Sales numbers and advertising

Discussion in 'Fantasy Authors' started by WOllfen, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. Nuomer1

    Nuomer1 Journeyed there and back again

    I went along with a Smashwords promotion - free for a few days, then significantly reduced price for another week before going back to normal price.
    Coupled with this, I did quite a lot of twittering - but I did it myself, didn't pay anyone to do it for me.
    Result . . . reasonable number of free downloads, but no reviews, no feedback, no twitter support or response - I suspect many of those downloads are still sitting on Kindles somewhere waiting for the owners to get around to it. Less response once it went to 75% off, but the trickle of pennies improved my mood. Still no reviws, feedback etc.
    I still think the greatest factor here is luck! (and maybe finding a way to make bring to market attention those reviews that you do have! HERE )
  2. MattKnott

    MattKnott Knows the real name of Lower Corte

    Currently running promo myself on Amazon, I'm saving free promo's for when the second book hits and also writing short stories on a per month basis until then for free release as teasers.

    So far it's working really well without the first short being out as a 'gateway drug' and a few reviews trickling in from strangers. Should have a clearer picture by EOY. Main thing is it's a marathon and not a sprint, spending time on trying drum up interest is time spent not writing for me :)
  3. 13thhr

    13thhr Possibly a Darkfriend

    Interesting discussion. I can relate to many of the posters' experiences with advertising and watching the money go down the drain with questionable results.

    I've never heard of BookBub, though, and just checked it out. Can someone who's used it please confirm - they charge you based on the cost of your book after it's discounted, for the time you're doing your promotion?

    But ... for a 99 cent book in the fantasy genre (for example), it's $500! Would you really get >500 sales to break even? (Shows you where I'm coming from - I'd be happy with 5 sales :) (Random aside - "dark erotica" (whatever that is) seems to be the cheapest there at $110 for a 99 cent book.)
  4. ExTended

    ExTended Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    To get an effect from Facebook advertising - it needs to be well-targeted and the traffic should be led to a page that guarantee you a nice turn-around. What I mean is - the better your Facebook ad, the more impressions/clicks you get for each dollar spent. But then when the user goes to your book page, whether it's on Amazon or on your own website - the page needs to be prepared to take advantage of that traffic. The book cover and the blurb will make the first impression on those people, so they need to be professional and enticing. Book cover - should yell what genre the book is. Customers are used to certain cover styles in different genres. Blurb - should be well-tailored. Then reviews numbers/stars - those are important too, but they are a by-product from a good advertising, not the other way around. The Amazon preview text should make the people very excited to get the book. It's when you have all those thing lined up together that advertising in Facebook could get effective and with a positive ROI.

    I know that those things are pretty general, but I cannot really get more specific than that without spilling things learned in a private group of writer/publishers, and it won't be cool from my part to do such a thing to them.

    But I know for a fact that Facebook ads work. However, you need to advertise a series of books. Facebook ads would rarely work well for stand-alones, unfortunately.

    EDIT: I have begun the post with a thing in mind and then forgot to write it. If you are not getting at least 3 000 impressions per dollar in Facebook ads, you are doing it wrong and maybe this is the reason you are not getting results.
  5. Richard

    Richard Hung out on a briar with Honorable Jorg

    I'm not sure I understand this one correctly. Does one have control of how many times facebook shows your ad to people?
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015
  6. ExTended

    ExTended Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    I don't have the evidence to back it up, but I think that you actually do.

    I am managing XXX$ daily budget, but not only for books, so at least I can say that after so much time this is the feeling I get from it.

    For me it works like that. You make an effective ad and you start advertising. You get around 1200-1500 reach per 1$ as the ad is new. If you engage too few people, like 15 or less( clicks, likes, comments) the next day you get lesser reach for the same money. If you engage 25-35-50-100 people( clicks, likes, comments) the next day you could get up to 15 000 reach for 1$. It usually jumps gradually every day, more like 1500 - 2500 - 4 000 - 5000 etc. But long-term - it could get 7-15k if you are lucky. And this does reduce your clicks and more importantly - gives your ad the social juice it needs to perform well - more likes, comments, shares, etc.

    In my opinion Facebook rewards the effective and engaging ads, by making them more effective in turn, so it's a snowball down the hill if you got it right. And then the sales depends on how well you've done your homework - product presentation, price, urgency for it, long-term customer worth( it's of course bigger in number if you have more books in a series and the books are quality enough to entice the readers to buy the next one).

    EDIT: I've spoken about this conclusion of mine with some authors who also do Facebook ads and some of them had it the same in their minds. I don't know why this isn't mentioned in the Facebook paid advertising courses, since it's the same algorithm that Facebook uses when deciding which friends/liked pages to show and to how many people for the free reach every Facebook page post gets initially.

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015
  7. Richard

    Richard Hung out on a briar with Honorable Jorg

    I see what you mean now. Thanks for the insight!
  8. 13thhr

    13thhr Possibly a Darkfriend

    Thanks for your explanations. This is a going to seem like an idiotic question, but I've never understood what "impressions" are. Is that the same as your "reach"? For example, for my last ad that's just about to finish (ran for a month), I ended up with a reach of about 14, 700. The number of times people clicked on the ad was around 890. Which number is impressions? All those number seem like a lot to me, but since the ad didn't help sales I'm guessing I haven't hit on the right formula yet.
  9. MattKnott

    MattKnott Knows the real name of Lower Corte

    Impressions are people who got to have it on the page.

