. This is because Goodreads is loading lots of information, pictures etc. Your best bet is to leave it for five minutes and let it load everything up. Then it will scroll much more quickly. I’m not sure how any limits work, but the first time I tried it I sat for two hours and clicked thousands of names from my groups list, and then it said, ‘You have invited 158 people’. Needless to say I was furious! The way I do it is to invite around a hundred people in one go, then if it says it invited all of them, try 50 more. You’ll probably find the second batch won’t all get invited. If that’s the case, leave it and try later. I have invited around 3000 people in two weeks using this method. I’ve also gone quite high risk in my inviting, as I haven’t checked each individual person’s preferences, so I’ve invited people with absolutely no interest in my genre. If I’d had more time and it worked properly and wasn’t so slow to load I wouldn’t have done this. I would have taken the time to research and invite only people that I knew were interested in the genre I am offering them for free. I blame Goodreads! Also, don’t expect all of the people invited to respond. Probably only a small percentage will, but that’s better than not reaching them at all. As I am writing this I have had about 55 people say yes, 25 say no, and about 20 maybes, and I’m now up to almost 3000 invites. But every download counts. Miss one on Goodreads, and it could just be the one that recommends your book to an agent at HarperCollins (and then you can give away 80% of your royalty!).

A Note about Library Thing

Also, get registered to Library Thing and take part, find out how things work and who might be interested in your work long before your promotion. I know you have lots to do, but I left it very late to register to Library Thing, and as a result I don’t think my amateur efforts over there will have any effect on my free promotion. So maybe if you take more time than I devoted to the subject to get it right, you can leave a nice comment explaining it for me and others!

Your Own Blog & Supporters

Just a tip here, but I developed a couple of big blog pieces for the week leading into my free promotion. One of them is this one, and it is almost up to 6 thousand words now! The other piece I wrote is called ‘I can help you to write a better novel’ and was broken into 5 parts – one for each weeekday leading up to the promotion on the saturday, when this post will be made live to attract traffic to the blog and in turn to direct them (you) to go and download The Hunter Inside. Ask your supporters and followers to reblog for you and make some graphics at a site like Imagechef for them to share easily with a link on their blog back to Amazon or your blog. Your friends and supporters are awesome people, and they will bend over backwards to help you succeed. Just remember to repay the favour when they need you!

You can also tag your book at Amazon with things like ‘free’ or ‘freebook’ or ‘freekindle’. This didn’t work for me when I tried it though. I thought if I did it directly on the page I wouldn’t be able to delete them afterwards, so I did it on the main KDP record, and they didn’t show up in the list of tags, but maybe they’re working behind the scenes. Try this a couple of days before, and don’t forget to remove the tags when the book goes back to being on sale.

Some Forums to Post to on the day(s) of your Free Promotion

You will need to be a registered member before you can post to any of the forums below. This is not an exhaustive list – these are the ones I will use for my free promotions. There are others out there – have a look round to see which forums suit you.

An important thing to say about posting to forums is that you will always get better feedback if you are an active member on the forum in question. I know it’s difficult and you have constraints on your time, but try and grab five minutes here and there to check out and post to these forums occasionally if you like what you see.

Goodreads Giveaways – Please note – you must post your free promotion in the corresponding month in this forum for it to be allowed and to reach as many people as possible.

Mobile Read Forums

Kindle Boards

Amazon Forum – List your **FREE** Kindle books here

Amazon Forum – Promote Your Free Kindle Books

Amazon Forum – Your book Free? Tell us When?

Goodreads – Connecting Readers and Writers Group – FREE BOOKS!

Goodreads Authors/Readers – Thriller forum

Amazon Germany – We can get a book for free? Great! Please post here!

Kindle Forum, Kindle Social Network

Absolute Write

Paid Advertising

The last thing I would like to mention is paid advertising. After your free promotion is over, you will hopefully be sitting pretty, right near the top of the free charts. This, in turn, should result in some increased paid sales in the period directly following your free promo days winding down. It was suggested to me that this would be the best time to pay for some promotion to keep momentum going, and I agree. I did intend to use two big sites, but I’ve had so much going on during this process that I only approached one in time to place an advert. I placed an advert with Indie Author News at a cost of $29 for one day. This includes an ad showing the cover, blurb and linking to Amazon for 24 hours on every page as ‘Book of the Day’. Other sites offer different packages, and the price can go up quite drastically depending on the amount of followers the site has. Indie Author News’ rate was, I felt, very competitive, especially considering they have 15,000 Twitter followers who they will tweet about your book to on the day, and almost a thousand Facebook Likes who will also be notified on Facebook about your book being Book of the Day. But anyway, here are some of the other sites and the options available to you and the prices. These are just a handful of the ones that I was tempted to use, and I’ve mentioned others earlier in the piece. Please use caution when working out your advertising budget, if you choose to have one at all, as any profit can easily be swallowed up by the cost of marketing. There are others, but I have decided not to list most of the more expensive ones, as I feel that the purpose of this piece is to be successful with your free promo without spending a lot of money on paid advertising.


