Ebook price promotions can be a great way to drive sales, boost revenue, and build buzz for an author. To run a price promotion, you simply discount one of your books across retailers for a limited amount of time. The aim is to generate interest among bargain ebook buyers, 95% of whom are willing to take risks on new authors when they can try them out at a lower price point. When these readers discover an author they love, they become lifelong fans who are happy to pay full price for other books by that author.
BookBub has featured tens of thousands of price promotions in our daily Featured Deals. Our publisher and author partners often ask us, “How long should I run my price promotion?” The short answer is: it depends on your goals.
Before running a price promotion, publishers and authors should be clear on exactly what goal they’re trying to achieve. Depending on this goal, the length of your promotion will vary. In this post we’ll outline a few of the most common goals for a price promotion and give you some advice on how long to keep your book discounted in each scenario. But keep in mind that to achieve any of these goals, you’ll need to make readers aware of your price drop through services like BookBub.
If your goal is to increase revenue…
If your main priority is to increase revenue from a particular book, discount it for five days or fewer. Authors see a 4x higher increase in post-promotion revenue when the book is discounted for five days or fewer. (Tweet this stat!) The key here is to revert your book to full price while it’s still high on retailer bestseller lists in order to maximize full-price sales and thereby drive more revenue.
If your goal is to market a book series…
If your main objective is to promote an entire series, the most effective strategy is to discount the first book in the series, or make that book free. But whether you decide to drop the price of the first book or another book in the series, discount that book for more than three days. Authors see a 4x higher increase in sales of other books in the series if the price promotion lasts longer than three days. (Tweet this stat!) You want to allow enough time for news of the discount to spread virally, since your aim is to find as many new series fans as possible.
If your goal is to hit a bestseller list…
If you’re hoping to enhance an author’s career by making him or her (or yourself!) a bestseller, maximize your promotion during a specific week by keeping your price lowered for the entire week. (Tweet this tip!) Focus all your marketing efforts on that specific week to drive as many unit sales as possible in the lead-up to that week’s list. The cycles for each bestseller list are different, so you may want to plan your discount timing and promotional strategy around the specific bestseller list you’re aiming to hit:
- New York Times: The NYT bestseller list is published on Sundays, and each week’s list tracks book sales on a Sunday through Saturday cycle.
- USA Today: The USA Today print edition shows the top 50 bestsellers on Thursdays, and the online edition shows the top 150 bestsellers on Wednesday evenings. The rankings reflect sales from the previous Monday through Sunday.
- Wall Street Journal: The WSJ Bestseller list is published on Thursdays, and each week’s list tracks book sales on a Saturday through Sunday cycle.
- Amazon: Amazon’s bestseller list updates each category list on an hourly basis.
These are only three of the most common goals authors and publishers can achieve by timing their price promotions effectively, and there are many others that might require different timing strategies. For example, it can be smart for some authors to make the first book in a series permafree as long as there are enough other books in the series to make up for the lost revenue. Your promotion’s execution should depend on the books in your unique backlist.
How long do you usually run your ebook price promotions? What timing has worked well for you and your goals? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Want to share this post? Here’s a ready-made tweet:
Click to tweet: Authors see 4x higher increase in post-promotion revenue when their book is discounted for 5 days or fewer. http://bit.ly/1NaVKnS #pubtip