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Author Topic: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?  (Read 9611 times)  

Online Jim Johnson

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2014, 12:18:26 PM »
Very cool. Thanks for sharing!

Offline Marian

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2014, 03:02:47 PM »
Congratulations! I hope it's a huge success. It looks like it's already heading in that direction.

Offline Donna White Glaser

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #27 on: August 03, 2014, 07:47:52 AM »
Rosalind,
How did your results stack up after the rolling was done?  :)
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Offline John Ellsworth

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2014, 07:50:21 AM »
Rosalind, would you use this approach again?

Reason I ask, I have a BB freebie tomorrow and next two books in series eligible for KCD.

This sounds like something I might want to try, but I'd appreciate your update, now that the smoke has cleared, so to speak.

Thank you.

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #29 on: August 03, 2014, 07:59:20 AM »
It's been really good. Did it again in June/July to support a new book, and planning it for September on my other series. Has kept my rank much more steadily high, extended the bump well and kept me on the lists better. All good, really.

After trying different things, though, here's what I'll do with my next (short) one (not tied to new release):
1) first book free, ad-supported, five days.
2) second book on countdown at same time. 99 cents for full week.
3) note on first book's product page that book 2 is on 99-cent sale right now.
4) then another week with third book on 99-cent sale
5) both US and UK, for Countdown.
6) if I had the longer series, I'd do this for six full weeks, and probably will with next release there. That'll be very interesting.

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #30 on: August 03, 2014, 08:01:04 AM »
Funny this thread was revived, as I just sent it to somebody last night! When I saw it up here, I thought he must be the one reading it. But, yeah. Has worked great.

Offline Donna White Glaser

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #31 on: August 03, 2014, 08:03:27 AM »
Hugh Howey mentioned and linked to it in his blog. I should have mentioned that. Sorry! He was using it to explore Liliana Hart's idea to release 5 books at once and have another ready to drop a month later. Keeping an author fresh in readers faces for an extended time rather than a blip here and there every six-twelve months.
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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #32 on: August 03, 2014, 08:23:46 AM »
Oh, I just saw. Cool! I commented over there as that was the strategy I started out with myself. (Not that I held my books back, just that I published the first three at once.)

Offline Randall Wood

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #33 on: August 03, 2014, 10:44:51 AM »
Funny this thread was revived, as I just sent it to somebody last night! When I saw it up here, I thought he must be the one reading it. But, yeah. Has worked great.

The timing couldn't be better if you ask me! My goal for the day was to sit down and fill out my promo calender with the intent of doing something just like this! I didn't even have to use the search function! So thanks for that.  :)

A couple questions if you would Roslyn; I see you decided to go with .99 for the full 7 days next time, why did you change this from your first approach? Did you run the first book free at the same time as the second book was in countdown or was there a gap between end of free book 1 and countdown for book 2? IE; did you give them time to read book one before offering the deal for book two?

And of course; How do you think KU will effect this type of promo strategy?


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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #34 on: August 03, 2014, 11:50:20 AM »
To answer the questions:

1) (Why 99 cents vs. tiered promo) 99 cents seems to get about twice as many purchases as $1.99. Since the purpose of the promotion is visibility, I figure, the more the better. I don't have permafree and my books aren't normally cheap (for Romance), so this is my big splash.

2) (2nd book at same time as free, or after?) I've done both ways, and found that I do a lot better if the 2nd book is on Countdown at the same time the first book is free. That way they're much more likely to grab both of them at once, and the BookBub push works for both books at once too, which is huge.

3) (How will KU affect this) That's the $64,000 question! No idea, especially as all my books are in KU. But that's one reason I'm doing it--to find out. My experiments don't always work. (Just did a promo on my new novella release yesterday on MyRomanceReads--OUCH. Total fail.) But hey, all of us are just trying stuff here. You have to try different things and just see what sticks, IMHO. That's how I refined my strategy as above--trying this different ways and seeing which worked better.

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #35 on: August 03, 2014, 01:23:59 PM »
Thanks for the reply. This will be an experiment for me as well, just didn't wish to try anything that had already been done and failed. If I discover something new or see a measurable impact on this strategy from KU I'll be sure to post it here.