The Kindle Book Review – Very nice site. Advertising goes up to $40 per day for certain options, but you can get a listing for a ‘daily freebie’ for $10 for one day – Definitely worth checking out.

Kindle Author – This is essentially a WordPress blog, but it gets a whole lot of traffic! Including over 43,000 likes on Facebook! $20 per title per day – pretty reasonable!

Examples of some of the sites that charge a lot are:

Kindle Fire Department – Details of charges for advertising are available at the link. There’s no doubt this blog is popular – they boast 400,000 visitors per month! But October sponsorship is $75, and November or December are $100 – This is too much for me, so I’ll be trying their Twitter and Facebook pages with a message during my promotion (listed previously!)!

Kindle Nation Daily – No doubt a very popular and highly ranked site with lots and lots of visitors, but their charges most definitely reflect this. The cheapest is a reasonable $29.99 for the Free Book Highlighter Service, but do you want to pay that when I’ve already told you ten million ways of getting your free promotion noticed? I’m talking about keeping up the momentum after the promotion, and the prices to promote on KND are between $59.99 and (are you sitting down?) $399.99. Someone is turning a tidy profit!

In conclusion

I hope you have found this guide informative and I hope it helps you to reach the number one spot on the Amazon free charts when you run your promo. Please feel free to link to any other resources you might think people will find useful (I know I’ve left some out, but I was overloaded with information and planning my own promo when compiling this article!) and be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you think of the article, or your experiences after using the tips contained within. I’m really excited to hear from you all! And to all those whose material I regurgitated in part, I say thank you! I’ve linked to all of your pages and I hope you continue to get lots of traffic and be very successful. For now, that’s me exhausted!

I’ll be soon writing another article on what results the methods in this article have achieved for me, so be sure to follow my blog to make sure you don’t miss it!

Thanks for reading, and good luck!!

If this piece helped you at all, I’d be really grateful if you could check out the trailer for my debut novel, The Hunter Inside, by clicking below! I also have a sneak peek trailer for my second novel, From the Sky, which comes out very soon. You can watch that on YouTube too!

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About davidmcgowan

David McGowan is 34 years old and lives in Liverpool, UK. He has a degree in English Language & Literature from The University of Liverpool. His debut novel, The Hunter Inside,was released on 12th May 2012.


52 thoughts on “The Definitive Guide to KDP Select Free Giveaways

  1. Absolutely magnificent spread on HOW IT WORKS with KDP.. I’ve just gone through the same process a couple of times now, and you’ve touched all the buttons here, David.. This should be the primer for EVERYBODY who wants to get their work out their as an indie.. Cheers

    Posted by Seumas Gallacher | August 25, 2012, 10:28 am
  2. David,

    I totally concur with Seumas’s comments. I stumbled across your blog in July and was so impressed with your writing that I immediately when to Amazon and purchased your book. Loved the book and your writing. In fact, I’m so impressed that I would love to talk to you about teaching this as an on-line class next year. I’m the president of one of the chapters of the largest writers’ group here in the States. So if you’re interested contact me off-loop and we can talk more.

    Meanwhile, keep up the great blogs and writing.

    Carol A. Hughes

    Posted by Carol Hughes | August 25, 2012, 5:10 pm
  3. This is exciting stuff, David. I plan on using much of it in my free promotion of ‘Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating Disorder’ on 30th and 31st August. I know what my download count normally is, so I’ll know the difference this will make. I shall feed it back to you. Very many thanks :-)

    Posted by Natasha Holme (@lesbianbulimia) | August 25, 2012, 5:18 pm
    • Hi David,

      Well, that was definitely my most successful book promotion. I didn’t reach anywhere near your dizzy heights, but I suspect an eating disorder memoir about coming out as lesbian is probably a tad more niche than your genre ;-)

      I didn’t manage to get onto Pixel of Ink or onto ENT, either because of not giving them sufficient notice or because my book subject didn’t appeal? …

      I did get some of the Twitter accounts with 20,000+ and 50,000+ followers to retweet me, which was a pleasure to observe, but somehow many more of my downloads were in the UK, not the US, so I wonder how many of their followers were interested in my title?

      Thanks for the Amazon Germany tip. I doubled my German audience and even broken into France for the first time.

