In which I fall flat on my face…
I’m putting this embarrassing failure out there 1) to help others not make my mistakes 2) maybe someone can help me do better next time 3) to help anyone else who fails at promo to feel better. Cry in my DMs any time.
I read a lot of books about promo (particularly KU) strategies after my bookbub featured deal in March (the benefits of which I am still feeling – my income through KU is still up maybe 200% + compared to February, and it’s now July).
I am taking all my hist rom wide in September, and I wanted to try out a KU promo. So I thought, book a load of promo, get loads of free downloads, then profit in KU reads and read through. That’s the theory, that’s what the books tell me should happen. That’s how my March BookBub Feature deal worked. Simples.
One critical lesson I have learned is about the value of extended epilogues for newsletter sign ups. (I might cover this in another blog post if anyone is interested. Tweet me.) So at the back of The Mistletoe Trap (hereto forth MT) I put an excerpt for Falling for a Rake and a sign up for an extended epilogue.
Anyhow, none of you are here for that. You’re here to chuckle over my dismal numbers. It’s alright. 🙂
This is what I booked, the cost, and the results in number of downloads:
Bookrebel $31 and Ebook Daily $7: 413
Bookspry $20: 500
Red Roses Romance $35: 313
Freebooksy $95: 1828
Fussy Librarian $52.8: 1600
Sell through was maybe 1 copy per day. KU page reads peaked at 815 on the last day of promo. Cost per download is between 3 and 11 cents, which is high.
All those numbers are at least 50% smaller than I had hoped for. And the wave of KU reads… never materialised. Suffice to say, I am a long way from breaking even on this promo.
Okay. So what went wrong?
First. I reckon the cover was a disaster. I changed it just before the promo and left it in place for the first 2 days before I realised it was a distastes and changed it. (And the downloads improved a bit on day 3-5).
I thought I was being clever, making it a bit like these trendy Bridgerton style covers. But. This meant 1) That there was a disjoint between the cover on the promo website and the cover on Amazon. 2) Anyone who had already bought/downloaded it might have clicked through and been annoyed. 3) I think maybe it just isn’t as good a cover, especially for promo outside of northern hemisphere winter. The other cover is ‘warmer’.
Left is the old cover, that was used for days 3-5 ish. Right is the new cover that was days 1-2 ish.
The ‘new’ cover doesn’t say sexy hist rom clearly enough. It might even say chaste mystery? I dunno. I don’t know what I was thinking. Sometimes I am a blond. I have to try things to realise they don’t work. It didn’t.
I still think the cover needs a refresh, but clearly that cover was NOT it.
Christmas book in June
When I asked on twitter, many many people told me they read Christmas books all year around. Over 50%. Which might explain why I only got about 50% of the downloads I might have otherwise hoped for. Apparently people don’t want Christmas books in June. Go figure.
MT was free for about two months back in Jan/Feb/March of this year, but didn’t get a ton of downloads. It’s also had KU free periods too, and was free on non-Amazon retailers for most of 2020. So it’s been around. In particular, It had a Bookspry promo back in January, and one with Love Kissed, and I think that’s why the Bookspry numbers were less than half of the January numbers.
I think if I had run this promo in November, I’d’ve found it much more lucrative, not just because of the proximity to Christmas, but the time between promos.
But I’m impulsive and I wanted to try it out while all my books were in KU. <shrug>
Other stuff of note
Always always always do a thorough search for discount codes before booking Fussy Librarian. There is always a code.
Bookrebel always give you the day before the day you ask for. (They’re a pita and I probably won’t book with them again, despite many people telling me they’re great.)
A series really really does help with this. A lot.
I impulse booked BookRebel for the same day as eBookdaily. But I suspect Ebookdaily was actually responsible for more of the downloads. And they’re so much cheaper, I’d use them again.
Red Roses Romance over promised and under delivered for the price. They were the most expensive per download. I wouldn’t use them again.
Although this promo was a bust, I got newsletter subscribers from it. People wanted that epilogue. Really wanted it. And when I emailed them this month, I got a spike in sales. Whoop! So although I hesitate to say it was worthwhile just for that, it wasn’t an utter failure.
There are some indications of sell through – not in KU – from this promo. My income is up compared to before the promo, but: not enough to cover the cost and not with MT sales that I could unambiguously attribute to this promo.
I still haven’t gotten around to enabling comments, so if you’d like to scorn / commiserate / cry about your own promo fails, find me on twitter. 🙂