Bublish, the distributor of my book The Sibling Connection: How Siblings Shape Our Lives, decided with authors’ okay to discount ebooks to $.99 for the holidays. (The original price: $7.99.) Not a bad idea! Everything else on the planet is discounted for the holidays.
Now at .$99, there’s little chance of making any money, but there is the opportunity for authors to expand their reader base. With a revised edition of Dead Serious: A Book for Teens About Teen Suicide slated for publication in 2017, I need all the readers I can round up.
So, discounting the sibling book made a lot of sense. We authors are usually not very good at marketing, but, in this age of online public relations and high fees for “professional” publicists, we’ve had to suck it up and learn the tricks of the trade.
Before the discount, the sibling book’s ranking on Amazon was a dismal 72, or something like that. I’d stopped checking months earlier but took a peek just before the holiday sale.
But then the good stuff happened, and the book shot up to #4. That wasn’t without some help from a number of online book sites that feature free and discounted books. Sites like JustKindleBooks.com and BargainBooksy.com. (Cute name, eh?)
I was riding high there for a time and looking forward to the next week or two when a host of other sites would be featuring my book. Many of the sites promote a title for free but usually just for a day. Sometimes, for an additional $7.95, the marketing can be extended for a week or more. And then there are sites like BooksGoSocial.com and eReaderNews.com that can cost up to $49 with “promises” of reaching thousands of readers via their Twitter and Facebook accounts and sometimes with direct emails.
By the time I finished doing my due diligence, I’d signed up for 9 sites and waited to see if my book was “accepted” by another 2. (I’m still waiting.)
To date, it would take selling 220 copies of my book to break even. Granted, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but my book sales have been sluggish and far below what I’d expected.
So, did I spend my money for naught? What now? Well, I’ve got new marketing “campaigns” lined up until the end of the month. Who knows: maybe there will be a holiday rush when all those last-minute shoppers realize that they will be going home to spend time with family and need some help in surviving the potentially rocky connections with their siblings. What with the election and all, there are bound to be even more hurdles this year. Sister Sally may have voted for you-know-who. Or Brother Dan may have pulled the lever for Jill Stein. Or maybe the Bernie supporter decided to stay home.
Stay tuned: when all the hoopla is over, when siblings have returned from whence they came, and the $.99 discount and online marketing have expired until the next go-round, I’ll tally up the numbers and maybe even have a few bucks to spend on my book club’s next book for January.