A month without spending money on book promotions

In August, I tried to avoid spending any money on ads or promotions for my books. There were a few reasons for this.

1) My current spending was reaching some preset limits (see my post on frugality).

2) I wanted to establish a baseline, so that when I do start spending again on ads, I can better judge what impact they really had.

Now, I did leave up my 2 Amazon ads. They hadn't gotten many clicks, so they weren't costing me tons of money. And there had been no sales from them since I put them up at the end of June. However, wouldn't you know, this month of the ten books I sold, SIX of those sales were due to the ads! So this unexpectedly turned into a baseline test of Amazon ads. I've got a third ad with new keywords that began September 1, so I feel like I'm really starting to get some good data on what works best for this book. While I would like to think if I spent 2x as much, I'd sell 2x as many, I have a feeling it's a bit tricker than that, and besides, I'm not breaking even with the ads, so it's not really worth it to scale yet.

3) I wanted to connect more with other authors.

Newsletter swaps can be a great, free way to reach new readers, as well as form connections with others. I had a new free short story out on August 1, and having that in a few newsletters definitely boosted the downloads for it. I also put it up on a few free sites, with one in particular doing quite well (askDavid).

In one of my author groups, I was randomly drawn to get a free Twitter promotion, which was exciting. It helped a little with the free story, and there were more page reads of the book in Kindle Unlimited that week.


In terms of final numbers, my experiment in trying to spend as little as possible on book promotions this month got me 10 sales and 627 page reads of the dystopian novel, compared to last month when I spent $40 on a promotion, and got 26 sales and 1200 page reads.

This month there were 116 downloads of the free short story (paranormal historical), but only 1 person has signed up for the mailing list. I'm not sure if that's a typical conversion, but I do know that short stories are less attractive than full novels, and this is not a prequel, so there is not really a strong link with the dystopian novel.

This coming month, I am doing a few different kinds of promotions on both the free short story and the novel, so I'm excited to see if the numbers shift significantly from this month. Part 2 of the novel comes out in October, so I may even do a preorder on that as well...So much to do and I am so excited to try it all, bit by bit.

How was your August? Did you do more or less promotion than usual? Let me know in the comments!