A good Kindle ebook sales rank helps sell more ebooks.
Maintaining a good ebook sales ranking for your ebook on Kindle, in particular, is one of the key elements in making ongoing ebook sales.
There are a number of ways to achieve this. Of course, paid promotion, advertising and gaining reviews all help, but they can be time-consuming and expensive.
The easiest way to maintain a good ebook sales ranking is to use the oldest promotional tool there is – free ebooks.
Many self-published authors frown upon giving away their ebooks, in the belief that they are losing possible sales revenue.
In fact, this is not (quite) true.
Free ebook hunters abound, and in all probability read only a small percentage of the ebooks that they download.
However, by the simple act of them downloading a copy, yet never reading it, your ebook’s ranking increases, which makes the ebook more visible to ebook buyers.
There is also the possibility, however, that if they do read it, they may become future buyers if it is one book in a series, or perhaps, become Kindle Unlimited readers.
While using free ebooks as a promotional tool works on most retail platforms, with varying degrees of success, it is on Kindle that it works by far the best.
Simply because there are more users of Kindle Stores than any other ebook retailer.
From my own experience, all I can vouch for is that if I do no other promotion other than using all 5 KDP free ebook days for each of my ebooks during each 90 day enrollment period, I get regular sales and KENP page reads.
During the few occasions when I have been lazy, or otherwise occupied, and failed to use my free ebook days, my ranking and sales both fell off quite noticeably.
Naturally, to get access to Kindle free ebook days, you need to enrol in KDP Select and give exclusivity to Amazon.
This is a hot topic among self-published authors, with many authors reluctant to grant Amazon exclusive right to their ebooks.
The alternative to using KDP Select is to create ‘perma-free’ ebooks, as is explained in this Smashwords blog post.
This is a little cumbersome, as it necessitates making an ebook free on another retailer, and then waiting for Amazon to ‘Price Match’ the ebook to free. This can take some time to occur. Then there is the problem of getting the ebook back to a paid status later. It can take a long time, weeks or even months in some cases, for Amazon to remove its ‘Price Match’. However, signing away your ebook exclusivity is not necessary.
Update Note: Amazon has now stopped Price Matching. This means that authors who are not enrolled in KDP Select should be able to make their ebooks free on other retailers without being price matched by Amazon.
Therefore, there are three decisions to make.
One. Are you as an author, willing to give away your ebooks to boost your sales ranking?
Two. If so, will you choose to use KDP Select to be able to offer Kindle ebooks for free, or if not, will you offer free ebooks on other retailers?
Three. Will you grant Amazon exclusivity to get access to the 5 free Kindle ebook days per three months?
Whichever way you chose, there are pros and cons, but there is no doubt in my mind that giving away free ebooks is by far the quickest, easiest and cheapest, as in totally free, promotional tool that an author has to help maintain ebook sales ranking.
However, it is only one, albeit quite powerful, book promotion tool that authors can use to maintain a good ebook sales rank.
Free ebooks should be used in combination with other book promotion ideas that generate ebook sales, as the only true measure of an ebook sales rank, are real ebook sales.