I’d Buy that for a Dollar! Would you?

I am toying with the idea of running a 99 cent sale on Blood of the Tainted. For those that don’t know, this is my most recent horror novel release, and my first foray into Vampire horror.

Now, before you start thinking vampirish thoughts, these are not your twenty-first century vampires; love sick puppies who would rather spend their immortality lusting after teenage girls, but rather the kind that spend eternity chowing down on the local population. My vampire, for there is only one in my novel, is an ass kicking murder machine.

Now I will happily say that Blood of the Tainted is my best horror novel to date. There is something about it that just came together. Not to mention I grew a lot as a writer while writing it. It was a learning book for me, I honed my processes on it.

Yet, it is not selling. It has a paltry three reviews, after being out for over three months.

Honest book reviews are the best way for an author to get seen. I will not claim to understand how sales and marketing work, as I have often said in my posts here, but I do know that book reviews are powerful. So it is my goal now to get more book reviews in for Blood of the Tainted. I want to look for these on Amazon, and of course on websites, real book review sites. The kind where people go when they are actually looking to buy books.

Book promotionUntil now, my 99 cents campaigns have relied on Facebook for the promotion. Why? Because I am clueless. I will be honest with you on that one.

This time around, however, I am intent on doing it properly. I am not going to rush in. I am already looking around, looking for sites that I can approach for promotion. I have a long list of book promotion sites – taken from a few websites I found on google offering such information – and I am going to go through a number of them and draw up a list of sites I think would work best for me.

I have been looking at BookBub, this morning and I learned two things. One, without having a budget to invest, the big sales are a real struggle to obtain. The second thing was that horror really is a small group. It is one of the lowest supported categories on the BookBub site. It has an approximate reach of 670,000 subscribers. Now, that sounds like a lot, but when you look at Thrillers, you see they have 1,890,000 subscribers, while mysteries hold the number one spot with 2,430,000 subscribers.

bookbub

Now, the prices are adjusted accordingly, but I find it interesting, as many shops list their horror selections amidst the thriller section, yet from an indie perspective, there is quite a difference between the two in terms of sales potential.

If I were to be accepted by BookBub for a 99 cents promotion campaign, it would cost me $240. Now, they say that the average return is 950 books. Now, for me, luck is never on my side, so I will treat that as the upper level rather than the average. So in my head, I would be looking for around 750 reach. That sounds good, but at 30 cents a sale in royalties, I would need to sell about 800 copies just to break even. Now, if I could even get close to that, my ranking on amazon would certainly be rather impressive, and then there is the hopeful surge of sales that will come through once my 99 cent promotion has ended, but there are a lot of ifs and maybes there.

Book promotion 1

The truth is, I don’t see this being a viable option for me based on the price alone, at this point in time, but it is certainly something I would be interested in exploring later on.

The question is, what can I realistically expect to be achieved on a $0.00 budget, because that is what I am working with. I know it is possible, but you need work your ass off, and you need help. Lots of people sharing posts and the like. I have a few ideas planned out in my head for this, and I am sure to be coming back here with a rallying cry in a few weeks, once I have a clearer picture.

It was in April / May last year that I ran my last 99 cent campaign for my zombie horror novel Diaries of the Damned, that landed me a number one rank in a sub category on Amazon and a record month of over 300 sales on that title alone. I had help back then. This time around I will be flying solo, but with a little bit of structure, I am sure I can at least break this current rut and get a few sales and reviews coming in.

Book promotion 2

I will only run the sale on Blood of the Tainted, and I am debating whether or not to make it a month long price drop, or a shorter period. I am leaning towards the month, because word will need to spread. Not everybody will read the blogs straight away, and the latent traffic that comes in the days after the post goes live also deserve a chance to get in on the act. If it is over in a week or so, then you could lose out on potential sales. Maybe a two – three week range is a good size. I will add that to my research.

While sales are unpredictable, there is a pattern to things. Maybe not a magic formula for best-selling success, but research and an analytical approach to the results of others, will surely yield some insights that I have missed until now.

How much luck have you had with 99 cents promotions? I would be interested in reading up on any correlations between pricing strategies and genres. It would be interesting to see, but that is a step too far right now. Baby steps, first I need a good plan, and implement it properly, measure the impact, and then look to play around with fine tuning the strategy.

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6 thoughts on “I’d Buy that for a Dollar! Would you?

  1. I think you need to line up the promotion with a series of guest spots on other websites, and plenty of activity throughout the event. The last time my books were on a 99 cents promotion I did see a tiny surge in sales. Perhaps if I had actually put some effort in, I could have made something of it… who knows?

      1. Good stuff. Have you considered the April A-Z Blog Challenge as well? It’s hard work, but I have done it for the past two years and always find a few new followers and a surge in book sales during the event. And you never know who you might meet along the way…

  2. Haven’t had a lot of experience with sales and promos – my massive weak point is, was and probably always will be self-promotion, I fear – but despite the attitude that seems to creep at the edges of Goodreads, I did get a semi-respectable turnout from their Giveaways options, and their advertising (which I believe is still fairly cheap) got more clicks and seeming return-on-investment than Facebook’s options did, so it might be worth checking things out over there, see what happens. Depending on how many folks you can get to chime in, Thunderclap might be something worth looking into as well. There’s a pretty active indie support network here in the blogosphere, and each one of them is a potential 50-20,000 (or more) folks who might see, click and buy your stuff; I know it helped with Read Tuesday and Legends of Windmere last year.

    Also, when/if you decide you want to do a push for attention or a sale pricing, let me know; I’m more than happy to throw something up on my blog for you about it, if you’re of a mind.

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