Marketing blitz reveal – so how did Robin Read, Indie Book Promo, and Book Gorilla perform?

Hi, everybody!

Hope your Thanksgiving was great – I didn’t get any turkey down here, in Australia, but Shizzle, Inc did get to #9 on Amazon’s Satire Bestseller list! Not quite the #1 that I was hoping for, but hey! Single digits!

I couldn’t be happier. Not everything went according to the plan, but a negative result is also a result, as scientists say, and you get to benefit from all my experiences, whether good or bad.

To remind you, I was testing three companies over three days, and the results are as follows:

  1. Robin Reads – 26 November. Cost: $25. Sales on the day: 19
  2. Indie Book Promo – 27 November. Cost: $25. Sales on the day: 3.
  3. Book Gorilla – 28 November.Cost: $50. Sales on the day: 46.

These numbers are quite disappointing, especially when the previous $25 promo with eReader news resulted in 63 sales and covered the cost. It could be that it’s not a good idea to advertise over a major holiday, especially the Black Friday. I might give RR and BG another try, although I’m completely disappointed in Indie Book Promo – I have contacted them and they promised to send me some stats, although their attitude was that they are a different model to an email blast, and that’s just that. Well, I have not seen any evidence that they’ve made a dent on the day or today, so I will take an email blast with results that I can see any day. In the future, I will not bother with any website banner advertisements, seems that a targeted email is the only way to get people to notice.

Back to the numbers. In order to recoup my $100 investment, I should have sold at least 286 copies, so the 68 total sales mean a loss of $76.20. It’s actually a little better than that, because alongside the sales, there’s been a major spike in KENP pages read:

Sales on 1 Dec

So far it looks like the promo resulted in at least 1,561 extra pages (and hopefully more in the near future!). At roughly half-cent per page, this amounts to another $7.80 or so, so the total loss is currently at $68.40. Hopefully it will continue to reduce as people keep on reading. And if it’s one of you – please, please post a review! I’m up to 18, but it takes 25 reviews to advertise with some of the marketing sites I want to try.

In addition to the three mailouts, I’ve used the blitz as an excuse to continuously report on the sales rank and sales numbers. That resulted in crazy Twitter activity – here are my “impressions” for the week:

Twitter impressions

Even better – I have gained almost two thousand followers over this past week! The snowball effect is clearly happening, just not so much in sales 🙂

I have put the price back to $2.99 and have applied to advertise with Book Bub, but they’ve turned down my $140, which is a pity – rumor has it that authors normally at least make their money back. This means I’m about to put the price back to $0.99 and blast Twitter with the announcements 🙂

Speaking of all the marketing sites I want to try, have a look at the The Most Super-Duper, Exhaustive, Comprehensive, and Current Listing of Free and Paid Book Advertising Websites and Ideas, which has been updated with even more sites. I have not given up on paid advertising – you are free to draw whatever conclusions you want from my data, but I see it as investing in my brand. The upcoming blitz/full-on war is as follows:

  • 5 December – second chance for Bargain Booksy. They were nice enough to give me $25 credit for the disappointing YA audience promo, so I’m trying the chicklit audience. Cost – $70 (minus the $25 credit).
  • 5-6 December – applied to Read Cheaply. Not sure if this will work, as they want a limited-time offer and Shizzle, Inc has been on sale for many weeks.
  • 7-8 December – Read Free. Cost: free!
  • 9 December – Free Kindle Books and Tips. Cost – $25.
  • 11 December – Reading Deals. Cost: free!
  • 12 December – BookHearts. Cost – $5.
  • 14 December – eBook Lister. Cost – $25.
  • 15 December – BookSends. Cost – $30.
  • 17 December – Digital Book Today (Deal of the Day). Cost – $30.

Let’s see what that does! Ka-boom!


Filed under Self-publishing and marketing, Shizzle, Inc.

41 responses to “Marketing blitz reveal – so how did Robin Read, Indie Book Promo, and Book Gorilla perform?

  1. Number 9! That’s great! I think you’re seeing incremental advances here. And, as you say, with each sale hopefully you get some word of mouth/positive reviews and that’ll keep things rolling.
    Looking forward to the upcoming blitz 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Claire – that’s the plan! I am seeing very pronounced advances in social media activity, it’s actually mind-blowing. I’m thinking the sales curve is just behind it – it takes people a few times of hearing about the same book, preferably from others, not just the author, before they decide to give it a chance.

