Book Promotion

Book Promotion 2016, Priming the Pump

I published my first novel a year ago and I’m still feeling my way when it comes to book promotion. I’m an introvert who enjoys research and writing, so selling and promoting is not a natural fit for me. But I spent years coaxing my novel into being, and I’m on a mission to find the readers I had in mind when I wrote my story. If marketing can help me do that, I’m happy to learn.

Earlier in the year, I put together two small promotions for my novel, a one day $0.99 promotion at the beginning of February, and a two day $0.99 promotion at the end of May (see details of these efforts at the end of this blog.) Both promotions were informative, but results were only modest.

In July, I decided that August (the doldrums of summer) would be a great time to put together the most effective marketing package I could muster. I planned to target readers who were most apt to enjoy my particular book (literary fiction/action adventure), and stay under budget ($400 – hoping to make some of that back in sales). I started by applying to Bookbub and was rejected—for the third time (alas), so I would have to search out and depend on other promoters.  I scheduled a 6 day Kindle Countdown e-book promotion in the U.S. ( and the U.K. ( – note that you must sign up for these separately, and Kindle Countdown promotions are not currently available in other Amazon markets. My promotion officially began at 1:00 am on Thursday, August 18th and ended at 11:00 pm on Tuesday, August 23rd.

Once my dates were scheduled, I spent a lot of time preparing. I began by buying Martin Crosbie’s 2016 edition of How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on AMAZON KINDLE and reading the chapters on marketing. Then I scoured the internet for information on e-book promotion–how to do it, and what has worked for other indie authors. I read every recent (2014 to current) blog from indie authors on their marketing efforts that I could find, and scanned k-boards and Goodreads group discussions. I collected links to recommended promotion sites, looked up their Alexa ratings and statistics on, and created a Word spreadsheet to make it easy for me to compare promotion sites. (If you would like a copy of my spreadsheet, make a request on my website’s contact form, include your e-mail address, and I’ll send it to you.)

Book Promotion

I wanted to know which services and strategies writers have tried, the ones they they would use again, and the ones they would avoid in the future. And then, I  made some decisions, organized and ran my promotion. Below are the marketing sites I used and results of my Kindle Countdown promotion:

The Promotion Begins:

Thursday, August 18thDay 1

I used the first day of my promotion to make sure the Countdown was up and running and the price of my book was marked down to $0.99.  Here is a snapshot of To Swim Beneath the Earth’s baseline sales rankings before any promotional activity (watch how the rankings of my book improve as the promotions continue):

Sales: 0 Books / Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read: 0

Friday August 19th   —Day 2

Scheduled promotions: (an asterisk (*) means this promoter is a favorite with indie writers)

Sales: 57 Books / Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read: 0

There was a moment (in Action/Adventure) when my novel was ranked between two of my all time favorite novels (Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian )– what a thrill!

Saturday August 20th —Day 3

Scheduled promotions: (an asterisk (*) means this promoter is a favorite with indie writers)

Sales: 89 Books / Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read: 42

Sunday August 21st —Day 4

Scheduled promotions: (an asterisk (*) means this promoter is a favorite with indie writers)

Sales: 42 books / Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read 414

Monday August 22nd —Day 5

Scheduled promotions: (an asterisk (*) means this promoter is a favorite with indie writers)

Sales: 83 e-books/ Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read: 180

Tuesday August 23rd —Day 6 (Kindle Countdown Price ($0.99) Ended at 11:00 pm)

No promotions.

Sales: 35 e-books/ Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read: 2,169

Total Sales:  306 e-books /KEN Pages Read: 2,805
Total Cost of Promotion:  $353.99

Past Promotions

I have done two more limited promotions earlier in the year.

February 5th (2016)  a one day $0.99 promotion

Sales:  34 e-books

May 28th & 29th (2016) a two day promotion

May 28th– Fussy Librarian  @ $15.00

Sales:  11 e-books

May 29th– Kindle Nation Daily with Book Gorilla  @ $89.00

Sales:  32 e-books

Coming up Next: Residual results the week after the promotion and some thoughts about its overall effectiveness.

6 thoughts on “Book Promotion 2016, Priming the Pump

  1. Thank you very much for sharing the results of your work. I look forward to learning what you consider to be the worthwhile promotions and whether the results met your expectations. From what you list here, it’s already possible to recognize some of the duds.

    1. Hi Jack, Yes, it’s not too hard to see the promotion sites that really shine. My sales have already dropped precipitously but the Kindle Unlimited Reads are still happening and that’s exciting. I’m hoping some of the folks who bought my book will review it.

  2. Thanks for all this detail on promotions, Ginger. You’ve given great details, data, and more. I would like a copy of the spreadsheet comparing promotion sites. Good luck with readers and sales!

  3. Dear Ginger,

    I’m blown away by the detail in this post. You’ve laid out a template for a marketing campaign for a literary book – with precision and a way to record the details (rankings on Amazon).

    Most importantly, you decided on a budget and kept to it.

    As soon as I can cobble up the energy, I’m going to steal the whole thing.

    Many thanks.

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