A great resource for sites that accept self-published books. You should bookmark this link if only for the fact that it puts a lot of great sites in one location. Use caution though and make sure you do the proper due diligence for each site before handing over your money. As SPR says, “the top ten are those sites where authors have had the most success (not BookBub success, but…success).” One author’s success is another author’s mediocre or, worse, absolute failure.
Amazon recently announced the release of a pay-per-click advertising program for authors with books enrolled in Kindle Select. On your bookshelf, you’ll see a new option next to your Select books called, Promote and Advertise. The program, which had been rumored to be in beta months ago, is similar to other pay-per-click programs I’ve seen on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. You can target your advertising by product or interest. From Amazon:
Product-targeted ads appear on Amazon.com when shoppers browse for the products you select and similar products. Targeting by product may yield fewer impressions but more interested buyers.
Interest-targeted ads appear on Amazon.com to shoppers who have demonstrated an interest in the categories you select. Because you’re casting a wider net, targeting by interest may yield more impressions.
You set your bid amount, but be forewarned that your minimum budget amount is $100. This is certainly different from other systems, where you can usually set your budget to whatever amount you want, allowing you to run short, inexpensive campaigns. Strange that Amazon would do this, as it might limit the number of folks throwing their hat into the advertising ring. Which might also be a good thing.
Also, I’ve heard talk from some of the beta testers and the results are bland at best, horrible at worst, with a very poor return on investment. As with any new marketing venture, I recommend looking around for hands-on experience (try this thread in the Writer’s cafe over at kboards.com). There is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to advertising.
I’m sure I’ll give it a shot at some point, but I’m not quite in a position to drop $100 at the moment. When I do, I’ll be sure to report the results.
Do you have experience with this new program? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 🙂
So, while I have no standard ads scheduled for my books in the coming months, I have a couple of events that might fall under the category of “irregular marketing.”
The first is part of an interview series that is being conducted by my company. It’s a network-wide initiative to identify employees who have aspirations outside of their career (don’t we all?). It’ll be a short interview and photo (with me holding my book very prominantly). Now, if I worked for a small company, this might not get my hopes up, but the network is close to 11,000 people worldwide. Not too shabby.
The next two events are somewhat similar. I was invited back (apparently by popular demand) to my alma mater (The Richard Stockton College of NJ) to appear on a career exploration panel for Literature majors in February. While I never see this as an opportunity to sell books, I’ll be taking along a copy of Danny Dirks to at least show it off a bit. 😉
Then, in April, I ‘ll be part of a panel at the same venue to discuss Publishing in the 21st Century. My first paid speaking gig! At that event, the organizer said I’ll have a chance to read and sell books afterwards.
These types of events aren’t the kind you can simply sign up for, which I guess is why I call it irregular marketing. But, these are exactly the kinds of things that can surprise you with results. I probably won’t sell hundreds of books, but I may make a personal connection with someone who becomes a fan. These types of opportunities are priceless. so, when you’ve reached a point, where you just can’t handle the disappointment of a mediocre advertisement, take a good look at local resources. Does your alma mater have a newsletter that highlights alumni achievements? What about the local newspaper (if your town still has one of those archaic beasts)? Maybe the library has a discussion panel you could be a part of?
Anyway, I hope maybe these little tidbits help spur your own irregular marketing ideas. I’ll definitely follow up with results (if any!) as the events come.
Any irregular events of your own on the horizon? Please share in the comments! 😀
So, as I mentioned previously, I ran a $15 ad with eReader News Today (ENT) on Saturday, December 6th. I’m really quite pleased with the results, especially given the cost of the ad. Saturday produced 71 sales and another 14 on Sunday. At $0.69 royalty per book, I’ve almost quadrupled my investment. It was enough to push Danny Dirks to the very top of its sub-categories, which was a first.
Even more interesting to see was the change from Saturday to Sunday in the sub-categories displayed. Note the two “Myths & Legends” categories in the image above. Now day 2:
I’ve never seen this with any of my other books. Not complaining though, because I think the latter categories are better, but strange to see it change in a 24-hour period.
So, definitely recommend giving ENT a shot. Your experience might be different. I’m sure genre, day of the week, and other variables can affect sales. But, at $15-$30 for an ad, you’re chances of breaking even are quite good. Also, it’s hard to tell how many copies of the book sold because of the ad and how many sold due to visibility after it climbed up the charts a bit. Either way, the ad definitely was the only catalyst to sales, so that makes me happy. Hopefully, that visibility will carry through over the next week or so.
