Book Promotion Results September 2020 Pt1

Ah the selling of books, I’ve done that, quite a lot this year and my latest Book Promotional efforts are looking towards being personal best material. With that in mind and for the purposes of helping a fellow author here’s a detailed breakdown of what I did and the results I got. Roll the intro….

Introduction/Aim

First of all, before setting out and committing to any type of book promotional run it’s important to aim for something. What exactly are we looking to achieve here? In my case which I hope doesn’t sound too complex I wanted to promote my book ‘Cemetery House’ and get as many folks as possible to grab a copy during the run. The ‘run’ meaning the time it was going to be free to download and advertised. The more complex bit is below and optional to read.

Not so important background info, skip if you don’t care…

Over the 2 years ‘CH’ has been available it’s been the most under-performing book on my back list. It has the least amount of sales, reviews and I’m not sure many have actually read it. This is a shame, because it’s the bigger, better older brother to my clunky (but also good) debut novel ‘Open Evening’. ‘Cemetery House’ is also part of the wider ‘Order of the Following Series’ which continues in the form of my 6th book which arrives at the end of this month (September 2020) so you kinda need to read it in order for book 6 to make sense. My true aim in this promo run was to fix all of the problems stated above by getting some folks to actually download and eventually read it.

Strategy – how was I going to do it?

So the best way to get as many downloads for a book is to set the price to Free for a minimal amount of time. 2 days works quite well, you can generate a sense of urgency by saying ‘Free for a limited time only’ which is a sneaky way of pressurising people into downloading it. So as all of my works are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited they allow you so many days within a certain period to set any of your books for Free. So I did that.

Cemetery House would be avalable for Free on the 3rd and 4th of September 2020. And then advertised as Discounted on the next two days.

While Free is good, along with the small space of time this offer is available they are not a guaranteed way of shifting books and like every author everywhere the greatest struggle we all face is being heard. Our voice is only as loud as our social media following and even that sometimes isn’t enough.

You can see the pain in his face, he’s clearly an author…

My go-to way of amplifying my author voice is to used paid advertising in the form of Book Promotion sites. Using a combination of paid sites and some of which were free, I would be able to amplify my voice while also working in tandem with my social media platforms on the days of the promo to maximise telling folks about it. This strategy can be used for all books across all genres. E books sell a lot more than physical copies in my case but that’s not to say you can’t use this strategy to sell all types. Just do your research, there are plenty of authors out there who share their results. And use the Google if in doubt.

Results first, how I did it later…

While you all probably just want to know how I did it, you first need the context of how well things went to gauge whether or not you can try and achieve the same. So here are the results.

Day 1

Cemetery House Free Downloads: 1643

Stuff I didn’t expect or account for:

Selling nearly all my back list in one damn day….

Including sales of the other two books in the series which are priced at 99 cents:

Darke Blood: 20

Open Evening: 30

Sale of other books not in the series:

The Ghost Beside Me: 1 x Paperback

Total Sales of priced books on Day 1: 51

Context/debrief:

I probably sold 51 books last year in total without promo. This is an unexpected but wonderful result.

Open Evening sold 33 copies on release way back in 2016. For this promo, in which it wasn’t even specifically advertised, it got downloaded 30 times in one damn day.

Day 2

Day 3

All 3 books in the ‘Order of the Following’ series sold very well over the promo run. A huge factor in the success of this is governed by the fact ‘CH’ is the middle book in the series, although there is no particular order in which you need to read them. It is also mentioned on each of their Amazon pages, as seen below with Open Evening. It is mentioned in the start of each book also.

Although on this run I advertised ‘CH’ as stand alone which it can be enjoyed as, there was still plenty of interest for other books in the series and they are both available for 99 cents.

Honorable mentions for both ‘The Teleporter’ and ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ which sold copies without any prior advertisement on this run and proof that my single best piece of marketing advice is true. That advice being, the best way to sell a book is to have another available, and then another and so forth. The graph and breakdowns above sing from that hymn sheet big time!

Amazon Chart Movement

My newest strategy in promoting free books is to then advertise them straight after the run as discounted. On this occasion this only generated 3 discounted sales of ‘CH’ after the run, but the sales of ‘Open Evening’ and ‘Darke Blood’ rocketed them both up their respective charts, from several thousand to double figures in a matter of days which will give them some new visibility as they begin to recede back to the dark depths of the unknown, like me…

Tis the season

All three books in the Order of the Following Series are occult, horror or thrillers. I’ve been waiting all damn year for the Spooky season to promote them and they always do well this time of year so let that be a top tip; genre and seasons coincide with sales no matter what book you’ve got to offer non fiction or fiction. People will gravitate towards a spooky tale during the run up to Autumn and Halloween. This is probably why ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ sold some copies also.

Execution – what I did

This is most probably best described as the ‘good part’ of the post and probably the reason why you are here, so here’s what I did.

