A report on book promotion

I ran a book promotion for A Class Apart over the last week, so now I’m going to report the results! I hope this will be helpful for other self-published authors who are also trying to figure out how to go about promoting their books.

First of all, the basic facts:

  • I was promoting A Class Apart, the first book in my historical fiction series A Matter of Class
  • The overall promotion ran from Thursday August 23rd to Wednesday August 29th
  • I availed of a Kindle Countdown Deal on Amazon.com, marking the book down from $2.99 to 99c for the duration of the seven days
  • I availed of a Kindle Countdown Deal on Amazon.co.uk, marking the book down from £2.25 to 99p for the duration of the seven days
  • I ran a small Facebook Ad campaign for the seven days, with a budget of €5 per day, targeting women in the United States aged 25-45 who read ebooks and are fans of historical fiction, historical romance, the Outlander series, or Diana Gabaldon
  • I booked a spot in the Bargain Booksy newsletter going out on Saturday August 25th (priced at $35 for the Literary Fiction genre, which is their umbrella for several genres including historical fiction)
  • I booked a spot in The Fussy Librarian newsletter going out on Monday August 27th (priced at $12 for the Historical Fiction genre)
  • I booked a spot in the Ereader News Today newsletter going out on Monday August 27th (priced at $45 for the Historical Fiction genre)

This was my very first time to try all of the above (apart from another Facebook Ad campaign I ran a month ago). I had done as much research as I could about Kindle Countdown Deals and the various book promoters out there, but I think you never really know until you give it a go yourself.

So here are the results (just focusing on ebook sales, as the paperback wasn’t part of the discount):

  • August 23rd – 1 sale
  • August 24th – 6 sales
  • August 25th – 15 sales
  • August 26th – 7 sales
  • August 27th – 106 sales
  • August 28th – 12 sales
  • August 29th – 4 sales

In addition to this, the book’s page reads in Kindle Unlimited shot up across the week, reaching 2,020 on August 28th and 1,857 on August 29th.

I know this may look very modest in the grand scheme of things, but personally I’m really happy with the overall outcome. After the initial burst of sales around the launch in July, there had been only a trickle of sales coming in each day. So this was really quite a boost.

Having said that, there were some disappointments. I don’t think Bargain Booksy was good value at all. I paid $35 to reap 15 sales on the day of that promotion, with an additional 7 sales the following day which may be attributed to it (accounting for the time difference in the States and newsletter subscribers who might have opened their emails a bit later). Bargain Booksy didn’t have the data to confirm how many sales came directly from them, but they were able to tell me that I had 43 clicks for the promotion. Considering it went out on a Saturday, I would have expected a little more activity. I think a significant issue with this promotion is that I had to shoehorn my book into the Literary Fiction genre which is broader than targeting it specifically at Historical Fiction readers. It would be better if it was listed as a separate genre.

If all the promotions had performed so poorly, I would have become seriously worried that my book just wasn’t being presented well enough. But then Monday came along! I was expecting less action on that day because readers are supposedly more likely to purchase at the weekend, but A Class Apart still did very nicely. As there were two promotions running, it’s hard to know how many sales can be attributed to each (The Fussy Librarian told me they didn’t have access to such data, and Ereader News Today haven’t responded yet to my query). However, I’m pretty positive that I can thank ENT for the majority of them, given that they are generally well regarded by other authors, and if they are charging higher prices for their promotions that suggests that they expect their newsletters to be more lucrative. 106 sales on the Monday with an additional 12 the following day means that I made my money back between the two promotions. Happy days. 🙂

As well as sales, the other thing I was tracking across the week was my book’s ranking on Amazon. When sales went up, the ranking improved not long afterwards. There is a general Amazon Bestsellers Rank where your book is ranked within the whole Kindle Store, and then there are rankings within your book’s individual categories. The most important category for A Class Apart is Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > Irish. And I’m thrilled to say that by August 28th it had reached #9 in that category! It also reached #2,194 in the whole Kindle Store.

2018-08-28 ACA .com ebook sales rank

These results are for the store on Amazon.com. A Class Apart climbed the rankings on Amazon.co.uk as well, but not as significantly because the book promotions were mainly targeted at readers in the States.

Its ranking has started to drop again over the past couple of days, which is to be expected now that the promotions are over. Although there is an assumption out there that Amazon is supposed to give your book exposure, especially if you’re signed up to KDP Select, I think in reality that only happens if your book is already doing well, and in the beginning it won’t progress very far without advertising of some kind. So it will probably settle back into the previous pattern of things until I promote it again. Something to bear in mind is that there are certain time limits with the book promoters (e.g. I can’t advertise A Class Apart on ENT again for at least 90 days). I would really love to try BookBub, the biggest promoter of them all, but they’re very expensive so I might try saving up for that.

All in all, I think I can chalk down this promotional run as a decent achievement for A Class Apart. They are modest numbers but it’s not bad at all for a book that’s been out less than 8 weeks and had no proper marketing before it was released. I read somewhere that the majority of self-published books sell less than 250 copies in their lifetime, so that was my first sales goal. Thanks to the recent burst in sales, I broke through that barrier and beyond this week. Yay!

Time to set a new goal now. 🙂

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