Monday, November 10, 2014

Behind the Scenes of a Free Book Promotion: Part 4

In posts one, two, and three of this series I talked about my previous promotions and how I prepared for the next one. Now for the results. Did it have an impact on my sales?  Did I get a return of investment?
As I mentioned in the first post of this series, my 2013 promotion with Book Gorilla was a flop. I got over 800 downloads, but my sales in the month after the promotion were actually less than my sales before the promotion.

Undoubtedly many people download free books do so because of the deal, and the book is filed away forever among the thousands in their collection, never to be read. A small percentage of the downloads is by readers who find the book interesting enough to read right away, and may perhaps leave a review and potentially buy the next book in the series.

The 855 from the previous promotion did not prove enough to have a significant percentage to produce post-promotional sales from the added visibility, and then I did not have any other works published to benefit from any readers who wanted more.

This time I got over 3,600 downloads. Was that enough to have an impact?


When the Paid Kindle Store ranking for The Pirates of Alnari was reset, it was 13,586, and #37 in the Sea Stories category--the best it has ever been since it was published.

So I did better, but did I do good enough?

In the month prior to the promotion, I had a total of 1 sale and 2 borrows.  Across all my titles.  Yikes. Assuming each borrow brings in $1.52, that comes to a total of $5.76.

In the three weeks since the promotion began, I have had a total of 27 sales ($63.96) and 9 borrows ($13.68). Many of the sales and borrows (11 and 2 respectively) came the day after the promotion ended. The rest have come in ones and twos since then. Many were for The Pirates of Alnari, no doubt due to the additional visibility on Amazon (e.g., showing up in the Also Bought sections). However, about half of the post-promotion sales (13 sales and 4 borrows) are for the sequel, The Grand Masquerade, and my short story Our Turn to Shoot. Therefore it appears that some people who have read The Pirates of Alnari are moving onto my other books, which is a good sign. Over the long term, as more people of the 3,600 who downloaded it read it, hopefully they will consider leaving a review and move on to reading The Grand Masquerade.

Also in the aftermath, The Pirates of Alnari got three more reviews (2 5-star and 1 4-star), and The Grand Masquerade got one more (5-star) review.

In summary, my total earnings in the three weeks comes to $76.44, which is just over half my investment of $150.50. More will hopefully trickle in over the next month or so, perhaps enough to earn me a return on my investment.

At this point however, while the boost in sales is encouraging,the bottom line is that the promotion was still a failure.  It did not provide a ROI.  Lessons for next time are obvious:  I need more titles to benefit from the post-promotional boost, and I need to keep trying.

In the meantime, seeing as I took a lot of David Gaughran's advice for this promo, I wanted to give his latest release a plug.  It's a steal bundled with two other great ebooks for indie authors, so pick it up! 

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