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How To Promote Your Self-published Book – Part Five

Kindle Countdown Deal Results

The Algorithm of Power

May 14-21

Hello everyone,

Here are the results for my book’s Kindle Countdown Deal.

The Algorithm of Power isn’t the easiest book to promote as it has elements of Political Fiction, Literary Fiction and Dystopian Sci-Fi. The way I see it, it aims for the same readership as George Orwell’s 1984. For the 30 days before the KCD started I was selling almost zilch. I was rejected by Robin Reads and Bookbub (though I have been accepted twice in the past, with other books) and here’s what I have lined up for the promotion:

May 14

bargain booksy (usd 33,25)

Units Sold: USA (21)
Best Chart Position: USA 12011

May 15

kindle nation daily: eBook Of The Day + bookgorilla slide-over (usd 84,99)
digital book today (usd 30)
readers in the know (free)

Units Sold: USA (27) / UK (3)
Kindle Unlimited: 182 pages read
Best Chart Position: USA 7111 / UK 22063

May 16

bookzio (usd 35)
ebooksoda (usd 38) (usd 30)
booksends (usd 35)
snicklist (usd 0,99)

Units Sold: USA (41) / UK (1) / CAN (1)
Kindle Unlimited: 37 pages read
Best Chart Position: USA 4924 / UK 17040 / CAN 1306

Note: I think one or two paperbooks were sold in Canada today, that would explain the chart climbing. It’s difficult to be sure as Createspace may take several days to show the paper sales. Novelrank (see below in Resources) showed more sales in Canada today than Amazon did.

May 17

ereader news today (usd 35)
eReader cafe (usd 30)
books butterfly (usd 90)

Units Sold: USA (28) / UK (1) / Paperbooks (1)
Kindle Unlimited: 402 pages read
Best Chart Position: USA 5562

May 18

manybooks (usd 29)
readcheaply (usd 25)
bknights: Fiverr (usd 11)
justkindlebooks (usd 13)
lendle (usd 49)
ereadernation (free-spontaneous)
pretty-hot (free)

Units Sold: USA (43) / CAN (1)
Kindle Unlimited: 174 pages read
Best Chart Position: USA 3812 / CAN 3481
Author Rank USA: 9333

May 19

ebookhounds (usd 25)
bookbarbarian (usd 30)
pixelscroll/hotzippy: 2 day promo (usd 23)
fussy librarian (usd 16)
bookrunes (usd 25)
bookpebble (usd 10)
mysteriousreads (free-spontaneous)
free99books (free)
readingdeals (free)
discountbookman (free)

Units Sold: USA (35) / UK (2)
Kindle Unlimited: 619 pages read
Best Chart Position: USA 3669 / UK 13180
Author Rank USA: 9012

May 20

ebookbetty (usd 25)
ereaderiq (usd 10)
mybookcave (usd 18)
ebookasaurus (free)
bookoftheday (free)

Units Sold: USA (36) / UK (2)
Kindle Unlimited: 670 pages read
Best Chart Position: USA 4906 / UK 22940

Total Sales: 244

USA: 230 / UK: 9 / CAN: 2 / Paperbooks: 1 / Kindle Unlimited: 2084 pages read (=2 books)

These 2084 pages read in K.U. correspond to exactly two books as my book has 1042 pages for Kindle purposes (it has 409 pages in the paperbook version): Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC) v3.0: 1042.

Total Amount Spent: usd 751,23 (ouch)

From a short-term return on investment perspective the promo was clearly a failure but I’ll need to wait many months before I have an opinion on whether it was of any use in the longer term. It’s difficult to calculate the real worth of a promo as you must wait for the wave to subside before you can factor in the extra income it generates. Anyway, you have to try to kick-start your book somehow and telling your friends on Facebook alone won’t do it.

For comparison you can check this guy here:

He got a lot more downloads than I did doing basically the same thing, but:

a) he was already selling before his Kindle Countdown Deal started;
b) his book is more genre-defined;
c) it happened in 2015 (I’m pretty sure success ratios are going down).