Had experience or planning to advertise with ENT? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for stopping by! 😀
I have an ad running today to promote my Kindle Countdown for Danny Dirks over at eReader News Today (ENT). I paid $15 for inclusion in their email list, a post to their blog, and a Facebook post. Their Facebook page has ~475k followers, but knowing Facebook, only 400 people will see that post. ENT recently changed their advertising format to mirror that of BookBub, but I don’t think they’re anywhere near the same scale (yet). At $15, I only have to sell ~22 books to recoup the fee. ENT’s book of the day feature is much more reliable, but nearly impossible to land. They have a one-time submission at the beginning of the year and then fill all of their slots in one shot. But, with a rate of $15, it’s hard to not give their new email venture a try. There are certainly more expensive and less effective venues out there. Stay tuned as I’ll post a follow up later this week for those interested in the returns.
Have experience with ENT? Let us know in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!
Let’s face it, everyone pretty much knows about BookBub (if you don’t, feel free to read up on my own personal case study). But, the ‘Bub can be a tough nut to crack and they won’t just keep running the same books over and over. And, while free works, occasionally we’d like to get paid for our writing. 😉 So, what are the second-tier options for my discounted, but still paid book? Check out some of the options below. In no particular order.
Now, while I’d like to say that the ROI is as solid for these as BookBub, that just isn’t the case. Make sure you do your homework before running an ad with ANY site. Some genres do better than others. They might have a big mailing list, but unless it’s segmented by genre, you could be sending your high fantasy novel to romance readers. Remember to temper your expectations. Be comfortable in the amount you’re investing, as you may not see a dollar for dollar return. Judge success on your own scale and understand that what works for one may not work for another.
Do you have experience with these or other advertising sites? Share with us in the comments and thanks for stopping by!
That’s pretty much all I can say. As you might have seen yesterday, I ran a BookBub ad for book #1 in my suspense thriller series (Multiples of Six by Andy Rane). The first book was released back in 2011 and did reasonably well over the years (~1200 actual sales). But, being a slow writer, I saw little to no response when I released book #2 in the series, nearly 2.5 years later. I then went on a run of failed BookBub submissions. I’d gone down the free road with Multiples in the past. I’d probably given away just over 20k copies of that book prior to yesterday. So, in my mind, it only made sense to run a sale promotion instead of a free promotion. I wanted my $0.99, darn it! Well, it wasn’t to be, and after countless rejections, I finally asked for a free run. Apparently, I just had to say the magic word (free!) and that would’ve gotten me in long ago (kidding, but it kinda felt like that). Finally, the BookBub folks relented and let me into the pool.
I decided to add an incentive to buy book #2 in the series by lowering that book’s price, in a Kindle Countdown Sale, from $2.99 to $1.99. The joy of the Countdown is that you still get your regular royalty rate, even if your sale price is less than $2.99. So, I would make $1.39 on each copy of the sequel that sold. This was going to be how I recouped the BookBub fee (US$250 for a free thriller). That meant I would need to sell ~180 copies to break even.
I’m a closet optimist. I wear the pessimists mask in public, but I’ve always got high hopes, no matter what. But even I was leaning toward pessimism on this one. I thought the exposure would be good, but I held out no hopes of getting some of the kinds of numbers that romance authors see on a regular basis (a 40k free run is very common for romance, from what I’ve seen). I’m happy to say that my fears were alleviated by midday on Tuesday. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
In preparation for this week, I had notified several sites of my book going free (Pixel of Ink, Ereader News Today, to name a few). So, I was pleased when I cleared 400 copies of Multiples on Monday alone, with 11 sales of Divisible. Eleven down, 169 to go! Not sure where they came from, as I couldn’t find a major site listing my book, but it was a nice start and pushed me up to just over #1000 in the free store by late Monday. My expectations at that point were at least to get into the Top 100 Free list on Amazon. Knowing BookBub’s past successes, I thought I could get that far.
Then I woke up Tuesday morning to a surprise. At 7:24, Multiples was already at #610 on the Free list. I watched the numbers climb slowly during the morning, despite telling myself I wouldn’t keep checking. What can I say? I’m weak. I was really waiting to see what happened when I got the suspense/thriller email from them. It arrived around the same time it normally does, at least for me; ~11:45 AM. That was when things got crazy. Like, stupid crazy.
