As I noted in The Worst Ways To Spend Money On Book Promotion and Experimenting With First In Series Free the best e-newsletter I’ve found for generating sales of ebooks is a featured deal on BookBub (which often boosts audiobook sales as well).
It has a huge subscriber list and is very selective about the books it lists as featured deals.
BookBub, though, rejects most applications for featured deals, so that's not always an option.
If you can’t get a BookBub deal when you want one (or at all) I found the next most effective technique is to schedule a series of ads in similar e-newsletters around the same time.
Cost vs. Benefit Comparison
For Supernatural Suspense, the genre in which I usually advertise Book 1 in my Awakening Series, BookBub charges $224 to advertise the book as a featured deal if the book is free.
My other ebooks in the series are priced at $3.99, and I make an average royalty of $2.65 for each sale. That means I need to sell at least 84 ebooks to break even.
The last time I had a BookBub deal like that, on the first day I sold 140 ebooks (of later books in the series) and 231 audiobooks.
That means on the first day I earned money on the BookBub even if you assume 20% or 30% of the sales would have happened without it. (That’s why BookBub is able to charge so much.)
Most other e-newsletters haven't made back the money the first day and some don't earn back the dollars spent at all. The best ones usually generate enough sales, though, that over the following 1-3 weeks I come out ahead.
This February I’m running a series of 5 e-newsletter ads. The total cost is $170.
At that price, I need to sell 65 ebooks to break even. I’m hopeful that will happen within the first couple days and that I will see increased sales for at least a month or two afterwards. (I’ll do results post a few weeks after the last listing runs.)
Making The Submission Process Easier
Scheduling multiple e-newsletter ads means filling out multiple forms, which is time-consuming.
To make this process simpler, I keep a list of product links and product ID numbers (such as the Amazon ASIN) that I can easily copy and paste into the forms. The ID numbers matter because some forms ask for those numbers rather than product links.
Here’s how my list for The Awakening looks:
I also keep a variety of descriptions saved.
That's because some e-newsletters ask for longer descriptions, others limit you to 50 words or a certain number of characters. In addition, you may want to appeal to slightly different audiences, as not all e-newsletters will offer the same genres.
Below are a few of my descriptions for The Awakening, which are all a lot shorter than what appears on its product pages on sites like Kobo:
Though you'll use them over and over, be sure to review the descriptions before you submit them each time.
You’ll catch typos you may have missed before. Also, once in a while I have come up with much improved ways to describe my story or my characters.
Tracking Your Schedule And Results
It’s important to track which e-newsletters you scheduled, how much each one cost, when each listing will run, and what genre you chose. You may think you’ll remember all of this, but when the dates roll around you probably won’t.
I use an Excel spreadsheet.
Once the ads run, I also keep track of how many free downloads and sales I have of each book each day by platform. That’s how I’m able to determine later which e-newsletters are most effective for my books and for particular sites. (For example, some are more apt to generate Kobo or Nook sales than others.)
While you can research the results that other authors get, what works best for your books will not necessarily be the same.
There are e-newsletters that other authors rave about that generate few sales for my Awakening Series. Similarly, I’ve had great results with e-newsletters that others find to be a waste of money.
Paying For The Ads
I personally like to pay with PayPal. That way I’m not giving my card number to an online vendor.
Even if I trust an e-newsletter, I find PayPal quicker and easier. I don’t need to reenter my credit card information and I can easily sign on and look at my payment history. (You can also input your credit card into PayPal if you prefer that to having money withdrawn from your checking account.)
As always, though, you should do your own due diligence regarding which sites you trust or don’t, including Paypal.
Before You Start
Before you spend anything on advertising, though, you should make sure you have a strong cover that fits your genre, a solid sales blurb, and good opening pages, as readers often check those before buying.
If you’re missing any of those things, you will probably be throwing advertising dollars away.
If you think you have all those elements but haven’t tried advertising in e-newsletters yet, try one or two of the less expensive ones. If the results are pretty good, then try scheduling a batch of ads.
It's also important to try e-newsletters one at a time first so you can get a better sense of which ones work best for your books.
Keep in mind also that e-newsletter advertising is most cost-effective when you have at least three books to sell.
If you only have one or two, you may still want to advertise, but it’s less likely to pay for itself even in the long run. (What it can do is help you get some initial sales so that people start reviewing your book. You also may want to include incentives for readers to sign up to your email list within your book.)
If you try scheduling a batch of ads, good luck, and please let me know how it goes!
Until next Friday, when I'll write about 3 Ways To Create And Distribute Your Audiobook —