The Serpent in the Glass – report on latest promotion
Almost five years ago I self-published my first work of fiction, a middle-grade fantasy entitled The Serpent in the Glass. During the first year or two it had some great sale peaks, but for the last few years it has been declining to the point where, in December 2015, it only made 4 sales and 64 Kindle Edition Normalised Page Reads. I decided to give it a boost and put some serious time in to a promotion. So I applied to Bookbub, they accepted it and gave me a date of 3rd January 2016. I chose to run a free promotion rather than a discount in an effort to create a wider distribution (more downloads). I then submitted to as many sites that accept (often with no guarantee of running) notifications of promotions:
In the event it seems that most did run with it, and it was also picked up on other sites by virtue of being free or because it hit the free best-seller list on Amazon. I also paid $5 for an ad on bookgoodieskids.com. I also ran an Amazon author ad during this period. Author Andrea Pearson also kindly invited me to feature The Serpent in the Glass in her Middle-grade fiction promotion between the 4th and 7th of January.
The Bookbub ad on the 3rd generated about 9000 downloads on the day. Another 3000 or so downloads came over the next 4 days, how those 3000 were divided between late Bookbub readers, the sites that picked up on the book as it hit the best-seller listings, the submission sites, the MG promotion, and my own efforts, it is hard to say, though I suspect I may have the order correct.
At its high point on the morning of the 4th (I’m in the UK) The Serpent in the Glass hit #12 on the Amazon Top FREE 100. This declined to about #150 on the final day of the promotion and it dropped back into the paid rankings at just under #9000.
One of the consequences of the promotion was a healthy rise in those Kindle Edition Normalised Page Reads. That number currently – it being the 12th of January – is about equal to the total number of downloads. I’ve had 13 sales since the 8th, which is a lot better than 5 per month!
I also dropped $5 to bknights on Fiverr for a basic listing on the 8th, so this may have had some influence on sales.
Overall I spent around $100 (most of that being on the Bookbub ad). Stats for Amazon.com (as of this post)(as of end of January in bold):
Downloads: 12,428 (12,428)
Reads: 12,262 (31,867)
Net sales: 17 (28)
Refunds: 1 (happened before the promo) (3)
Reviews: 6 (three 4-star, three 5-star) (11, five 4-star, six 5-star)
The book remained in the top 30,000 om Amazon for some time, before dropping in the last 2-3 days of the month given it a rank of around #67000 by the close of January.
Other Amazon sites saw little activity, except for the UK one which saw 11 sales, 6163 reads, 963 downloads, and a rank of #42000 for the end of January.