One of the main e-book marketing methods used by self-published authors as well as traditional publishers is a temporary price drop. Does it work, or does it just mean you make less money?
Author and scientist Dan Koboldt, who has done many useful marketing studies relating to self-publishing, has reported on the results when the e-book version of his novel, The Rogue Retrieval, was put on the promotional price of .99 cents for three weeks by HarperCollins. The usual price was $3.99.
BOOK PROMO SERVICES AND THEIR COSTS
During the promotion period, Koboldt used ten book promotion services, at an average cost of about $25 per.
These reach anything from 112,000 readers (BargainBooksy - $40) down to 4800 (BKnights on Fiverr - $10). He also took out an ad with Riffle Books ($30).
Probably the top book promotion site is BookBub, but they are very selective about the books they highlight, and this time around they didn't choose his book.
Importantly, he also benefitted from being promoted in the HarperCollins daily e-mail to almost a million readers, and from being mentioned on their Twitter and Facebook channels.
Koboldt breaks down the likely results from each of the promotional services but overall he figures he sold about 250 copies during the promotional period (actual sales figures won't come in for a couple of months).
He doesn't say how many he would have expected to sell during that period without such promotion but it's safe to say it would have been a lot fewer.
IS IT WORTH IT?
Probably the main benefit of this kind of promotion is visibility on the Amazon ebook lists and the possibility that some of those who buy will like your book enough to spread the word and to buy another one of your titles if you have more available; from a strictly financial standpoint, Koboldt will get less in royalties for those 250 copies than the $226 combined cost of the promotions.
The bottom line: if you're looking to build word of mouth, and have a long-term goal of establishing yourself as an author, this kind of promotion can help; if you're promoting only a single title, with no plans to release another in the foreseeable future, it may not be worth the money.
PS: Of course, one cheap way to promote your book is to mention it on your blog, as I do once in a while for my books, Your Writing Coach and Your Creative Writing Masterclass, both from Nicholas Brealey Publishing and available from Amazon or your other favorite bookseller. :)