Author Topic: Book Rank (formerly Ram's Promo Stacker) - One Stop Promo Shop!  (Read 15723 times)  

Offline Nicholas Erik

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Re: Book Rank (formerly Ram's Promo Stacker) - One Stop Promo Shop!
« Reply #150 on: January 11, 2018, 06:06:05 PM »
As promised, here's my report/review on the Gold package ($800, 28 - 34 promotional venues, custom paid FB advertising). This is BookRank's next-to-highest tier (Diamond, at $1500 is the highest).

DETAILS: this was for the launch of a new urban fantasy book that came out on Jan. 1. Very clear UF book (e.g. not PNR). I've written two other trilogies under this pen name. The stack ran from Jan 1 - 7, during which time the book was $0.99. It was in KU; KENP of 380+ pages; I didn't notify my email list or do anything else during that time. I did not run any PPC.

I booked it on Nov. 19, which gave Ram about a 40 day lead time to organize the promo stack before release day. 

SERVICE: easy to book. Ram handled everything, then sent me a very clear PDF with the sites booked and the dates. When there was a minor scheduling problem with one of the sites (not his fault), he handled it and sent me the new info within hours. Fast, painless, professional.

SITES BOOKED: ENT/EBookHounds/Choosy/Read Cheaply* (DAY 1) | BettyBookFreak/AwesomeGang Deluxe (DAY 2) | BookBarbarian*/Book Gorilla/Geektastic (DAY 3) | BargainBooksy*/EBSoda (DAY 4) | eReader Cafe BoTD/KND/Fussy (DAY 5) | Booksends/GP/FKBT (DAY 6) | EBStage/Just Kindle Books (DAY 7)

Total sites booked by Ram: 16 sites. Some of these are for multiple sites (Awesome Gang Deluxe, for example, I think posts to three or four sites).
* = booked myself

CUSTOM ADVERTISING:



RESULTS: 361 sales, 18,763 page reads. Revenue was probably $180 - $220 and change. Profit was not expected; you really do something like this for rank, stickiness, and a tail; peak rank was #2264 on DAY 4. I'd say that was more because of the cumulative effects, rather than that day's particular line-up, which only had two sites. Rank at the end (DAY 7) was #3705.

Important - this book didn't have any reviews until the last day of the stack. That would have no doubt improved the results. It was up for pre-order before the promo (so I had a live link) and garnered 41 pre-orders over about 40 days, but (obviously) wasn't on any sort of hot new release lists or anything.

COMMENTS: you're buying convenience here, which Ram doesn't make a secret. If you're tight on funds, you can save the fee and organize the stack yourself - there's no secret sauce (nor any claim of there being any, for that matter). I think this is useful for two types of authors: 1) those who don't understand the concept of stacking/organizing a promo and are intimidated by all the options/variables. This essentially guarantees that you have something workable. 2) those who don't want to spend 3 hours filling in forms or keeping track of requirements/payments and so forth. If you're making $50/hr from your work, then even with the fee, you likely come out ahead, although you sacrifice significant flexibility in what sites are used/what order the promo goes off (Ram does have an a la carte option where you can select your own sites; this is a specific review of the Gold service).

There were three things I would consider negatives.

One, the "Custom Paid Advertising on Facebook": the only ad I got sent was the one above. I'm not sure if Ram ran others. I was not expecting much, really, in this department, nor was it the reason I booked the service. However, linking to the book on Amazon and having Facebook pull the cover in automatically from the link, and then using a headline that says $0.99 is a rather generous (if technically correct) interpretation of "custom," unless there's some insanely complex audience targeting going on behind the scenes. Ram clearly has a lot of orders, so I don't think hyper-custom and managed PPC ad campaigns are on the table. Nonetheless, if that's what's on offer, I would humbly suggest nixing that from the advertising entirely. I don't think this added any value; if it had been removed, and if the price had stayed the same ($800), I wouldn't have batted an eyelash. Since it was advertised, however, that made me curious and hopeful, perhaps, that there would be something interesting in the works; alas, I ended up underwhelmed.

Two, I wouldn't book a couple of these sites at all, even if I was chasing rank. To be fair, it's promising a promo stack, not "most efficient use of funds stack" or "the most selective stack." Not all sites will accept new releases (my other books do have a bunch of reviews, so many sites will accept a new release based on this track record, however). That means perhaps other less optimal sites had to be substituted. But something to bear in mind if ad dollars are at an absolute premium.

Three, I probably would have ended with the big hitters/more sites, rather than spaced them out. In fairness, this isn't entirely in Ram's control (ENT, for example, is pretty random about what dates they're willing to give you), and he didn't know where I'd scheduled in my pieces of the equation. I also could have given him a narrower range of dates, which would have made them spaced closer together. That being said, a huge part of the stickiness factor, I think, is coming off at peak rank, or close to it - that didn't happen here. In fact, DAY 7 was my lowest sales/rank day. In this case, not a big deal, because the book is still $0.99 as I ramp up my PPC spend (and send out my newsletter/social media and so forth). But not optimal if that was actually the end of the promo, IMO.

