Some Marketing News
My full round-up of sales and marketing will come at the end of the month, but since I did my first 3rd party promotion this week (and my first ever use of the email book recommendation industry), I thought I’d do a mini-update this weekend.
Why do a promotion? Well, it’s the anniversary of the launch of the Bite Back series and the book that launched it, Sleight of Hand, was selling a little slowly. Hidden Trump had picked up a couple of zero sales days. It was time to do something. But what?
There’s an industry which has sprung up around Amazon. Companies develop email lists of readers and then get authors to promote through them. A win-win-win idea. The readers get a daily or weekly list of books that are being discounted for promotion. The writers get their book cover and blurb in front of readers. The company gets income if the readers click on the link and go to Amazon to purchase. But there are quite a few of these, which should I use?
I decided to use BookGorilla. No, that’s not quite true. I decided to use BookBub, but they’re starting to sound like agents – “your book is undoubtedly excellent, but it’s not a good fit for us at this time”. And, anyway, BookGorilla (http://www.bookgorilla.com/) is run by a guy with the wonderful name of Windwalker, and they got my business.
I had to reserve a place a few weeks in advance and promise to drop the price for the promotion.
I’m against playing with book prices for a variety of reasons. It feels like I’m rewarding people who come late to read my books. The mechanism itself is fiddly and requires two operations on Amazon (if your blurb is set up like mine). And surely, surely, there aren’t people out there sitting on the fence wondering about the difference between $2.99 and $3.99 for a book.
Even if there are, how would they ever notice that I’d changed the price?
Well, there are and they do. And I decided to go the whole hog and drop the price to $0.99 for a week.
Now, SoH was booked in for the email that went out on 14th August. Once I’d chosen the offer price, I had to ensure that it was set in Amazon before that, otherwise the book would be excluded from the email and I wouldn’t get my money back. Amazon won’t commit to a specific time before a price change is reflected, so I needed to do this about half a day before.
But hold on. Changing the price is a marketing ploy in itself. So I decided to drop the price on the 12th August, and see what effect that had.
Okay… daily sales for SoH in the run up to changing the price … 5,4,2,2,2
On the day I changed the price : 69
On the 13th : 26
On the day of the promotion : 64
On the days after : 29,11
Very interesting. The effect from changing the price was as big as having it emailed to lots of people!
How does that work? The only mechanism I can think of is that readers have SoH in their wish lists on Amazon, and they filter their wish list by price drops, so something like this goes to the top of their list.
Does anyone out there have a better idea?
It costs about $50 to get an entry on a BookGorilla email. The emails are sent to people who have indicated an interest in the genre, and they have thousands of subscribers in total.
Return on Investment…well, not sure, not yet. Naturally, I am hoping that readers of SoH will go on to read the rest of the series, but there’s no way to directly measure this. I’ll be keeping an eye of average daily sales of HT and WC and I’ll tell you if something happens.
Does anyone out there use email recommendations, either as a writer or reader?