It was so torrid for a while that the rankings couldn’t catching up. Two hours after I’d received my email, I’d crossed the 20,000 unit mark. Amazon was still saying it was ranked higher than it should have been. I left the house and my KDP dashboard behind for a while in the afternoon. If it was this crazy during the afternoon, what would happen as evening approached? When I returned, I saw what I could have only hoped to see.
Multiples was the #1 free book in the entire Kindle Store. No categories to get in the way. Just #1 overall. It’s 11:08 PM Tuesday evening as I write this bit. I have given away 44,718 copies of Multiples of Six, and sold 379 copies of its sequel, Divisible by Six. It’s now 11:38, and I’m entering this into WordPress. In the half hour that’s elapsed, the numbers are now 45,190 and 382. 472 books in 30 minutes. And that’s slowing down! Oh yeah, and I made my ad fee back… and then some. 😉
As I polish up this post on Wednesday morning, the ride isn’t quite done, but we’re on that slow coast back into the station. Tuesday’s grand total for book #1, according to Amazon, was 47,295. I’m not sure where their cutoff for the day is, but I’m guessing 12 AM PT. Today, I’ve added another 1641 copies in the wee hours, giving me a 60 hour total of 49,343. Oof! Book #2 fared well overnight and reached 409 units sold on Tuesday. Another 16 have sold this morning, giving me a 60-hour total of 434. Multiplied by $1.39 = ~$603. Not bank-breaking by any means, but not too shabby either.
Multiples of Six is still #1 on the free list as I post this. Later, however, someone else’s book will appear on BookBub and more than likely push me out of the way. Sure, I’ll get some play for a few days. My sale lasts until the 5th on both books. But the rocket to the top is over. Looking at Monday’s BookBub freebie, Jackpot by Susan Fleet, it’s still at #14 on the Free list. I’ll have to see where I stand in 24 hours. For now, though, I’m just excited to see how long the tail end lasts. At this point, it’s not unrealistic to expect over 55k total giveaways, possibly more. The ‘Bub turned out to be everything I had imagined it could be. Now, as my wife said, “Guess you’d better get your ass in gear on book #3, huh?” Yes dear!
If you’ve got any questions about my experience with BookBub, I hope you’ll ask them in the comments below. No secrets here! Or, if you’ve had experience yourself, please feel free to share! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
I’m pretty much done with Facebook. I gave it one last shot recently and was disappointed once again. Now, mind you, I was working with a much smaller base, but still, the results were pathetic and uninspiring. For those of you who are considering building a platform as an author, be aware that Facebook is no longer the place to start. It’s a sham of what it used to be, which was a place where you could build a following and get some decent organic interaction. Now, it’s a place where posts go to die and conversations only happen between you and five people…even if you have hundreds or thousands of “followers.” In order to have any reach beyond 1% to 2% of your followers, you need to pay to “boost” your post. That’s not a typo.
So, you might say, “Scott, you’ve only got 71 followers on your Facebook page. That’s not exactly a good example.” I say, true, but I also have a Facebook page with more than 400 followers for my Andy Rane pseudonym and I’ve seen the same results there. I posted there the other day. Out of 429 followers, I reached 29 (that’s 6.8%). I guess I should be happy, right? I broke beyond the 2% barrier. This time last year? Text posts were reaching 85 to 100 of my followers on a regular basis without paying a dime. And, assuming I didn’t have over 400 followers at that point, that means I was reaching upwards of 25% of the folks who like my page.
I cannot tell you how frustrating this is. THEY LIKE MY PAGE! Why do I have to pay for the people WHO ALREADY LIKE MY PAGE to see my content! It’s a scam, so I’m not doing it anymore. My Twitter feed now populates my Facebook page with content, but I’m no longer going to post there and I’m certainly not going to spend money there ever again. As an independent author, my resources are limited. I need to see results when I spend money.
While I understand the need to monetize your business, Facebook is becoming its own worst enemy. Twitter has begun allowing the little folk to promote tweets and accounts and such. I’ve used it, with some success. The minute I feel like I can only reach my followers by paying for it, I’ll leave them too. Pinterest is headed in that direction as well (I’m sure you’ve seen the “Related pins” appearing in your feed). I hope they hear the uproar over Facebook and do the right thing. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on it.