OVERALL: this service does exactly what it says. Ram delivers the promo stack quickly, is professional, and provides excellent customer service. There's nothing here you can't do yourself, but you're not buying secret sauce; you're buying convenience. For certain authors, it makes a lot of sense to outsource a tedious and annoying series of tasks to a service like this and focus on other things; for others, it's a great way to get your feet wet without fear of messing up logistics while you learn about promotion. I would recommend the service to these people.

If you know what sites you like/work and want maximum control over your promo's schedule, then using a service like Book Rank (and especially the Bronze/Silver/Gold/Diamond packages) probably doesn't make sense, which is likely why my comments are less enthusiastic than many of the glowing reviews here. Just know what author bucket you fall into, then make your decision accordingly.

Nick
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 06:34:29 PM by Nicholas Erik »

Offline raminar_dixon

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Re: Book Rank (formerly Ram's Promo Stacker) - One Stop Promo Shop!
« Reply #151 on: January 11, 2018, 07:25:34 PM »
magnificently concise and incredibly helpful review

Do you write reviews for a living? Because you should. That was a truly perfect review. I LOVE getting feedback like this. LOVE IT. Also, glad to hear you saw a measurable, direct profit during the promotional period.

Just a few notes, not necessarily directed at you, but for all KBoardians who might be reading:

The service is primarily a convenience. There is no secret sauce; just my experience and some good discounts. Probably 75% of my clients are authors who are super busy, or those who need a break for whatever reason. The rest are folks who need someone to guide them (and those are usually newer authors).

If you want more flexibility and you know the sites you want, definitely go with the Promo Stacker rather than the pre-priced packages.

I normally try to weigh down the tail end of a promo run with the big hitters at the end, but that doesn't always happen for a variety of reasons that are out of my control, like Nicholas mentioned. I've found that doing it this way brings better post-promotion ROI and a stickier rank to boot.

Back near the beginning, I used to do fancier FB ads with custom graphics and all that stuff. With my currently insane schedule there's unfortunately just no way I can manage that kind of thing anymore. I do narrow audiences down like a mother, though. I do everything I possibly can to make sure the folks seeing the ad are the same folks who would be deeply interested in reading your ebook. There are not multiple ads for the same book aimed at different audiences or anything like that - I've been whipping them together long enough that I pretty much know what is going to work best given the limited time and resources at my disposal. (Note: if authors want me to leave off FB ads all they need to do is say so on the additional comments field of the order form. I'll still use up the same amount of the budget by getting you more paid venues instead.)


Offline loganbyrne

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Re: Book Rank (formerly Ram's Promo Stacker) - One Stop Promo Shop!
« Reply #152 on: January 12, 2018, 03:40:31 PM »
Just booked your services on a big upcoming UF release I have next month.  I have been eyeing your thread for the past month or so, and am very happy to be working with you. 

Offline raminar_dixon

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Re: Book Rank (formerly Ram's Promo Stacker) - One Stop Promo Shop!
« Reply #153 on: January 12, 2018, 05:07:42 PM »
Just booked your services on a big upcoming UF release I have next month.  I have been eyeing your thread for the past month or so, and am very happy to be working with you. 

Just saw your order, Logan, thanks!


Online RTW

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Re: Book Rank (formerly Ram's Promo Stacker) - One Stop Promo Shop!
« Reply #154 on: January 17, 2018, 07:46:50 AM »
Finally getting around to posting the results of the promos I booked with Ram for my 3-book series. The books are kind of a hybrid UF/SF. The specific results for book 1, which I sold for $0, are in a previous thread.

It's been a while since the promo for book 2, so I'm just going to post the final results.

Sales at $0 (book 1 in series): 2,807
Total paid sales (all 3 books): 113
Total page reads (all 3 books): 3,778

Both books 1 and 2 were ranked in the top 100 in a couple of paid categories for a while there, although neither is now.

In some ways, I was disappointed with the results, but this has utterly nothing to do with Ram's service. I believe that a somewhat too-high price for book 2 ($2.99) dampened its sales, so I ran the promo for book 3 at $0.99 and got much better results in terms of volume. ROI? No. But I wasn't expecting this. Exposure, sales, and reviews were my goals.

The 3 books now have a combined total of 50 reviews, most of them from the ARC service (Hidden Gems). Some other reviews are from purchasers.

I ran AMS ads for all 3 books during the promos. Some of the sales are from the ads, which are still running.

I have only 4 books total out under the pen I'm using, so I'm really just starting out, and I think for that, these are pretty good results. I learned a lot during this promo and got ace guidance from Ram before, during, and after. His advice is invaluable, to say the least.

I'll definitely be using his services again, although maybe I'll get brave and do the promo stacker instead of a package, which is what I used this time. There's so much else to do--in fact I ended up with a massive chart detailing tasks and deadlines for all 3 books--that having someone else take care of the promo sites was terrific.

I know there're authors on kboards who feel one shouldn't be spending more money on promos, etc,. than they're earning as an author, but this business of indie authoring is new to me, and I'm my own investor.

Side note: All 3 books and also my stand-alone have all been getting good page reads and some sales since the last promo ended on the 12th. This is a huge deal for me and very encouraging and energizing.

Many thanks, Ram!