I also suspect the beginning of my book is not helping sales. I did an experiment with an add on Amazon and was pleased to see that my CTR (click through rate) is better than most people report but then my conversion rate from clicks into sales is quite weak. I see only two possible reasons for that:

a) I have only 16 reviews as The Algorithm of Power has just been released;
b) the beginning of the book (the sample) is Literary Fiction-ish which may put-off some people who land there looking for hardcore Sci-Fi:

I think the second reason is more likely to be the cause of my weak ratios. If that’s indeed the case a more conventional beginning might have made the results of my 0.99 promo X times better. Basically, when you’re totally unknown and you’re writing cross-genre Literary Fiction / Political Fiction / Dystopian Sci-Fi you should brace yourself for a steep uphill struggle…


Bargain Booksy

They had the task of kick-starting the promo all by themselves. Some 7 downloads on day 2 happened quite early, before that day’s sites had started posting/emailing so I think those 7 downloads really should be counted as a result of day 1’s promo efforts.


What these guys charge doesn’t make any sense IMHO (please check the site’s visits per day with the “Worth of Web Calculator” mentioned below). On the plus side The Algorithm of Power was Today’s Featured Book on their home page for several days, although I had only payed for one day (it was still there the day I posted this article…)

Books Butterfly

This is a tricky one. Surf the web and you’ll find some people accusing them of being just a scam while other people say they are fine (the comparison of promo sites mentioned below in “Resources” got great results with them). I haven’t reached any final conclusion but I have some thoughts I can share on this.

They clearly aren’t doing the same thing as other sites. Their tweeting is just a smokescreen, IMHO, and the web links they give you (if you pressure them to explain what they do) are just another smokescreen as they are worth only a dozen views per day, according to the “Worth of Web Calculator” mentioned below.


It’s impossible to trace what they are doing. It’s clearly not coming from the web, maybe from an Android app. When they did start to kick in (my guess, as it’s not possible to clearly attribute each download to a particular site’s efforts) their downloads happened at a time of the day that didn’t coincide with other site’s downloads. This may indicate that the downloads are coming from another country (some countries’ downloads are counted as USA’s) or maybe it’s just related to the fact they their promotion is conducted in a totally different way from other sites.

It’s not guaranteed that their downloads correspond to true readers, or maybe they do, it’s anyone’s guess. They charged me usd 90 and I think they were responsible for some 40 downloads, spread along two or three days. It’s perfectly possible that they are “subsidising” those usd 0.99 downloads in some way.


I think they got me an appreciable number of downloads, but I can’t be sure. I also think their downloads took almost a full day to begin rolling (that’s when I started seeing the “weird hours” downloads).

As their downloads tend to happen at a time of the day that doesn’t coincide with the other sites’ downloads they make you climb the charts higher (in what would otherwise be dead hours).

I hope this article is useful to you. Please let me know what you think of it and/or compare it to your own promo experiences. You can link with me on Facebook ( but you’ll need to tell me that you’re coming from this article otherwise I may refuse your friend request.

Pedro Barrento


I used this site to track my book’s chart position:

If you want to estimate how much other authors’ books are selling this is a very useful tool:

This is an interesting comparison of book promo sites (actually I think it’s the only one available anywhere on the web) :

You can use these tools to measure a website’s worth in terms of visits per day (obviously they are worthless when it comes to verify claims that a site has X “avid readers” on their mailing list or X followers on Twitter):

An amazing software that analises your writing. It’s worth taking the time to understand what it does because I’ve never seen anything like this before:

And finally here’s the link for The Algorithm of Power on Amazon:

#BookMarketing #HowToPromoteBooks #KindleUnlimited

#Dystopia #LiteraryFiction #PoliticalFiction #DystopianFuture

#DiscoverNewBooks #KindleCountdownDeals #99cents


3 responses »

  1. This is a very interesting and detailed article. We have been working with authors to gain visibility for books going on 6 years now and would love to have you stop by to see what we have to offer. We offer Cover Wars which is a free book cover contest. We also have a variety of competitive packages similar to some of the sites you have tried to include a member zone designed for dedicated service/support to each member. We found some of the sites and tools you highlighted in this article very useful and will look further into them. We are always on the lookout on ways to improve our products/services. Looking forward to seeing your book(s) on our site soon.


    Author Shout

  2. Interesting. Thank you. Your genre is indeed a tough one, even tougher than mine!

    How did TIMING work out? Kindle Countdowns are very short in duration. How did you synchronize all the promotion?

    • I’m not sure I understand your question. Kindle Countdowns last for a week and can be planned a long time in advance. You have plenty of time to book and get confirmation from all the sites you want.


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