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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Background

My first (and only) book, A Journal of Sin (Crime, Thriller and Mysteries), will be free via KDP Select tomorrow. It was published on December 27th 2014. It spent Jan at .99 (77 sales) and Feb at 2.99 (87 sales). It was free for 7/8 Feb and clocked up 1,112 downloads. It reached the following free ranks (all Crime subcats):

UK #155, #3 English, #4 Murder, #7 Women Sleuths
US #428, #3 Murder

Sales saw a post-promo boost from around one or two a day to between 4 and 7 on average. I didn't use much in the way of ads, mostly FB groups and Tweets.

The Promo

March 24th: Books Butterfly (Diamond Slot - $100), BKnights ($20)
March 25th: Ereader News Today ($25), Awesomegang ($10)
March 26th: Buck books (free)

Awaiting confirmation: eBooklister and BookHippo (formerly Indie Book Bargains).

Thoughts
A bit pricey overall, especially for a free promotion. I'll be interested in seeing how Books Butterfly does. They've got plenty of options on their site and the Diamond slot guarantees 2,000 downloads (or a pro-rata refund) from 100k daily readers. The 2,000 refers to total downloads over two days generated by all promoters.Buck books looks promising too. It's free and they have an affiliate system where you earn for each new sign up.

I'll update this thread as the promo goes on. Hope the info helps.
 

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That looks like a nicely planned little promo! Looking forward to hearing how it goes. Thanks for sharing.

Honestly I'm getting worried about my promo-thread addiction... but... yay! Another one!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! :)

I know what you mean, I was watching yours closely the other day! I've learnt so much from everyone else, I figured it was time I gave something back.

It's just gone free in the last few minutes :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
12 hours in...

807 Downloads

US Site
#1,676 Free in Kindle Store
#9 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime Fiction > Murder

UK Site
#927 Free in Kindle Store
#5 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > British & Irish > English
#18 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > Murder
#25 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Mystery > Women Sleuths
 

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Congrats on the good early numbers and good luck the rest of the way!

You said the first promo had a post boost to about 4-7 per day. About how long did this last and did you take the post boost into account when calculating the return on the ad investment?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quick update in between teaching two classes of screaming 3rd graders :eek: :

2173 downloads (20 hrs in)

US Store: #83 Free list, #1 Murder

UK Store: #221 Free list, #3 English crime, #8 Murder.

Immensely happy with 52 hours to go.

Lucian said:
Congrats on the good early numbers and good luck the rest of the way!

You said the first promo had a post boost to about 4-7 per day. About how long did this last and did you take the post boost into account when calculating the return on the ad investment?
Thanks Lucian,

It lasted around 4 weeks and only dropped down to 2 or 3 a day last week. The sales in the month following paid for the first promo twice over, however this one cost more, so I don't know whether I'll be able to say the same in four weeks time. I'm certain the first promo helped visibility no end which led directly to the sales, but it's hard to truly know how people came across the book. There was an increase in mail signups too and some new reviews, all of which counts towards the non-financial ROI.

I definitely need to focus more on that side of things and optimise how I 'capture' readers (not literally. I'm sure kidnap is a frowned upon tactic even by modern marketing standards!). Having this many downloads is incredible, but I need to work on mailing list incentives, better sales funnels etc if I'm going to make the most of it, especially with the sequel on the way. It's all in the works. Baby steps...

And talking of baby steps, it's back to the classroom for me!

Thanks everyone for following. Feel free to get in touch with any questions you have. :)
 

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Not a question, just a big thank you for such a thorough and informative answer.

I agree with you on on of the other good things that happened that can't be measured in money. But still, 2xs the cost of the ad is fantastic! Congrats again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Halfway update:

4306 Downloads



US Store #64 free, #1 Murder, #4 Women sleuths



UK Store #126 free, #2 English crime, #6 murder

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks :)

I've also added 'free' to some of my keywords. It's a small tweak, but it may help if readers are searching specifically for free books based on categories and it only takes a few minutes to change. I picked up the tip from Nick Stephenson's free video series if anyone needs keyword/categories tips. With all the advertising going on, it's hard to know if it'll have any affect. Still, it can't hurt.

Day 2 has nudged ahead of yesterday already:

 
G

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1) Firstly, Darryl, congratulations on the great results. Very happy to see your book hit #57.