    That is it was presented to them. Doesn't mean they read it or even saw it, but it was available. It's why you're not charged for impressions, only clicks.

    I may be a little off here, but that's always been my understanding.
  10. Richard

    Richard Hung out on a briar with Honorable Jorg

    I believe that's correct. Impressions just mean it was shown on their page, but they haven't clicked on it. They may not even have noticed it, which is why a catchy image or slogan is important.

    I think reach is total number of distinct people reached by the impressions.
  11. Olli Tooley

    Olli Tooley Told lies with Locke

    I've been trying all sorts of stuff for my books. Most with rubbish results.
    Facebook ads have never given me anything worth the money put in, and it is galling to find, (as with Wollfen's Twitter experience) that the ads had been served to people who do not speak English in countries that were clearly not on the targeted list; and who constituted MOST of the paid for interactions.
    Also that FB charged me money for my OWN comments on the paid-for post.
    So, FB is now only a "last resort"
    I couldn't get my head round Twitter, and based on this post, I don't think I'll bother.

    I've had various promos for free Kindles, for which I am just not willing to PAY (maybe I should?)

    Just this week, my first fantasy novel is 99c/99p on Kindle, and I am getting acceptable results from Book Barbarian.
    I think it was Jo Zebedee on here who said they were good, but it might have been somewhere else.
    Book Barbarian only promote free and reduced books in either fantasy or sci-fi
    No other genres, so it is focused.
    Also, they will not promote your book until it has a minimum of 10 reviews on amazon .com, and the average must be above 4 stars.

    I paid $25 (just under £20) and the ad went out yesterday on the first day of my current countdown deal.
    Total sales attributable to it yesterday are 28 with one more today, total royalty IRO $24 so far.

    I have also got two more promotions about to run. One hits tomorrow, and the next is two days later.
    The book is on Countdown all this week at full discount, so fingers crossed those two promos will push sales forward a bit more.
    It might be tricky to be sure what sales are down to which promotions but I will have to guess a bit.

    One thing that I do think has probably made a difference is, I have changed the cover for the kindle to something a bit more eerie and in keeping with the threat level of the actual story. The original cover is a bit too twee.
  12. Olli Tooley

    Olli Tooley Told lies with Locke

    Just got an email notification from Freebooksy (Bargain Booksy) saying the emails are going out today at 9 and 12 EST
    So that's a couple of hours ago, and an hour from now, I think.
    This is a re-run after I paid $25 three months back and only got about a dozen sales from it.
    They offered to run it again;
    so, as long as I get at least the same again, then I can't complain.
  13. Alice Sabo

    Alice Sabo A Muggle

    Ereader News Today is another good one. I've had good luck with my post-apocalyptic series there. I've never had luck with FB ads and I even took one of those courses. Probably because I don't have a lot of money to throw at it. My books didn't take off until the third in a series was out. And even then, the upswing of sales only lasted about 90 days. I'm a slow writer, and I genre-hop, so that doesn't help.
  14. Olli Tooley

    Olli Tooley Told lies with Locke

    Update on Bargain Booksy
    I got about another dozen sales attributable to them. Maybe a few more.
    So I have just about made back my $25 investment, but it took two goes, while Book Barbarian did it in one.

    The last one to go in this week is Books Butterfly, which got me zero sales last time, but that was on the full priced Kindle
    They are running the promo again, but this time during the Countdown, so fingers crossed there will be some results.
    At $75 though, I can't seem them making me enough sales to repay that investment.

    So far Book Barbarian has been by far the best result for me.
  15. Olli Tooley

    Olli Tooley Told lies with Locke

    Here's a wee update for any other authors looking at paid promotions
    Books Butterfly, which was actually recommended to me by Book Barbarian, has turned out to be the biggest waste of money in my career so far.
    $70 (not $75 as I stated in the previous post) and I did at least get some sales.
    A grand total of 6 (six) of which one is definitely a friend who downloaded it yesterday.
    There is the rest of today, but even if I get another five sales, that is still only around $5.00 for a $70.00 investment.
    Even some Facebook adverts have probably managed better than that.

    By far the best for me so far, has been Book Barbarian which broke even, and since new readers is an important aspect of the promotion, I am more than happy to use them again.
  16. Olli Tooley

    Olli Tooley Told lies with Locke

    The big question is, has anybody used Bookbub and what were the results?
  17. Alice Sabo

    Alice Sabo A Muggle

    Thanks for the updates. I've seen reports from people in other genres but it's important to see what works for scifi and fantasy.
  18. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Journeyed there and back again

    Contact Book Butterfly and tell them!

    I find book barbarian are always reliable
  19. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Journeyed there and back again

    Yes. Both my books shifted hundreds, hit the bestseller rank (allowing me to declare myself an Amazon bestseller although I rarely do) and the readthroughs went on for weeks. Quadrupled my spend.
  20. Olli Tooley

    Olli Tooley Told lies with Locke

    If Books Butterfly contact me about it, I will politely tell them that I consider my $70 wasted.
    If they decide to give me a refund then that is their choice, but the terms of the original deal gave no guarantees because I went for a full price promotion.
    Any refund would be a goodwill gesture, but there is no chance of me using them again.

    I have just applied to Bookbub for a promotion for my children's book series. Have to wait and see if they will run it now.
    I've gone for a free book promo which is still $80 but they claim an average download rate of 9,000;
    and if just 1% of them go on to buy the sequel it would pay for itself, and then some.

    If that does work, then I will definitely fork out the $589 for a 99p/99c Fantasy deal

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