      The Facebook experience was confusing. It took me some time to realise that with most of the sites my posts only showed up to myself when logged in. And those sites didn’t explain that you needed to have done something such as join their group. The Facebook sites that let anyone post without restriction were:

      Many thanks again,

      Posted by Natasha Holme (@lesbianbulimia) | September 1, 2012, 11:13 am
      • Thanks again Natasha, and well done! I’m actually updating this guide as we speak, so hopefully you’ll bookmark it and check the updates. I’ll keep it updated regularly, as I know it’s already become a very popular article (over a thousand hits this week and top of Google search results for KDP giveaways)!

        Posted by davidmcgowan | September 1, 2012, 11:16 am
  4. I can see that a lot of work went into this, David. We owe you, bud. Big Time!

    Posted by T. W. Dittmer | August 25, 2012, 8:27 pm
  5. Hi Daniel,

    This was an absolutely brilliant post and the links you shared in it are phenomenal. I have a free promotion next weekend and I will be following your tips throughout the week. Thank you.

    Posted by Hiten | August 26, 2012, 4:24 pm
    • Hi Hiten,

      It’s David, but that’s OK! This piece is going to be developed in the next week and will provide at least another 70 Twitter supporters that can help you. Stay tuned!

      Posted by davidmcgowan | August 26, 2012, 10:38 pm
      • Hi David,

        I’m so sorry about getting your name wrong.

        I look forward to the other 70 Twitter supporters you will be adding. Thank you. I’m now following most of the ones in your current list.

        Posted by Hiten Vyas | August 27, 2012, 8:40 am
      • That’s great. I’ll reblog the piece when I update it to make sure you don’t miss it!

        Posted by davidmcgowan | August 27, 2012, 10:55 am
  6. Thanks for the mention!

    Posted by The DIS | August 29, 2012, 4:25 pm
  7. David, congrats on a thorough, helpful piece on KDP promotions.

    And please know that this next is not meant defensively, but informationally, regarding KND and your “Someone is turning a tidy profit!” comment: this proposition is not as simple as it seems. We have invested tens of thousands of dollars in creating the web infrastructure and Kindle search tools that keep readers coming back to KND and its subdomains, and we have half a dozen people working at or close to full-time on editorial and IT, almost all of which is supported by sponsorship proceeds.

    Hope that makes some sense.


    Posted by Steve Windwalker | August 29, 2012, 4:43 pm
    • Hi Steve,

      Many thanks for your comment. Apologies if my rather flippant remark failed to consider the hard work put in on the side of sites like KND. I’ll place on record here that I am grateful for sites like KND that provide a platform for people like me and the thousands of others out there trying to make a living from writing. I’ll be editing the piece and will address the comment when I do further exploration on the subject, as I plan on spending a lot more time and effort into getting a much better version of the article into the hands of others out there. My own KDP promotion last weekend saw download figures of over 19,000 copies of my debut novel, The Hunter Inside, so I guess I did something right (for once!).
      Again, apologies if my comment offended you at all – it was meant in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way!
      Best wishes and continued success to you,

      Posted by davidmcgowan | August 29, 2012, 5:01 pm
  8. Wow. Thanks for all the detail. If you left anything out, I’d need a microscope to see it.

    Posted by James Piper | August 30, 2012, 5:20 am
  9. For another blog post about using KDP Select’s free promo days, check out this one:

    Posted by I Kezsbom | August 30, 2012, 6:59 pm
  10. This was one of the best things I stumbled across today. I’m just about ready to publish with CreateSpace and KDP select and was dreading wading through all the information I’ve gathered and stashed away for the “right moment.” Well, it’s arrived, and this is a great starting point. Thank you so much. I will continue to follow you and read your blogs. Best wishes and good thoughts for your future success.

    Posted by Ester Benjamin Shifren | August 31, 2012, 5:26 am
  11. This is an awesome post, and thank you for all the great leads for our 2nd set of free promo days. Really appreciate the hard work you put into getting this all together!

    Posted by I Kezsbom | August 31, 2012, 5:34 am
  12. Thanks David for the fantastic effort you’ve put into this post. I’ve been trying to figure out where to start with marketing my book, Amokura, and now I can set out a plan. I’m flat on my back with a backinjury for a few days so have no excuse to avoid knuckling down now..