      This blitz will be extra interesting, as I also have a paper copy available now. If the ebook promo results in paper book sales, winner!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for continuing to share your results. It is very helpful. I’ll be posting a review soon of your book – just had a baby so a bit behind! You’re doing great & an inspiration to all of us writers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing your results with all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great to come across an indie author who’s prepared to let it all hang out (stats-wise) – I’m enjoying your journey with Sizzle. Go girl!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Marketing blitz reveal – so how did Robin Read, Indie Book Promo, and Book Gorilla perform? | J.A. Stinger

  6. Congrats on catching number 9!

    I’d agree with that conjecture – Probably best to avoid holidays for promotion cycles.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. exiledprospero

    “… a targeted email is the only way to get people to notice.” Ha! That’s exactly what I was saying on my last post. Naturally nobody read it, but I seem to have been onto something. There is method in the madness (channeling Polonius)–but i prefer to say there’s madness in the method.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am glad you posted this! I really don’t get what Amazon is saying in these graphs. Are these sales? Or what?
    And I always that that bar & line graph reading were my best Math talent! 😉 ❤
    Peace, love & book sales for all,
    Sherrie Miranda's historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
    Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

    Liked by 1 person

    • The top graph is “units ordered” per day – not all become sales (some fall through and get refunded, but it’s like 1 out of 100).

      Bottom is “pages read” for the books people got through Kindle Unlimited


  9. exiledprospero

    Ana, just got Shizzle on kindle. Will read when internal clouds clear.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tess M Garfield

    Reblogged this on Tess M Garfield and commented:
    It’s always good to see the results of ad campaigns, and thought this was worth sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. BookBub (and other sites as well) check your price going three months back. How they do this, I’m not sure, (although I suspect they get info from Amazon since they directly contribute to large sales for the e-tailer) but I know they passed me up once because I had done something similar to what you tried – going from $0.99 to $2.99 and then trying to get sites to schedule me for a $0.99 bargain promo – and they told me my book hadn’t been at full price for long enough.

    Usually they just give me the generic “not right for us at this time” email, but that time it was different.

    Anyway, thanks again for sharing your sales and marketing info. I think it’s crucially helpful for all serious self-pubbers. And even though Book Gorilla didn’t earn out for you, they came close and you probably got a lot of exposure through them as well. I’m eager to give them a try!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shoot! Thank you, good to know! I will stick to &0.99 for this one and will just wait to advertise the sequel with BookBub.

      I’m gonna give BG another try, on a regular day. I think doing it all over Thanksgiving was a mistake. Ahm, learning experience!


  12. Thanks for your informative posts! 🙂 This is a little unrelated- for some reason (maybe cuz of the type of pricing-I don’t really know- or some other reason) Amazon keeps saying that your book is not currently available for sale. Maybe its not available for the country I am in right now (Malaysia). Its possible that its also not available in a number of other countries too. I’ve had the same problem with other authors, too, but a lot of them put their work on multiple sites. Maybe, if you want, you could put it on other sites, besides Amazon? Like Nook, Smashwords, etc. That would be cool. Do keep doing whatever you love 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Ana – call me an old cynic but that looks to me like money down the drain. I sometimes think the only people making money from us authors are the book marketing folks. I certainly can’t afford to spend that kind of money on the off chance of gaining a few sales.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Call me a middle-aged optimist, but I still believe that it was worth it. For one, I am currently compiling a list of advertisers that are actually effective, separating them from those that have flashy websites and big claims, but no substance. Also, I see this phase as pushing a stone up the hill – I will expand ridiculous amounts of money and effort to get it to the point where it just rolls down the other side, gathering sales in the process 🙂 call it R$D costs, or a “loss leader”, or building a brand. Only time will tell – lets see what happens next December?


  14. There are quite a few countries Amazon don’t touch. Smashwords don’t either. You might want to try sites like StreetLib and Publish Drive that distribute to more places… Thanks for the information. I had quite a good result from Riffle but I was advertising a free book so sales might be a different matter…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve just awarded Shizzle 5-stars on and posted a review
    Have done the same review on Goodreads, which has automatically shared with Facebook. One of my friends who saw it there, wants to read it. So that’s good. At least one more sale. Will put a review on, too.

    By the way, you have the Kindle version of your book displayed at $0.99 on your author page and on your review page, but $1.49 as your current sale price. Perhaps the info has not filtered through yet. Just thought you might want to check this out.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. For info, I think I found you just by looking at the ‘newly pressed’. I followers you because of your quality blog posts. I can’t wait until I have time to go back and read the journey from the beginning.


  17. Hi Ana, have you tried selling direct to fans (ie give me your payment and I’ll email it to you)? Obviously more work and trust required but 100% profits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t – has anyone done it? It seems like so much work in addition to all the other work I’m doing…


      • I thought of trying it but currently my readership is… modest in comparison to yours.

        I was just curious to know if it would work. Certainly it only let’s you get current fans, not new ones – but it would maximize profit from a static fan base.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m currently in an expansion phase – my focus is on getting a following, rather than maximising profit. With a full time job, I think I will concentrate on advertising and writing at the moment


  18. Pingback: Review of December’s marketing blitz – |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s