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KDP Select Ad Results August 2015

LMLebookAllRomanceBringing you another episode of “What Might Be Working in Book Ads.” 😉

You may remember, I added my chick-lit book, Little Miss Lovesick, to KDP Select in March 2015. The book wasn’t really selling, so I figured it would be a good time to do some experimentation. After all, you can’t sell fewer than zero books, right?

I took advantage of the five free days at the end of May 2015 and shared my results with you here. Things went so well that I wanted to continue my experiment, so I left the book in KDP Select and did another five free days August 18-22, 2015. I am happy to report that the sale went even better the second time! Here are the details…

Before the sale:

I applied for the same ads that I purchased in May since they did so well. I didn’t get all of them, but I also asked other writer friends what worked for them and picked up a couple of new ads on recommendation (Ereader News Today and Robin Reads).

In May I paid $14.99 to use Book Marketing Tools’ ebook submission tool to somewhat-automatically apply to 32 websites at once that accept submissions to advertise your free book. (During a promotion last year, I used Ebook Booster, which submits your free book to 45+ sites for $35.) In August, I decided to try the free membership tool at Author Marketing Club to manually apply to about a dozen sites by clicking through from buttons on AMC’s web page.

It’s difficult to know which sites are going to list your book as they don’t all reply back to you. And in the past, I haven’t been able to find my book on all the sites that did reply back. In any case, I’m pretty sure the book was advertised on DigitalBook Today and FreeBooksy, and probably others, but I didn’t double-check any of the sites during the free period.

I applied for the “free ebook of the day” ad at Indie AuthorNews, which appeared to be a good ad for me last time, but I didn’t get it this time. I also wrote down that I used a pre-paid ad credit at The Romance Studio blog page for one day, but I forgot to follow-up and see if the ad appeared and on which day. So I don’t know if I got any traffic from there.

What I did during the sale days:

Tuesday, August 18: 2645 free downloads today
* KENP = 0
* Free ad on ReadCheaply.com
* $45 premium ad in Choosy Bookworm email newsletter to 40,000+ subscribers, on their website all week

Wednesday, August 19: 1963 free downloads
* KENP = 470
* $21 to BKnights on Fiverr to 4800+ active Facebook users for 7 days, “extra” promotion with viral Facebook post for 7 days, promote on website with 2000 visitors/day for 1 day, promote in email newsletter to over 2500 subscribers for 1 day
* Julie Kenner’s Hump Day feature, no charge – promoted with other books on a blog post
* $25 Ereader News Today ad in email newsletter

Thursday, August 20: 850 free downloads
* KENP = 515
* $25 InD’tale Bargain Book ad to 10,000+ email newsletter subscribers
* Blog posts on Romance Readers Club, The Romance Studio, and Coleen Kwan sites

Friday, August 21: 2080 free downloads
* KENP = 1131
* $20 ad in Robin Reads email newsletter
* Blog post on Tracy Reed site

Saturday, August 22: 561 free downloads
* KENP = 2066
* Blog post on Alina K. Field site

On the last day of the freebie sale, there are always a few copies that get downloaded early the next day before the price goes back to normal, and 9 free copies were downloaded on Sunday. The grand total of free ebooks downloaded in this 6-day period was 8108. In May, the total was 7312, so I’m quite happy with the 11% increase.

Comparison of KENP pages read in Kindle Unlimited:

In May, Kindle Unlimited still counted each title as one borrow rather than counting the number of pages read (KENP) as has been the case since July 1. Also, it took me six weeks to get my results to you last time, and I’ve compiled the results after only 16 days this time. So the comparison here is going to be a bit shaky.

In my prior post, I reported “about 138 borrows” over 6 1/2 weeks. Little Miss Lovesick has 402 KENP pages, so that’s approximately 55,476 KENP pages if every person read every single page (unlikely).

The above numbers include part of July as well, but the July total alone was 2381 KENP pages read (with a payout of about half a cent per page, which is very close to what I got paid for a “borrow” in the past). In the 17 days of August before the book went free, there were 697 KENP pages read. But from the day the book was free to the end of August, there were 24,899 KENP pages read in 14 days. In the first seven days of September, the daily average dropped 40% with 7831 pages read.

Totals are:
July KENP = 2381
August 1-17 KENP = 697
August 18-31 KENP = 24899
September 1-7 KENP = 7831

j0315542Total book sales:

In addition to wanting to get more people reading Lovesick for free, as a borrow through Kindle Unlimited, and as a sale, I also wanted to get people trying my other books. (I have four titles total.)

There are three titles in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke superhero urban fantasy series – the first is a free short story, the second is a long novella (45,000 words), and the third is officially the first book in the series at 100,000 words.

At the beginning and end of Lovesick, and the beginning and end of the free short story, there is a note to join my newsletter and get the novella for free. That means that if someone downloaded Lovesick for free, and followed up to see what else I had, and read the note about how to get the novella for free, they could’ve gotten three of my four titles for free. If they do that, I think I’ve got them as a reader. And they’re on my newsletter list. 🙂

So total book sales are:
July = 12 (0 for Lovesick)
August = 24 (9 are for Lovesick)
September 1-7 = 8 (0 for Lovesick)

Total spent on ads to get to this point was $136 in August. I’m estimating that I’ve earned more than twice that so far in the last three weeks. Excellent! Compare that to the first time I used a KDP Select free period when I spent less than $100 and didn’t break even, the second time when I spent less than $100 but did break even, and now this time I’ve made about a 100% or more return on investment (ROI).

This is by far the best result I’ve had so far with any kind of advertising, any kind of freebie/sale. I’ve let Little Miss Lovesick stay in KDP Select for a third period. I’ll let you know what I decide to do this next time.

Meanwhile, I’m going to put Unexpected Superhero on sale for $2.99 (down from $3.99) October 1-10 and use the same Choosy Bookworm feature ad to see how it works on bargain-priced books. I chose to discount it only $1 because anecdotal evidence shows few books sell at $1.99, and the number of books (104) I’d have to sell at 99c with only a 35% royalty is more than my sales history says I can expect to get to cover the cost of the ad. (I only need to sell 17 books to break even at $2.99. I’ll try the 99c test later when overall book sales have increased.)

I hope this has been useful in helping you decide what you might want to try in your own advertising and promotion. Good luck!