Last week, I had my first Kindle Countdown Deal for my novel Love, Lies & Clones. If you remember back to my comments in my 30 day and 60 day self-publishing update, I raised the price of my novel to $2.99 solely so I could participate in this promotion. It’s also one of the reasons to be exclusive to Amazon.
(If you don’t know what a Kindle Countdown Deal is, it’s a short time period–up to a week–where you can put your book on “sale” to attract more readers. When the book is on “sale” you still collect the higher royalty rate (70%) rather than the 35% they’d typically mark you down to.)
Previously, I posted that I decided to run pain promotions to advertise my countdown deal. Here was my line up and spending. I added my daily sales to each line.
2/16 – Book Barbarian ($20) & My Book Cave-All Week Exposure ($20) 21 eBook sales
2/17 – eReader News Today ENT ($30) & Sweet Free Books ($7) & My Newsletter 35 eBook sales
2/18 – Book Sends / eReader IQ ($35) 21 eBook sales
2/19 – Guest blog for Mystery Thriller Week (Free), HeadTalker Campaign (Free), & a few Ask David Tweets ($2 – Maybe) 7 eBook sales
2/20 – eReader Cafe ($25) & a few more Ask David Tweets ($1 maybe) 13 eBook sales
2/21 – Free Kindle Books & Tips FKBT ($30) 14 eBook sales
2/22 – Bargain Booksy $50 24 eBook sales
My goals weren’t to make back my investment. Actually, I was only hoping to make back half of it. So, how’d I do?
- I sold 137 electronic books and 1 paperback.
- I had 2706 page reads during the promo and 661 reads in the 5 days since the promo.
- Total spend was $219. Royalty earnings of the book sales and page reads was about $109. (Yup. I made back roughly half of my spend.)
But making money wasn’t my goal at all. From reading a ton of blog posts from other authors, I knew I wouldn’t make money with a countdown deal. My two main motivations were:
- Have people find my book! There are 5 MILLION ebooks in the kindle store. How the heck do people even find mine? By selling your book, you build up your ranking, your also bought lists, Kindle Unlimited borrows/page reads, you get put on the Kindle Countdown Page, and other things. –OR–
- Prove to myself that being exclusive to Amazon is not worth it. That, even with paying good money for promotions and doing the Amazon special deals, people still don’t find your book.
I had other motivations too:
- Determine if I’m better off listing this as a mystery/thriller or a sci-fi. Now, when I peek at my also boughts and the number of books sold with each promotion, it appears sticking with sci-fi is the winner.
- Build up “also boughts” to make it discoverable when people browse other books. I went from 1 page of also boughts to 13.
- Determine if it’s worth giving it away Free. (Or not promoting the countdown deal at all.)
- Decide to “go wide” or stay exclusive to Amazon. I still want to try a few more things before I make this decision. (Things I have up ahead: Kindle Unlimited Cross Promo, Publishing a new book & possibly experimenting with free days.)
- Experiment for future book launches. I wanted to try these promo sites before launching Blood & Holy Water. I want to try to do that launch right.
- Experiment with these paid promo sites. Do the higher priced ones get you more sales? (Bargain Booksy was not worth the $50, in my opinion.)
To my surprise, what I wasn’t expecting was to actually have people read the book and respond. I mean, come on, Joy, that’s your main motivation for writing. I had two nice things happen to me.
- I received one review from the countdown so far — a 5 star! (I love 5 star reviews.)
- I received an email from somebody else, praising my story saying he’ll be watching for more books from me.
Maybe these two will become loyal “true” fans.
Also, I did hit #59 in one Amazon category. (Probably better than that, but I went to bed.) I was in the top 100 in the other two categories.
So, my overall thoughts on the Countdown Deal? I’m still not really sure.
- On one hand, I’m happy because I sold 138 books plus had people actually read it through the Kindle Unlimited program. That’s my goal right? To have people read my book? BUT, something sits wrong with me having to lose money to do so. I debate pricing my book at free to get it in people’s hands, but still struggle if people actually read the free books they download. I mean, I have a pile of free books on my Kindle I haven’t touched. Now, if I pay for them, I’m more likely to read them. Then I debate going permanently at 99 cents. I was hoping to earn back my initial investment before I went this route, but I don’t know. Have I mentioned that I just want people to read my book?
- On the other hand, it’s a fiscally losing problem. I understand BookBub is really the way to go with adverting that brings a positive return on your investment (and it comes with a hefty price tag of somewhere around $500 depending on the genre.) The problem: Bookbub is quite restrictive and only select a fraction of the people that apply. I’ll try for it, as soon as I have 20 reviews and have Blood & Holy Water published. The other downside, is I had to raise the price of my book to $2.99 for 30 days before the promo (and 14 days after). I wonder how many sales I lost because of it? I mean, I made more money at $2.99, but making money is not my primary goal. (And less book sales = lower rank on Amazon.) Also, there were other free cross-promotion opportunities I would have liked to take part in, but couldn’t because my book was priced at $2.99 with no flexibility.
Lessons learned: If I do this again, things I want to remember.
- If the #1 spot in the book’s category is possible, STACKING PROMOS on a single day or over a few days is a better option. (You can check an approximate number of books sold per day for the #1 position by plugging it into this free tool HERE. It tells you how many books per day of that book sell…you have to be able to sell more than that number.)
- If the #1 spot is not possible, you want to spread the sales out. With the Amazon algorithms, consistent sales (and reviews) keep your built up rank longer–which makes you more visible.
- Some sites are better than others for promoting. I picked my promotion sites based on other’s recommendations. My gut’s telling me that Book Barbarian, ENT, My Newsletter, (maybe eReadercafe & FKBT) are my best choices for next time. (Of note, back when I first released, I used much cheaper promo sites and had very little results. I was intentionally using more expensive ones for this promo.)
- Newsletter is great. People click photos, so make it pretty. Keep building your newsletter list.
- In the mornings, before the paid promo launched, I had very few sales. I really believe that just having a countdown deal, with no advertising, will not get you far.
I come back to the same conclusion. How do you sell more books? Write more books! Everyone says it’ll take off with book 3 or 4…probably in a single series.
Again, thanks for sharing this journey with me. Until next time.
Feel free to share your thoughts and wisdom in the comments.