How BookBub Made Me a Bestseller

Boy, I bet that headline got your attention now, didn’t it? I recently had a huge sale on my Donovan Circus boxed set (from $6.99 to $0.99) and bear with me on the lengthy post, but I wanted to share a little bit about how I ultimately surpassed my goals thanks to a layered marketing plan, and of course, a gigantic BookBub ad that was the motivating factor. Because you know what happened? I got that very special little orange flag on Amazon, along with #1 spots in several categories that snowballs into the algorithms of #61 spot in overall Kindle sales:

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So how did I do it? Let’s break it down by platform, price and overall results. And remember, because of the $0.99 price, I’m only making a 30% royalty. About 33 cents a book, give or take, so to make my money back, I HAD to sell hundreds and hundreds of copies. It was incredibly nerve-wracking the week leading up; trust me, I was up to my ears with anxiety, worried about everything: that it would fail, that I wouldn’t make money back, that it WOULD do well and then everyone would hate it, etc. (You can see where being an author is an exhausting process in more than simply writing the books.)

BOOKBUB – $574

This is obviously the biggest piece of the puzzle, and one that came at an unexpected time. I submit a suggested deal to them at least once a month, and I’ve only ever had one stick (Witch Hearts, 4 years ago when I put it up for free, and had over 20,000 downloads). So when I tossed out the Donovan Circus boxed set from $6.99 to $0.99, I was stunned when they accepted it. (After nearly falling off the couch, I literally ran to my computer to pay them before they could change their minds.) So, I had the BookBub deal going out on March 3. How would I capitalize off that to really build off this promotion? First off, I made absolutely sure the boxed set was $0.99 early – about a week and a half before the promotion. Because I don’t sell a lot of sets (most readers buy the individual books), it was no skin off my back to put the price down. In fact, by doing that, I sold several more copies ahead of time, thus helping my ranking.

The BookBub ad went out to emails on March 3. It resulted in 1,891 sets sold internationally. So it’s not just US readers, but the UK, Australia, Canada and more. (Totaling about $567 in Amazon sales in just that one day.) Here’s the screenshot from their website (also how great is their write up of the series?):

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Facebook – $120

I ran Facebook ads in the week leading up to the sale in hopes of building up my ranking to make it easier to climb once the sale officially hit. (Originally set it for $150, but cut it off a couple days before when costs were getting too high per click. You want to keep them low, below $0.50 if possible, so while it started out strong, $1.26 per click is too pricey for me.) This also includes a $20 boosted post on my FB page’s “day before” post, targeted towards my page fans and their friends. It gave me approximately 20 sales – doesn’t sound like much, but remember, it was all about getting the best ranking possible before the big day.

Fiverr – $10

EllaGibson, the user I’ve hired a few times for book blasting in promo groups, is a bargain and saves me tons of time. For $10, she posts your Kindle book deal in 77 FB Groups and Google communities of 1 million people. While this is a great way to hit promo groups with dedicated readers, honestly, it’s the time saver that I pay for here. I work full-time, so I can’t do all that during the work day. If she does, however, the word still gets out and quite frankly, it’s well worth the $10.

Bargain Booksy – $40

eBookHounds – $35

BookSends – $35

JustKindleBooks – $15

Kindle Book Review – $20

Hot Zippy – $0

Newsletter – $0

In addition to regular Facebook posts (both on my page and personal profile), I sent out a newsletter on March 1 to my 4,628 subscribers about the deal (again, did it early to build up momentum as well as offer a subscriber exclusive). I have 2 mailing lists, one is my regular author newsletter (extremely dedicated readers), and Instafreebie emails, who download a free book through random promotions I sign up for in order to build the newsletter (so, they are not dedicated to MY books specifically, but readers nonetheless who take chances on cheap reads – something to keep in mind when your clicks aren’t as high as you’d expect).

For the March 1 newsletter #1, 30% opened, with 208 clicks to the Amazon sales page, 17 to KOBO page, and 12 to iBooks page. On March 3, I resent to the unopens (2,166) which got me a 7% open rate, 14 clicks to Amazon, and 1 to B&N. On March 5, I sent a “Last Chance” email that got a 5% open rate, 20 clicks to Amazon, and 1 to Kobo. This tells me that, unsurprisingly, most of my readers are using Kindle and the first newsletter is always strongest.

Author Help – $0

I try not to ask for a lot of favors, and help out where I can for others when they have promo needs. This way, when I DO ask for a favor, my friends know it’s important. When I asked 18 author friends, all of them heavy hitters in their own genres with core reader groups, for help with the promo, 17 authors responded almost immediately to help. They used the HTML blog posts/social media posts/images I provided for them (I made it as easy as possible for them so they didn’t have to do a bunch of work, that’s key) and blasted it out to their folks.

Social Media Postings – $0

This one’s a no-brainer, but let’s not overlook it. All it took was time on my part to create a couple key images to use (and share with friends). In addition to Facebook and Instagram, I also sent out tweets throughout the days using key hashtags and accompanying links.

Uh, excuse me, I sold next to Harry Potter? Pardon me while I take a moment to rock in the corner in disbelief. I’ve often said I don’t write for the money, which is true, so when little moments like this one happen, that is such a huge win for me.

