Author Topic: Do you still like data? My second 99 cent promo: results and some musings.  (Read 933 times)  

Offline WildYonderPress

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My Stacked Promotion after-action report.

Since I constantly check KBoards for wisdom on marketing and publishing, it seems only fair to give back and dump a bunch of data into the Hive Mind.

I ran two promotions, both from May 1 to May 7 at 99 cents. One book was a book launch of my new action adventure title "Deep Shadow", the other was for my first novel, the horror comedy creature feature "Zombie Bigfoot". I ran a promo for this early last year and posted the details of the results here:,248041.0.html

These two books couldn't be more different and with one being brand new, and the other over a year old, I thought it would be interesting to run them simultaneously. Also, it would confine my obsessive checking of stats to the same time period, cutting my procrastination in half...

So... I did some stacked promos. One difficulty was with the launch, and I'll go into some detail about this: An author I know (who does verrrrrrrrry well) advised against a lengthy pre-order period. Amazon counts the day a book is purchased as the day of the sale, NOT the day the book becomes available and is downloaded to a Kindle. So, if you have 300 people chomping at the bit to buy your book and they do so spread out over a period of two weeks, that's not gonna do a lot for your Sales Ranking. (Oddly, Audible, a subsidiary of Amazon, DOES count those sales on the day the book is released. I had a pre-order in place with them for "Deep Shadow" and Audible ranks were spectacular).

Back to the difficulty... many sites require X amount of reviews and an active ASIN in order to book. I planned on activating the Kindle ebook late on the Thursday before May 1 to give a chance for my ARC readers and some reviewers to post reviews (and to make sure there weren't any cockups... and there was a doozy, more on that in a sec). It took some doing, but I was able to set up launch week promos with many on the promise of "you'll have your ASIN several days before AND you'll have your reviews".

Now, I'm gonna do some praising of several sites in this thread, but I need to mention one that it didn't work out with. Robin Reads. They absolutely insisted on an ASIN to lock in a slot, something I wouldn't have until I triggered the Kindle of "Deep Shadow". I booked "Zombie Bigfoot" a month before and sent several emails trying to arrange one for "Deep Shadow". No luck. I had in my notes from ZBF's promotion last year that they had done very well for me so I wanted them for my New Release. The moment I had my ASIN I hit their site but of COURSE they were completely booked through my promo week and beyond. I even offered to let them ditch Zombie Bigfoot and put Deep Shadow in its slot (no go... they were polite and apologetic, but the genres didn't match). Bottom Line: If you have a launch week promo AND you are avoiding a lengthy pre-order, I don't see any conceivable way you can use Robin Reads.

Real quick... the goof. While arranging some additional browse categories for Deep Shadow I asked to tweak a few on Zombie Bigfoot. Smart, right? Well, someone over there got confused. They put several categories from Deep Shadow onto Zombie Bigfoot. While it was hilarious to see Zombie Bigfoot ranking well in Caribbean literature I needed to get that fixed ASAP (and we were at the weekend when I discovered it) Fortunately, I had enough time to get everything fixed before the promos. I started the promo on a Tuesday so I'd have a business day available to iron out any kinks.

One unforeseen event: an author I know was kind enough to give my book a shout out on Facebook... the Friday BEFORE the launch! My sneaky soft launch was outed, but the way the algorithms work, I think this was a blessing. I was able to keep sales going using my own social media, allowing me to have a pretty darn good rank BEFORE the promos hit.

OK, enough yammering. On to the promos and the numbers.

First, this is the breakdown of the sales that resulted from the author posting at 9pm on Friday the 27th... and my efforts over the next days to keep some sales going by reaching out to friends that the book was actually live.
               Ebooks      Page reads   Paperback
April 27      77+1(free)   72          1  (they added a free Kindle)
April 28      45              1,495      4
April 29      16              1,195      0
April 30      16              2,136      2

By midnight of April 27, "Deep Shadow" was 1,549 in paid Kindle books... and #6 in Sea Adventures. I would have been #1 in several more focused categories, but those were currently languishing on the "Zombie Bigfoot" page. On the 29th, another author friend put me in his newsletter. By the morning of my promo, I was still at #1,572, so the sales made on the days after the FB post kept the rank percolating. Then the promos started.

May 1 DEEP SHADOW  Note: Audiobook went live today (paperback and ebook having been activated a few days prior)

E-Reader News Today: posted about halfway down
Fussy Librarian: posted three down!
Buck Books:   Great price. Clever mini-descriptors and email is playful, I liked it.
Book Lover's Heaven
Book angel (UK)  free. POSTED May 1. Featured Bargain Book (but quotation marks became "?") I don't know HTML very well, but whatever happens when you end up with question marks in a field when you paste, that happens on Book Angel.
Digital Books Today:  posting in Thriller for month of May $20

Results:  153 sales, 2.056 page reads, 1 paperback, 29 audiobooks.   Rank #1,304. And Audible went live that morning. By 9 that night it was at #2,975 on Audible.


