My First Promo

It’s been two months since I first published The Blood Moon and since last Sunday’s “lunar event,” if you will, was a supermoon blood moon (that doesn’t sound right, but I’m sticking to it), I figured it was the perfect time to run a promo. At a savings of $3, I figured I’d see a moderate bump in sales, even with limited promotion.

Well, I was wrong. Despite making up a cool ad and tweeting/posting about it for about a week before, I sold zero copies. I was disappointed, to say the least. But, I sold potentially five print copies, which I actually get more money for (at a retail price of $13.99, I get about $3.78 of that from Amazon, as opposed to $2.75 from an ebook). I suspect that those print book numbers might actually be from August that is a result of delayed reporting. I can’t prove that, though.

So how did a discount like that result in no sales? I have a few theories as to what I did wrong and how I plan on correcting my mistake for future promos:

  1. I don’t have a large enough readership yet – I was mostly advertising to folks who had already bought my book. I should be focusing on getting mailing list subscribers, not sales right now. With only one book out, it’s no surprise my sales are abysmal.
  2. I didn’t pay for any promos – The sites I did advertise with weren’t even close to the heavy hitters. I set myself a rule that I won’t pay for promos until I have at least three books out in the same series, so I signed up with all of the free promos I could find (although, I’ll admit, I was a bit lazy when looking for promos). In general, the lists my promo was sent to and the websites they were on were not generating a lot of traffic themselves, which left my prawny little promo to travel by word-of-mouth, of which, I have none at this moment.
  3. My ad didn’t feature my book cover – I got artsy with my ad and didn’t include my book cover. In fact, I think this may have killed my promo. Sure, my cover is strewn all over the place, but the advertisement featuring my sale should’ve included my book cover and it didn’t. How were people supposed to know they had the right book by reading my ad?
  4. I didn’t post in between promo alerts so it looked like spam – I’m not an avid poster/tweeter. I mostly just forget about it. I’m a little jealous of how easily it comes to some people who give just little snippets of their life every day or so to remind people they’re still around and to give them a glimpse into their personal life. When I do think to post or tweet, I ask myself, “Who really cares what I’m eating/doing/wearing?” So that prevents me, but I’m going to work on the social media thing. The one thing with this promo that I didn’t realize until I looked at my Twitter page and saw my last five photos were of the ad I designed spamming people that my book was on sale. That’s not effective. That’s annoying, and I didn’t realize it was annoying until I saw the photos. Perhaps if I mixed it up with some regular social media content, it wouldn’t look so spammy? I don’t know. Something to think about for the future.

Would I do another discount? Absolutely, but I’ll definitely wait until I have my next book out. Maybe even wait until I have the third book out too and do a promo as part of a release strategy for the third book (i.e. “Get all three books for $0.99 each!”). I would only be getting $0.35 per sale from that promo, but right now I just want eyeballs and readers. I can raise the price later. And if my print books keep selling, I’ll be making a nice profit from those. And there’s audiobooks too.

This makes me wonder about the value of Kindle Select for new authors. I want eyeballs and if I can keep my 70% royalty rate while doing a countdown deal (one that Amazon helps promote), I think being Amazon exclusive for a short time might be well worth it for some new readers. In the end, I’m winning if I can add more readers to my mailing list who will buy future books at full price.

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