Review of December’s marketing blitz –

I finally got a chance to update  The Most Super-Duper, Exhaustive, Comprehensive, and Current Listing of Free and Paid Book Advertising Websites and Ideas with the results of December’s online marketing blitz. As announced in the last update, the December’s blitz/full-on war plan was 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.

Since the picture is worth a thousand words, here are the results at a glance:

Screenshot (39)

And now, my opinions, in hopefully under a thousand words:

  1. Bargain Booksy. Once again, a disappointing 15 copies sold, although there was a big jump in pages read the next day. AMAZINGLY, though – after I’d contacted them again, they’ve refunded BOTH of my purchases. So only a net gain to me, although I kinda have a feeling I may not be welcome to advertise with them again…will try again in a while, when I have a sequel and advertise the first installment for free.
  2. Read Cheaply – I will have to test them again, as it appears I did not make it on the list – can’t find the confirmation email. proof you have to write everything down as it happens!
  3. Read Free – several copies sold! Hey, it was free, so they go onto my “good list”.
  4. Free Kindle Books and Tips – 18 sales on the day and 6 sales the day after. Not terribly impressive at the cost of $25, but I might try them again.
  5. Reading Deals – did not happen as I wanted to add links to other platforms, they’d asked me to reapply, and then did not have a slot. To be tested again.
  6. BookHearts – did not impress me, with 6 sales on the day at a cost of $5. I’m giving them another chance in January, to test if December was a bad month for eBooks.
  7. eBook Lister – I have contacted them to complain that the $25 payment only got me 3 sales. Not sure what happened, good thing I’m writing this update, because the issue slipped under the radar for me. Will update as to their response.
  8. BookSends – 22 sales on the day, but not enough at the cost of $30. Might give them another chance.
  9. Digital Book Today (Deal of the Day) – pathetic 8 copies sold at a cost of $30. has anyone had a good result with them? I had high hopes for this one. I have emailed them and they responded promptly, refunding $15, but claiming that my 40-60 sales per day with eReader News were probably because of other promos I had at the same time. Nope – I’m a researcher, so I know how to control factors (when I remember to do that…).

Here is what’s planned for January (so far, I will update this post as I make further plans, and as usual – will tweet live scores on @spokeana):

  1. 9 January – another chance for BookHearts, a subsidiary of Choosy Bookworm. Guaranteed feature, cost (on sale): $5. Not confirmed yet, although the payment has been made – they confirm on Fridays only. UPDATE: only 2 sales, a complete disappointment. After two emails it did turn out that they did not feature me on 9 January after all.
  2. 14 January – BKnights via Fiverr: only $5, mixed reviews.
  3. 16 January – Choosy Bookworm. Guaranteed feature, cost (on sale): $19. I tried to book it, but once I got to the paypal checkout, it reverted to $25. I’ve emailed them and was advised to “donate” $19, which I did. They confirmed the spot several days later.
  4. 18 January – BookHearts listed me in place of the earlier booking. I got only 5 sales.
  5. 19 January – I screwed up and did 2 giveaways. I will need to re-run and re-test Buck Books – the link is to their policies, but to apply to advertise you actually need to contact Jennifer directly on Claim to have 42,000 subscribers. Cost – $12. I also did eReader News Today again, at $30. Total sales were 44 on the day, plus about 2,000 pages read in the next few days.
  6. Read Cheaply – TBD.
  7. Reading Deals – TBD.
  8. Read Free – TBD.
  9. 31 January – Betty Book Freak. Cost: $12.
  10. 2 February – eBook Soda. Cost: $15.
  11. Kindle Nation Daily – sold out! Scheduled on 12 April.

In related news, the above graph makes me wish desperately to return to KU – I miss those pages! I will probably do this by the end of the month, so if you want to get Shizzle, Inc on Kobo, please do that now!

Looking forward to your comments and experiences. If you want to suggest an advertising site I have not yet tried, please do so!


Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

31 responses to “Review of December’s marketing blitz –

  1. I love that you post this information. It’s fascinating to see how these websites work for authors, although disappointing as well. I hope you keep posting these and wish you the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I will, and I hope they get better – I’m just starting out, and have only one book so far. I’m a researcher, so a negative result to me is still a result…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d like to think that hard work pays off. (Although an assumption on my part) it seems getting noticed is easier said than done – and that’s BEFORE you get other’s opinons on your book. Definitely a rough road to journey, but worth it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! Funny, I had a small crisis yesterday, it was Saturday and I’d spent 4 hours in the blog and various book-related admin, then had a nagging thought of “why am I doing this?” all night. Had to remind myself to just keep putting one foot in front of the other…

        Liked by 2 people

      • I keep on getting moments of crisis like that, but the two men in my household (husband and son) won’t let me get negative about things and both believe in my ability to make a success of it. My husband equates it to a start-up business where money, time, and effort needs ploughing into it before the rewards kick in. I’m a little dubious about some of the book promoters out there. I’ve earmarked one of them on Twitter, and will let you know if my book sales pick up after I sign up with them. I’ve looked into click-advertising but have decided it’s a total no-no as gauged from the feedback in forums that indicate only the advertiser benefits while the author only makes minimal sales, if any.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Sarah – and I agree, it really is a business. How sweet and supportive is your family!

        I have tried Goodreads click ads, worthless. Have never tried Amazon, but they are waaaay too expensive!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Martin Cororan

    It’s hard work touting your own wares! Congrats on getting the book onto shelves – You’re an inspiration to us all.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much, Martin 🙂 My next goal is to get onto radio or into a mainstream newspaper – from the first try both appear impossible. Let’s see what I can do…


      • Hi Ana,
        Re: getting onto radio. It just occurred to me that you might pitch the blog posts about tracking what works and what doesn’t as a self-published author and slip in a plug for Shizzle Inc. as an aside. I’m sure there would be interest in that – all you have to do is direct the host or assistant to your blog. It’s such useful information that any incipient or new author would love to hear – and probably many readers as well.

        I had a local radio talk host who wanted to talk about my new novel (Eaten – a polar bear attack thriller) but talking about fiction wasn’t really what his show was about. So he asked me to come and talk about the new polar bear conservation assessment for 15 minutes that I’d discussed on my blog and then talked about the novel for the rest of the show. I donated two books as give aways and boy, was it fun to watch the phone lines light up!

        Best of luck,

        Susan Crockford [EATEN: A novel]

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Susan – I did pitch an interview as a discussion of what it takes to successfully self-publish. It might have to be for some other show, not morning radio. Will advise when something works out. Congrats on making it onto radio – did you get a sales spoke after?


  3. Martin is right. You are an inspiration to us all. But I don’t know if being an inspiration will do you any good. It may produce competitors. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. cynthiahm

    Thank you for compiling and sharing all this information. There is so much to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like December was both successful and tough! That’s a lot of money spent just for a few good sales and some major flops. Good luck in January! I always look forward to these updates 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for Sharing Ana, it makes interesting reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I appreciate all the great insight on marketing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I would be happy to do a interview with you on my blog to help get the word out….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve been following your blog for a while now and still find it refreshing to see an author prepared to put their sales results in public view. It’s such a change from all those authors advising us to do this and that, but never reveal how successful or otherwise that advice is for them.

    However, there’s something that goes through my mind every time I read one of your promo results articles and I can’t keep this thought to myself any longer. There seem to be a lot of people and websites charging authors a fee to advertise something being given away. That inverted logic, to me, goes against all business sense. I understand the term ‘loss leader,’ a short term promotion to draw attention and boosts real sales, but these people seem to be taking advantage of indie-authors.

    I wouldn’t have this concern if you were reporting medium to long term benefits from these giveaway/low price promotions, but that doesn’t seem to be case. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) The graphs above appear to show no sustained sales boost as a result of using these services.

    This comment isn’t a criticism of you, I admire your perseverence and I want to see your book achieve success, but I am very sceptical about the motives of the companies and websites offering these services. The phrase ‘they saw us coming’ comes to mind, and they must be rolling in money whilst the authors see little to no benefit.

    Hopefully, I’m wrong and I would welcome anyone to show me evidence that I’m wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re absolutely right – there are lots of websites that look flash and make big promises, but then don’t deliver. I am attempting to determine which ones are worth spending money on in as objective way as possible. So far, I can say that eReader News was worth it, as I at least made my money back. Bargain Booksy was disappointing, but they care enough about building business to refund my money. Eventually, I aim to have a half-dozen proven companies (for my book), and will work with them throughout the year. You get to benefit from my research 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Without qualification Ana, you are a outstanding inspiration for those looking to self-publish and grow their own readership and marketing plan. Your regular update detailing your successes and travail in marketing have convinced me of the viability of self-publishing and how to make the most of my own marketing. Thank you for the trail-blazing you do for us fledglings and keep doing it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much – I just had a couple of days of “blah” and “why am I doing this?” Probably due to low sales. Means a lot, and gives me juice to pull out of the funk and schedule a few promos 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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