Thursday, July 23, 2015

It Pays to Promote

First, let me start off by saying I am not throwing myself a pity party. I'm not. But this post might sound pitiful nonetheless.

I put my novella, The Lady in Blue, on a Kindle Countdown Deal (KCD) for this week. I dropped the price from $2.99 to $0.99. I needed a bump in sales. The last sale I had before July 20th was TEN DAYS PRIOR. Anyway, I decided I wasn't going to pay for promotions as 99-cent runs don't usually get a decent return on investment. I was going to book as many free promotions as I could. Since the book went on sale on Monday, I've had 13 sales with only two or three promotion sites running the book. I wasn't able to secure promo spots on too many places. No sales today, yet. Clearly, I'm not ecstatic over this, but it's to be expected.

From what I've read from various indie author communities, you're better off paying to promote a free book. And visibility from promotions on free books boosts sales on your other titles. It's really a numbers game. If 1,000 people download your book, maybe 300 people actually read it. Of those 300, maybe 10 review it, but perhaps 150 buy your next book in the series. This is all arbitrary as I have no data to back this up. Unfortunately, I only have one more title out, but a free run on The Lady in Blue should drive readers to my other book, Grunge Gods and Graveyards -- in theory anyway.

So, I'm going to start creating a budget for my next free promotion and plan accordingly -- in advance. I'll let you know how it goes.

What is your experience with paid promotions? Best for free books or 99-cent books?


8 comments:

  1. As far as I know 99c will show you some pleasing success but free books will rock your world - until you then remember that you didn't get paid for any of those. Think hundreds vs thousands. But YMMV.

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  2. Good to know, Kimberly! Helps me know what to prepare for when I get to that point. Thanks!

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  3. Blargh! Google ate my last comment so retyping...

    Anyway, I think 99 cent runs and the like are for visibility more than profit and therefore should be treated as an expense from the start, with the focus on getting your name out there (without worrying about making back the cost of promo in the short run). That's the marketer in me talking, though.

    And that being said, the one promo I've actually done (as in had control over) was the Brave New Girls $1.99 release, and we didn't do any paid promo for that. Just hijacked the heck out of hashtags and spammed the Society of Women Engineers until they shared the book :-D

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    1. I think that's a valid point. I just have a spouse who grumbles when I spend more money on a book that already cost money to produce.

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  4. Apparently my Google is talking to Mary's Google! This is my 3rd attempt to leave a comment. This time I'm going to copy my text in case it disappears yet again...

    I agree with Mary that these deals should be considered as an expense from the start. It's more for getting your name out there and hoping they like your stuff and will buy your other books.

    I did a 99 cent deal on Kingston's Project last year. The deal ran for 2 weeks on all ebook platforms and I sold around 250 books. I paid for advertising on Bargain Booksy, Ereader News Today, and BookSends. Across all three, I paid a total of $90. Basically I only made my money back, but I have 250 new readers I didn't have before the deal. There's no way for me to tell how many of those left a review or purchased the second book (only had 2 out at the time), but I did see a small up-tick in sales for my second book during the second week of the deal. If/when I ever do another deal I'd probably used the same 3 services since they worked well at a minimal cost.

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    1. That's awesome! I couldn't get an ad with ENT. When I have my next series out in its entirety I'm going to hunker down and run some well-timed, paid promotions.

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  5. I had a long conversation with someone about this last week at RWA and her take was basically echoing what you're saying about free books increasing readership and driving people to your next books. She has 2 series out and her first book in the series is perm-free, which gets her a lot of downloads, which translate into a lot of sales of subsequent books. Not all free book "buyers" translate into actual buyers, of course, but she did a very mathematical example of free vs 99 cents and made a compelling case for free.

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