I'll start off by saying that, while the promo didn't meet all of my expectations (though it exceeded others), I found it to be an extremely worthwhile and educational experience.
In the interest of ending on a high note, let's start with some of the disappointments.
I'm sorry to inform you that I'm not typing out this post while lounging beside my hooker-and-champagne-filled swimming pool. But then, this was never meant as a quick cash grab.
Almost equally disappointing is that I don't have a screen capture to show you of all my books crowded at the top of Amazon's Comedy list, because that didn't happen. I fault my books' placement on the Kindle Countdown fantasy list. I'm not sure how Amazon chooses the order for the books in their Countdown promotion, but even with 16 titles on the list, mine weren't all that easy to spot. I had to flip through three pages before I found Critical Failures. By the time my Countdown was nearing its end, Critical Failures had made it up to the first page, but the rest of my books were scattered randomly over fifteen pages. Still, at one point I had three titles in the top ten, so there's that.
Another disappointment was the number of reviews this promotion generated. Early on in the promo, I picked up three new reviews for Critical Failures all at once. I thought that was the drizzle before the storm, but it turned out that it was the storm. I haven't had a single goddamn review since then.
Last on my list of disappointments is that, so far, my post-promo sales haven't seen as dramatic an increase as I'd hoped over my pre-promo sales. There has been a bit of improvement, but nothing to get too excited about.
Right about now, you might be thinking this whole thing was just one big flop. But let's take a look at some of the good things I got out of it.
I'll start with this:
That's as high as I rose on the Top 100 Fantasy Authors list, which I wasn't even sure I'd make it onto at all. For a couple of hours, I was ranked higher than Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, and Stephen King. That felt nice.
It was a brief and superficial victory though, good for little but me being able to grab that image to post here and on my Facebook author page.
Naturally, once the promotion was finished, I fell completely off the list pretty quickly. That didn't come as any big surprise. I expected my ranks to drop. What did surprise me was just how little I've fallen since then.
And as for my fantasy author rank, while I'm well out of Top 100 territory, I'm in a far better place than I was before the promotion.
At first glance, this might not look like anything special. I had a nice promotion, and now I'm on a slow, but steady decline.
What I'm hoping means something is the point right where the blue line turns orange. You'll notice that it's slightly higher than the point before it. Does that mean I've reached an equilibrium? It's probably too soon to tell, but I'm going to go ahead and assume so.
What have I learned? How will I apply it to future promotions?
While my post-promotion sales haven't skyrocketed, it appears that the big surge of sales I got during the promotion continues to count toward both my books' rankings and my author rank. This would explain my post-promo ranks' slow rate of decline.
The biggest lesson I'm taking away from this is that I don't plan on ever doing a free promotion again. A free promotion is great for an author just starting out who wants to get a bunch of reviews, and I recommend it for that purpose alone. Back in September, when I ran a free promo for Critical Failures, it got over 17,000 downloads, and those probably make up almost half of my reviews. It was great. I was in the number one spot on Amazon's free comedy list for the length of the promotion, but once it ended, I got my ass dumped down to the depths of the paid list. Now that I've got enough reviews such that people aren't likely to suspect they were written by friends and family members, I'll be sticking to Countdown promotions from now on. A quasi-permanent spot on an Amazon list is worth it.
I've got three months before I'm able to do another Countdown. If Bookbub will have me again, I'm going to try to push CF2 this time... just to experiment (and because they won't run an ad for the same book more frequently than once every six months).
One more thing I'm going to try next time. During this promo, I dropped the price of both short story collections, d6 and 2d6, to $5.99. The idea was that, as they were right around the same price as the six individual stories inside each of them, some people would prefer the collection while others would prefer picking up the individual stories. And all of them would rise up the charts together.
In practice, the vast majority of the people preferred the collections. Individual shorts saw relatively little action.
So I'm thinking I'll price the collections at $6.99 next time, and see what kind of effect that has.
While it didn't quite live up to all of my expectations, I'm calling this promotion a smashing success in its role as a single step toward a long-term goal.