How our Free eBook promo resulted in nearly 4,000 downloads

On January 9th and 10th, we ran a free promo for my novel NRI: Now, Returned To India, which resulted in nearly 4,000 downloads. This was more nearly four times the number of downloads that we had imagined. Others might have achieved greater numbers, but it was a very interesting experience for both me and my wife (who owns Shree Gajanan Consultants,  the firm who is the publisher on record for my book and  is also the book marketer).

Our objective was to increase visibility of my book (first in four part series), and try and get some reviews in the process. We were looking at about 1,000 downloads and probably 40 to 50 odd reviews. (As we learnt later, this is a very very ambitious number for getting reviews! Steve Scott mentioned in his podcast that the ratio could be as low as 1 review per 1,000 downloads. Ten days after the campaign, we are yet to see a single new review for my book, so probably he was right!)

The timing of our book promo campaign was specific: Government of India was celebrating Jan 7th-9th as Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas or NRI day, and January 9th 2015 marked the 100 year anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India. (Now you can see the why we chose this period for the campaign- not just the title but the theme of the book is relevant).

Free kindle book downloads
Screenshot of downloads during free book promo

Here’s how we went about it:

We used a combination of : (a) Twitter posts (around 4 to 5) (b) Google adwords, and (c) targeted posts to about three or four forums, including the Return to India forum).

Three days before the promo, my wife set up a Google adwords  ad campaign for my novel. In addition, we targeted the facebook groups for NRIs (Non Resident Indians, or Indian diaspora living particularly in North America). We had been turned down by Bookbub, so we were looking for other approaches.

At the end of the two day campaign on January10th, the following were the results:

Number of Downloads: 3,985
Book Ranking: #1 in its category for Kindle (up from 40 or so, now it is back to the 20’s)
Ranking for free eBooks: It peaked at #56 for overall Kindle downloads, then slid down to the 80’s and eventually off the top 100 list towards the end of the campaign.)
Reviews: Too early to expect/ speak about.

In addition, I gained about 10 new subscribers for my newsletter on my author website ( and three new twitter followers.

Call it beginner’s luck, or an early elation, time will tell whether this worked or not over the long run. In the meantime, we are happy with the results. I am not sure how different the results would have been had we tried Bookbub or Buckbooks – for our next campaign, we might try a similar service, greater number of ‘pre-campaign’ outreach efforts, and probably reach out to more number of focus groups.

Hope that is helpful to those of you who are planning to run targeted campaigns, and best wishes!

Note: I had originally posted the below message originally in Pat Flynn’s Facebook group for authors, now re-posting it here with some edits.

added later: Shree Gajanan Consultants site is not accesible right now, we will fix that shortly.

Week of anxiety before book release

With only three days to go for the release of Now, Returned to India, I am faced with, as expected, last minute glitches. 

Website is still not up and running (hopefully that will be corrected in a day’s time), ebook is still being worked on, and we had to drop the plan of releasing print version (Createspace) and ebooks (Kindle) on the same day. The good part is, that the experience has been fantastic. 

I will post the details of the release in a day or two, till then, it is time to take a deep breath.