Fair warning, this post is more for writers, though readers/fans interested in (what I think is) boring business stuff may enjoy it.
I decided to try paying for some advertising tied to a couple of promotions I did. In March I put the first book in my Dragonlinked Chronicles series up for free for five days and promoted it on two pay sites. Most of these sites (including these two) send an email message out to their subscribers with a list of books (including a thumbnail, a blurb, and a link to purchase the book) on a daily basis. Goodkindles has you provide an image to use as the ‘thumbnail,’ has you provide a good amount of your own blurb text, and if you purchase the premium package, allows you to then pick days later on to get your book back on the email list for a day. You can also tweak the blurb at those times. The other site, Free Booksie, comes up with their own blurb text for your book and grabs the thumbnail used at the online store (Amazon.com, in my case). Goodkindles doesn’t care what kind of promotion you are running, the package prices are the same. Free Booksie is only for free books or promotions, while their sister site, Bargain Booksie, is for bargain-priced books or promotions.
The free promotion I ran seems to have fared better, in that it generated more sales and borrows. Comparing to daily total sales/borrows of titles in the series leading up to the five promotion days, the daily total was close to double each day during and for a few weeks after (other titles not on the promotion during, and all titles after the promotion). That’s pretty good, to my mind. Nerdy detail: Fifty-six percent of downloads occurred on the first day, twenty-two percent on the second day, nine percent on the third, eight percent on the fourth, and seven percent on the fifth day.
As far as the six day Kindle Countdown Deal I did the following month where I put the second book in the series at 0.99 for two days, at 1.99 for two days, and then at 2.99 for two days, the total daily sales/borrows during and after the promotion didn’t seem to move at all. Purchases of the promotion book were anemic as well. Nerdy detail: Sixty-eight percent of sales were at 0.99, fourteen percent at 1.99, and seven percent were at 2.99. Totals sales on this promotion were a whopping 1.2 percent of the total free downloads from the other promotion. Minuscule, in comparison.
What does this mean? Well, it is difficult to make direct comparisons as it was not the same book. The free promotion was for the first book in the series, and my blurb touted that fact. “Get in on this lgbt-friendly young adult fantasy series for free!” kind of thing. The book on the KCD promotion was the second book in the series. Also, because many books were sold the previous month due to the free promotion, many potential customers may have already bought the books.
What seems to be clear, however, is that a free promotion with advertising on my first book in the series, though more than double the total advertising cost, seems to do well. The total number of free copies downloaded of that one book during the promotion was six times what was sold and borrowed across the entire series the previous month. That’s a lot of lost sales, you may be thinking. But, it gets your book into the hands of people who may not have bought it at all at full price, giving the book (and series and author) a chance to find new fans. And, as I mentioned, total sales/borrows of all books in the series doubled for a while.