By the end of all this I may just go back to books everywhere and make my first in series permafree. Besides, I have another plan brewing for KU.  8)


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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #36 on: August 03, 2014, 03:22:09 PM »
Please do post back, Randall, and so will I, when I have results next month with the KU wrinkle added.

Interesting times! Good luck.

Offline JRTomlin

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #37 on: August 03, 2014, 03:29:55 PM »
A) It's a longer "marketing campaign," where you put all the books in your series on Countdown promo, one after the other.
B) Because KDP suggested it, and, gulp, I figure (I hope!) they know what they're doing.

If you have a series in Select, you might be interested in this idea. I've just started it, and so far, it seems to be doing well, but because it's such a long-term thing, the real proof will be what happens over the next month, and then thereafter.

Here's what I did (for a series that currently contains 5 books):

Days 1-5: Put Book 1 (normally 99 cents) up for Free, via Select. Used a BookBub ad for this one (Day 1), other ads for the following 4 days. Got to #1 on my BB day, stayed pretty high (10 or below) for the remaining days.
Days 2-8 (we'll call this "Week 1", starting on Saturday): Put Book 2 on Countdown promo: 2+ days @ 99 cents, 2+ @ $1.99, 2+ @ $2.99.
Weeks 2-4: Doing the same thing, one week at a time, for Books 3-5

Where I am right now: at the end of "Week 1." I haven't done any advertising for the other books, decided my best bet due to the larger numbers of people that will download for "free" was to front-load all my advertising, use it on the free book at the beginning.
Despite no ads, Book 2 got to #105 in the store during the 99-cent period--but Amazon featured it in an email, so that definitely helped! Before that, it was about #600.
Right now, Book 1 (back at 99 cents) and Book 2 (about to revert to $3.99 again) are both in the 600's or 700's, and the other books have taken a definite turn upward as well. Tomorrow, Book 3 goes to 99 cents--we'll see what happens then.

The idea is that you build momentum, that you get a big spike in visibility on an ongoing basis, ratchet yourself up to the next level, rather than the "BookBub effect" where you spike high and then fall off. We will see. If you're interested, I guess you can follow along with me and see if it works, and if it seems worth a try for your own books.

Here are the things I planned my promo around:

1) First and second audiobooks released (which are Books 1 & 2 in this series). First one came out beginning of this month, second one comes out mid-April, right about at the end of this promo period, and pre-order should be happening in a couple days here, while I've got some visibility.
2) That "My Voice" thing in the KDP Newsletter--this was serendipity, didn't know it'd happen and would fit in so well.
3) Novella coming out (as part of multi-author boxed set) in the series: April 2, during Week 2 of the promo.
4) Ads on the free book, as above.
5) (I hope) pre-order for the next book in the series, around the end of the campaign. (Assuming that writing it is going along to plan at that point.)
6) First book coming out in German, about them time the promo ends. (via Amazon Crossing.)

The idea is that it's not one promotion, it's a whole campaign, built around several "events" that are happening around the same time--the audiobooks, the novella, the German book, and, as it happens, the newsletter thing (but I would have done this without that--it just worked out that way).

I am doing this with Select and Countdown, but you could of course do the same thing without being in Select.

Of course, you lose the revenue you would have earned at the higher price point. But as a visibility technique, it made sense to me, and I thought it was worth a try. My goal this year, and I'm gulping even to say it, is to break through to that next level. Nora Roberts, look out! (No, not really. But some less-than-Nora bestselling-romance-author level, that's what I'm daring to say that I'm aiming for.)
What a fascinating idea. Timing it with other promotions is the only part that worries me.

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Offline ElHawk

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #38 on: August 04, 2014, 06:58:02 AM »
Yeah, this looks really cool. I just might be tempted to put my Egyptian series back in Select for three months, just to try this out. I have one new release out now and another that will be out right when a Select 90-day period ends, if I start this week. Could be great timing to boost my October release.

Thanks for the posts on this method, Rosalind!


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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #39 on: August 04, 2014, 07:31:21 AM »
Yeah, this looks really cool. I just might be tempted to put my Egyptian series back in Select for three months, just to try this out. I have one new release out now and another that will be out right when a Select 90-day period ends, if I start this week. Could be great timing to boost my October release.

Thanks for the posts on this method, Rosalind!
You're very welcome. I'd love to hear others' experiences--especially if you tweak things and something you try works especially well.

