Unless you are a household name and automatically sell books based on your name or brand recognition, you’re going to need to purchase some advertising in order to move some books.
The plain and simple fact of the matter is that Indie Authors must make serious attempts to become individual marketing professionals if they want to be successful. Gone are the days when writing a book was a significant accomplishment. Any idiot can write and publish a book. Nowadays, there is a significant qualifier to success: writing a book that gets read. Notice that I didn’t say write a good book, because the success of books like the 50 Shades series has shown that writing quality should be a concern, but gets lost in the shuffle of marketing.
If you can get a handle on how to sell your book, it will make money regardless of the content, in spite of it even. Worry about quality and content! But learn the ropes on how to market and don’t plant your flag that says “I’m a writer and I refuse to learn advertising.” I’m not there, yet, but I recently scored thousands of downloads while toying with some marketing techniques and here were my results…
My cost was $201 to get ads out (I also sent to my newsletter list and social media partners) for a Free giveaway and overlapped book #2 at .99 (countdown deal) during the promo. Over the next month these were the results (I also ran rotating free novella giveaways at all times before and after—I have like 20 ebooks that I constantly cycle to generate those small KENP blips you can see on my KU results graph before the post-advert readers begin to ramp up.) The graphic gets hard to read because the ad spike nearly hits 4k when my daily numbers are more like 20, which isn’t a big enough to show by comparison.
$65.29 (13,397 KENP over 30 days)
$77.72 KDP sales
+15 book reviews on amazon
Like an idiot, I ran all of these ads on about the same day, rather than stacking my promos to build a tiered, concentrated effort. I still made back an estimated $175.68 over this period. I also didn’t have everything yet optimized on my page listing (Since then, I have paid for a professional cover redesign for both covers and created a written plan to try and maximize how well the book could do when I give it another go.)
Prior to trying ad stacking, I was running Facebook Ads, but lost money continually with ads—even if I did have a bunch of signups generated for my mailing list because of them. I was hoping that I could generate some read-through and KENP money, but was far from breaking even. While these ads ran I switched off my ads and began pushing mailing list signups through Newsletter Swaps and Story Origin promotions. At only the added cost of elbow grease I began averaging +100 new mailing list signups per week: far better than I was doing with Facebook ads once you factor in the unsubscribes (it seemed like 20-30% dropped off within a few days of my onboarding sequence which is good for list health, but hurts in the wallet when the cost for subscriber kept crawling closer to .80 after the first month of ads).
If you hadn’t read my earlier article about how a friend and I each flushed away fistfuls of Benjamins on an expensive ad package, (we lost about $2,500 between our efforts and sold hardly any books) I’ve been reluctant to trust adverts. I want to wade back in cautiously and stack my ads so that I get the best return, spread my dollars into a few services’ client bases, and draw heavily on recommendations of other writers who have used services with success. I am hoping to both scale up what I recently accomplished and also improve the results so that I do better than break even.
Here is the simple, 90 day market plan I created.:
Day 0 is the promo launch date for the first ad. First, I will run a count-down on my 5-book SF boxset. Overlapping that, I will run a small ad and set my 3-book fantasy series boxset to free. Hopefully these two things will get some hits on my name and get people downloading my content which should boost my KENP numbers. I don’t know that those things factor into amazon’s algorithms, but I know I sometimes get promo emails pitching me books I may be interested in after checking out an author, so I’m hoping this might trigger some of free email promos/publicity from the great Amazon/Skynet as the main promotion ramps up at 0-day. It’s only a $7 gamble and the additional KENP ought to pay for that (each are like 800-1000 pages so 2 complete reads will pay for it.
-45 enroll in KU and schedule book ads and select free date
-40 change next book in the series to a reduced price/countdown deal.
-30 schedule NewsLetter swap promos (make it for a day when NL drops)
-22 schedule fantasy boxset giveaway with Arrancat via Fiverr ($7)
-17 boxset kindle countdown deal (SF @.99)
-15 Fantasy boxset free deal (to get 10 day lead time to boost overall KENP numbers)
-13 boxset kindle countdown deal (SF @1.99)
-12 boxset kindle countdown deal (SF @2.99)
-11 boxset kindle countdown deal (SF @3.99)
-7 schedule both free and .99 promo service for book #2 with Arrancat via Fiverr
0 biggest 3 ads run. NL swaps go live. Social Media push with a boosted Video ad ($20). Send schedule Newsletter early that morning. (Arrancat $12, BK Knights $7, Free Booksy $100, Genre Pulse $17)
+1 2 more ads. Social Media push (book barbarian $50, Ignite your book $1)
+2 1 ad. Social Media push (Fussy Librarian $28)
+3 1 ad. Social Media push (Your New Books $124 +books butterfly ad for book #2 $70)
+4 1 ad. Social Media push (ENT $40)
+5 1 ad; book 2 at 1.99. Social Media push (eBook Deals today $5)
+6 book #2 at 2.99
+7 book #2 at 3.99
+30 NewsLetter… follow up with a report on how well your last promo blitz went
+45 tally assoc. $ and KU page reads, plus acx add-ons
TOTAL COST: $481
I’ll come back and link to this article when I have an update in the future once I actually try this plan… stay tuned for part 2 a few months down the road.au