Fussy Librarian: posted right up top!!
Buck Books: again, clever wording on email hyperlink.  Free.  I actually put in for May 2 but it went up early.
ItsWriteNow  free 

RESULTS: 10 sales, 160 page reads, 0 paperbacks, 1 audiobooks.  #25,761 on paid Kindle. (a bit disappointing, but as you'll see, this older book did better and better as the week went, so some longtail I think)


Good Kindles:  posted right in front... and in several "might also likes"!)
Book Rebel: $15  I happened to notice there were  ZERO books in Mystery and zero in Horror, and only my book in action adventure. Anyone reading this who's had experience with Book Rebel, post below how you think they did. Having only one book in those three categories doesn't bode well for their popularity.
Book Adrenaline: posted at about 12:15.
ebookSoda: posted right in front
Bookzio free  posted. (though not initially on the action adventure page in Chrome and Firefox... it WAS on A/A page in iOS...Daily Deals on all browsers. I emailed and it turns out their security platform takes a while for some browsers to "see" the material in all locations. I didn't care, the look of the site is sharp and it was there. I'll use these guys again.
MYBookCave : Might run all week... I wasn't too clear on that. I saw on FB too! (free)
Big Bonus: An editor at Audible/ACX chose the book as their Editor's Choice for May!

Results: 116 sales, 2,670 page reads, 2 paperbacks, 147 audiobooks. #867 in all paid Kindle! And on Audible: #251.


E-Reader News Today  Free
Ebook Bandit Free
EBooksHabit   $10   
Book Angel
Reading Deals (free)   No "horror" so I didn't submit Zombie Bigfoot. Didn't want it to clash with Deep Shadow under "Thriller"
Ebookasaurus: No image found. (so no cover). But it was free and posted til May 7.

Results:  34 sales, 316 page reads, 1 paperback, 6 audiobooks. Rank #6,709. Not terrible.

MAY 3 Deep Shadow

Bargain Booksy:   A note here. I noticed they had a category for "Adventure/Travel", so I asked to be switched to Adventure from Thrillers. They said no prob and they offered refund.. but I chose to use the refund to set up a Zombie Bigfoot (and they still refunded $5, very cool).  But then, Deep Shadow showed up under non-fiction. Apparently their "adventure" category is more of a "my hike up Kilimanjaro" kind of thing (which would explain the cheaper price point). I emailed at 12:40 to fix and after a bit they changed the heading for me. Very responsive, this op.

Results:  105 sales, 8,380 page reads, 1 paperback, 51 audiobooks.  Slower day and yet: #538 in all paid Kindle. Thank you, algorithm.  Audible rank ##285.


Awesome Gang   May 3   Don't know if it posted on this day that I scheduled it. But when I checked Deep Shadow on the 5th, I discovered the Zombie Bigfoot a few spots below it... WITH the Deep Shadow cover on it!  I think that was my fault, because digging through submission emails I found that photo on that book (but I'm guessing this tells us their system is automated and no one looked at it). Vinny at AwesomeGang was among the most responsive on my last promo, so I was a little surprised when I emailed about it Saturday morning and never heard anything back. Now... having a post that says "Zombie Bigfoot" and then a picture of a beautiful ocean scene with blue water and a boat... that is so jarring it might have actually gotten MORE clicks than if it had been correct, so I'm not gonna worry about it. (And remembering now that KDP had put some Deep Shadow categories on ZBF... maybe Zombie Bigfoot should go to the tropics in a later book...) Awesome Gang is GREAT bang for the buck, so they're still a must use.
Booktastik:  ad looked good.

Results: 7 sales, 482 page reads, 0 paperbacks, 2 audiobooks.  Rank: #7,904


OK, this is where the algorithm knocked it outta the park.
Booksends w/ Ereader IQ and Bookrunes add-ons:  This one was pricy... but I had in my notes that Booksends  +eReader was one of my best from ZBF's promo last year... AND I had read on Kboards that Book Runes was great. I was expecting good things from today... and I got them.
ManyBooks ($29)
AND that same author who had posted on FB before official launch? He put me in his newsletter and it came out on the best possible day!

Results:  175 sales, 10,926 page reads, 2 paperbacks, 43 audiobooks. Ranking:  #452 paid Kindle. #1 in multiple categories. Audible rank: # 538.