2) Today's post went out an hour ago. So you should get another boost. Plus of course your promotions for today. ENT will be the biggest factor today.

3) This is a Sales Rank Proof page. It's free with most Books Butterfly slots.
It's a permanent record of the highest sales rank you got when you promoted with us. It'll update for 2 more days. In future we'll see if we can make it update non-stop.

http://pageworm.com/rankproof/a-journal-of-sin-2015-03-25-B00RHH7LLU/

Note: Please let me know if you want me to remove it from the post. In case, for some reason, you don't want it known publicly. I assumed it's OK since you're sharing your results here already.

We think it's helpful as authors can point to it when specifying (on their blog, site, product pages) that they were the bestseller in a genre or hit a high rank in free or paid charts.

4) ENT comes out 2 pm to 3 pm each day. I don't know whether it's EST or PST. That should give you another big boost. It sometimes takes 2 to 4 hrs for a spike in downloads to register.

5) Another author ran with Buck Books and us and BookSends and Freebooksy and hit #21. So I think Buck Books is very good too. So there's a good chance Buck Books gives you a good boost. However, I can't say for sure. That book wasn't in same genre as yours.

6) I think you have a very interesting position - A British Detective Mystery written by a British Ex-Detective. You really should play up that angle more.

People love to read when they can really get into a very realistic story and who better than you to provide a super realistic detective mystery.

7) Lastly, there's a perception that it's hard to get into Top 50, Top 100 etc. That's not correct. You just have to club together a few of the good sites and that leads to good results. There was a post a few months back from Mary MacDonald on how she got to #12 without using Bookbub. It's quite possible. If you aren't getting accepted by 1 or 2 of the hard to get into sites, no worries. You can use a combination of 2 or more of

BookSends, FreeBooksy, us (Books Butterfly), Buckbooks, Bknights, The MidList, etc.

to do really well.

Even more so if you submit to the 30-50 sites that accept free submissions. Those really factor in too.

8) Remember, to get massive downloads it's about getting to the Top 10/Top 25/Top 50. You can double or triple your promotion results by getting into the top lists.

You stack together the right sites on Day 1 of your promotion, and get 3,000 to 4,000 downloads, and you get to Top 50 or Top 25. Then that visibility leads to the same number or more downloads on Day 2 or Day 3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update going into the final day:

8756 Downloads

US Store : #20 Free, #1 Murder, #2 Women Sleuths

UK Store: #154 Free, #2 English crime, #7 Murder, #8 Women sleuths

#20 sits me snuggly at the bottom of the first page of results, so I'm very pleased with that. :)

ireaderreview said:
1) Firstly, Darryl, congratulations on the great results. Very happy to see your book hit #57.

2) Today's post went out an hour ago. So you should get another boost. Plus of course your promotions for today. ENT will be the biggest factor today.

3) This is a Sales Rank Proof page. It's free with most Books Butterfly slots.
It's a permanent record of the highest sales rank you got when you promoted with us. It'll update for 2 more days. In future we'll see if we can make it update non-stop.

http://pageworm.com/rankproof/a-journal-of-sin-2015-03-25-B00RHH7LLU/

Note: Please let me know if you want me to remove it from the post. In case, for some reason, you don't want it known publicly. I assumed it's OK since you're sharing your results here already.

We think it's helpful as authors can point to it when specifying (on their blog, site, product pages) that they were the bestseller in a genre or hit a high rank in free or paid charts.

4) ENT comes out 2 pm to 3 pm each day. I don't know whether it's EST or PST. That should give you another big boost. It sometimes takes 2 to 4 hrs for a spike in downloads to register.

5) Another author ran with Buck Books and us and BookSends and Freebooksy and hit #21. So I think Buck Books is very good too. So there's a good chance Buck Books gives you a good boost. However, I can't say for sure. That book wasn't in same genre as yours.

6) I think you have a very interesting position - A British Detective Mystery written by a British Ex-Detective. You really should play up that angle more.

People love to read when they can really get into a very realistic story and who better than you to provide a super realistic detective mystery.

7) Lastly, there's a perception that it's hard to get into Top 50, Top 100 etc. That's not correct. You just have to club together a few of the good sites and that leads to good results. There was a post a few months back from Mary MacDonald on how she got to #12 without using Bookbub. It's quite possible. If you aren't getting accepted by 1 or 2 of the hard to get into sites, no worries. You can use a combination of 2 or more of

BookSends, FreeBooksy, us (Books Butterfly), Buckbooks, Bknights, The MidList, etc.

to do really well.

