Many of you probably know that we had a sale on three of our launch Apocalypse Weird books this month. My novel, Reversal, was one of the three, and the other two included Immunity by E.E. Giorgi and The Serenity Strain by Chris Pourteau. All three novels were reduced from their usual price of $3.44 to 99 cents from May 3rd to May 12th. Even though these three books are not indie published per se, as Wonderment Media had paid all of our publishing costs, because Wonderment is a new more hybrid approach to publishing (read more about this and why it is great for authors here and why you should consider supporting Apocalypse Weird below), all three authors were free to organize their own promotions during the sale.
Each of us spent a different amount of money on our promotions, had a different strategy and constraints, used different marketing sites, and had our promos kick in or concentrated on different days of the sale. In addition to the paid promotions, the sale was advertised via a mail-out to the Apocalypse Weird subscribers at the beginning of the sale, and at the end. In addition, various Apocalypse Weird authors advertised the sale via their own mailing lists, Facebook and Twitter. Subsequent to the sale, we did an analysis of the approaches and decided what worked best.
Strategies and Constraints
My primary strategy during the sale was to sell as many books as possible using the best promo sites that I have had experience with in the past. I also did not want to spend more than $100 on my promotions overall. E.E. Giorgi has another book coming out in May and most promotional sites will not feature more than one book by the same author in the same month. As a result, she wanted to preserve some of the best promo sites for her new release book. Chris Pourteau had more of an eye to the long game in his promotion. He was willing to spend more money and had an overall goal of building his brand and continuing to garner reviews. He also had an eye to maintaining sales subsequent to the promotion and selected longer promos that ran from a week to up to a month.
- E.E. Giorgi spent $25.01
- I spent $96.00
- Chris Pourteau spent $275.00
Promotional Sites Utilized
E.E. Giorgi utilized:
- Book Barbarian
- Ebook soda
- Bookscream (which was a joint promo of all three sale books)
I utilized my favorite promo sites:
- The Fussy Librarian
- Ereader News Today
- Free Kindle Books and Tips
Chris Pourteau utilized:
- Book Gorilla
- Kindle Nation Daily (a one month promo from May 6 to June 6)
- Bookgoodies (a week long promo)
- Discount Books Daily (a two-day promo)
- Addicted to ebooks (a week long promo)
- The Choosy Bookworm
Timing of Promos
E.E. Giorgi stacked her promos to kick in more near the end of the sale (the 7th, 8th, and 9th). Chris Pourteau had his kick in the earliest (the 5th and many ran for the full week) and I had mine concentrated in the middle of the sale (with one kicking off on the 5th, one on the 6th and three on the 7th).
The following key observations can be made regarding the results.
- I sold the most books overall on both Amazon and non-Amazon platforms from May 1 to 18 and E.E. Giorgi sold the fewest. I sold a little under twice what E.E. Giorgi sold during the sale.
- Concentrating three of my biggest promos on one day seemed to provide the biggest lift, giving me the highest overall number of sales in a single day, and because this lift was in the middle of the sale, the lift lasted to some extent throughout the sale.
- On a cost versus profit basis, E.E. Giorgi’s campaign could be considered the most effective as by keeping her costs low, she made the largest profit from the sale.
- E.E. Giorgi probably benefited somewhat from visibility from my and Chris Pourteau’s promos so although she had the biggest profit, she may not have had as many sales without our promos.
- Subsequent to the sale, E.E. Giorgi’s sale numbers have remained stronger than either Chris Pourteau’s or mine.
- The sale provided somewhat of a lift to the sales of other Apocalypse Weird titles, but not substantial.
- Chris Pourteau’s long-tail results from his continuing promotion on Kindle Nation Daily remain to be seen.
- Chris Pourteau seems to be meeting his goal of generating reviews far more effectively than E.E. Giorgi or I (so if you liked Reversal, please, please leave a review).
- The initial mailout to the Apocalypse Weird mailing list (on May 4th) provided a large initial bounce for all of us that helped with ranking and visibility in advance of our promos. Chris Pourteau, because he already had one promo running at this point, seemed to benefit most from this mailout.
- For the money, in my opinion, Ereader News Today and Booksends remain the best marketing platforms out there, with the Fussy Librarian and Free Kindle Books and Tips running a close second.
- Amazon still continues to be the platform of choice and during the promo, outsold the other platforms by almost 20 to 1.
- Because we were among the launch books, some of us (me in particular since Reversal was available first out of the three) were beginning to fall off the first page of also-bots of the other Apocalypse Weird books since there are now enough to fill the entire page. The sale helped put Reversal back into the first page of also-bots.
So there you have it, three authors, three different strategies, three different sets of results. I think we are all happy with our results in part because we had different goals and were trying to increase the visibility of the Apocalypse Weird brand in general. I will try to update this post with longer-tail numbers at the end of the month.
A couple of important announcements: First, we are getting into the final 35 hours to support the Apocalypse Weird Indiegogo campaign and we are still $3,500 short of our goal. This is a super important initiative for indie authors everywhere because it is endeavoring to take publishing back into the hands of writers. If you have a spare buck lying around or a spare ten bucks, please consider donating. For higher contributions, there are some amazing perks, including having two unbelievable authors Michael Bunker and Nick Cole review your manuscript.
Second, I have just sent my new novel Confessions of a Failed Environmentalist off to my editor. Stay tuned for an ARC announcement next week. It is a bit different from my other novels and focuses on an environmental consultant who continually tries to do the right thing for the environment but makes a few… okay well quite a few… errors along the way, including taking a job with a mining company. It was a lot of fun to write and I hope it is equally fun to read. As a bonus, I will be doing a random draw and giving away one free manuscript review by Nick Cole or Michael Bunker which I purchased as part of my support for the Apocalypse Weird Campaign. This is a great opportunity, so don’t miss it and make sure you sign up for my mailing list in order to hear about the announcement.
Last but not least, I am working on a compilation of everything I’ve learned as an indie author in the last two years including information like I have provided above on sales results and how to succeed as an indie writer. That will also be coming sometime next week free to subscribers, so another reason to sign up!!