Bookzio (rescheduled from earlier, because it was on same day as Deep Shadow)
My Book Cave 
Booksends plus E-Reader IQ and BookRunes add-ons

Results: 40 sales (+ one free),  600 page reads, and 0 paperbacks, 2 audiobooks. (thought the free probably came from a paperback sale add-on... the next day had two paperbacks... so maybe, CreateSpace sales postings are off by a day?)  I'd hoped for a bit better with this day, since ZBF has never been on BookRunes.  Rank:  #6,175

MAY 5 DEEP SHADOW rank continued to climb, despite fewer sales. Algorithm at work, I suppose.

Free Kindle Books and Tips: Posted... however, price was incorrect. they put 2.99 as regular, 3.99 as sale price.  BUT, and this is important, after I emailed about the error and asked if it could go on May 6 or 7 with correct prices, they got back to me with a refund the next morning. I actually would have been fine with a partial refund, because I think the error of price was obvious and I'm certain people clicked on it anyway. Also, this was one of the sites that wasn't really set up for launch weeks (requiring a certain number of reviews before booking) but they scheduled me in last minute once I hit the threshold. So, if anything, this minor goof and quick response leads me to put them in my "definitely repeat" column. (probably not for a New Release, but certainly for a periodic promo)
Good Kindles (day 2): posted right up top.   I like the "look" of Good Kindles... and when you book, they give you a second post during the week.
Awesome Gang:  Deep Shadow ad looked great... though it was on the day I checked it  that I spotted Tropical Bigfoot a few slots below Shadow.
(also, I put in for Bookscream for today but it actually posted May 7, which was good since I didn't have anything on last day)

Results: 104 sales, 12,446 page reads, 1 paperback, 25 audiobooks. Rank #546. Audible: #618. This was my peak Author Rank day (whatever value that has): #1,486


Bargain Booksy  used $30 refund from switching Deep Shadow genre.
Book Rebel ($10)  posted, looked good... but... remember my post above, asking folks if you've done a Book Rebel to chime in?  So, I looked:  Nothing at all in action adventure or Mystery/Thriller on this day. Most other sites have something in each category. Just an observation.
Book Scream

Results: 22 sales, 122 page reads, 2 paperbacks, 1 audiobook. Rank: #4,695


My Book Cave:  Should run to end of promo. Post a little hard to find... and dropdown to get to 99 cent books doesn't really stand out.

Results: 65 sales, 15,646 page reads, 3 paperbacks, 25 audiobook. Rank: #651, Audible rank: #943


Robin Reads! (man, I wish I coulda gotten this for Deep Shadow, this day's sales good for older book)
BKnights: I actually expected this to be on the 7th. Posted this day for some reason. No complaints.

Results: 48 sales, 883 page reads, 1 paperback, 2 audiobooks.  Rank: #3,636 


Bookscream: Was supposed to be May 5, but it's much better here... I'd booked nothing for the last day.

Results: 74 sales, 16,127 page reads, 2 paperbacks, 21 audiobooks.  Rank: #782  Author Rank: #2,021


BKnights: posted on different day than expected... but I had nothing for last day for ZBF either, so no worries.

Results: 11 sales, 489 page reads, 1 paperback, 1 audiobook.     Rank: # 4,791

THE END. On May 8, the price went back up.  Here are some other steps I took during the week:

My Book Place: I put in for a freebie for ZBF on May 2... didn't get it, but late on May 7 they posted my author profile. No books. 3 pages in. Kinda worthless... but free, so...

AMS ads: I spent a lot of time researching search terms for this genre as well as popular authors in the realm of action-adventure in the tropics/islands. As soon as I got my ASIN, I loaded them up and when I got that late-night FB post from an author I immediately triggered it. A few sales during the past week and didn't spend much. I also tweaked Zombie Bigfoot's ads and cut the cost per click in half!

Goodreads ad: I don't know what to think of this. I dropped 50 bucks on one. Supposed to be a pay per click. I get reports saying it's getting some visibility. But most days I see "zeros" in all the categories (one click, once) except I see numbers under "books added"... but people are going to be adding my books during my launch whether or not I have this ad, so I'm not sure it's doing anything at all.

Facebook ad. I figured I'd try it. Put up 30 bucks and set a targeted group to reach. At the end it said I'd had "2 engagements" and spent $1.18. I have NO idea how to use FB ads.

Twitter: I became quite active here as a fellow author was getting love on his book from earlier in the year, and we started to cross-promote. Zombie Bigfoot sales began to pick up before the promo even started.

Ask David free tweets:  I put in for an Ask David. Got back a "Your book was selected! Become a member, $15 a month." I apologized for not realizing that the site required a paid membership and passed on the submission... BUT, they then offered ten "tweet links" to use. These were set up rather efficiently, I thought... click the hyperlink for one, and it takes you to a page where you put in cover art, link to buy, and a description... then choose to tweet immediately or to schedule it. I used several during the week but I saved some to try solo, as a way of testing their effectiveness. They are good for nearly a year, so I want to try one "out in the open", after my sales drop off. In any event, kinda classy of them.

