As a bestselling suspense author who has been indie published since 2003, I’ve learned being flexible and adapting to change is key to being successful in this industry.
I only sold 26 copies of my standalone thriller Submerged across Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk during the first 27 days of October 2014. After running a combination BookBub and Kindle Countdown Deal promotion, I sold 3,421 copies. That’s a whopping 130x increase.
Today I’ll share my process and stats from this BookBub promotion to show how advertising on book sites can increase sales.
Step 1: Selected a book
I chose to promote my book Submerged based on the following criteria:
- It has sold well in the past.
- It had never been on BookBub before.
- It hadn’t been priced at $0.99 for many months.
- It has tie-ins to my #1 bestseller, Children of the Fog.
When I run a promotion for one title, there is always a strong possibility that some of my other titles will see an increase in sales, too.
Step 2: Coordinated promotion with a countdown deal
I decided to run a BookBub/Countdown combination promo because Countdown deals get extra exposure from Amazon, give you a higher royalty (70%), and they create a bit more excitement.
However, I would only run this promo if BookBub accepted Submerged (they’d turned it down numerous times in the past), so first I pitched my book to BookBub and let them know my dates were flexible, but requested a date close to the end of the month — payday. I did not book any other ads until after I secured a BookBub promo date.
Step 3: Determined timing and pricing
Once my BookBub ad was secured, I used that date as Day 1 of my Countdown promo for both Amazon US and UK. I used all seven days because it can take a few days to build momentum and get into the overall Top 100 on Amazon, and I wanted to stay there as long as possible.
My promo for Submerged was set for October 28 – November 3. I’ve had more success running promos during a payday — the 15th and 30th of every month.
I priced Submerged at $0.99 as this title had only been on sale for $0.99 once before, and that was eight months earlier.
Step 4: Purchased ad space
I purchased ads on a variety of other book sites as part of a coordinated online marketing effort. I paid a total of $1,214 for 22 ads. Four of the 22 ads were free.
Step 5: Created social media content
To generate excitement and get my readers and fans involved, I scheduled tweets for every few hours each day and posted updates to my Facebook pages. I also used screenshots to show fans when I made the top lists and where my book stood in relation to big-name authors.
Results of my BookBub/Countdown promotion:
During the first three days of my promotion, Submerged made Amazon’s Top 100 overall bestseller list. This was the first time I made the Top 100 overall on the first day of a promo.
Afterward, it remained in the Top 1,000 for a week and in the Top 5,000 for almost two weeks. Submerged also made Amazon.com’s Top 100 Movers & Shakers list, which provided extra exposure.
I sold 3,421 copies of Submerged on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk during my promo and the 14 days afterward.*
- Days 1—4 (October 28—31): 2,421 copies sold.
- Days 5—12 (November 1—7): ~500 copies sold.
- Days 13—22 (November 8—17): ~500 copies sold.
Three of my other titles’ sales increased approximately 50% during and after the time Submerged was on the Countdown deal.
I earned $1,633 for Submerged sales in October. The majority of that income was generated during the last 4 days of October.*
I earned $4,633 for Submerged sales during my BookBub/Countdown promo and the two weeks that followed. I averaged a royalty of $1.36 per sale. From the $4,633 earned during this promo from one title, I paid $1,214 for 22 ads, which left a $3,419 profit.
My takeaway: Running a BookBub promotion with a select Countdown deal works! I will do this again… and again.
P.S.: If BookBub turns one of your books down, try, try again!
*Sales data includes Countdown sales or post-Countdown sales plus KOLL and KU.
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Click to tweet: How I Sold 130x More Books with a BookBub & Countdown Promo – http://bit.ly/1HrX4QP by @cherylktardif via @BookBubPartners
Click to tweet: Great step-by-step walkthrough of how author @cherylktardif sold 130x more books with a BookBub & Countdown promo: http://bit.ly/1HrX4QP