Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG: Ask PZM Nov 2014

It's that the first Wednesday in the month again, which means Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it's time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn't matter which. 


If you'd like to join, click here.

Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Our hashtag is #IWSG

Our awesome co-hosts for the November 5 posting of the IWSG will be LG Keltner, Donna Hole, Lisa Buie-Collard and SL Hennessy!

Please take time to visit and thank them for their time. 


Now for my honoured IWSG host, Phyllis Zimbler Miller's Q & A for November:



Q: What do you think about paying for book ads on sites such as BookBub?

Since 2008 I have been experimenting with and evaluating various marketing strategies for “selling” ebooks.  (Note that giving away ebooks can be an important strategy for increasing sales of an author’s books.)

If, as an author, you want to advertise one of your ebooks on the site BookBub, for example, there is a review process before you get a yes or no to pay for a free or special price ad campaign targeted to readers segmented by BookBub’s stated genre preferences.
 
Here is a sample of the BookBub pricing by mysteries, the most costly ad category:
Listing Cost By Book Price
Free Book Stats
Discounted Book Stats
Category
Subscribers
Free
<$1
$1-$2
$2+
Avg Dwnlds
Range
Avg Sold
Range
Mysteries
1,710,000+
$320
$640
$960
$1,600
29,500
11,500 to 46,400
2,710
260 to 6,470

To test the effectiveness of BookBub’s segmentation effectiveness, I did little or no promotion anywhere else for “free day” campaigns for two different Kindle ebook campaigns.  In terms of downloads, both campaigns yielded about 35,000 downloads, which is quite good.

BUT – and this is very important – although BookBub’s email promotion lists are segmented by genre category, there were people who downloaded my books who should not have.  These were readers for whom the type of book was not in their targeted reading interest.  Some of the subsequent Amazon reviews, for example, indicated people unaccustomed to reading espionage thrillers who complained of difficultly following the traditional arc of such stories.

Perhaps the review issue might not have been a problem if I had advertised for special price days rather than free days.  The free option may attract readers who otherwise would not be interested in a specific genre and would not pay even $1 for a book in a genre not usually of interest to them.

After evaluating these two “successful” campaigns on BookBub, I decided that the cost for advertising and the risk to my book’s overall star rating on Amazon due to readers who weren’t in the target audience negated the effectiveness of BookBub campaigns for my books.  I did not want to risk more “off target” reviews even if I offered a book in a BookBub campaign for a special price rather than free.

Now there is another consideration to the above – whether your book has reviews.

Both books for which I used BookBub had a good number of Amazon reviews (a certain number of reviews – usually with a specified rating – is often required from book marketing sites with paid advertising before they will allow you to buy ads).   But if these books had none or very few reviews and I would still have been allowed to buy a BookBub ad, that could change the equation of my thinking on this subject.

Fairly or not, having a decent number of reviews can influence a reader’s decision to purchase – or download for free – your books.  And buying ads for free or special price days may be an effective way to get these reviews, although the risk of the “wrong” readers still remains.
As in everything else about the art of book marketing, numerous factors have to be considered, and then it still will probably be a gamble whether to spend money on paid advertising.



Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter and Pinterest) is a fiction and nonfiction book author who blogs on book-related topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and has some of her writing available for free on Wattpad at http://www.wattpad.com/user/ZimblerMiller





44 comments :

  1. As a writer, we think the hardest part is just writing it, the endless revisions, simply making it ready. The more I read about marketing... the writing is the EASY part of a difficult process.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember when my first book came out and how I was so unprepared for what was needed. When I'm rich and famous, I'm paying someone else to market! Thanks, Robin.

      Delete
  2. Interesting post! All the things us writers have to learn -ugh.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Writing is hard, but marketing seems like a bottomless Grand Canyon with lots of twist, turns, protruding rocks and jagged edges. I read everything I can find and listen to what other say. I am just hoping I can swim once I get to that point. I am wishing you much luck and much success, with less headaches and quick rewards.

    Juneta at Writer's Gambit

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting how that turned out. My publisher used Book Bub to advertise one of my books, but it wasn't for free. I got a few 'eh' reviews, but I think I hit more of my target audience since it wasn't free.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think most readers expect to pay. If it's advertised as free, they think poor quality. I know I feel that way about a lot of products. I expect to pay if it's good stuff.

      Delete
  5. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Most writers I know who've used BookBub say they have had a great return on the investment.

    From a readers stand point, I've not been overly impressed with the selection I've been receiving from BookBub.

