In this post I talk about how I managed to get 1603 downloads of my free ebook in 24 hours, and that’s without a following and pretty much without social media. 

The book is question is my 101 Rock Climbing Tips and Tricks Kindle ebook on Amazon. Here’s what I did.

1. I made the book free via Amazon’s KDP Select

Amazon has a program called KDP Select. It  means that if you make your book exclusive to Amazon for 90 days, you can give your book away for free for up to 5 days in that 90-day period. Why would you want to do this? To get more downloads and reviews of your book. Or I guess you could also do it if you’re altruistic or just want as many people as possible to read your book (like if you’re using your book for lead generation).

But I’m not gonna lie; I wanted more reviews.

2. I posted the book to fkb.me

fkb.me (the “fkb” part stands for “free Kindle books”) is my site where I list free Kindle books every day. I posted it to the nonfiction channel.

I’m not sure how many downloads this generated, though I’m guessing the number isn’t huge. This isn’t exactly the target audience for a book about rock climbing. Next time I’ll at least use a unique Amazon affiliate tracking ID so I can see exactly how many times the link is clicked.

3. I posted the book to Facebook

I didn’t post it to a climbing group or anything. I just posted it on my personal profile and said that my rock climbing book was free for anyone interested in it. Again, I don’t think that this resulted in a huge number of downloads. While some of my friends climb, the majority do not.

4. I posted the book to a forum

There are a couple big rock climbing forums. I posted about the book to RockClimbing.com’s forum, which I’ve been a member of since 2002. I said something along the lines of, “Hey, my book is free because I want you guys to rate it and review it. Thanks.”

5. I posted the book to Reddit

I went into the /r/climbing subreddit and announced that it was free. Again, I said why it was free and requested that people review and like it. The result was great. The post got 145 upvotes and 43 comments.

I’m guessing that the vast majority of downloads came via the forum and Reddit.

Final words

The result? Like I said, it was downloaded 1603 times. It started out with having 11 reviews and 5 likes:

Reviews and likes

And as of writing this (a couple weeks after making the book free), the book has 17 reviews and 32 likes:

New likes

What about sales? They were higher than normal on the day or two after the free day, but they normalized again. I also raised the price of the book by a dollar.

The reason that all of this worked is that the book is good. It’s not crappy. If you try to post a crappy book to a forum or Reddit, people will call you a spammer and reach for their pitchforks. I’ve been climbing for almost 17 years, have done more than 200 first ascents (climbs that I was the first person to ever do), and have been in Climbing magazine twice, so you know the book wasn’t outsourced to some jackhole on Fiverr.

One more thing. I made it clear on Reddit and in the forum that anyone can read the book and that you don’t have to have a Kindle to read it. It can be read on any computer, tablet, or mobile phone that has the free Kindle reading app installed. I linked to all of those and also linked to Amazon’s free Cloud Reader web app that allows anyone with an Amazon account to read the book in their browser. I know this helped get more downloads from people who otherwise would have thought that they couldn’t read the book.

Was it worth it? Heck yes. I got more reviews, more likes, and made more sales. What’s not to like?

As always, you can follow me on Twitter. I tweet cool stuff.