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #40 on: October 03, 2014, 09:50:42 AM »
I had a request for an update, since I did another Rolling Countdown in early September. Here's my post from August, and some updates/results. (Updates in bold.)

\Did it again in June/July to support a new book, and planning it for September on my other series. Has kept my rank much more steadily high, extended the bump well and kept me on the lists better. All good, really.

After trying different things, though, here's what I'll do with my next (short) one (not tied to new release):
1) first book free, ad-supported, five days. First time post-KU. A lower download rate than I've had for ages, but still almost 60,000 downloads in 5 days.

2) second book on countdown at same time. 99 cents for full week. This was a BAD idea. Didn't do nearly as well as starting the Countdown on final day of the free offer, or the next day. My last Countdown-on-last day, the book got to #100 without any ad support at all or any notice on the product page. This time? I think it was MAYBE into the 200's.

3) note on first book's product page that book 2 is on 99-cent sale right now. I did this on all the books. I'm not sure it actually made any difference. Weird!

4) then another week with third book on 99-cent sale. It did OK. The best thing I did was overlap the Countdown on Books 2 & 3 by one day, and buy a KND "ebook of the day" ad for $150 on Book 2 for that day. That was my biggest sale day for the Countdown--worked for both books, but especially Book 2.

5) both US and UK, for Countdown.I've been doing this, and it did some in the UK, but not too much.

6) if I had the longer series, I'd do this for six full weeks, and probably will with next release there. That'll be very interesting.

Results one month after promo began: Most interesting thing, post-KU, is how many borrows I've had on the three books. On Book 1, especially (formerly-free book): I had 2400 borrows just in the remaining three weeks of September! 200 borrows first 2 days of October. Crazy. Also very good borrows on the Countdown books (2 & 3). My sales, though? Umm ... not so very good. Borrows are fantastic, sales kinda low. However, I haven't had a new book out since July (and it was a novella that had more modest sales), and won't have another until December.

I do know that I got a LOT of new readers this time who hadn't heard of me before (based on the reviews). Visibility-wise, it was good.

Free + Countdown still works really well for me, bottom line. But one Countdown after another worked great before too. I think either one is effective.

Offline Tricia O'

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #41 on: October 03, 2014, 10:27:04 AM »
Thanks for the update, Rosalind. Something to consider as I begin to look at my promotion schedule for the new series.

tricia o'malley

Offline MajesticMonkey

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #42 on: October 05, 2014, 03:18:15 PM »
Thanks YOU! I got all warm and fuzzy reading this. :) thanks!

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #43 on: October 05, 2014, 03:49:24 PM »
Great. As always, I'm very interested to hear others' experience who've tried it too. I know EL Hawk said she had a good run with it. Anybody else?

Offline elizabethbarone

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #44 on: October 12, 2014, 07:47:24 PM »
I've been meaning to find this thread and give it a read, and I'm so glad I finally did. Thank you for writing this up, Rosalind!

I've been playing with the idea of building a similar campaign. I worked at Kohl's for three years. Anyone with a pulse can tell after a couple months of working there that Kohl's uses a rolling sale strategy. I thought it was interesting because it works really well, and their diehard fans are fanatic. I want the same super fans for my books.

Here's the thing about Kohl's. Their regular prices are high, their sale prices are as good or better than other stores'. They carry well-known celebrity brands. The quality of their merchandise is (arguably) high, but for the sake of comparing to our books, the goal is to have high-quality books (editing, story, packaging, etc). They have addictive sales. The merchandise that they carry isn't super unique; I can get the same stuff anywhere else, probably for cheaper. But it's just cool enough, even though it isn't Michael Kors status, because it's celebrity-designed (J Lo, Lauren Conrad, etc).

This is what I noticed, throughout three years of working all over the store, about their sales model:

  • Round 1: Regular price, mid-week when traffic is slow. Usually 2 or 3 days (example: Monday and Tuesday).
  • Round 2: 30% off sale, on higher traffic days. Usually 1 or 2 days (example: Wednesday).
  • Round 3: Regular price, 1 or 2 days (example: Thursday).
  • Round 4: 50% off sale, sometimes 60%. Great deals, usually 2- or 3-day weekend (example: Friday, Saturday, Sunday).
  • Bonus Round: Early Birds/Night Owls sale, flash sale. One morning or late night, during specific times of day. Usually every 2-3 weeks.

