Monday, 7 April 2014

Free book promo - worth it?

So, I don't know if y'all noticed, but I ran a free book promo last week. It did pretty damn well. I mean, I didn't crack the Top 100 Free list, but here's a #humblebrag picture.

Yup. #1 Free book in BDSM. Which is the genre of the book, and it's nice to be recognized. In all, about 4000 people downloaded the book. (4000 people worldwide - it was about 3300 in the US store.) It was a good week. 

That being said, most authors don't just give away a book for the heck of it. We do it because we are hoping for backlist sales, reviews, and so on. How did I do on those metrics?

Before I go there, let's talk about what I wanted to achieve with the free promo. 

1. Exposure. Honestly, the biggest reason I ran this. I just wanted more people to know I exist. I'm a new author (March was month 6.) When people read my writing, they seem to like it. I had everything to gain and nothing to lose by striving for greater exposure. 

2. Backlist sales. I've been experimenting with different end-matter. Teaching Maya had only 3 things in the end notes. 

- A link to my mailing list and blog.
- A list of all my books, with links to the Amazon US store. 
- Most importantly, an extended preview of the Professor's Pet. (The first chapter and a half - about 6000 words.) The purpose of this was to see how much lift I could get Professor's Pet from the free promo of Teaching Maya

3. Mailing list subscribers and reviews. A distant third goal. If I could get a few additional reviews for Teaching Maya and a few more subscribers for the mailing list, it would have been a nice bonus. 

So - how'd I do? 

1. I got exposure. (See picture above.) Let's see. A BookBub promo costs about $200 for a free book. (I have tried this once - they rejected Teaching Maya. I'm going to try again but in the meanwhile, I thought I'd make my own luck.) 

I'd say the cost of my free promo was about $60. Tops. None of my books sell gang-busters, so this was a somewhat optimistic estimate of the sales I'd lose from that one book for the 5-day period. For $60 - I made the #1 spot on BDSM. I'd say that's worth it. 

2. Backlist sales. I don't bother keeping track of daily sales for each of the Amazon stores, just the US one. Comparing March's sales at Day 6 to April's sales at Day 6, I'm up 28%. That's decent lift. (It's not great in terms of absolute numbers, but it's better than nothing, and so I'll take it.) I'll update lift numbers at the end of the month as well, since there's probably some medium term effect to running a free promo.

3. Mailing list subscribers and reviews. Possibly the worst performing area. I got one review for the book, and maybe a handful of mailing list subscribers. To be expected, I guess. I've only started writing reviews for books after I started writing myself, and understood what a giant pain in the ass it is to get a review. Most readers just don't bother to review, and that's just the nature of the beast. 


Will I do it again? With some minor reservations. I need exposure. I need visibility. I'll take it any way I can get it. 

However, in the future, I'll definitely make the first book of a series free, because that's clearly a good strategy. I'll definitely run a free promo on Triage sometime - but probably after I finish the series. 

And the mailing list pitch? Here it is. 

Read and enjoyed the Professor's Pet? Ever wondered what would happen when Jake moved to San Francisco? Subscribe to my New Release Mailing List today at Mailing list subscribers will receive a free Jake & Emily short story detailing what happens next. Story will be mailed out April 15 - subscribe today! 

No comments:

Post a Comment