Thursday, May 31, 2018

Paid promotions

Last month, I mentioned that I was trying out one or two paid promotions, a new approach for me. Now I’m coming to the end of my planned stint I thought I’d give an update on my experience.

General strategy

For the last couple of years I’ve priced e-books at $3.99. With the release of The Ashes of Home, I decided to drop the price of Ghosts of Innocence to $0.99 for two months. My hope is that people who are tempted to buy the first book at a reduced price might be enticed to move on to the second.

Note: All prices here are given in US $

During these two months I ran several paid promotions on Ghosts to reach a wider audience.


In each case, Ghosts of Innocence was advertised in an email to subscribers on the specified day. There was an immediate spike in sales on that day, with a small number the following day, then zero. Any further sales after that I’ve regarded as normal business rather than a direct result of the promotion.

Promotion #1: Bargain Booksy, April 22, cost $35.
Sales of Ghosts: 22
Sales of other titles: 2

Promotion #2: Book Gorilla, May 6, cost $50.
Sales of Ghosts: 13
Sales of other titles:  1

Promotion #3: Bargain Booksy, May 27, cost $35.
Sales of Ghosts: 17
Sales of other titles: 0

I also submitted twice to Ereader News Today but was rejected both times.


These kinds of sales come nowhere near to paying for the promotion, but at this stage of the game that isn’t the point. I’m happy to be getting my books into more hands, and even a few sales now and again helps lift my author rank in the arcane Amazon algorithm. This is a long game of patience and persistence.

BTW - Ghosts of Innocence is still at the reduced price for another couple of weeks. After that, I will likely try a slightly higher price point of $4.99 for Ghosts and Ashes.


  1. Not much in sales but it does get the word out. I don't think those paid options are as good at moving copies as they used to be.

  2. Alex, I have nothing to compare against so I can't comment on how things might have worked in the past. However from reports of other Indie writers it sounds rare for a promotion to come even close to paying for itself.

  3. Those promotions never seem to work as well as we hope they will. Unfortunately, selling an e-book for ninety-nine cents isn't enough of an incentive for readers these days, considering how many books they can get for free. Heck, even giving books doesn't always provide the boost we're looking for. I gave away 100 e-books through Goodreads before my latest book was released, in the hopes that I'd get a bunch of reviews. Nope. Not yet, anyway. To date, I've gotten one mediocre review and two five-star ratings from folks who got a free copy. I reckon all we can do is hang in there for the long haul, be patient... and keep writing.

  4. Susan, I've abandoned Goodreads giveaways since they start charging authors exorbitant sums for the privilege of giving your work away. And the way I see it, with a 99 cent price at least it will only go to people who have a genuine interest. With giveaways you tend to attract people who sign up for free stuff just because it's free. Most of the time they will never even read it.

  5. Thanks for sharing this, Ian. I'm always curious if these paid promos work.


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