My Kindle Countdown Experiment Version 2.0

Hello.  I am an independent author who published her first book with Amazon in January of 2016.  I did my first Kindle Countdown Deal in March and I posted the results here on my blog.  (For those of you who missed it, you can find it here:   https://gracerisata.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/my-crazy-experience-with-the-amazon-kindle-countdown-deal-march-8-13-2016  The post got a lot of traffic, so I figured I’d also post the results of my SECOND Kindle Countdown Deal to compare the results.  Please keep in mind that this is the SAME book for both countdown deals.

Did I do anything different the second time?  Absolutely.  To repeat the same action over and over and expect different results is insanity, right?  I think Einstein is credited with that quote and I believe him.  So we’re shaking things up here, people.  What’s different this time around?

New category on amazon – I changed the category of my book “My Dirty Detour” from something very popular (Contemporary Romance) to something a bit more obscure (Women’s fiction – Literature and Fiction – Humor).  I figure if I can hit the top 100 in that category, it might magically ignite something on Amazon.  It’s worth a try.

Paying for stuff now – Last time I only paid for one deal on Fiverr and paid for nothing else.  The last Countdown deal cost me $5 and this one will cost me $22 when I’m done.  I paid $15 for a promo on Romance Devoured and $7 for a promo on Sweet Free Books.  I want to see if the paid promos generate more traffic.

Facebook promotion – My plan is to post my kindle countdown deal in as many Facebook Groups as possible.  I wasn’t really involved with Facebook last March when I did the previous countdown deal and now I’m something of an addict.

44 reviews not 12 – My book is now up to 44 reviews on Amazon, whereas last time it only had 12.  This might make it seem more popular?

New Book Cover – My first book cover was a free one made with Amazon Cover Creator.  I re-did the cover with a free picture from Pixabay and edited it on Canva.  I like the new one better.

Different Time Frame – This sale takes place starting July 4 and going the whole week.  Will a holiday weekend help or hurt sales?

Let’s also keep in mind that my LAST countdown in March yielded these results over a 5 day period:  45 total sales and 3582 KENP read.  All-time record sales for a day was 21 units (during countdown) and KENP for a day was 4500 (not during a countdown).  Highest EVER book rank was 9,593 after my first countdown deal.

Here is a day-by-day diary of what was involved in my Kindle Countdown Experiment Version 2.0   (July 4-8, 2016)…..

2 Weeks before the deal:

I googled around to find any NEW places where I hadn’t submitted my book during the previous countdown promotion in March.  I used this site http://www.jasonbladd.com/indielisters/ and clicked on every single website (they appear in a list at the bottom of the page).  I found two new ones that I hadn’t used before and I submitted my book to them for FREE.  I’m unable to use ANY of the other places that I used last time, because I have a kindle countdown deal coming up July 17-23 for my second book that was released in May of 2016.  Most of the sites have rules that you can’t promote with them more than once every 3 months or something similar to that.  It’s understandable.  I’m fine with that.  So I’m saving all of those places for my second countdown deal.  I plan to spend absolutely NO money on that one at all.  I’ll report back on how that one does, too.

The Day Before the Deal:

The Day before the deal went live, I got my little notebook and wrote down a daily to-do list.  I like to be prepared and as organized as possible.

Sales Rank Before the Countdown:

(USA) 328,743 in paid kindle store, 1907 in Women’s Fiction – Humor, 9427 in Kindle Romantic Comedy

(UK) 352,148 in paid kindle store, 1760 erotic romance, 9718 romantic comedy

Mood:  Interested to see what happens this time around.

Day One, July 4, 2016 Monday:

I woke up at 6 a.m. with a plan to advertise on all platforms in which I was a member.  I checked to make sure the deal was live and the price for my books in the US and UK was indeed 99 cents and £0.99.  I then did a Facebook post on my author page.  I went to Goodreads and I posted the countdown deal in any Goodreads groups that I’m a member of.  I was very careful to post in all the right places and follow the rules so as to not be spammy.   I still received an email from a Goodreads group with a warning that I was not to post anything remotely resembling self-promotion in their group ever again and I would only get one more warning.  This was somewhat expected, but still annoying due to the fact that I posted it in the “self-promotion” folder.  Evidently you’re allowed to post there ONLY if you’re an active member of the group and I am not.  I’m active in about 5 groups on Goodreads and inactive in several more.  I posted to a total of 21 Goodreads groups.  I did get one comment on the post from a reader who said my book looked good and she would check it out.  I thanked her.  I try to say “please” and “thank you” every single chance I get.  I sincerely appreciate customers/readers.  The fact that someone takes the time to read something I wrote is very humbling.