    I'm signed up with five different "discount" mailing lists. BookBub is far from my favorite.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've heard of Book Bub, but I've never used it. Mostly because I don't have the money to spare. When Hurricane Crimes was free, I advertised on a ton of free book sites. I got countless downloads, but only received a few reviews from it, as far as I know. I did get one 2 star review because the girl didn't know my story was a short story. Obviously she didn't do her research before click the buy button because I state everywhere that it's a short story. And I did that because I know people like to lower their rating if they realize the story is short while reading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But there's still a huge audience for short stories, and I wish you all the success, Chrys. Thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  7. It never occurred to me that having the wrong people download (and review) your book could have a negative downside. Suggests that a writer really needs to target an audience when they promote their book. Thanks for the info.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear that, Ken. Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  8. This was very interesting. All my books are with a publisher so I don't have 'free days' so I haven't used BookBub though I've heard so many good things about them. I wouldn't even have thought about people downloading it that have no interest in that genre.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, I have a publisher too, but occassionally I'll ask for free days to attract more suspense readers.

      Delete
  9. I wouldn't even consider buying a book for free. Tis an insult to the author methinks.

    Here's to lots of sales, Joylene!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a coincidence, I just looked up BookBud today. I was wondering if I should start a new kind of marketing to make some sales. Good Post.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very interesting post.

    I've used Bookbub twice now and it paid off enormously. The first book I advertised was on sale for 99 cents, and I got far more on target reviews (and from paying readers!) than I had by previously gotten while seeking reviews through review services like NetGalley. The second book I advertised was free because my I was releasing the 2nd book in the series--not only did I get tons of downloads, my sales on the second book were much higher than expected.

    I hadn't really thought about sharing my experiences, but I might write a post about it--if it will help other authors make a decision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A post about your experience would be wonderful, Skype. Please let me know what you do. I know others who need to read it.

      Delete
  12. Hey Joylene!

    PZM is rocking and rolling with this one. Of course, I've never heard of half the things she mentions and the other half, I don't get anyway. Yes, me a smug amateur who just has a bit of therapeutic fun.

    I do love the mention of "IWSG" aka "I Was Seeking Gary." Yep, it's all coming back to me. "Look up....waaaay up...."said the Friendly Giant....

    Gary

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Joylene! It's very helpful to hear from people who have already gone ahead on the trail and scouted the way. I'm really interested in posts such as these. Thanks for the insight! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And thank you for stopping by, Yvette! I know Phyllis appreciates it.

      Delete
  14. Anytime you're reaching the masses, it's a gamble. With the right book, those ads can pay off though.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Joylene and Phyllis .. Phyllis always has such good posts and advice ... or warnings. It's a nightmare world out there .. I think the ghouls of Halloween are still around! Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could be right, Hilary. Lovely to hear from you. Have a wonderful weekend.

      Delete
  16. A friend's publisher paid for Bookbub for her, and she did the 99-cent thing. She got a ton of buys and no negative reviews that I know of. I'd love to do it but my publisher won't pay - and I can't. Great post, PZM, and I enjoyed reading the comments, too. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it may have been Cathrina. That's good news and good to know.

      Delete
  17. This is why I have such respect for writers :) Have a wonderful weekend!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is great information to keep in mind for future use. It gives authors another option to consider when it comes to marketing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phyllis and I are happy you liked it, Susanne! Thanks!

      Delete
  19. I really appreciate this info, Phyllis! I've wondered about the effectiveness of Boob Bub, etc. and wasn't sure if it was worth it, so this is very helpful.

    Joylene, thanks so much for hosting Phyllis today. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I've used some of the other cheaper email marketing services with some success. Haven't had anything that would qualify for BookBub yet (I think they only do novels). I don't understand why people who download a book for free leave some of the nastiest reviews. Should be a topic for a psychological study.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't figure it out either, Jeff. Perhaps we should put in block letters, FREE doesn't mean see how rude you can be.

      Delete
  21. What a helpful post! I like that Phyllis didn't do any other advertising to test the results. It sounds like her books got a lot of downloads, though some of the readers may not have been the targeted audience. When I get books for free and I realize I am not the intended audience I make sure that influences my reading. If I like it- I will review it, but if I don't- I don't review it because I don't feel I am a worthy judge. I know not everyone uses these rules, but I think we all tend to get more books when we realize they are free- but free doesn't mean we will like them (especially if they are outside of our usual genres). :)

    Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good points, Jess. Maybe if we keep articulating this enough, those meanies will change their tune.

      Delete
  22. Hi Joylene .. is your Lake freezing over yet .. seems it might be early this year? Cheers H

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The lake probably won't freeze until the end of December. Thankfully, we won't be there to see it. Hi, Hilary. Thanks, eh.

      Delete

Thank you for visiting my blog. Please come in and sit for while. We will talk about writing. We will share our dreams. Then I will serve tea and cookies. Home made and Gluten Free.