I fully admit to having had my heart in my mouth when I hit ‘send’ on the payment for this deal. It was a LOT of money, $704, to be precise.
I also admit that despite applying for a Featured Deal several times a year for several years, I still dithered about accepting it when faced with the reality of forking out that sort of sum for an advert.
Now that it’s over, I am so happy I did go through with it, and in case you are in two minds yourself about the possible ROI (return on investment), I’m going to share all my figures with you, to show you just how worthwhile it can be.
Obviously, any ad is a gamble of sorts. BB shows you the average number of sales you might expect, and you don’t know at the outset whether you will achieve that, or be one of those who contributes to the figures but has a result on the lower side.
Even so, I’d still say that provided you have more than one book published, preferably in a series, it’s going to be worth it.
My book earned 8 orange tags in total, across US, Canadian, and Australian stores.
And so onto the bit you’ve been waiting for!
To set the scene, I ran a number of ads over the course of a week. Current best advice is to try to show a gradual increase in sales rank, not a sudden spike. It seems the almighty Amazon Algorithm considers a lone spike to be an anomaly, and this makes the rankings you earn vanish far quicker than if you show a gradual ‘organic’ build up.
Now, when you apply, BB asks if you are flexible on the dates you intend to run your promo. Saying ‘yes’ increases the likelihood of success, but as in my case, that doesn’t give you much time to prepare when they allocate you a date not much more than a week in advance.
As a result, most of the more successful ad platforms I would usually use were already sold out. This is what I managed to put together, in my last minute rush (several of these sites are genre-specific):
YourNewBooks.com whole week $10
Art of Arcane Dec 1st $9.67
JustKindleBooks Dec 2nd $18
PrettyHot.com Dec 4th $15
Ebookaroo Dec 4th Free
And then, because I couldn’t get earlier dates, I also ran a couple of other ads after the BB deal, and extended my promo by an extra week
Fussy Librarian Dec 8th $17
Geektastic Dec 9th $9
Book Raid Dec 14th $15.56 (pay per click, this resulted in quite a lot of clicks)
That makes a total of $94.23 , so with the BB Featured ad, I spent a grand total of $798.23 on advertising.
I sold 25 copies of THE PRINCE’S MAN in the days leading up to the BB, and those are NOT included in the numbers I am about to report.
I tracked sales for 4 weeks from the date of the BB, with the following results:
On the day of the BB: Amazon 1570 Apple 120 Kobo 70
on the next day Amazon 283 Apple 40 Kobo 38 Paperbacks 3
You can assume not everyone will open their BB newsletter on the day it is delivered, but I had no other ads scheduled on those 2 days, so they can be attributed to the BB alone.
To make things a little confusing, this was over a period when Barns & Noble had a reporting failure. When they came back online, it was a bonus! I can’t allocate sales from B&N to separate days, but over the 2 days I sold 210 copies there, bringing me to a 2 day total of:
Amazon 1853 Apple 160 Kobo 108 B&N 210 paperbacks 3
a grand total of 2331 eBooks plus 3 paperbacks.
BookBub reports average sales for a Featured Deal in fantasy as 1860, so a target well exceeded!
In fact, is you look closely, you’ll note that my Amazon sales alone are almost spot on. I think this makes a good case for going wide (unless you have had much success in KU, which I haven’t – I’ve tried it a few times and always ended up going back to wide distribution) as I sold 478 copies on the other platforms.
This was a 99c deal, which I’d planned for one week, extended to 2 weeks, and then extended further again because for some reason Amazon’s interface refused to allow me to put the price back up to its usual $3.99
It took a couple of messages to KDP support before it finally went back up to regular price on December 23rd, so my reporting on the BB tail is not quite as anticipated, but I’m still very happy with the results.
Over the 4 weeks from the day of the BB ad, THE PRINCE’S MAN sold:
Amazon 2285 Other platforms (through Draft2Digital) 547 Total 2832 (+5 paperbacks)
of which 2766 were at 99c, and 66 copies were at full price.
I have 3 books out in the series so far, and read through was quick and promising, selling 699 copies at full price. (+4 paperbacks)
Going into the finances for the 4 weeks THE PRINCE’S MAN earned:
Amazon $894.98 + D2D $320.63 Grand total $1215.61
A profit after ad expenses of: $417.38
As I wasn’t even certain I would make a profit on the one book at 99c I’m delighted with that result, but far more thrilled with the overall figures once you factor in read through.
For all books sold over the period:
Amazon income total $2465.40 + D2D $726.26 Grand total $3191.66
A final profit of $2393.43
And in case you are wondering, the tail is still going. Since January 5th, I’m selling on average 10 books a day (up from one book a day), of which 3 are THE PRINCE’S MAN, all at full price.
So, if you get the chance at a BookBub Featured Deal, and you have several books out already, I highly recommend you take it!