Advertising ROI

Being an author doesn’t begin and end with writing and editing a book. These days there is so much more to it and one of the biggest administrative tasks is marketing the book. There’s no point in spending all that time writing a novel if no one knows about it, if no one reads it, so marketing is about discoverability and building a brand.
Before Place to Belong came out, I made a concerted effort to do more advertising and I thought I’d share my results.
Many of you may have noticed the trend for the first book in a series to be offered for free. This is a recognised and proven way to get new readers, so I decided to give it a shot. I set Break the Rules for free for the two weeks before Place to Belong came out (6-20 January) and I advertised in a whole bunch of places.

There are some newsletters and blogs which allow you to advertise a book for free and there are others you have to pay for. I checked out the popularity of the websites using Alexa and only paid for the promotion if they had decent newsletter numbers or a high hit rate ranking. In the end I spent about $330 on my advertising which included having Break the Rules as a book of the week on iBooks and an international BookBub advert.

Free book

The results were the best I have ever had in my career. Break the Rules was downloaded a total of 36,800 times. Below is the graph from Amazon KDP. January 8 is when my BookBub advert ran and as you can see, it made an impact.

What was even more exciting was, immediately following the 6th January when I started the free promotion, the other books in the series started selling at a significant rate. Previously I was lucky to sell one or two books a day.

The same happened on other sellers, though most notably on iBooks.

So what does this mean? Well I won’t know the exact figures until I get paid (because of the fluctuating exchange rate), but the way I figure it, my return on investment has been over 756%. Not bad for a day’s work!
Unfortunately with these things, it can’t necessarily be easily replicated. I’ve put Break the Rules up for free before I launched the other books in my series and didn’t get the same leap in sales.

I know some readers won’t buy a series until they’re all available so perhaps that’s what drove the sales. Or maybe I just hit on the right combination of places to advertise. I’m not entirely sure, but I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts, and keep all of the details of what I did so I can see if I can replicate it again next time. Now I just need to finish my next book, so I have something else to advertise!