I've gotten quite a few questions about why I finally decided to delve into self-publishing and how I'm doing it, so I figured why not create a new blog series!
Every Monday, I'll be sharing a piece of the self-publishing puzzle---from how I came to this choice to writing, editing, marketing, sales, and everything in between. Please remember that this is simply my experience, how I chose to do things. Others do things differently, and that's fine! So, your mileage may vary, but in the end, I hope seeing yet another way of tackling self-publishing will help you on your path.
Need to catch up on previous posts? Find them here:
One of the best things about self-publishing is your ability to control pricing of your books. When I first put Eternal Curse up for pre-order, I had it priced at $2.99, and despite all my efforts, I wasn't seeing any movement, so I dropped it down to $0.99, and I immediately started seeing some sales. So, I've left the book priced at $0.99, and I've done so for a few reasons, but the primary one is because I'm a new author, no one really knows me, and my ultimate goal with book 1 is to hook readers into wanting to buy the rest of the series. If that means I need to keep the price of book 1 lower, then so be it.
Another benefit of self-publishing is the ability to enroll in Kindle Unlimited. While the exclusivity of this is certainly restrictive, it does offer other benefits, such as payment for pages read and the ability to offer "free" days, which are set dates when you can offer your book for free. Now, why on earth would anyone want to give their book away like that? The short answer: visibility! Let me explain why a well-planned and strategic pricing promotion can work to your benefit, and what my personal results were with doing this.
Recently, I offered Eternal Curse for free for a period of five consecutive days--from March 2nd through March 6th. Now, I didn't just decide to do this -- I planned this out very carefully. I chose the dates well in advance and then lined up several promotional ads and events to help make the most of these free days.
First and foremost, my goal with these free days was twofold: (1) get my first book in as many hands as possible to raise awareness of both me as an author and my book/series, and (2) entice people to go on to buy the rest of the series. Obviously, for this to be effective, I needed to have the rest of he series finished and available for sale (which it is). So, here's what I did...
1. Adjusted Prices of All Books: Obviously, I set the free dates for book 1. I decided to keep book 2 priced at $0.99, but then I raised the price of books 3 through 6 up to $2.99. Why? Because I figured if people got book 1 for free, they would be more apt to buy book 2 for only a buck, and because I know how book 2 ends, if they get to the end of that one, they'll probably want to go buy book 3 and beyond. My hope is that by the end of book 2, they'll be hooked and not mind paying a tad more for the rest of the books. And really, $3 for each book that is well over 350 pages / 100,000 words isn't too much, in my opinion. (Lord knows I've paid more than that for a lot less. LOL)
2. Paid Ads: I took out 2 paid ads--one in eReader Cafe ($40) and a series promotion ad via Written Word Media ($100). Now, something to note here is the difference in the ads and the importance of having other books available. The eReader Cafe ad was solely for book 1, the freebie, and the link promoted sent readers to just book 1 on Amazon. The Written Word Media ad was for the entire series and included the Amazon series link, so readers could essentially get the first book for free and then buy the rest of the series all with one click.
3. Social Media Push: I really need to give all credit for this to my PA, Kris Riley. She worked so hard to spread the word of the freebie on my social media and hers, and she personally reached out to other authors, bloggers, and PAs to have them share as well. And each day of the sale, she'd post in various Facebook groups.
4. Takeover Event: During the second day of the freebie sale, I did a full-day takeover event in the PNR Authors Gone Wild Facebook group, and you betcha I shared news of the free book. I invited everyone to go download it, too!
So, what were my overall results?
Day 1 (no ads running):
57 free copies downloaded
0 paid copies sold
404 KU pages read
Day 2 (newsletter sent / eReader Cafe ad running / FB takeover event):
817 free copies downloaded
9 paid copies sold
212 KU pages read
Day 3 (Written Word Media series ad running):
1,253 free copies downloaded
31 paid copies sold
1,568 KU pages read
Day 4 (no ads running):
191 free copies downloaded
6 paid copies sold
2,826 KU pages read
Day 5 (no ads running):
112 free copies downloaded
11 paid copies sold
2,408 KU pages read
2,430 free copies downloaded
57 paid copies sold
7,418 KU pages read
That's a LOT of free copies, and while it stings a bit that I'm not making any royalties on any of those, I realize that I probably wouldn't have anyway. If not for being free, those 2400+ people probably would have never heard of me or given my book a chance. But now they have / are, and with luck, they'll become fans who will purchase more of the series and/or future books.
Overall, I'm pleased with how this worked out, and as a result, I'm putting things in place to move to a perma-freebie plan, but more on that in a future post ;-)
Drop them in the comments!