Paid Newsletter Promotions
(I warned you I'd write about the author business if I ran out of topics in December, right?)
One way to market a book is through a paid newsletter promotion, such as BookBub, Robin Reads, Free Booksy, Bargain Booksy, etc. If you've never heard of any of those, they're newsletters that go out to readers who have indicated they'd like to hear about bargains or new releases in specific genres. So you can sign up for BookBub and get email every morning with 5-10 books that are either free or deeply discounted.
Those services are free for the reader, but cost money for the author. The prices vary depending on the list and genre. BookBub featured deals can be over $1000, but they generally do really well. Yesterday I had my first newsletter promotion for my cozy mystery novella through Robin Reads. Total cost to me: $65.
I dropped the price for Death Walks a Dog to 99¢ a few days back (so I could be sure the price had changed on all retailers). Robin Reads only has links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but there's a difference between the two.
If a book is between $2.99 and $9.99 on Amazon, the author gets 70% of the retail price. If the book is below $2.99 or above $9.99, the author only gets 35%. So for a 99¢ book, I'll receive just under 30¢.
At Barnes & Noble, it's 70%, even for a 99¢ book.
So if you do the math, to break even from just the books sold at 99¢, I would need to sell 217 copies at Amazon, or half that at B&N.
In reality, it looks like I sold about 84 copies on Amazon and 7 copies on B&N (which comes out to 14 Amazon equivalent copies). We'll assume there are a few stragglers who haven't opened their mail yet and call it 100 Amazon copies total. That's less than half of what I need to break even.
So was it a waste of my money?
Well... it depends. Hopefully not. If people read the first book and enjoy it, hopefully they will go on to buy and read the next two books (and possibly the Christmas novella as well). Since those are still full price ($4.99 per full-length book, $2.99 for the novella), that would be an additional $6.99 - $9.08 per reader.
So if at least 5 of those people who bought the first book keep going to buy the other two books, I'll have made back the amount I spent on the promotion.
Let's just keep our fingers crossed, shall we?