Without the full support of a traditional publisher's marketing machine, it's hard to get books into readers' hands. (Emphasis on full support. Many traditionally-published authors don't get that.)
There's a long list of websites willing to promote a book, most of which will have minimal impact. And even if you sell or give away books for free, only a fraction of buyers will actually read it. (I don't have statistical data, but I suspect that number is low.)
If you're new to self-publishing, where to turn? The Writer's Cafe on KBoards is a good forum to check daily. Authors share ideas, strategies and results all day long. When it comes to promotional options for the indie, most would agree there's one big boy on the block.
The proof is in the numbers.
- The Socket Greeny Saga is a three-book boxed set.
- It's available on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, and Smashwords.
- Regularly $5.99, the promotional sale price is $0.99
1/16/2015: Genre Pulse
1/17/2015: Kindle Books and Tips (KBT)
1/18/2015: BookBub and Ereader News Today (ENT)
The Genre Pulse and KBT promos are set before BookBub to prime sales numbers, raising the sales rank and my author rank ahead of the anticipated sales spike. ENT, unfortunately, couldn't be scheduled ahead of time.
Raising book's Amazon rank creates more visibility, which increases chances of organic discovery. There are also numerous promo sites that watch the hot lists and shakers and movers list that will automatically promote. Thus, discovery feeds more discovery.
Return on investment (ROI)
With a $0.99 price, I make (about) $0.35 from Amazon. To break even on my investment, the number of books I would have to sell are:
1/16/2015 Genre Pulse
- 5 sales (80 sales short of breaking even)
- book rank #23,596
- author rank (sci-fi) #266
- 93 sales (192 sales short of breaking even)
- book rank #3,523
- author rank (sci-fi) #260
1/18/2015 BookBub and ENT
- 3686 sales (2686 sales over investment)
- book rank #37
- author rank (sci-fi) #2
- BookBub is the winner. (While the data does not separate BookBub and ENT, previous experience with ENT usually nets <100 sales.)
- BookBub is the only promo that earned back the investment
- BookBub sales reached break even point (1000) by 2:00 PM
- BookBub sales include non-US markets as well as Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, and Smashwords
- Amazon, 2514
- Nook, 565
- iBooks, 398
- Google Play, 109
- Kobo, 85
- Smashwords, 5
I'll ditch Genre Pulse and try something else, such as Bargain Booksy. I'll probably try KBT again. Even though I lost money, the numbers helped with priming. ENT is a keeper. The numbers (in the past) haven't been huge, but the low cost of investment are well-worth the effort.
For most indie authors, the challenge isn't parting with the BookBub fee, it's booking a promotion. BookBub isn't a secret, and everyone wants a taste of the magic.
I, for one, can't get enough.
(My whorish plea to BookBub to keep booking me.)
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