My blow spew titles are getting weirder and weirder, which is OK with me. So here’s the deal. On Wednesday 24th June 2015 I ran a promotion with Ereader News Today. I’m running a few promos for my pretty, little bridge troll, Equivocal Destines, over the next few months, and ENT is the first. Why ENT? Because the word across the various blogs is that ENT is 1 of only 2 promo sites that reliably produce positive results – ie that actually make you more in sales than the promo costs you. I’ll be trying out some others too (I already have another scheduled) but ENT is an excellent place to start.
First, a word about my Amazon ranking
I recently organised and went on my honeymoon. In Equivocal Destines, I proposed to my girlfriend Paulina, who was, lets say, quite surprised to see my proposal in print when my paperback copies arrived – weeks after I published it. Anyway, so she said yes and we went to Crete. Check out my Twitter feed for dumb ego-posts from there. The point is, while doing all of this, I pretty much ignored my book, sales plummetted and its ranking nosedived. I regret nothing – some things are more important than sales and rankings.
Feel free to skip these points as they’re in my table below.
- Historically-speaking, my ranking has been hovering around 150-200k.
- After 1-1.5 months when I had more important things to do, with a grand total of about 3 sales (1 to a student, I found out later) my ranking had dropped to 900k.
- I organised my ENT promotion and manually dropped my price on Amazon to 99c. At the same time I updated the description with info about my promo and promo price.
- A day later I sold a single copy. My ranking went up to somewhere around 400k. I don’t remember exactly.
- On Sunday and I sold 1 copy (the price was already 99c) and my ranking jumped again to just under 150k.
- I sold a copy on Monday (in the UK) but the money didn’t appear on the KDP report until Tuesday. In the 12 hours between KDP reporting the sale and the money, my ranking dropped from 150k to 260k, most of that overnight. Beware – it seems that sales in the ‘other’ markets don’t help your ranking in the main store at all. My rank at amazon.co.uk dropped to under 100k though. My ranking is always better at amazon.co.uk. Check out my blog on that topic for my reasons why.
- On the day before my promotion (Tuesday), I sold a copy in the main store. My rank dropped from just north of 300k to 157k.
That’s what’s happening before my promotion. The ranking jumps up a lot with single-unit sales. Check out my older blog spew on my thoughts about Amazon’s ranking system to see why I think this is the case.
My ENT tasks
I actually did very little to promote this sale. As mentioned above, I had more important things on my mind.
|Weeks ago||Completed the form to advertise Equivocal Destines on ENT. It’s a standard, 99c promo which cost $20.||The promo was approved a week or 2 later.|
|Last week||Updated the blurb / synopsis at KDP, Createspace and Kobo to be more positive and proactive. See my blog spew on the topic.||Approved and visible a day later on Amazon. Instantly updated on Kobo.|
|Fri 19th||Updated the blurb / synopsis at KDP, Createspace and Kobo to include a notice about my ENT sale. I made th font red on CreateSpace and bigger on both CreateSpace and KDP. Kobo doesn’t seem to allow any pretty formatting.||Approved and visible a day later on Amazon. Instantly updated on Kobo.|
|Fri 19th||Manually reduced the price on KDP to 99c and adjusted to x.99 across all markets.||Approved and visible a day later.|
|Fri 19th||Setup promotional prices on Kobo for the 24th and adjusted to x.99 across all markets.||This worked as expected, and Kobo’s system of setting up promo prices is actually very cool. I didn’t sell any copies on Kobo, but ENT was only promoting my Amazon link, so I didn’t expect to.|
|Sat 20th||Sent out the 1st of (hopefully) many polite promotional tweets with an attached image of the book cover, which will be auto-spammed onto Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
My #ereadernewstoda #99cents promo is Wed 24th, but the discount’s up now! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SZ63XY6 #AHAprogram #IARTG
|Yep, it happened. der|
|Sat 20th||Pinned my spammed tweet on Twitter and Facebook.||Impressions = 581
Total engagements = 8
Retweets = 4
Favorites = 2
Hashtag clicks = 1
Detail expands = 1
|Sat 20th||emailed my (puny) mailing list about a blog post and added an extra section to the bottom about this promo.||This will have no effect what-so-ever since my mailing list is so new, but it’s a good habit to get into.|
|Sat 20th||Posted about Fallen Victors to the “Promoting OTHER Authors’ Books” thread athttp://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors||This has nothing to do with my promo. I just saw the thread and thought it was a nice idea.|
|Sat 20th||Posted to the “only 99c” thread at http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors:
My pretty, little bridge troll’s having an Ereader News Today sale this Wednesday, but I’ve already manually reduced the price so you can grab it for 99c now.
