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.
I am five months down the road and the Crater Lake books are selling well. Yippee – happy dance and all of that. But here is the question you might be asking: How has she kept the ball rolling? Before I get to that, I will state two important caveats. My books are selling wildly beyond my expectations when compared with how I was doing prior to my BookBub slot in March. That having been said, my books are not selling at the same level that they did right after the BookBub promotion.
My marketing strategy has consisted of booking free days for Disappearing in Plain Sight every month or so using the KDP Select Program and promoting those free days through various venues. I’ve had different results for the money spent and am happy to share how the cost per free download panned out over the various promotional spots. Number of downloads isn’t the whole story, though. Bumps in Amazon rankings play a role in continued sales.
So here goes. All costs are rounded off and reported in Canadian funds.
In May, I ran two free days of promotion for Disappearing in Plain Sight and advertised via Free Kindle Books and Tips (130.00) and the Book Marketing Tool (20.00). I garnered just over 1000 downloads. This wasn’t enough to make serious moves up the rankings in the Amazon Free Store and I paid approx. 15 cents per download. Costly, but May and June sales of the subsequent books in the series (The Light Never Lies and Chasing Down the Night) definitely showed the halo effect from free downloads of the first book in the series.
In June, I was able to snag a spot on E-Reader News Today (53.00). I booked three free days for Disappearing in Plain Sight and as well as the ENT slot, I used FreeBooksy (82.00). Stacked up 3034 downloads. Three times the downloads for less cost than May’s promotion. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that. FreeBooksy came first, so I was able to make a rough judgement on effect. About 800 downloads for an approx. cost of 10 cents per download. ENT is the best priced option for results. 1800 downloads for an approx. cost of 3 cents per download. Not bad! Plus, rankings moved significantly and led to excellent subsequent sales.
In July, I ran three free days and used FreeBooksy again (82.00), Sweet Free Books (10.00) and Book Sends (34.00). Managed 1337 downloads. FreeBooksy performed as it did in June. Sweet Free Books was a pleasant surprise. I calculated 200 downloads for approx. 5 cents per download. Book Sends came in at about 7 cents per download. Again, rankings rose and subsequent sales over the series continued.
In August, I changed my strategy by listing my newest stand-alone novel, Maelstrom, for a two-day free event and advertised with Sweet Free Books (10.00) and BookSends (67.00). There were 1627 downloads that saw BookSends performing at the 5 cents per download level and Sweet Free Books did better than my use of them in July – getting down to approx. 3 cents per download. My aim with this promotion was to garner reviews for Maelstrom and I am still waiting to see if that occurs. It does take time to read the book!
I was pleasantly surprised to notice that the increased ranking for Maelstrom over the time of the promotion seemed to boost sales on all my books.
I have tried to capture another BookBub slot for the second book in the Crater Lake Series – The Light Never Lies – with no success so far. BookBub and E-Reader News Today continue to be the big performers when it comes to download numbers and because of that, getting in the door is quite the challenge.
My experience with utilizing Amazon’s free days and going with a variety of promotional services has shown me that even on a small budget, I can get results and keep selling over a longer haul.
I hope my experience can be of some use. I’m not saying, go out and do what I have done. The promotion of self-published books has way too many variables for that. The whole process seems to be part experimentation, part experience and part flying by the seat of one’s pants. I used categories specific to my books. Your books may land in categories that are more or less popular. I have promoted the first book in a three book series with the hope of cashing in on the halo effect. You may or may not have a series to promote. Timing may be a factor. I’ve always promoted over a weekend. In the fall, I’ll mix things up a bit and promote during the week.
Great article, Francis. Very helpful and informative.
Thanks 🙂 I’m happy to share and glad you found my experience helpful.
Well done Francis, and it’s good of you to put your data out there. I’m sure it will encourage and guide some self-publishers. As always though the very thought of marketing makes me ill 🙂
What I can say – categorically – about marketing, is this: seems almost impossible to actually write and engage in marketing at the same time. This is the greatest challenge to a self-published author because the marketing requires ongoing attention. If an answer to this dilemma comes my way, I’ll let you know. Until that time, I totally understand your queasiness.
i’m happy that your efforts
are having some success, Francis 🙂
Many thanks for the support – Namaste my friend.