I also posted in the Kindle Boards (Kboards.com) and Kindle Users Forum (kuforum.co.uk).

That was my morning.  Now it was time to spam the heck out of Facebook.  This was one of my new strategies this time around.  Listen to what I’m about to tell you and DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.  You’ll find out why pretty soon.  I’m a member of about 110 groups on Facebook.  I’d say 15 of those are reader groups, 15 are author groups, and the rest are spammy “buy my book now” groups.  I would NEVER spam any of the reader/author groups that do not allow posts of that sort.  Why?  Because I like them, I learn a lot, and I try not to break the rules and get in trouble.  It’s like throwing an empty plastic water bottle on the ground during a nature hike.  I would never do that.  I don’t want to mess up something nice and make it dirty.  However…the other 80 groups were all fair game for my spam-a-thon.  These are groups such as “Author Promotion” where ALL the posts are “buy my book here” and there are new posts every 5 minutes so you get buried at the bottom of the page in a few hours.  I am highly skeptical that it ever works to advertise in these groups, but I am told by several authors that it DOES indeed pay off for them.  So I figured I would give it a try.

How did it go?  Well…I was fine until about the 50th group when Facebook decided that I must be a robot or a minion trying to destroy the free world and they yanked my account and sent me to Facebook Jail.  As I write this post, I’m currently waiting for my “time out” to be over and for Facebook to let me out of the naughty corner.  Lesson learned?  Do not post copy/pasted posts in several different groups at the rate of one post per minute.  Facebook does NOT appreciate that.  Sigh.  I couldn’t log in to Facebook for a day and when I finally got back on, I checked my old posts.  I actually posted in exactly 50 groups from 12:50pm to 1:31pm before Facebook put an end to my spamming.  I guess 50 is the magic number before they crack down on you.  I got a message from Facebook that I was banned from joining new groups and posting in any groups for 7 days.  So Ladies and Gentlemen…..Facebook Jail really DOES exist.  Cuz I’m there right now!  I feel like a bad-ass.  I probably should feel like a dumb-ass, but whatever.  Lesson learned!  Guess what?  Facebook did NOT pull any of the 50 posts, so I did accomplish half my goal of spamming 100 groups.  I will NOT be doing that EVER again.

Also, my book was featured on the ebooklister website, buried on page two.  I’m not sure if it was in their newsletter or not because I don’t get their newsletters with any regular frequency.  I might or might not advertise with them again.  But it was free, so I can’t complain. http://www.ebooklister.net/

Total Sales for the day:   3 Units sold and 18 KENP Read (1 Unit was in the morning and I can directly attribute that to the reader on Goodreads who said she got my book)

USA Book Rank:  80,209 in paid kindle store (7:54 pm)

Total Cost = ZERO

Summary:  Major attitude towards Facebook.  I’m sure they have more evil to combat then shutting down one author trying to promote her 99 cent book.  My relationship with Facebook is tempestuous at best.  Is it my fault for being a spammy robot?  Absolutely.  Am I still bitter?  Of course.

Day 2: July 5, 2016 Tuesday

Today is the day I was to be featured in the Romance Devoured newsletter.  I paid $15 for this, which is the most I’ve ever paid for anything.  I always hear about Bookbub, BookGorilla, ENT (Ereader News Today) and more sites that charge higher prices such as $50 and up for an ad listing.  I would need to sell so many books to break even, that I just can’t take the risk yet.  Because I’m cheap.  I figured I’d start low and possibly work my way up to the big dogs depending on how my little cheaper promos went.

I also subscribed to the Romance Devoured newsletter, so I would definitely know when the email came and I could make sure I was in it.  The email came at 8am and I was the second book listed out of four.  I was impressed and very satisfied with this.

Total Sales for the day:   20 Units sold and 700 KENP Read.  I’m assuming a 75 cent profit on each 99 cent book sold (75% Amazon Royalty Rate).  20 x 0.75 = 15.00.  So I pretty much broke even on the whole Romance Devoured deal.

USA Book Rank:  15,084 in paid kindle store, #233 in Literature and Fiction – Women’s Fiction – Humor.  (8:05 pm)

Summary:  Happy I sold 20 books, a bit disappointed I didn’t do more than break even.

Total Cost = $15

Day 3: July 6, 2016 Wednesday:

Today’s plan was to ride the wave from Romance Devoured and be featured in the Kindle Ebook Promos newsletter and site.  http://kindlebookpromos.luckycinda.com/ The only reason I submitted the book here was because it’s free.  I was NOT featured in their newsletter or on their site.  I went to check out the site for readers and it actually looks very spammy.  It seems mostly like a place for authors to advertise their book.  But who are the authors advertising to?

Where are all the readers?  I would not use this site again and I would not recommend it either.