    Posted by Mark Deans | September 7, 2012, 12:26 am
  13. David,
    I’ve been collecting articles and advice from ebook marketing professionals in the last month since I published my ebook on Amazon and this article is the best. Thanks!
    Can you tell me what the best dates (November, December, January, and/or February) are for the 5 Free promotional days? I know that Dec. 25 and 26 are huge but what about dates in November or January or February?
    I am trying to capitalize on the best 5 days during the winter months but don’t know when to begin.
    Hopefully this makes sense and you or somebody with some experience can help me out.
    Thanks again,
    Dave Pickering

    Posted by David Pickering | October 14, 2012, 9:32 pm
    • Hey David

      Thanks for your message. To be honest, I haven’t ran promotions during the winter months (yet!), but I would say that steering clear of the beginning of the month is your best bet, as lots of people will be running promotions then. My tip would be to look at maybe running your promotion towards the end of the month. My rationale behind this would be that lots of people get paid at the end of the month, and if this coincides with the time just after your promotion when your work is sitting high in the charts, then you’re going to maximise the knock-on sales you achieve after your promo ends. Good luck, and let us all know your experiences…you might even get a link on this piece when it’s updated ;)

      Posted by davidmcgowan | October 15, 2012, 12:44 pm
  14. David: This article ROCKS! Thank you and thanks to Tim Dittmer for telling us about it.
    Una Tiers

    Posted by Una Tiers | October 17, 2012, 2:44 pm
  15. David,
    Your “The Definitive Guide to KDP Select Free Giveaways” proved to be my number 1 source when I put up my book (This I Know – Sarah’s Confession) for free on Amazon. I had amazing success and I have you to thank! Keep up the good work and keep putting information out there for self-published authors.
    There are a couple of things I would like to share.
    1. Amazon is having difficulties with free promotion on Saturday. I chose Saturday as my first day (against the advice of several bloggers, but I had my reasons) and sure enough, my book wasn’t listed until about noon (EST). I called everyone under the sun, sent emails, and cried in my coffee, but to no avail. As a word of caution Saturday IS NEVER the day to start your promo. If you are like me and need to be home to start the promo…start it on Sunday and have a 2 day promotion. Another alternative is to choose a holiday (when you are home from a regular job) and start the free promotion on that day. The good news is—Amazon gave me an extra day for free promotion. I think that is good news.
    2. Could you please add a link to your Twitter and Facebook links? It is called “Checked It Out”. It is run by 5 self-published authors who are trying to help other authors succeed. They allow Facebook postings (they will share your post if you “LIKE” their page and mention their name in the post) and they also Retweet your messages if you follow them and add the hash tag #checkeditout. By the way David, it would be a good idea to advise people to do this in your blog. I had a much better result when I actually put the name of the Facebook Page (i.e. Checked It Out) or put it in a keyword on twitter.
    Here are the links for Checked It Out:
    Twitter- @checkeditout
    Facebook –
    Thank you again, and I look forward to following your blogs!

    Posted by rebaponderweiss | October 22, 2012, 8:39 pm
  16. David, I want to add my voice to the chorus of praise. This article is terrific–smart, clear, and packed with useful information. Many thanks, and best of luck with your own books. Neil McMahon

    Posted by Neil McMahon | November 14, 2012, 11:00 pm
  17. Hi David!

    Thanks for including us in your roundup :) I want to clarify one thing – we don’t actually take submissions on our Facebook page. We DO have free and paid submissions on our website:

    Taylor at Freebooksy

    Posted by Taylor at Freebooksy | November 16, 2012, 6:55 pm
  18. Hi David. Please add me to your list of free site. My facebook page is Books Direct: and my blog is

    Posted by Lynda Dickson | November 21, 2012, 9:30 pm
  19. Hey… would you consider adding to your list of sites above?

    We accept free ebook submissions and we also have a Book of the Day option available.

    Thanks a bunch!

    Posted by R.J. | December 10, 2012, 11:03 pm
  20. Thanks a lot for this extraordinary piece that you have written to guide folks like us. I cannot imagine the amount of time that you have put in. Thanks a bunch. I owe you…When my book is ready…you will get a free copy..I promise

    Posted by bhaskar | January 12, 2013, 10:54 am
  21. Reblogged this on This College Dropout and commented:
    This is a great list that shows both the pros and cons of using Amazon KDP Select.

    Posted by ctfranklin28 | January 25, 2013, 4:28 pm
  22. Thanks so much for this heads up!

    Posted by Sally Jenkins | February 8, 2013, 5:50 pm
  23. This is the third time I’ve received and read this incredible piece with so much information to help authors find their way around the KDP Select block. You’re bookmarked under favorites, and in very due course I’ll be needing to apply this valuable information. I haven’t been able to format my InDesign book for kindle because I didn’t do the original conversion and don’t use InDesign. CreateSpace offers the conversion for $70 (within a month) from my printed book, and I think it’s well worth giving it to them and getting rid of the headache. Thank you David, your dynamic article has made up my mind. KDP Select, here I come!

    Posted by Ester Benjamin Shifren | February 9, 2013, 5:40 pm
  24. personally i don’t advertise my free days. if everyone gets it for free…then who will be left to buy? not a big fan. but with no marketing i got a hundred downloads over a two day period with seventy on the first day. I have since sold a few copies of what amounts to a very short story.

    Posted by rolan | October 29, 2013, 5:53 pm


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