Book Promo Sites

Freebooksy Horror Promotion – Cost: $40 – Date: 3rd

E Reader News Today – Cost: $40 – Date: 3rd and 4th

E Book Booster Guranteed Promo – Cost: $20 – Date 3rd and 4th

Pretty Hot – Cost: $25 – Date: 4th

Bookzio – Cost: Free – Date 5th and 6th

Booangel – Cost: Free – Date 5th and 6th

As you can see some of the dates and sites overlap with one another. A top tip: if you really want to know how much reach a certain book promo site actually has, then just advertise with them only on a single date. The more expensive normally means better reach. You have to be willing to spend a little money if you want some good reach.

Twitter:

On the first day of the Free promotion I put up this banner and then RT’d it later on in the day to coincide with Eastern Time for my American Friends. I’m near to 4k followers so it probably helped with some international reach. I’m proud of this banner which I put together myself via Pixlr.

Instagram

My ‘gram following isn’t huge but I also shared the banner and put some other info about the results via my story. Come and say hi, you can find me here...

Facebook Page

Good ol life invader. I don’t use my page that much these days but my 500 plus following will always be appreciated and so I shared the banner and relevant links on day 2.

A blog post

My blogging efforts are very busy and so I didn’t have the time or space to put out a post on the Free days so instead I put one out on the Saturday. If you want to know what it looks like, here’s the link…

Factors that helped…

Having already mentioned that ‘CH’ is part of a wider series and this is clearly marked on each book’s amazon page, what else helped shift a bunch more books than usual?

Amazon Reviews

Reviews, ratings, critiques whatever you call them, spiritually they don’t matter but in the sense of book promotion they do so it’s a conflicting double edged sword. Even though ‘CH’ did not have any US Amazon reviews at the time of this promo, the two other books did. Having a star rating on Amazon will help shift more copies and I could even argue that is the only purpose reviews serve – that’s a rabbit hole of debate that I wont go into right now.

Book Covers

I firmly sit in the corner of investing well in a good book cover. This is such a huge factor that will attract passing trade. Yes your book is free and being paraded in front of a big internet audience but does it look good? People do judge a book by it’s cover. If you scroll to the very top of this site you will see all 5 of my book covers. Trust me, they matter in sales and they are shiny also.

I Invested with money

It doesn’t take a business major to see a potential flaw in this book promo run. Giving a book away for free but paying for advertising, how are you going to make a profit? The answer to that question is, I’m not, in the short term. The purpose of the book promotion is to maximise readers, if your work is quality enough for readers to look at more of your books then this will eventually lead to potential profits. Right now I am in the process of building that readership which is growing. This also coincides with having more work available which the results of this promo have proved as a tactic in selling books. If you seriously want success in publishing you need to invest money.

Final thoughts…

The numbers speak for themselves and I was pleasantly surprised to sell anything more than what I tried to promote. Like everything in publishing apart from the story, us writers aren’t actually in control and that’s both scary and thrilling. Embrace all the stuff you don’t intend to achieve in writing, trust me, its normally the best stuff. Quite recently I have been very much enjoying the connecting with fellow writers who’ve published all types of works from cookery books to vampires which are still the fashion!

To everyone who has read up to this point thank you, I hope you find this post useful an you can hopefully expect the full guide book to arrive next year. But just remember, this post is just Part 1, I’ve got another promo booked in for the 18th. Stay tuned, stay safe and thanks for reading!

Book Promo Results September 2019

At the Hall of Information we believe that sharing is caring. Especially when it comes to book promotion methods and results. We don’t keep secrets from fellow authors in fact we promote helping the efforts of others in every possible way. We’re all crawling through the shit storm of life together so we might as well help each other right?

Here are the official results of my latest book promotion that ran last week and more importantly how I got them…

Brief interlude… 

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For 2019 one of my top objectives was to get more exposure for my vampire novel ‘Darke Blood’. The plan always was to make the e-version free to download in September and so I did that – (beginners you can make any title free for a brief time via Kindle Direct Publishing as long as it is enrolled in KDP select (ask the google for more info) )

Like my usual book promo runs, I set ‘Darke Blood’ to be free from Wednesday to Friday – how you arrange days may have some effect on sales. Weekend dates can be good sometimes, Sundays have worked well previously but I normally adopt the weekday method.

The last time I had made ‘DB’ free was back in February of 2018, so it’s been a while, the results back then were north of 1000 downloads. So taking into account it had been a while and the fact my readership has grown since then along with the accumulation of a few more reviews I had some optimism that ‘DB’ would do quite well.

Side note: Vampire stories are no way dead (no pun intended), even after the monstrosity that was Twilight, they are still a pretty popular niche, trust me. And I salute anyone who enjoys stories of this genre along with those who write them! 

Results

During the promotional run ‘Darke Blood’ was downloaded 3,402 times!

All previous free promotional records were broken on the Wednesday. (Day 1)

With reference to the below screen grabs you can see things jumped up a notch in the space of an hour on day 1.

