Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Writer Wednesday: Marketing Results for Kindle Countdown Promotion

The Akasha Chronicles, by Natalie Wright
For this Writer Wednesday, I want to share with you the results for my recent five-day Kindle Countdown promotion. If you're like me, you don't have unlimited funds to spend on advertising. Most of us need to spend our marketing dollars wisely. So many sites make big promises and grand claims. But which book promotion sites work? What's worth the money?

I don't have definitive answers to these questions, and what works/doesn't work for me may work/not work for you. But I'll share what I've learned from a recent promo in the hopes that it will help you when deciding how to handle your next promotion. NOTE: I'm sharing my real numbers. Some of you may sell this many or more books regularly without a promotion. If so, kudos to you! But I'm guessing (based on statistics) that many of you reading this post will find that your sales are similar to mine. I'm also guessing that whatever your level of sales, you can extrapolate my results to estimate what your own experience may be by using these same services.

In this post I'll focus on my experience with the Kindle Countdown deal option available to KDP Select authors. My Akasha Chronicles boxed set is exclusive to Amazon so I have run my Countdown deals promos with this book. It's typically priced at $6.99 (already a great bargain for three books!), so discounting it to 99 cents is a serious discount.

I ran my first countdown deal in April. At that time I sold about sixty books in a five-day promo period. That was decent and more than I typically sell in a whole month (my sales are averaging about 20-30 books a month this year on Amazon without running promotions). At that time, I paid for a Kindle Nation Daily ad - I chose the KF-KND option. Based on my experience from April, I decided two things. First, it is better to have multiple 99 cent days rather than only a day then raise the price in increments. Second, the KF-KND option on Kindle Nation Daily wasn't a very good option (the add cost me $99 and raised less than $30).

For my recent Kindle Countdown deal, I decided to price the book at 99 cents for five straight days. I took a gamble and set the deal days to run over the July 4th holiday. I know that people buy, buy, buy books during the week from Christmas to New Year, but I had no idea if people would be interested in/paying attention to book deals over July 4th. But my experience with it, as I'll detail below, was pretty good and I'd promo again during that period of time in the future.

I went back to Kindle Nation Daily (KND) and paid for an ad to run on July 2. I chose the KDD option this time (check out their site to compare the options). The result? I had 91 sales that day and reached the top 20 on the Young Adult Fantasy/Science Fiction charts and broke into the top 2000 overall. Though the numbers were good, keep in mind that because the book was priced at 99 cents, I made about 57 cents per book, so the ad did not pay for itself. BUT, it boosted sales over the next two days during which I had no ads/promos running. So total sales from July 2-July 4 was 123 books and total earnings was $71. I came close to paying for the KND ad. It's possible that KND ad may result in more sales for books in a different genre, such as thriller/horror or romance (very popular genres for Kindle books). Overall I was happy with the results of the ad and it got my promo off to a good start. Bottom Line: I can recommend KND generally and the KDD option has worked best, for me, of any of the other options I've paid for in the past.

I also tried two new promo sites during may last Kindle Countdown deal. I'm not sure how I learned about Book Basset, but I checked it out and thought it looked like a good option. I paid $21.99 for a one-day featured author spot that occurred on July 5th. Result? I sold 53 books that day and earned about $30, so this add not only paid for itself but made me a little scratch. Bottom Line: I HIGHLY recommend Book Basset as an affordable option for promoting your free books or countdown deals. I will definitely use this one again.

The other promotion I paid for was Just Kindle Books. The fee was only $15 so I figured "Why not?" My promo ran on July 6. I sold 10 books that day. The results were not stellar, but I sold more books that day than the next two days of the deal without any promos. Bottom Line: Just Kindle Books is a cost-effective way to promote free books and countdown deals.

All in all, I am pleased with the results of my most recent Countdown Deal. I sold close to 200 books worldwide in five days. I stayed in the top 100 on the YA Fantasy/Sci Fi chart that entire period. The net financial result is that made $1.39 in excess of costs! So financially let's call it a break even. In the world of book marketing and promotion, a break even for promoting a steeply discounted book is a pretty good result. I'll take it.

But more important than the financial result, I got good exposure (and hopefully gained new fans of my work). As Hugh Howey and others have said, this is a marathon and not a sprint. We need to look more to the long-term than day-to-day results. So discounting a book and getting exposure is a good thing and one that is not easily quantified. (But seeing yourself hit the top of a chart is just plain fun!)

I plan to do another Kindle Countdown deal in the week between Christmas and New Year. I'll likely try a few new things again as well as go back to what worked this time. I'll keep you posted.

How about you? Have you done Kindle Countdown deals? What has worked for you to promote your deal? What hasn't worked well?


  1. Natalie, thank you for this post. It is time that I get organized enough to do another major promo and I am pleased to know of your own results. Congratulations on what I think, are impressive sales numbers! Thank you as well, for sharing your promo sites such as Book Basset and Just Kindle Books. I'm adding those to my list.

  2. Dianne, I'm glad you found this helpful. I think that Book Bub is by far one of the most cost-effective paid marketing tools, but they are so selective these days, it is not an option for a lot of Indie authors. But KND and Book Basset are also quite effective. Please report back and let us know how these options do for you on your next promo.


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