Marketing: Results from Paid Promotion of FREE eBook

Lessons in Self-publishingOn Friday, my adult Christmas romance eBook Twistmas – The Season for Love was reduced to FREE for two days. To promote it on the first day, I added the book to Betty Book Freak’s mailing list. You can read about that here.

I took readings at each hour (Well, not each hour. I did sleep during the 24-hour span). I recorded the free downloads and the rankings on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com to get a feel on how the book sale performed.

Betty Book Freak’s email arrived in my inbox at 10:00 am Atlantic Standard Time (Nova Scotia time). By that time, seven books were already downloaded. My rankings for Free in Kindle Store were 21,332 (Amazon.com) and 18,810 (Amazon.ca).

Twistmas_Diane_Lynn_McGyver AMAZONFor this exercise, I’m going to focus on the overall rankings, not the subcategories because they don’t give an accurate picture, and because a book can make it into the top ten with very few sales depending on the subcategories chosen by the author/publisher.

I tweeted news about the free eBook and posted a notice to my Facebook pages. By 5:00 pm, 42 books were downloaded, giving me a ranking of 4,990 (Amazon.com) and 997 (Amazon.ca). When I went to bed at 10:00 pm (yes, I’m an early bird), my rankings were 3,800 (Amazon.com) and 542 (Amazon.ca). A total of 78 books were downloaded on Friday.

The highest rankings in the subcategories all day was reached at 10:00 pm. Both were in the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Holidays: 43 (Amazon.com) and 14 (Amazon.ca). The most books (9 in total) were downloaded between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm.

Comparing With Past Free Days

On December 26, 27 and 28, 2015, I put Twistmas up for free with no paid advertising. I posted a notice to this blog, the Quarter Castle Publishing page and my Facebook page. In those three days, the number of books downloaded were 33 (Dec 26), 60 (Dec 27) and 17 (Dec 28) for a total of 110.

Of course, this was the prime time for readers to want a Christmas romance. Doing the math, it appears the paid promotion helped download 45 more eBooks on the first day.

Day Two of the Free Download Sale

Subscribers opening Betty Book Freak’s email a day late would see my book, and when they went to Amazon, they’d find it still free. This may have generated a few downloads on Saturday. By 8:00 am, there were 4 eBooks downloaded, and my rankings were 2,888 (Amazon.com) and 245 (Amazon.ca).

I tweeted the post and mentioned it again on Facebook. A few wonderful folks who follow this blog reblogged the post, tweeted or shared it elsewhere either on this day or on Friday. Thank you for sharing.

In total 28 books were downloaded on Saturday. There was a tie for the time for the highest downloads. Five books were claimed between 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm, and between 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm. My highest ranking of the two days was reached by 9:00 am: 2,887 (Amazon.com) and 246 (Amazon.ca).

Stats of Other Books in Betty Book Freak’s Email

Gauging the downloads of my eBook gave me the reception of a free Christmas romance in February, but it didn’t tell me how non-seasonal books offered for free or a book on sale would do. My biggest question was: How do non-free eBooks fare?

When Betty Book Freak’s email arrived, I immediately clicked Amazon links to all of the books listed. There were twelve in total (including mine). I chose Amazon over the other sellers because the others don’t provide rankings. I recorded the books at 10:01 am and 10:03 pm from Amazon.com only.

Four books offered on sale

  • $3.53 Kindle Countdown, regular $3.99 (125 reviews) went from 88,538 to 17,295
  • $2.15 Kindle Countdown, regular $2.99 (10 reviews) went from 1,607,321 to 31,408
  • $5.08 Kindle Countdown, regular $5.10 (6 reviews) went from 6,046 to 7,196
  • $0.99 regular $3.99 (1 review) went from 1,002,993 to 1,014,256

Eight books (including mine) offered for free

  • #1 (1,205 reviews): from 54 to 64
  • #2 (11 reviews): from 17,906 to7,672
  • #3 (37 reviews): from 882 to 1,170
  • #4 (52 reviews): from 107 to 177
  • #5 (369 reviews): from 130 to 172
  • #6 (240 reviews): from 61 to 73
  • #7 (81 reviews): from 2,225 to 2,742
  • #8 (0 reviews; my book): from 21,332 to 3,800

Although I have no idea how many books were sold, I can get an idea of how the day went by the rankings. It appears the only things worse than $0.99 was $5.08. The sweet spot for pricing an eBook is $3.99, so perhaps $3.53 did well because of this. It helps that it had 125 reviews.

