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
Avg Dwnlds
Avg Sold
11,500 to 46,400
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.comand has some of her writing available for free on Wattpad at http://www.wattpad.com/user/ZimblerMiller

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *