I always like reading about other people’s experiences with marketing, and as a result I’ve always been happy to share figures from my biggest sale of the year. Christmas seems to be bumper sale time for me, so I regularly organise a bunch of promos, even if I don’t get a BookBub Featured Deal.
I have been lucky: I’ve scored a BBFD each Christmas for 3 years now – the first was an International (everywhere but the US), while last year and this, have been all regions.
As I explained a couple weeks ago, I had some issues this year which means my figures are a little down on what I might have achieved if I hadn’t made the glaring error with Apple, and my Internet issues also mean my figures are less accurate than I would wish, but they’re still good enough to take a look at.
The last few years my sales have been small but steady, which doesn’t bother me too much as I look on this as a long term project as I build my catalogue. Releasing the final book, THE PRINCE’S HEIR, in THE FIVE KINGDOMS series is a milestone for me, and I’m very happy with how it’s been received.
I had 5 books for sale before December, and could rely on selling one book a day. Not much, compared to some, but also a lot steadier than others. Since my promo, a month ago now, I’m selling consistently a minimum of 5 full-price books a day, so the effects of the promo are continuing. It will be interesting to see for how long.
Setting up the promo is always a bit of a leap of faith. Several of the ads need booking a couple of months in advance, or you lose the chance, while you can’t apply for a BBFD more than a month in advance, and you don’t know which day they will offer you.
Ideally, to get the best results from the good old Amazon Algorithm, you want to show a gradual rise in sales towards a peak, rather than the other way around, which it views as an anomaly, so the best idea would be to stack smaller ads before the BB. If only this were achievable!
I reduced the price of book #1, THE PRINCE’S MAN, to 99c/99p on the 14th December, to coincide with the release of the new volume, and did some free promo work (newsletters, blog shares, facebook, etc.), but didn’t plan on bringing in the big guns until the holiday period, when historically I’ve had my best sales.
I booked one ad for each day between December 25th and Jan 2nd, and to my (small) disappointment, BB offered me Christmas Day, so right at the start of the period. I will never know how much effect that has on the sales tail, but it isn’t ideal. On the other hand, getting one at all is always a coup!
Figures (in UK pounds)
So, NOT including the BB, I spent £162.15 on ads. The scary cost of the BB was £538.74, bringing my total ad spend for this promo to: £700.89
Day 1: Christmas Day/BookBub day, THE PRINCE’S MAN sold Amazon 1092 copies, Kobo 53, B&N 94
To my delight, on the same day, I also sold (at full price): book #2 Amazon 21 Kobo 2; book #3 Amazon 17 Kobo 2; book #4 Amazon 21 Kobo 3 (remembering this was a recent release, so it was accumulating quite a few sales per day even before the promo).
Day 2: Book Barbarian ad, Amazon 286 Kobo 23 B&N 30 (some of these figures will be attributable to the BB, but impossible to say how many. As a rough guide Book Barbarian ads have previously netted me around 50+ sales)
Day 3: Choosy Bookworm ad, Amazon 100 Kobo 12 B&N 8 Apple 1 (Ditto the above comment)
Day 4: BookGrow ad, Amazon 45 Kobo 7, OverDrive 2
Day 5: Best Book Monkey ad, Amazon 21 Apple 1
Day 6: Reign of Reads ad, Amazon 18 Kobo 6
Day 7: Amazon 26 Kobo 6
Day 8 (Jan 1st): Amazon 22 Kobo 2 B&N 5
Day 9: Amazon 11 Kobo 1 Apple 1
After putting THE PRINCE’S MAN back to full price, in the next week I sold
Amazon 25 Kobo 1 B&N 1
So, during the 9 days of the sale book #1 sold
Amazon 1621 Kobo 110 B&N 137 Apple (despite the lack of sale price) 3 and OverDrive 2
A grand total of 1873 copies of THE PRINCE’S MAN at sale price according to my figures. However, Amazon reporting tells me I sold 1632 copies, which, assuming that’s more correct than my daily running total, brings the figure up to 1884, which, considering I have no Apple sales to speak of (I sold over 200 copies there last year) makes me quite happy!
Even better, is the knock-on effect on sales of subsequent books in the series. During the sale period AT FULL PRICE, these sold:
Book #2, THE PRINCE’S SON Amazon 94 Kobo 7 B&N 6 Apple 1
Book #3, THE PRINCE’S PROTEGE Amazon 47 Kobo 7 B&N 3 Apple 1
Book #4, THE PRINCE’S HEIR Amazon 49 Kobo 5 B&N 4 Apple 1
Turning this into money, rough figures for the sale period were:
Book #1 at sale price of 99c/99p: £530.28
Book #2 (full price) £216.66
Book #3 (full price) £155.77
Book #4 (full price) £170.33
A grand total of £1073.04
Now this means I turned a small profit over the 9 days of the sale of £372.15, which isn’t huge considering the outlay, BUT the effects continue, which is rather more the point of holding the sale in the first place.
Royalties so far for the 3 weeks of this month (January) are running at £759.55, which makes me VERY happy!
As I said at the start, I’m not a big seller, and I’m not depending on my royalties as my only income – I couldn’t, at this point – but the extra on top of my regular work is very welcome, and as I build my book catalogue these figures should continue to grow, year-on-year, this being the nature of indie publishing, where our books never go out of print.
If you have any questions, please ask away…