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Now, here’s the business you came here for:

Total Investment: $849
Total sales on Amazon from 3/2-3/6: 2,724 (roughly $1,001)
Total sales on D2D (combo of B&N, iBooks and Kobo) from 3/2-3/6: 845  (roughly $534)
Results as of 3/6 (last day of sale): 3,569 ebooks sold
Overall total sales for the month of March (as of 3/6): $1,535

Which equals to a rough estimate of: +$686 (i.e. made money=surpassed goal of breaking even)

And of course, this is only the first week of March. Technically, the sale is still on today, so I might have a few extras in there by midnight. Of course I expect sales to tailor off for the next few weeks, but knowing that I’ve made my money back is terrific, because it means everything else is a bonus. I can rest easy and refocus on other things (and in fact did, as over the weekend I even took a nap on Saturday afternoon!). It all funnels right back into my book business, and motivates me to get the 5th book done ASAP to hang onto those DC readers.

The BIG takeaway here, however, is the brand awareness and name recognition. Because when I woke up Saturday to 35 FB notifications and 5 text messages, THIS screenshot from my friend Kelly Martin was waiting for me:

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I mean, are you kidding me? For however brief a time, I was ranked right alongside NEIL EFFING GAIMAN!! Excuse me while I pinch myself a few times to make sure I’m awake. In addition to the sales, I’ve had a boost of website traffic (hi, new readers!), sales across the rest of my bookshelf, new followers on social media and now hopefully my name will be a little more recognizable in the book world. (Much of that last part is speculation, I know, but the optimistic side of me stands by it.)

So. It appears I owe a lot of people a lot of thank yous, because there’s no doubt that while the marketing helped, it was also all of the posts, shares and excitement from my author and reader friends. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the year takes me – and in the meantime, uh, hey Bookbub, y’all got any more of those ad spaces available? Cause I’d like to buy one every month, please.

Get a FREE copy of GIFTED Today!

Morning friends!
I don’t know about you, but I’m having a case of the winter blues. It’s mid-February, really freaking cold, and I’m ready for summer sunshine. I’m hard at work on my upcoming YA superhero trilogy, but I thought maybe you could use a pick-me-up too. I’m giving you an e-copy of GIFTED, free for your Kindle! (Did you know the Kindle app for your phone or tablet is also free? What a bargain!)

I’d love for you to grab your copy today. GIFTED is only free through the 22nd, so be sure to pick up the freebie before it’s back to the regular price.

GET GIFTED FOR FREE ON KINDLE HERE.

If you already have a copy (or even if you don’t), please feel free to share this with friends so they can run away to the circus, too! We’ll get through winter together and soon I’ll have news to share with you about the upcoming HEROES OF ARCANIA! 🙂

GiftedFreeFeb

 

IGNITED Back Cover Synopsis

As I move forward with publishing IGNITED, Book 4 in the Donovan Circus Series, I get more excited by the day. (Also, a little more pukey because this never gets easier, but that’s beside the point.) In case you haven’t heard on my Facebook page or Twitter, we’re already finishing up the cover and I know I’m biased, but it’s gorgeous. For serious.

IGNITED will be released on October 29th. The cover reveal will be on September 24th, so stay tuned because it’s not that far away. (Are you a book blogger and want to see it first by participating in the reveal tour? Sign up here!) In the meantime, I wanted to share the back cover blurb that will give you a little look at what’s to come.

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“Maybe I had to accept that the Donovan Circus no longer felt like home.”

Lucy might’ve beaten Alex the Chameleon, but the cost of his defeat was too much to bear. After losing a beloved member, Sheffield Donovan temporarily disbands the show. Abandoned by the ringmaster and her friends, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of their ruined circus – and defend it against those waiting for the opportunity to strike.

During one of these attempts, Lucy learns of Augustus Rivers, the leader of his so-called gifted mafia. When Lucy is offered a chance to infiltrate the Rivers’ household, she jumps at the opportunity to seek vengeance on the mastermind. Augustus instead surprises everyone by proposing that the powerful female Firestarter work for him. It’s everything the Donovan Circus isn’t, an offer Lucy finds more enticing than she ever expected.

With the Donovan Circus in shambles and the gifted world on the cusp of war, can Lucy Sullivan figure out who she’s meant to be? Or will her fire destroy everything they’ve built?

Officially Official: Release Date for HUNTED, Book 3 of Donovan Circus Series

Well, folks, the gears are in motion for HUNTED. Edits are done, cover design has begun, and I’m emailing beta readers this weekend. This means that I’ve also picked a release date!

Hunted, A Donovan Circus Novel (Book 3) will be released on Friday, March 20, 2015.

I’m excited for a few reasons, a new release being the most obvious one, but I’m also stoked to celebrate an achievement. You see, this will be the 5th book I’ve published and by the hammer of Thor (thanks, Mjolnir), I’ve managed to release it before my 30th birthday. (This is actually all a ploy to get you to help me celebrate.)

Lucky for me, my 30th falls on a Friday, so it’s pretty obvious that the Good Lord wants me to spend it at the bar and forget about the age change. So it’s probably smart thinking on my part to release the book a week before so I don’t spend half the Facebook party rattling off all the reasons vodka is my favorite. 😉

Interested in more info on HUNTED? You can read the back cover synopsis here. I’ve also posted the first chapter here.

I’ll keep you posted but for now, have a great weekend!