Audiobookworm Blog Tour: I got to this a little late, but I had seen this site and wanted to give it a try. I reached out and the owner was kind enough to "rush" to get my tour up. The nearest open slot was May 6-12 and that seemed like it might be good to keep momentum going post-promo. She set up SIXTEEN blog spots, and the cost was extremely reasonable. Gotten some good reviews from it at the time I am writing this. Still seven "stops" to go. I set up a Giveaway for this tour, a signed copy of the book and a digital subscription to AudioFile Magazine.

Several freebies I tried, but got no post or response: , people reads, ebooklister, book bongo, Armadillo ebooks.
I also tried for Book Hippo UK but got no response back on either book.  Anyone ever do a Book Hippo? I wanted this one for broader reach, but lack of response was annoying. And I put in for it VERY early.

I'm going to post again with some follow-on sales for the next week or so, once I have them (in this thread). (and actually, as I post this, let's see... May 8: 25 for DS, 1 for ZBF. meh.)

How did I do? This is only my second promo so I'm no expert, but I think this promo went pretty damn well. There were two X factors here that skewed my results higher: My author friends posting (the one to his FB and newsletter, another to a newsletter, a third engaging with me on twitter) and an editor at Audible/ACX choosing my book to be among its Best of May Editor's Choice. I suspect a quarter to a third of my kindle sales came from the authors... and the Audible coup probably accounted for 75% of those sales (and quite a few came from the authors, since I narrate for two of them and their fans know it). So, if I take all of that out of the equation, the promo is still good, but not spectacular.

I probably won't bother with FB or Goodreads ads next time, since I don't really know what I'm doing.

Sites I will definitely repeat:
ENT, Good Kindles, FKBT, Booksends (with add-ons), Fussy Librarian, Bargain Booksy, Buck Books, BKnights, and Awesome Gang.  I'll also go for Book Angel, since it has UK reach and Hippo was so unresponsive. And I'll use Robin Reads again for "post-launch" promos.

Back to work!
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 05:24:20 AM by WildYonderPress »

Offline Kay7979

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Thanks for sharing. I always find this kind of data helpful.

Online PaulineMRoss

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Great results! Congrats, and thanks for sharing.

Pauline M. Ross (epic fantasy) Website | Mary Kingswood (Regency romances) Website 
Bookbub status: 2 for 70

Offline EC Sheedy

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Wow! That sounded like a lot of work. Thanks so much for sharing. Here's hoping the sales burn on . . .

Offline WildYonderPress

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As promised, here's some post-promo numbers. As you can see above, a lot of work went into the launch... but it sure seems like it was worth it! Again, Deep Shadow got a HUGE boost from two authors and Zombie Bigfoot got a boost from another author and a lot of twitter activity... so my results are probably a third (or more) higher than they'd have been without the shout-outs. So, take a look above at the sites I recommend, but ALSO... make friends and boost each other! I will go out of my way to boost the three authors who helped me; pay it forward!

Post promo sales on Deep Shadow. On May 8, price went up from launch price of $.99 to my planned price of $4.99 Columns are Kindle, Page Reads, Paperback, Audiobook.

May 8        26      16,789      3      12
May 9        28      15,054      0      7
May 10      24      12,334      0      10
May 11      25      16,251      0      15
May 12      38      16,238      0      21
May 13      20      13,765      2      7
May 14      32      19,517      0      9
May 15      19      16,011      1      10
May 16      27      16,298      0      11

Zombie Bigfoot. Originally released in Sept 2016. Promo price of $.99 went back to $3.99 on May 8.
May 8        1      369      0      1
May 9        2      644      0      3
May 10      0      373      2      1
May 11      1      307      0      1
May 12      3      542      0      0
May 13      1      506      0      1
May 14      0      355      1      0
May 15      1      269      0      0
May 16      0      597      0      1

I'm shifting away from obsessively checking and am back to work on writing the next book. At some point I may try a countdown deal for Deep Shadow for just Robin Reads, since I wasn't able to use it for launch (and maybe another couple repeats) ... picking the five days in the middle of the Countdown span, to avoid any goofiness on start/end times. As well as the launch went for DS, I'm going to avoid trying for BookBub. I don't think it would pay off sufficiently for me, being a new author, until I have a second book ready to go.

Hope this was useful! And anyone who has thoughts on Book Rebel, please post. They weren't too pricey and the site looks good... but the lack of titles in several categories on some days gives me pause. AND, how does one get a Book Hippo? Would love some UK exposure, but they never responded.

Offline idontknowyet

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Thanks for posting all this! I've keep thinking and rethinking my plan of attack for when I publish.

Offline levz

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Congrats on all your hard work paying off, and thanks for the info. :)

Offline Rod Little

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Thanks for all the info!

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