Then there are the coupons, but for the sake of this strategy, I'm not even touching those.

How does this apply to our books?

  • Round 1: Regular price, $4.99. Week 1.
  • Round 2: Small sale, $2.99. Week 2.
  • Round 3: Regular price, $4.99. Week 3.
  • Round 4: Big sale, $0.99. Week 4.
  • Bonus Round: Flash sale, $0.99, during Week 1 or 3, between specific times of day.

Rinse and repeat.

I want to test this with a horror collection I'm releasing sometime this week. (I hope to test it later on with a full series, Rosalind-style, maybe with a dash of 5 out, 1 in the hole.) My plan is to advertise during Week 1 on Bknights, using Bonus Round for that day. (Sometimes, Kohl's has both Early Bird and Night Owl sales on the same day; my sale price would be $0.99 all day.) After the 90 days in KDP-S, this collection is gone. I will also be using my email list and social media to get the word out. Then, I will be using the back matter to direct readers to my novel, Sade on the Wall (not horror but dark), starting my sales funnel and leading readers through everything in my catalog.

I'm always excited to experiment. Sometimes it's just as fun as writing!

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Offline Sophrosyne

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #45 on: October 12, 2014, 09:04:08 PM »
Rosalind, I'm curious, why did you decide to make the first book free instead of doing a 99-cent Countdown promo on it?

Also, with KUF, do you think putting the first book permafree will still work to boost your series, if the rest of the series is exclusive with Amazon? Or does it only really work if all the books are out of Amazon?

Has anyone tried a rolling promo at 99-cents for each book?

Thanks!

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #46 on: October 14, 2014, 08:22:57 AM »
Rosalind, I'm curious, why did you decide to make the first book free instead of doing a 99-cent Countdown promo on it?

Also, with KUF, do you think putting the first book permafree will still work to boost your series, if the rest of the series is exclusive with Amazon? Or does it only really work if all the books are out of Amazon?

Has anyone tried a rolling promo at 99-cents for each book?

Thanks!
I've done both things--rolling Countdowns with 99 cents on each book, and free first book. They both work well. However, for me, "free" gets 10-20x more downloads than I get purchases, even with BookBub. That's a whoooole lot more eyes on my book to start out my promo.

Here's an example. First Countdown + BB I did was last Dec. 28. I sold 3700 books that day, almost 8000 in five days. That's a LOT of books for me. The book got to #32 in the Amazon store. The next time, in a less-busy time of year, I got to #34 on, I think, maybe 4,000 total purchases in 5-6 days? Pretty good right?

BUT--my "free days" produce 60-90+K in downloads in the same 5-day period, so that's what kicks off my subsequent Countdowns. And I've found the "tail" on "free" lasts longer--because it takes a while for readers to get to free books, maybe, or just because there are so darn many books. My tail from my last rolling Countdown (beginning of September) is still going strong 6 weeks later, and nowadays, when there seems to be more "churn" in the lists, that's pretty good. (And interestingly--I always get a ton of sales on the formerly-free book after the "free" period. The free offer period gives the book a lot of visibility and bumps it way up.)

I have my first "Countdown only" promo on a single title in about 8 months coming up in a couple days. It'll be really interesting to see how that does in comparison--how much it affects sales of the other books in the series (as well as the other series). In the past, I've had a really good bump, but 8 months is a long time, and I know things have changed. We Will See

(Can't answer re permafree as it's something I've never done. I'm not quite sure how it would help. People in KU are looking for their books in KU, no? People who find your book elsewhere & then see that all the others are only available in KU--won't that just be annoying? I've thought that a better strategy would be to have one or more series in KU, one or more out of KU. That way you'd have some real comparison, and be able to build your brand on all the platforms while still taking advantage of KU's increased discoverability.)
« Last Edit: October 14, 2014, 08:27:54 AM by Rosalind James »

Offline Sophrosyne

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Re: What is a "Rolling Countdown" and why am I doing it?
« Reply #47 on: October 14, 2014, 08:27:27 AM »
Thanks! I was wondering about the tail. A friend of mine tried a free promo, and his tail wasn't as strong as I thought it would be. But now, you've got me thinking he should have done a free promo, followed by a Countdown on the second book.