 

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This is without mentioning the chart placement it got over on Amazon US.

Not once or twice but THRICE charts… This is a big tip for those looking to get more eyes on your books. There are plenty of charts out there that aren’t as ‘busy’ or populated making it easier climb and get number 1 or even ‘best seller’ status…

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By the close of Day 1 ‘Darke Blood’ came near to 3000 downloads but I had to settle for 2,933 – an impressive feat.

Day’s two and three were less impressive but still commendable with 369 and 97 respectively pushing the total past 3000 in total but on day 3 it wasn’t the only book of mine up for grabs!

tp numbers

I sneakily set my super hero comedy novella ‘The Teleporter’ for free on Day 3. And the booziest hero of them all stole the day with a total of 88 units downloaded.

This is impressive because I hardly promoted ‘The Teleporter’ apart from a cheeky Facebook ad and other social media shout outs.

So overall in 3 days my books were downloaded 3,402 times!

How I got these results and factors which governed them… 

Every book is different, and the success of a free promotional run is governed by a ton of factors such as:

Amount of reviews good or bad – having all good reviews for a title isn’t necessary a good thing, in fact ‘Darke Blood’ is one of my most subjective books, it’s rating isn’t exactly the highest which may have helped.

Recent reviews – If your title has some recent reviews, people know it’s recently been read, I’ve had the luck of getting some higher profile reviews this year for ‘DB’ from awesome bloggers Thinking Moon  Mullen Crafts and Feed the Crime – this helped big time!

Current Events – Only days before putting ‘DB’ up for free I pondered via a blog post about whether or not the sequel will ever see the light of day. This post unintentionally stirred up some interest. And yes the sequel will be happening in 2020.

Timing – The transition from Summer to Autumn brings the promise of Halloween, folks love a spiced latte and a good spooky book to read; ‘Darke Blood’ is just that and another top tip for anyone writing horror, thriller or occult – I have made the most sales of these genres in September! People love the build up to Halloween!

Following – As opposed to last year my following is way bigger, people won’t buy your book if they don’t know about it, this may be the greatest lament and struggle of all authors everywhere. This blog has been nominated for 4 awards this year and we now have 400 plus followers. My Tweet machine following is in the high 2000’s – way more than last year.

Investment – If you want a book to sell, for free or at a price, you have to invest money in doing so…

So how exactly did I get 3000 plus downloads? With the above combined factors and my big secret… Book promotion websites – this isn’t really a secret.

How do book promo sites work? Essentially you pay them to tell people about your promo –  they all boast to have access to several thousand followers via email and social media so you are simply paying to use this mode of distribution and the truth is, it works! There are even some sites who take on submissions for free.

My tip when dealing with such sites is to always pay via paypal.

The whole concept with using promo sites is to ‘stack’ the promotion by using multiple sites over the days…

The big secret – Book Promo websites  (paid and unpaid)

I invested around $100 for this promo – probably the most I have ever spent. It sounds like a lot but the results were awesome and worth it.

Here’s a list of sites I used.

Paid:

https://www.freebooksy.com/for-the-authors/   – Promoted on Wednesday

https://pretty-hot.com/submit-your-book/       – Promoted on Thursday

https://awesomegang.com/submit-your-book/    – Promoted on Thursday

Free Sites:

https://discountbookman.com/book-promotion/   – Promoted on Wednesday

http://www.free99books.com/author/add – Promoted on Friday

https://www.bookzio.com/promote-your-book-2/ – Promoted on all 3 days

http://bookangel.co.uk/  – Promoted on all 3 days

http://www.ebooklister.net/submit.php – Promoted on all 3 days

https://ebookshabit.com/ – Promoted on all 3 days

http://bookbongo.com/submit/  – Promoted on all 3 days

Other methods of promo – Facebook 

There are other ways to spread the word about a promotion. Amazon offer their own ad service which I didn’t find much success with previous and even though Facebook aren’t the most reputable bunch they do have access to a lot of people if you place an ad with them.

I boosted two of my posts from my main author page and as you can see ‘DB’ did quite well. The ad set up in FB is pretty complex and detailed but if you can figure it out you can target the right folks.

It’s especially effective for free promotions, convincing people to vote Brexit and getting Trump into power… I deleted my FB app last year for a while, it did me the world of good, even now I don’t look at FB that much. But all satire and opinions aside, the ‘DB’ promo did quite well.

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Outlook…

The hope is that some folks now read Darke Blood and then leave a review. The KENP page read tracker is already showing numbers and I have since sold more books.

For those looking to take on more of my work both ‘Open Evening’ and ‘Cemetery House’ will be available for free sometime in the next month or a little after.

If you missed the free run of Darke Blood or The Teleporter get in touch and I shall send the e version out to you for free in exchange for a review!

dfw-lh-3dx2

And so that wraps up my latest book promotional efforts. Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone for sharing the links, leaving reviews and helping the efforts of your friendly independently published author! 

Remember to leave a review!