[[ASIN:B00SZ63XY6 Equivocal Destines (Upheaving Nidola Book 1)]]
Here’s the first part of the blurb, so I don’t waste too much space in this thread:
|I can’t find a way of verifying if this actually did anything. There’s no read counter and you can’t enter custom URLs based on short links that you can track.|
|Sat 20th||Added a thread to “The Book Bazar” http://www.kboards.com/index.php/board,42.0.html then quickly fixed it because I forgot to add a direct URL, again.
[b]My pretty, little bridge troll, [color=navy]Equivocal Destines[/color] ([url]http://authl.it/B00SZ63XY6?d[/url]), is discounted to [color=red]99c[/color] until Wednesday 24th June.[/b]
[table][tr][td]In a world plagued by hordes warped by magic into creatures hell-bent on the destruction of mankind, where [i]elemental magic[/i] holds sway and determines your lot in life, Taal is [i]of the water[/i], which should assure him a place among the revered rudas, protecting his city and assuring him the wealth it bestows. But centuries ago, it was a water wizard who caused [i]The Change[/i] that precipitated all of the disasters that followed, and now, being a water wizard is the lowest of the low.
With dreams much bigger than life in Takelberorl will allow a lowly water-boy, Taal sets out on a journey that will change his world forever. In reality, he’s a typical, 16yo boy who’s only following the pretty girl, but those electric-blue eyes (and said pretty girl’s older brother) just won’t let up on the whole Destiny thing.
From the battle-scarred plains that surround the place of his birth, through regal cities and across pristine mountain wildernesses full of mysterious forces, Taal and his makeshift band of renegades search valiantly in a quest to unmask the evil forces conspiring to annihilate all races. Taking heart-pounding risks and suffering tumultuous trials, the team experiences both horrific battles and unexpected delights.
Powerfully descriptive and yet lyrically poignant, Clarke reveals the land of Nidola as one of not only diverse wonders and startling beauty, but also exposes a world where seemingly benign occurrences have often surprising and even deep meaning. The radiant and dynamic characters transverse exquisite landscapes that are both hauntingly beautiful and fiendishly dangerous. Adventurous and exciting, yet thought-provoking and memorable, Taal’s adventure transports the reader to a unique place that won’t soon be forgotten.
[i]Universally agreed – and reviewed – as highly unique and entertaining, with deep and well-developed characters, Equivocal Destines is an excellent choice for anyone looking for something different. There’s elves and dwarves; swords, magic and action, but all set in a cohesive world unlike any other, with a full cast of original creatures, instead of relying on the stock fairytale cliches of dragons, warewolves and vampires.
Professionally-written, proofread and edited, with appropriately-themed cover art worthy of store shelves, Equivocal Destines is a quality read that shouldn’t disappoint.[/i][/td][td][img]https://raymondclarkeauthor.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/equivocal_destines_cover_for_kindle.jpg?h=300,w=150[/img][/td][/tr][/table]
This got merged with the post I made for a previous, free promo. That, I guess, sort of killed it as it had a bad subject line. Anyway, by the time I’m writing this, it’s on page 7. It got 203 views, but those are shared with the previous promo.
The results of my ENT promo were generally positive, and I definitely recommend ENT to any other authors who’re looking for advertising ideas / locales. There’s a couple of caveats, as always:
- ENT says on their site that they’re most successful with thrillers and romance titles, and this is what I found too.
