From March 25th to March 29th, I ran a five-day free promotion for Disappearing in Plain Sight, first book in my Crater Lake Series, with a fiercely-sought-after BookBub Promotion slot on March 27th. Please check out my series of posts to read about how the whole thing unfolded.
The end of April marked one-month past the promotion. Things are still going amazingly well for the Crater Lake books. When you have written a series of books, give the first away for free and realize a bump in sales for subsequent books in the series, this is what is called the halo effect. Well, here I am, checking my stats with a big halo over my head.
Sales over the month of April for the series and for my stand-alone novel, Maelstrom, were five times higher than e-sales garnered over all my titles since Disappearing in Plain Sight came out in 2013. In one month! My email list is bulging from readers who took the time to send me an email and let me know how much they enjoyed one or all three of the Crater Lake books. I went into the promotion with thirty-three reviews for Disappearing in Plain Sight. I now have sixty-four. And speaking of reviews, if you haven’t had a chance to check out my last post on how authors react to negative reviews, please do. The comment stream is as informative as the post, so don’t miss either.
Now that the books have been raised out of Amazon’s basement of obscurity, I am experiencing pressure to keep the marketing ball in the air. I tried for a BookBub slot for the second book in the series, The Light Never Lies, and was turned down. No surprise! Tried for an E-Reader News Today (ENT) slot for Disappearing in Plain Sight and then for my new release, Maelstrom and was turned down on both of those. ENT is getting very popular. I have learned to just keep trying with these sites. One day one of my books will fit their email agendas.
My biggest challenge right now is getting my head out of marketing and back into active writing mode. The best promotion possible will be the release of the fourth book in the Crater Lake Series. I know how it starts and I know how it ends. I’ve plotted out the major crunch points. The new characters and settings are profiled. The story board is up and running. Random scenes pop into my mind at odd moments of the day. So – what is missing? Seat in the chair, fingers on the keyboard producing a set number of words every single day. Excuses abound – oh, let me tell you about the garden and the weather and my pressing need to read all four books in Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet for no good reason at all.
To recap – BookBub works! The Crater Lake Series has broken through Amazon’s vastly crowded ocean of books and for the most part, readers have been pleased. My favourite email so far went like this:
“Bud here, sixty-something-year-old guy. Thought I downloaded a teen romance – not my thing. Stuck with it. Glad I did. Good book.”
Many thanks, Bud. Now all I need to do is get that next book written.
Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
For those of you who are looking at your marketing options, a very useful post from Francis Guenette..
Congratulations – BookBub definitely works. I had a slot with them last year and the results were great. I’ve not been successful if snagging another slot since. As you say we have to keep trying.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Mary. Yes – we just have to keep submitting to BookBub because when we get accepted we know it’s going to be good. Competition must be so steep because so many other authors know that, too.
Great news, Fran! Congratulations!
You are most welcome, Jill. It’s nice to share the pleasure of all of this with bloggers who took an interest in me and my work from the start.
Thanks for the marketing update! I’m almost finished with “Disappearing in Plain Sight”… I’ve so enjoyed the multi-layered story and cast of characters, which you’ve expertly painted, along with all the intriguing plot-lines! I’ll be sure to write reviews for Amazon and Goodreads when I’m finished.
I am so glad to hear you are enjoying Disappearing in Plain Sight, Erin. And reviews are soooo appreciated. Many thanks.
I won a price reduction slot last December and I had to think carefully before making a large investment just before Christmas. I’m a British author selling pretty well in the UK but not doing much in the US so I decided to aim solely at the American market in the promotion. I sold enough books to cover the initial investment 3 times over and I can still see the positive effects in my ranking. Bookbub certainly delivers on its promises.
I’m glad to hear of your positive experience, Bridget. Breaking into a new market (and as far as my sales have gone, America is the giant!) is another advantage of a program like BookBub. Yes, I agree – they deliver on their promises. It may be expensive but I suppose, in BookBub’s case, that old saying makes sense – you get what you pay for.
The difficulty is finding good promotion sites other than BB and ENT. I disregard FB and Twitter followers and focus only on email subscribers. ENT has 550,000 and the cost of a standard slot is $35. It’s great value. Very few other sites have more than 200,000 and their charges, in comparison to ENT are outrageous. I can and will help you with ENT….aim for something in June and let me know before you make your submission.
Well done, Fran. Love the halo effect and I hope you retain your halo for months, if not years.
I will email you to discuss this, Peter and it goes without saying – many thanks. I am liking me with a halo, too.
