Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Stop throwing your money away, tried and true promos

After having some great sales in 2012, I decided to spend the first part of 2013 investing in different types of advertisement. I don’t have a huge budget for ads and no one seems to ever know what works or maybe they choose not to share. Therefore, I went into this thinking of it as an experiment. I spend the money and then blog about my results. In a way, I spent money so you don’t have to.

Before I get started with my results, I want to say that this is solely my opinion and what worked or didn’t work for me. Someone else might have tried the exact same thing and had awesome results, so no hating! If I wasted my money then I should get to say so. I only want to help so please accept it in the helpful light that it is meant to be. If you have experienced something different from me or have a great tip then please comment and let us all know.

Additionally, don’t look too closely at my grammar or punctuation in the post. I have an editor for my books but not my life. :-D

Buyads.com: The biggest and most expensive mistake I made. I bought a click ad from them for a well-known book site and I paid A LOT of money for it. Nothing. Nada. Zero sales from it.

WLC Book Blast: This was great for exposure but did little for sales. Would I do it again? Yes. I would. Although it didn’t show in royalties, my post was RTed multiple times on Twitter through several accounts. There is not a doubt in my mind that I got exposure from it.

Bargain Book Hunters: This was inexpensive but I still may as well have lit my money on fire because it did not work. In my opinion, any site right now that is charging a $5 fee to advertise your .99 sale is a complete waste of money. There are several sites out there like this one, too many to name, and I tried a couple of them. In this, you get what you pay for. The only exception to this rule that I have ever found only applies to Erotic books, which is…

Kindlespice.com: This one I’ve done a couple of times and almost always I, in the very least, break even. If you have an erotica then I would recommend it and…

Eroticpromo.com: This is an awesome one. They do your first month for free and then it’s different prices depending on what you want. It has kept my erotica, which doesn’t do well this time of year, from sliding into the horrible rankings that it’s almost impossible to recover from.

Authorsdb.com: This is an awesome one. Not only is free, but I have seen some great sales from it. Instead of posting links to all of my books, I decided to post one single link and that book always sells. All that you have to do is take some time to set up your account then tweet.

IloveVampires.com: This one I enjoyed but it’s only for paranormal. I didn’t make huge bucks or anything but I do think that I was exposed to new readers and I more than made my money back. I bought a banner ad combined with doing a paperback giveaway.

Ereader News Today: I love this one, but I have to warn that it could potentially cost big bucks. Basically, you have to lower your books to .99 cents then you pay around $9.00 (it’s actually like $8something but I can’t remember the exact amount) per 100 books that you sell the day of the ad and the day after. So you see, you could end up spending a lot of money.  As you know, you don’t get the royalties you make until 2 months later, so be prepared in advance to pay for this ad 5-7 days after it’s displayed. Let me say though, it is totally worth the risk!!

Bookbub.com: This is THE biggest risk I took and by far the MOST expensive. I’m serious…very expensive! I had amazing results with this one. It costs a different amount depending on the genre and the price is constantly changing. This was by far the best thing that I tried. I had the highest sales that I have ever had using this one. The thing about it is, this one is risky. You have to pay for it in advance, they are extremely choosy, and you might not sell a thing. They have an editing team that combs through your work before they’ll accept you and they only take the people who have quality work. You must have a professional cover and edits. Your book must have received a bit of critical acclaim and then they still might not take you. They work with traditional publishers so you have to be at that level of quality.

A few more things that I think are played out: free days, doing e-reader giveaways that don’t require a book purchase to enter, and for the most part Twitter. I think Twitter is amazing as far as keeping your name out there but don’t expect it to carry your career. I still believe that you have to spend money to make money but don’t spend money that you don’t have. If you can set aside some of your royalties to re-invest then I recommend that you do, but don’t run up a credit card bill to do it. Good luck! 


  1. Great post, Charity! Thank you for sharing, as always. I've spent (gulp) $900 so far this year on click-through Goodreads ads for 3 titles. The erotica series got a lot of exposure, and I spent out the ad in clicks within 6 weeks, but haven't recovered my costs yet. Even if all the books on shelf buy, I won't break even. The 2 urban fantasy ads haven't even spent their allocated amounts in clicks. The first has been up for over two months, and has only had 1/3 the spend in clicks so far. The other (on my April 1st release) has had 1 click. Yes, 1 click. Views (which aren't charged) are lukewarm.
    On the other hand, all my books on shelf for the April 1st release of Elven Blood are from my giveaway. So my take on this is that a giveaway on Goodreads is far more an efficient allocation of ad money than running an actual advertisement.

    I'll post a detailed marketing analysis on my blog after I get results from a blog tour next month!

  2. Great post! Can't wait to try these out :-)

    1. Thanks Ben. I hope that I can help in some small way.

  3. Wonderfully helpful!!! Thank you Charity!!!

    Great advice too!!!


  4. Thanks so much for including my EroticPromo.com site in here. I'm SO pleased you're seeing great results!

    I too have had great luck with Bookbub but it IS expensive. I'm not sure I'd do it again.


    1. No problem. I love the erotica site. :-D
      I would like to try Bookbub again but I write Romance (for the most part) and DAMN they are expensive. If you didn't have to wait 2 months to see your profits from it, then it might not seem so bad, but I felt the pinch paying it for it ahead of time.

  5. Great advice, I guess we all search for the golden goose that will lead to book sales. Curious as to what your thoughts are on book tours ? Plus I don't think grammar counts in blogs :) I know it doesn't in mine.

    1. Thank you. I have never paid for a virtual book tour. Instead, I ask my friends to host me and enter their names to win a prize or offer a free e-copy of the book. There are blog tour companies out there that might get better results, but anything that you can do for free can't hurt. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has paid for a tour and what their results were. I think I'll ask around. :-D

  6. Hi Charity, I'm with you on Bookbub, I'm a convert. I had 72,000 downloads of my last title I put up free with them. Freebooksy and Bargain Booksy are also good (and expensive) Thanks for this lineup, aloha
    Toby Neal

    1. That's amazing! Thanks for the tip about Bargain Booksy. I'd looked at their site before but wasn't sure about them :-D

  7. hi Charity, I am in awe of what is out there in terms of ads and marketing options. So many, and i (probably no one) has the time and unlimited funds to experiment. I also have spent hundreds this past year on ads and a virtual book tour (some of these with very little return to none) . . . I will do the friends blog guest posting and interview thing for the next release. Love hearing about Bookbub and reading about Toby's successful outing there as well. Good luck this year---another great year for indies. J

  8. Hi!

    Great info! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. It has been the type of first hand knowledge and outcome I have been seeking.