Wednesday, December 20, 2017

For Authors: Promos That Work

Good morning! How was everyone's weekend?

***So I just found this in my blog drafts. It was meant to post back in October, but for some reason...didn't. *smacks forehead with palm* So here it is now. ;D***

I promised some time ago that as I started to do more promos and marketing, I'd share my results. Yeah, I've been kinda remiss on that, but I'm going to try and do better going forward.

So this post is for authors. If you don't have books to sell, or aren't interested in ebook promo, this post may put you to sleep. You've been warned. 😉

So a couple of weeks ago, I realized my stand alone crime fiction, The Botanist, really wasn't doing so hot. It was sad and lonely and felt bad because it was getting picked last on Amazon. 😥

Of course that was my fault because I hadn't paid it any promo attention in months. So I decided it was the perfect time to experiment.

Because it's not part of a series, I didn't really want to do a free promo. Sure, free promos will get it into the hands of MANY readers, but it won't net me any cash. Obviously. Best to do free promos for the first book of a series, because many people will buy through. Stand-alones, not so much. Don't get me wrong, you can totally use a stand-alone for your book magnet, but I'm not ready to do that for The Botanist yet. I want Alex and Cody to get a little more love first.

So, I set up a promo using BargainBooksy, which is the sister site to FreeBooksy. I did a $0.99 promo for The Botanist. (I had to change the price to that on Amazon for a set period.) 

The promo appeared on Bargain Booksy's site on a Saturday. I paid $55.00 for said promo.

I read about other authors who'd used this same promo, and they reported roughly 100 downloads. That's almost exactly what I got. 103, to be exact.

On the up side, since I'd only moved 2 copies of this book in the past six months, 100 downloads is great! I was super-stoked.

On the down side, at $0.99, you're only making about $0.35 per copy, which means the promo doesn't quite pay for itself. At least, not in downloads.

But...wait for it...

If your book is in KU (which The Botanist is) promos like these can still make you more money than what you made on downloads.

See, lots of people who see the promo have a Kindle Unlimited subscription. So they hop over to check and see if your book is there.

If it's not, SOME of them will probably download it. If they're interested enough and, let's face it, it's only $0.99, they may. I have no idea what the statistic on that would be. It probably just depends on the person, how much book money they have to spend this week and how alluring your book/cover/blurb is.

But many KU subscribers won't download a book even if it's not in KU because they're trying to avoid paying anything extra on top of their subscription.

But back to my experience. I noticed a definite upswing in page reads from KU. The promo ran on Oct. 7th. So you can see that before that there was no KU activity at all. (I'd actually only put this one in KU about a week before the promo, so that's a lot of why. The weekend of the promo, as you can see, there's a small blip. Each of those 4 little stumps represent between 100 and 200 pages. (Not much, but better than nothing, and remember you get paid for KU pages.)

But look at the rest of the month. Suddenly I was getting more like 500-1000 pages read a day. Often more than that.

Overall, the promo did pay for itself over about 60 days' time. I didn't make a huge amount of profit, but I broke event, made a small chunk of change over my expenses, and got my book in the hands of somewhere between 100 and 200 new readers. Small potatoes, but that's what promos should, right? Not bad for a stand alone.

Don't know what KU is? 
KU stands for Kindle Unlimited. Think of it like Netflix, but for books. Subscribers pay a monthly fee that allows them to read any book in KU for free. As many books as they want, as many times as they want. Like Netflix, KU doesn't have every book Amazon offers. The author has to put it in there and there are criteria, like Amazon exclusivity, but it's a great way for newbie authors to get noticed and get paid. More details HERE.

Have you used Bargain or Free Booksy before? What were your results? Let us know in the comments! (And have a fantastic day!)


  1. I think my publisher has used that service before but I have no idea if my books are in Kindle Unlimited. If they have to be exclusive to do that, then I know they aren't.

    1. Yeah they have to be exclusive to Amazon to be in Kindle Unlimited. Still, even without the KU income, I broke even. And if you did this with a series, you'd probably get some buy-through, so it could still get you some sales. ;D

  2. That's a great little experiment, and I'm glad it worked out for you. I haven't put a great deal money into marketing yet, fearing that with only a couple of books available, it would have a limited pay off. But I will definitely give Booksy a try when I do get to it.

    1. Marketing always helps sales at least somewhat, but it's also true that to maximize it, it's best to have a series or at least several books. If you have more than one, though, I think you'd find some benefit in it. Good luck with your marketing! ;D