Even more so if you submit to the 30-50 sites that accept free submissions. Those really factor in too.

8) Remember, to get massive downloads it's about getting to the Top 10/Top 25/Top 50. You can double or triple your promotion results by getting into the top lists.

You stack together the right sites on Day 1 of your promotion, and get 3,000 to 4,000 downloads, and you get to Top 50 or Top 25. Then that visibility leads to the same number or more downloads on Day 2 or Day 3.
Hello! Thanks so much for your tips and advice. It's at #20 at the moment, so I can honestly say the amount spent on the promo was well worth it.

Thanks for the sales rank proof page. I'm quite happy with it been known publicly and will definitely use the link.

Thanks for the ENT times. If I've learnt anything from this promo is to gather more information like that beforehand to try and maximise downloads/exposure etc.

I've been very impressed with Book Butterfly in general. Abhi answered my (silly!) questions promptly, even though I sent them to the wrong address and I think it's great you're active on Kboards too. I'll be singing your praises for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Final results

11,291 downloads

Highest ranks:

US Store #20 free list, #1 Murder and #2 Women sleuths

UK Store #126 free list #2 English crime #6 Murder (I think, I deleted a couple of screenshots by accident!)

I'm incredibly happy with the numbers. It was all a little surreal if I'm honest. Here's the graph of the downloads so you can see what happened on each day.



And here's the sales bump after the promo ended. This is at it's new and permanent price of $3.99. I'll update this thread in a month's time so we can see how sales do over a four week post-promo period.



And it's holding it's own in the paid lists, for the moment at least:



Final thoughts

I'm happy with the advertisers I lined up and, although it's difficult to really know how readers came across the book and which services actually worked, the services as a whole produced great numbers. I'll have a more accurate picture of the true results over the next couple of months. A lot of people who downloaded it may never actually read it, however some of those that do will hopefully leave reviews and sign-up for my mailing list if they enjoyed it.

It's possible the sheer amount of downloads has helped the algorithms somehow, which has prompted the sales pitch. I don't know a great deal about that side of things, but I'm reading up on it all at the moment.

The next stage for me is to get the sequel finished and, from a marketing perspective:

  • Write a story for a mailing list sign up incentive. Possibly a prequel novella that will only be available in exchange for an email address
  • Optimise keywords by searching for smaller, niche categories. My keywords are pretty broad at the moment
  • Create a professional landing page for the sign ups. The current one is pretty bland
  • A million and one other things..... ;)

Hope the info was helpful. If there's anything more you'd like to know, feel free to ask questions here or send me a PM.
 
G

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Congrats on the great promotion.

It's possible the sheer amount of downloads has helped the algorithms somehow, which has prompted the sales pitch. I don't know a great deal about that side of things, but I'm reading up on it all at the moment.

* Yes
1) Every free book download is supposed to count for 1/1000th of a real sale.
2) When your book went paid, it would have still shown in the Top 100 List for an hour or two.
3) Most of the sites that featured you the last day you were free would not have expressly removed you when your book went to paid. So readers came to it and some of them decided to buy it even at $3.99.

I suspect at $1 you would have seen 3-4 times the number of sales (though lesser profit).


The next stage for me is to get the sequel finished and, from a marketing perspective:

Write a story for a mailing list sign up incentive. Possibly a prequel novella that will only be available in exchange for an email address

* A prequel novella that is only available in exchange for signing up for your email address would work magically well.

Optimise keywords by searching for smaller, niche categories. My keywords are pretty broad at the moment

* In SEO and Adwords what works very well is 3 and 4 word keywords. How many keywords does amazon allow? Things like 'good detective mystery' and british detective mystery' and such would/should work well.

Create a professional landing page for the sign ups. The current one is pretty bland

* There are two opposite types of sign up pages that could work well.
1st type - ultra simple. Just take Email and have sign up button.
2nd type - rich sign up page with your cover or graphic in the background and showing details about Sequel novella they get free and link to find out more about your main characters.

I'd test both. I'm not sure what email provider you use. Aweber lets you have separate signup forms and then you can check conversion. I'd recommend strongly to test multiple ones. Sometimes you can double signup form conversion with simple tweaks.

A million and one other things..... ;)
 

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Now give your new readers time to read your book.
You are number something or other on my TBR.
 
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