Nothing gets my heart racing (in a good way) faster than seeing prices slashed at my favorite stores. Whether or not those deep discounts justify all the summer dresses I bought last weekend is up for debate—but what if you could excite readers in the same exact way by temporarily offering your book at crazy good prices?
Amazon KDP lets you do just that with Kindle Countdown Deals (KCD).
Since 2013, Kindle Countdown Deals have allowed authors to put their books on sale in the Kindle Store for a set period of time, showing audiences the huge savings that were on the line and reminding them that the clock was ticking.
Such promotions offer huge opportunities for authors to get their books in front of new readers and sell hundreds of books in a short period of time. But there are a few things you should know about Kindle Countdown Deals if you want the best results.
What Is a Kindle Countdown Deal?
Kindle Countdown Deals are offered as a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select benefit. They allow authors to run temporary discount promotions on their ebooks while still retaining the 70% royalty rate from Amazon. (Usually, authors of books priced below $2.99 can only earn 35% on royalties.)
To participate, your book needs to be exclusive to the Amazon Kindle store (and not published on iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Google Play, or anywhere else).
Countdowns can run from one hour to 7 days, during which your book will be discounted to a price ending in .99 of your choosing.
While there are some other restrictions on eligibility (see the next section below), participating in a Kindle Countdown Deal can be very beneficial to your sales.
By offering a significant, temporary discount, you’ll get more exposure for your book and your platform, and likely see a jump in sales while still retaining 70% of royalties. (We tested the impacts of KCD’s on our own sales—check out the results!)
Participants in KDPs can track their book’s performance in real time. Read on for more information on how to schedule and set up your own Kindle Countdown Deal.
Below are the basic eligibility requirements for participating in a Kindle Countdown Deal:
- Your book must be enrolled in KDP Select for at least 30 days before you can participate in a countdown. (Enrollment periods last for 90 days).
- Your book’s price cannot have changed in the last 30 days.
- If your book’s KDP enrollment is not going to automatically renew, then you cannot run a KDC during the last 14 days of your enrollment.
In order to qualify for a Kindle Countdown Deal, your book must normally be priced at $2.99 or higher.
KCD’s work by systematically bumping your book’s price back up over the duration of your promo. You can choose up to 5 tiers of increases.
So, let’s say your ebook is normally priced at $4.99. You could start the promotion by slashing the price to $0.99, then bringing it back up $1 per day for 4 days.
Alternatively, you can choose just one price jump, leaving your book at $0.99 for the duration of the countdown.
How to Schedule and Set Up Your Kindle Countdown Deal
Follow these 6 steps to set up a Kindle Countdown Deal that yields great results!
1. Make sure you’re eligible.
Your first order of business will be making sure you’re actually eligible for a KCD before you continue planning any further.
Then, in addition to the prerequisites outlined above, you’ll want to keep the following requirements in mind when planning out your promotion:
- Your book must be discounted by at least $1 off its regular price.
- The duration you choose (anywhere between one hour and 7 days) cannot be split into multiple durations. It will run as one single promotion.
- If you renew your book in KDP Select for another consecutive 90-day period, your KCD can run through the end of your current enrollment period.
2. Log into your KDP dashboard.
Once you’ve logged into your KDP account, click on “Manage Benefits.” (You’ll find this next to your books that are enrolled with KDP.)
3. Create and schedule a new Countdown Deal.
Once you’ve done that, click on “Create a new Kindle Countdown Deal for this book.”
Then, you can set the start time, duration, and price for your promotion.
4. Consider pricing your book at $0.99.
While you do have the freedom to use all 5 price tiers allowed by KDP, it would be wise to keep your book at $0.99 throughout the entire duration of the countdown.
Why would you want to do this?
Your primary goal when running a countdown deal (or any type of limited promotion) shouldn’t be to make more money than ever in just a few days.
Your aim should be to get more people discovering your book, downloading it, talking about it, and hopefully pushing you up in a bestseller list, which ultimately gets you much more exposure and more money in the long term anyway.
People who are browsing the Countdown pages will be looking for bargains, and let’s be honest—if you were shopping for a great deal, which price tag would catch your attention the quickest: $2.99, $1.99, or $0.99?
5. If you have multiple books, run simultaneous countdowns.
If you have more than one book out, experts recommend running simultaneous promotions, rather than staggering them out.
This strategy can increase the number of times people browsing deals will see your name. Author Robert Bevan also points out that if you sell enough books in the same genre simultaneously, you have a better shot at ending up on Amazon’s Top 100 Author lists, which will surely get you more exposure.
6. Tell everyone about your KCD!
Finally, tell everyone about your KCD! Amazon already has a dedicated section for Kindle Countdown Deals where shoppers can find featured deals and browse by price point.
However, for the best results, you’ll need to do some promotional work of your own. Make sure everyone knows about your deal—this includes your social media followers, your email subscribers, and blog readers.
Making the Most of Kindle Countdown Deals
If you’re willing and able to meet the eligibility requirements, running a Kindle Countdown deal can be a highly effective way of promoting and selling more copies of your book.
By using the tips outlined here, you can get the most out of your KCD and help hundreds (if not thousands!) of readers discover your work.
Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!