- I’m thinking (but can’t confirm) that where your book lists in their email out is very important. My book was #8 of 14, which isn’t a very good placement. Couple that with my almost non-existent placement on their website, which is part of the package, and I’m thinking I was modestly hamstrung by bad placement. I think they do a first-come, first-served method of choosing the listing order, so book your promo early. I had trouble even finding my book on their site, which says a great deal about late setups.
So here’s my results, in painstaking detail. It includes the sales listed in the notes above. I’ve included my ranking at random points along the way to give you all an idea of efficacy – in the fantasy genre – but this list is based on whenever I happened to check, which I did mostly to compile this list.
|Time & Day||Cumulative Sales Totals||Sales Ranking||Notes|
|June 17th||0 sales for 1 month||900k||I had more important things to worry about – my wedding and honeymoon.
The point is, if you don’t advertise (for any reason, legitimate or not), your sales and ranking will suffer.
|June 18th||0 sales for 1 month||900k||I organised the ENT sale earlier but only manually changed the price on June 18th, in preparation for the sale on the 24th (Amazon warns you that their changes can take 5 days to propagate, but in practice it always updates within a few hours.|
|June 19th||1||approx. 400k|
|June 21st||2||approx. 150k|
|June 22nd||3||approx. 260k||This sale was in amazon.co.uk so didn’t help my amazon.com ranking at all. Lesson re-learned!|
|June 23rd||4||approx. 157k|
|Wed 24th June||23||29,442|
|Wed 24th June||24||16,402|
|Wed 24th June||25||14,300|
|Thu 25th||32 but later||11,854|
|Thu 25th @ 1:30pm||36||16,142|
|Thu 25th @ 3pm||36||21,804|
|Thu 25th @ 4:50pm||36||22,562|
|Thu 25th @ 11pm||36||24,838|
One final thought on ENT’s sales. I must admit I was expecting a dramatic increase in sales (which I saw) and a more parabolic decrease in sales over 3 or maybe 4 days (which didn’t happen). I don’t know about you, but I often check my ENT emails a few days after I receive them and possibly buy a book later. Yep, I’ve used ENT as a customer too. I was expecting a lot of other subscribers to buy books over a few days, but I didn’t realistically see it. I have to assume either people think the book won’t still be on sale in 3 days or there’s just so many good books that most people don’t bother with anything but the latest email. Either way, factor this into your marketing plan.
How do we judge success?
What’s your goal from a marketing campaign? What’s mine? Here’s my thoughts.
Making a profit
If my goal was to make an immediate profit, I failed. I spent $20 and made about $15, depending on whether or not you count the before and after sales. I do.
If my goal was to increase the general visibility of my book so that potential customers can see it on Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” list, then I also failed, sort of.
My list was, I think, 5 pages long. Now it’s 8 pages long. So there’s more books on my list. I’m linked to a wider selection of titles. I checked though, these books appear on my list, but I don’t appear on any of their lists, so my book’s still invisible. How is this possible? Because not enough people have bought my book yet. The correlation has to be strong in 2 directions to be useful, or at least 1, but the other direction. 100 people bought Book X and a couple of those people bought my book, so Book X is on my list, but with only 2 people buying mine, my book’s not on Book X’s list, yet.
Let’s not be too cynical about this though. Do any of you really expect a single round of advertising to catapult your book to stardom? Yes? Then you’re an idiot! This is round 1 of a long process for me, and I’m confident that it’ll end in success, but it’s not here yet. I really do believe that ENT will help my book, but in the long run.
What about bragging rights as a goal? If this is the case, then I’m a jackpot winner. Check this one out. There’s my novel, Equivocal Destines, on the same page as all of the Harry Potter novels. How awesome is that? It was only there for a few hours, and it’s long gone now, but I get those bragging rights forever with this (non-photoshopped) screen scrape.
ENT is a winner. Less so if your genre’s fantasy, more so if it’s thrillers or romance (see my next post in a few days for details) but it’s definitely worth your 20 bucks, in my humble opinion.