I have a few Nordic genes: these work hard to keep me pessimistic and I have not tried BookBub (what a name – does it mean anything?) asI am sure they would not be interested! When I add that I also have Greek genes you will see that optimism is unlikely: Greece is having such a hard time politically … Anyhow, which ‘genre’ are my novels? BookBub loves Genre: I’m afraid my books won’t fit. So, any words of wisdom, Francis? How do they categorise (shelve) Crater Lake series?
I had to pick the genre. The first time I submitted, I chose contemporary romance. Not really happy with that choice but lots of subscribers. I got turned down. The second time out, I chose literary fiction. It fits better for Disappearing in Plain Sight and perhaps is a category that is not so popular. Less subscribers. I think your work would also fit the literary fiction category. But having to categorize one’s work is always difficult.
Thanks, Francis, that is so helpful. I agree with you – we aren’t ‘high literary, Booker prize types’ (!!) but we are, really, literary. If/when I approach Book Bub I’ll try that.
Well that’s very encouraging! Thank you for sharing this info. And congratulations, enjoy your success. I always wondered if Book bub and similar sites really worked. Guess they do. I will check out your other posts too.
You are most welcome, Ali – so glad this post was informative. I can only speak to my personal experience of doing the promotion with the first book of a three book series. BookBub runs a very informative blog with a ton of analytics information. First book of a series will always outperform subsequent books or a stand alone book due to the halo sales effect.
Well I headed straight on over there to have a look after reading your post 😁! It’s an investment, but one I don’t mind making. I just think it would be wise to have the third book of my trilogy finished first! Better get a move on!
I know genre can be a real pain for authors. My publishers called my first (hmmm..only) novel a historical romance which to me smacks of velvet and waltzing in long dresses. As one reviewer said there is far too much gritty realism about 1960s building sites to be a real romance. I digress…
just going to say I promoted a non fiction book on bookbub (which is a much smaller section) and put it under one heading and they suggested an alternative. But that’s probably easier for an outsider to do for non fiction. When deciding on which fiction ‘shelf’ I think the best solution is to question if a fan of a particular genre would be disappointed if they found your book there because you don’t conform to standard tropes. (I think that might apply to some HEA romance fans who read me because of the romance tag)
So true Bridget! I have had reviews of Disappearing in Plain Sight that said things like – wasn’t much of a mystery; I never figured out who disappearing; thought it was a gothic romance due to the cover; very confused before I realized it wasn’t situated at Crater Lake in Oregon but at some fictitious Crater Lake somewhere in Canada; seemed more like a YA romance (simply because it has younger characters?) And so it goes. Genre is very difficult. I would certainly take any advice BookBub had to offer – they seem to have a finger on the pulse of readers. Thanks for taking part in this discussion.
You’re an inspiration, Francis! I’m in the opposite frame of mind–all in writing, no mind for marketing. That will need to change soon as I hope I”m nearing the end. I look forward to going back and reading your lead up posts as I’ve missed a few. But, blimey, congratulations. Love to hear it! x
Oh, Jackie – many thanks for the compliment. I want to get into your mind frame. Oh the hats we have to wear and change and wear again. Suits a fashionista like yourself – LOL. Best wishes with your writing.
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Hi Fran, I love this wrap-up post, and I’m looking forward to the next in the series and reading about whether the halo continues to widen. So encouraging to read that your review numbers have doubled, and readers have contacted you directly through email. You summed it up perfectly — BB works. I’ve been a subscriber to the service for a couple of years now, and I’ve often wondered why an author would offer up her book for free. Now I know.
The last day of school is coming up here this week, so I’ve been busy organizing my summer reading lineup. LNL was first on my list. The house was quiet yesterday afternoon, with both kids out with friends and the husband taking a pre-dinner snooze on the couch, so I decided to set the housework and pangs of guilt aside and get started a few days early on my summer reading. I’m so glad I did! LNL sucked me right in. It was wonderful reconnecting with these characters who feel like old friends, not to mention meeting the new ones. I especially like Reg — a colorful cuss-mouthing character to spice up the dialogue! Anyway, I’m almost to page 100 already, and my husband had to pull me off the couch for our dinner reservation! What a great way to start the weekend. I don’t have my blog anymore, but I will be sure to leave a review on Goodreads & Amazon.
Hi Gwen – so excited to know you have found precious time to squeeze The Light Never Lies into your schedule and that you’re enjoying it! I look forward to reading your review. The thoughts of a respected reader are always appreciated.
[…] As many of you who follow my blog know, I stepped up my marketing strategies to promote my self-published novels in March of this year. You can read about what I did and how it worked by checking out the following post: One Month Past BookBub Promotion. […]