As for the free books offered…I don’t know what to say. I read a few reviews, and although not all were favourable, I can’t say why some did better than others. Perhaps it was the genre. eBook #1 with 1,205 reviews had many negative reviews because the story ended abruptly, and readers weren’t happy they had to buy another book to learn the outcome.

More of the Story

Although promotions were for one day, their influence can last longer. I have no idea what the rankings were for the books offered for free, so I can’t judge the current rankings to see if they are still benefiting from the paid promotion. I can, however, see if the books in the PAID category are doing better or worse. Here are those four books again with the 10:01 am and 10:03 pm rankings on Friday February 12th, and their rankings from today (Sunday February 14) at 10:13 pm.

Four books offered on sale

  • $3.53 Kindle Countdown, regular $3.99 (125 reviews) went from 88,538 to 17,295 to 6,667
  • $2.15 Kindle Countdown, regular $2.99 (10 reviews) went from 1,607,321 to 31,408 to 11,536
  • $5.08 Kindle Countdown, regular $5.10 (6 reviews) went from 6,046 to 7,196 to 18,023
  • $0.99 regular $3.99 (1 review) went from 1,002,993 to 1,014,256 to 417,860

RESULTS: All books but one are doing better today than they were on Friday night. Sales  influenced more sales.

My Opinion: I’ve been watching several mailing lists the past six to eight weeks. Several of these books have made an appearance on them multiple times. Perhaps those in the mailing lists have already downloaded their free copy. These authors may need to find new websites to promote their books to reach fresh audiences.

ALSO: Promoting a book with a price tag will increase the ranking in the PAID categories, which is what we really want to do.

Things I Noted

Writers write image by meAlthough Betty Book Freak has 15.3K Twitter followers, my book did not land on their Twitter feed. None of the books in the mailing list did. Her ad to let writers know about her service is pinned to the top, but if you click on it, it doesn’t take you to her page. You have to look to the left margin, find her webpage and click. I exert the effort to do this, but others may not.

Ranking Exposure on Twitter by Betty Book Freak: 1% since the link to her site is there, and if readers follow it and then click on the right square (for February 12th), they will find my book.

Betty Book Freak has 2,579 Facebook followers. I checked a few times throughout the day to see if my book was posted to the news feed, and I didn’t see it. I checked this morning and see it was posted at 9:00 pm Friday night. That’s not an ideal time, but anyone clicking the ad a few hours later would be happy to see the book was still free. If I had only a one-day free, they would have been disappointed.

Conclusion

Results of Book PromotionAlthough Betty Book Freak uses Twitter and Facebook, their contributions are minimal. The biggest influence is the mailing list. This isn’t a horrible thing; if she has thousands on her mailing list, this can be very beneficial. Mailing lists are credited with being excellent avenues for spreading news.

However, we aren’t provided with the number of subscribers. Although there may be thousands of readers who subscribe, there could also be thousands of authors like me who subscribed because they used the service.

Will I use Betty Book Freak again? Yes. In the near future I will offer Shadows in the Stone for a discounted price, probably $0.99 to encourage readers to eventually purchase the second book in the series Scattered Stones.

Are there other book promoting services that do a better job than Betty Book Freak? Oh, yeah, there’s BookBub, but I can’t afford more than six hundred dollars for a one-day ad. Betty Book Freak is cheap, and new eyes will look at your book.

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17 thoughts on “Marketing: Results from Paid Promotion of FREE eBook

    • Thanks, Judy. I haven’t tried any paid advertisement for my books yet. This was the first one. I’ll be trying several different services this year–including Facebook–and posting results here.

      • FB lets you target your audience by country, age, etc. I’m not a huge FB person, but you can boost for as little as $2 CDN. They do overstate the reach (In my experience) but I think you’d get more targeted results.

        • I’m not a huge fan of Facebook either. It’s changed a lot in the past six years–not always for the good. I originally got an account to keep track of my teens. I often threaten to abandon it. Some day I will. I’ve read a few comments about Facebook ads. Sometimes the are great; other times, not so. Thanks, Judy.

    • I should have another one scheduled with Betty by the end of the week. It will interesting to see results for a book that costs $0.99, down from $3.99. All the best to you this week, too.

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