Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ten Days of KENP with BookBub Boost

So this was unexpected.

First, some background. Because I've been devoting my time to other things, I haven't published a solo novel in over two years.

Whiskey Sour was my first legacy pubbed novel, and the hardcover came out in 2004.

In 2010, I got my rights back and self-pubbed it.

This was my first book in the Jack Daniels series. It has remained one of my best sellers for me, and in June under KU 1.0 payout of $1.38 per borrow I loaned out 362 copies and earned $500. I also sold 215 copies and earned $589.

So in June I made $1089 from Whiskey Sour in KDP. Not bad for an 11 year old that I haven't advertised in a long time.

Then Amazon rolled out KU 2.0, which paid according to pages read rather than per download. Again, I didn't do any promos, or release any new work.

In July, under new terms, I had 204,295 KENP borrows at $0.005779 per page, which equals $1180. I also had 602 sales, earning $1648.

So in July I made $2892 from Whiskey Sour. I can understand why I made more in KU--this book has gotten over 1400 reviews, and people seem to like it. That means they tend to finish it, and I benefited more from being paid per page than I had being paid per borrow.

I can't figure out why my sales also went up. People who borrowed it liked it and bought it? Someone the ranking went up, so it became more visible and sold more copies? The jury is still out.

So the next step was to try a BookBub for Whiskey Sour, which I did on August 13. I reduced the price to $0.99 on August 12, and the Kindle Countdown ended August 17. The BookBub ad cost $800 for the Mystery genre.

I'll be honest here; while I've never lost money on a BookBub deal, I was a little concerned how it would work out with KENP. Has KENP become so popular it would hurt my sales? Did BookBub send their email ad to a lot of KU subscribers who would borrow it rather than buy it?

I needn't have worried. Here are my sales and page reads for those days.

United Ordered:
On August 11, prior to the BookBub and KDP Countdown, I sold 10 units at $3.99
Aug 12 - 118 (first day at $0.99)
Aug 13 (BookBub) - 5593 (I reached #11 in the Top 100)
Aug 14 - 1091
Aug 15 - 619
Aug 16 - 482
Aug 17 - 376
Aug 18 - 349 (back to $3.99)
Aug 19 - 78
Aug 20 - 78

KENP Read:
On August 11, prior to the BookBub and KDP Countdown, there were 4444 page reads
Aug 12 - 6325
Aug 13 (BookBub) - 7551
Aug 14 - 20,456
Aug 15 - 21,793
Aug 16 - 35,131
Aug 17 - 49,682
Aug 18 - 51,007
Aug 19 - 54,156
Aug 20 - 55,803

So, thanks to the BookBub ad and KDP Countdown deal, I made $5550 on $0.99 cent sales from August 13-17. As of this writing, Whiskey Sour's ranking is #170, which helped me earn another $1383 from August 18-20. $6933 is a pretty good return on a $800 investment.

But that doesn't include KENP. From August 13-20, Whiskey Sour has had 295,582 KENP reads. At $0.005779, that's an additional $1708.

Plus, remember that a rising tide lifts all boats. People who like Whiskey Sour go on to read more of my books. On August 20th, I had 167,942 KENP reads across my backlist. So I made $970, in a single day, just on borrows.

Your mileage may vary. In fact, your mileage will vary.

One of the problems with any sort of promotion is the inability to repeat results. There are so many variables and factors, and no experimental control. I'm sure some authors can blow these numbers away. I'm sure other authors won't do as well. Many authors tell me they still get denied by BookBub. For the record, I also get denied by BookBub. They say no to my titles that don't have enough reviews, or haven't been out long enough.

I'm sharing these numbers to show that, in this case, with this book, BookBub worked for me, and the boost it gave my KENP for both Whiskey Sour and my backlist is obvious.

  1. I'm a lucky SOB. 
  2. I'm grateful for these opportunities, which didn't exist a few years ago. 
  3. KDP Select Countdowns are a good way to gain exposure. 
  4. When coupled with BookBub, the results can be very impressive. 
  1. Writing novels that people tend to finish and enjoy leads to big KENP numbers. 
  2. KENP also works better than being paid per borrow, both with and without BookBub. 
  3. Having a series might also help boost sales during a promotion, as other titles benefit from the one being advertised.
  4. I looked up my last BookBub, which was May 8 of this year for another Jack Daniels title, Cherry Bomb. The BookBub ad drove 3142 Countdown sales, and 488 at full price, earning $2678 for that month with that title. There were also 488 borrows, which earned me $586. But when the BookBub ended, the sales and borrows went down. With KENP, when the BookBub ended, my sales went down by KENP numbers are still continuing to rise. I'm writing this at 3:26pm on 8/21, and I'm already up to 120k KENP reads for the day. I expect it to get near, or surpass, my all-time high of 168k reads yesterday. 
That means, for my particular situation, a promotional effort has longer lasting KU benefits under KU 2.0 than it did under 1.0. Seems like I've hooked a few people on my series, and they're burning through them.

I wrote this post a day early because I'll be out tomorrow, but I'll check in with an addendum to let everyone know what my final KENP reads were for the 21st. I'm curious to see if they keep rising, plateau, or begin the inevitable decline.

8/22 Addendum - I had 166,746 page reads yesterday, so I dropped by 1000.

8/23 Addendum - Spurred on by a free ebook, Endurance, and a BookBub ad for The Complete Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland, I hit a high of 203,688. It is 10:14am CST, and my KENP is already 125,185.

8/24 Addendum - 234,026 KENP reads. That's $1352 in KU for a single day.