Sorry about the tongue twister title. I couldn’t help myself.
As a follow-up to my blog of May 27, Book Promos Inside Out, I hearby disclose the results, such as they are.
First, a recap: my sales had been flat through April and into May, with occasional single sales here and there.
Yup. On May 29, the day before the promo began, I sold one book.
But the next day, Day #1 of my seven-day promo, I sold 119 books. May 30th was Ereader News Today’s shot. My cost to ENT: $35
And, because I had only one promo site that day (ENT), it’s easy to attribute these sales to that single site.
Had I stopped there, I’d have come out ahead, money-wise. 119 books at 99 cents each (my take was thirty-five cents each download), I made a $6.65 profit that first day.
But I’d contracted with seven promo sites and spent $208 for listings over the next seven days. That $6.65 profit would soon evaporate.
But my rankings went up.
After paddling around in the #100,000+ pond, (which means there were 100,000+ Amazon authors doing better than I) I shot up to #2,173.
And, by the end of that first day, my Kindle book was #1 in Amazon Best Sellers for Russian Travel.
Now, this is actually a tad absurd. My book is about Kazakhstan and, as anyone who has read the book — and the many who haven’t — knows, Russia is not Kazakhstan. Both countries were separate Republics within the Soviet Union for nearly 75 years.
However, in your defense, I will admit that most Americans (myself included) grew up thinking the Soviet Union was the same as Russia. But the important piece here is that after the USSR collapsed in 1991, both countries, and a dozen others, became independent.
So to speak.
But Amazon has no category for travel to Kazakhstan. In their Travel genre, the closest I could come to Kazakhstan was Asia/Russia or Europe/Russia. I chose Asia/Russia. And I held the #1 spot through my seven promo days and beyond.
Here’s how Amazon listed my ranking at the end of that first day:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,173 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
I was more than pleased. I had a #1 Best Seller ranking (such as it was) and I had jumped from somewhere in the 100,000s to 2,173, all for a cost of only $35.
Then came Day #2
For listing on five sites on May 31– The Fussy Librarian, FKBT, BookSends, BooksButterfly, and PeopleReads — I spent $162.99, bringing my total investment (not including time) to $197.99
My Best Seller (Russian Travel) status stayed the same. And I now had a #1 Best Selling banner to use on my blog!
Isn’t that pretty?
And, my pond paddling had gotten even better: up to #1902.
Though I sold 133 additional books, with the additional cost, I was now solidly in the red. (But two of these spots — BooksButterfly and PeopleReads — were for multiple days, so let’s hold off till we get to Days #3 – 6.)
On June 1, my third day,
my book broke through that “top 100” bestseller barrier at #72 in Bios and Memoirs, a top genre. The other three listings remained the same. I sold 31 books.
PeopleReads moved me onto their website on day #2. No longer a featured “new release” — with the top book cover spot in their daily email — I was now buried on their website (a second click for the reader) under special features, but mixed with other genres.
June 2, my fourth day,
PeopleReads was now the sole promotion site. They continued to feature my book until June 13, long after my 99 cent special was over. This was not my idea, it’s just how they work. I figured I had nothing to lose, even if my book cover was no longer in their email. I sold 12 books.
NOTE: For an unexplained reason, BooksButterfly didn’t list my book on June 2. But, after a quick email, Abhishek Singh refunded my account $25. Thank you, Abhishek.
June 3, my fifth day
Julie Haigh posted an announcement of my promotion on the We Love Memoirs FB site. I sold 16 books.
On June 4, my sixth day,
I sold 5 books bringing my total income from Amazon to $110.60 (on that $198 investment, don’t forget).
June 5, my seventh and final day
I was listed on EbookSoda (additional cost, $10). They gave me the #1 spot in my category and I sold 11 books.
My total expenses were now up to $207.99
Total books sold on Amazon: 316 Net income: $110.60
Refund from BooksButterfly $ 25.00
running deficit: $ 72.39
On June 10, four days after my promo ended, I was still #1 in Russian Travel, though my rankings elsewhere had fallen.
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,034 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
I’d sold a total of 336 books at 99 cents each through Amazon.
According to Smashwords — who distributes my book to Apple (iBook), Barnes & Nobel (the Nook), Kobo, Baker-Taylor, Library Direct, Flipkart, Overdrive, Oyster, Diesel, Sony, and Scribd, and others – I had 13 sales through them. (Kobo, 6; iBooks, 3; B&N, 2; and Smashwords, 2)
But, they also say that Apple only sends them info once a month.
Google Play, the third and final outlet I distribute my ebooks through, are one month behind in their reports. If I see a significant increase reported in book sales through Google Play during my promo days, I’ll be sure and post. The odds aren’t good, however.
SUMMARY: While I spent more than I had to, I’m not unhappy. I got rankings, which according to some, will result in greater sales in the future. Time will tell.
Of the sites I could have skipped, these stand out.
BooksButterfly While Mr Singh, who runs this site is responsive and very easy to work with, my book was the ONLY 99 cent book featured. All the other books listed with mine were FREE.
BookSends My book, again, was the only one listed that was not FREE. He does not offer a Memoir section, so mine was listed as “Nonfiction.” Just a bad fit.
The Fussy Librarian – will feature any book for $13; there is no approval filter. Hence it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.
FKBT — unless you get his “Featured Kindle Book of the Day,” (which on my single day featured another memoir) you’ll be lost. Before my book cover appeared, the reader had to scroll through the “New Releases on Kindle” section. Finally, the “Free & Discounted Kindle Books” appeared. Mystery and paranormal came first, then my Peace Corps memoir, followed by religious fiction, romantic suspense, and YA paranormal. I had no idea there were such genres. Michael Gallagher, who runs FKBT, offers a second daily email list too. Unfortunately, I was lost in this one as well. It’s name? Free Kindle Biographies, Free Kindle Memoirs, Last Day of May Free Books. From what I could see, mine was the ONLY book listed that was not free. Had I known . . .
I would still like to get into a BookBub promo, and with my new Award and “best seller” status, I just may. But it will cost me over $600 to feature my book for 99 cents. Half that, if I offered it for free.
If that doesn’t work, I’ll try BookGorilla in the fall. I like how their books show up in the daily email.
Oh, I nearly forgot to mention reviews. I began with 24 four- and five-star reviews, for a great average of 4.8 on Amazon. By the end of my promo, I had
climbed risen leaped up to 26 reviews, including my first three-star one. In the interest of full disclosure, I shall post it here, in toto:
An interesting, fun to read, book about a couple of Peace Corps Volunteers.
I’m resisting writing her about the punctuation.
How about you? If you’re an author and you’ve tried a book promo, what was your experience? If you’re a reader, how do you choose a book to read? How important are reviews and best seller rankings?