Total Sales for the day:   5 Units sold and 534 KENP Read.

USA Book Rank:  I honestly quit keeping track at this point because it was all downhill from Tuesday and it only got worse as the week went on.

Summary:  Unimpressed with the free site and still bitter about Facebook Jail.

Total Cost = ZERO

Day 4: July 7, 2016 Thursday:

Today’s plan was to be featured in Sweet Free Books newsletter for a cost of $7.  I subscribed to this newsletter to make sure I was in there on the day I scheduled.  Again, I was the second book listed out of four.  Also happy with this.  However the newsletter didn’t come to my inbox until 4pm.  I feel like that was kind of late in the day.

Total Sales for the day:   6 Units sold and 599 KENP Read.

Summary:  A bit disappointed that I didn’t break even with the paid promo.  I would have had to sell 10 books to make my $7 back and I only sold 6.  Probably would not advertise with them again.

Total Cost = $7

Day 5: July 8, 2016 Friday (Final Day of Countdown Deal):

The plan for today was to ride the wave and have one last day of the deal.  No promotion was done at all.

Total Sales for the day:   2 Units sold and 137 KENP Read.

Summary:  You really don’t sell any discounted books unless you promote them somewhere.

Total Cost = ZERO

DEAL IS OVER!

July 9, 2016 Saturday:

I went to Goodreads and removed ALL the group posts for my countdown deal.  The deal is over and I hate to leave up posts that are no longer relevant.

The really bizarre thing is that I sold 2 books today after the deal ended and the book was back to the regular price of $2.99.  I’m going to be honest here; I usually do NOT sell books.  I could pretend to be a fancy author who sells tons of books EVERY SINGLE DAY, but I’m not going to do that because it’s not true.  I might sell one or two books a week on a good week.  If I wake up and check the Amazon KDP website and I see that I had a sale, I honestly get excited because I don’t expect that.  So to sell two books at normal price in ONE day is pretty awesome.  I do usually get some page reads on most days, which is where I make the most money from.  I also sometimes have more page reads per day on a random day where I’ve done nothing to promote the book, than the past week where it’s been featured in newsletters.  So I’m not thinking that the Countdown Deal had any effect on page reads.

Total Sales for Countdown Deal July 4- July 8…

Sales – 36  books sold, KENP Read – 1988  Total Cost  – $22

In comparison, my first countdown deal from March 8-13 was…

Sales – 45 books sold, KENP Read-3582 Total Cost – $5

Lessons Learned:  Facebook Jail really exists, paid promos don’t do that much better than free promos, and you have to advertise somewhere every day to sell books.

I’m very excited for my next countdown deal from July 17-23 for my second book “Nights in the Fast Lane.”  I’ve paid nothing at all to promote the countdown.  I used several free sites that I used in March and I’m curious to see if they’ll pay off the second time around as well.  I’ll do a blog post on the results of  that countdown after it’s over.

Please feel free to comment if you have anything else to add or any other suggestions for helping to achieve a successful Kindle Countdown Promotion.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

 

 

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2 thoughts on “My Kindle Countdown Experiment Version 2.0

  1. Grace–not useless knowledge at all. I found your comments very helpful. I just did my first countdown with YOU MUST ONLY TO LOVE THEM, LESSONS LEARNED IN TURKEY (a memoir), and decided to plunge into eReader IQ, which cost me $105. I paid an extra $10 for their extra promotion. I also sent out over 1000 e-mails to people on my e-mail list, put it out on Twitter, and posted it on my writing web site. It was fun to watch the sales, but I only sold 67 books yesterday. That means I didn’t make my costs. I had 43 reviews on my new book, and it has a 5-star rating, so that may have helped, tool Of course, there’s today–the second day at $2.99 (first day was $1.99), but I don’t expect much in sales.

    The exciting thing, though, was that because of the flurry of sales, it beat out Elizabeth Gilbert’s EAT, PRAY, LOVE in two categories to be #1 in sales: Books > Travel > Asia > General, and Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction ? Travel > Asia.

    I’ve been told that higher rankings, even for a short time, boost sales overall. Time will tell. I’ve published two books previously, one with a Minnesota publisher and a guide book with a Turkish publisher. If you’re curious, you can see about them on my website, annmariemershon.com.

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    1. Thanks for the info. While it’s definitely discouraging to not make your money back from the promotion, I think I would be THRILLED to make #1 in two Amazon categories! That’s amazing. I would be running around the room doing a happy dance. That’s definitely something to be proud of. I wonder if it would have helped if it would have been priced at $0.99 for more days in a row instead of having it at $1.99 and then $2.99? Maybe you could try that next time? Good luck and happy writing!

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