Buck Books events are really a no-brainer. The rules are very simple: a group of authors unite their forces; they all drop the prices of their books to the Amazon’s minimum; and they all drive traffic to the platform where their books are presented together on the event day.
That’s it. No magic.
There is more to it, of course, but these are details. Platform owner earn money from the Amazon affiliate program; thus, he can afford the workload involved in maintaining the site and managing the technical aspects of event—putting covers and links on the site, tracking the sales, checking if every author dropped his price, etc.
And this is nothing comparing to the hassle of organizing the event: setting the date, the subject, finding appropriate books on Amazon, connecting with dozen of authors, reminding them about the rules, reminding them about the date, sometimes haggling with publishers… I’ve been there; I’ve done that. It’s kind of a logistic nightmare.
It’s more efficient to drive traffic through the site where all covers are visible than to put a dozen of separate links to specific books in your broadcast.
Why has no one else have done such a thing before? Two reasons: laziness and dispersion.
It’s a hassle. You need to have a good-looking site. Someone has to do the manual job of uploading covers and linking to books. Indies prefers to write instead of tackling such technical tasks. In addition, organizing an event? Well, it is much easier to pay BookBub and be done with marketing.
We, Indies, are all alone in our small writing worlds. Connecting with one, two, or even three authors, it is uncommon and we do not perceive it as a lot of work. But connecting a dozen at once and coordinating their actions… It’s like managing a dozen kids in kindergarten (not so bad really, we are adults, but it’s as big in our heads).
Nevertheless, it works and everybody wins. Amazon gets a surge of “buyers” traffic. Amazon loves that more than anything else. They reward those who provide traffic and promote their books. The books skyrocket in ranks and get an additional exposure. The platform owner earns affiliates commissions. Everybody is happy.
Smoothing the edges
To overcome the obstacles I’ve mentioned above and enhance the effectiveness, Archangel Ink introduced two more factors to this model: they directly pay authors for driving their traffic and they use the weight of their mailing list to drive even more traffic and generate even more book sales. They use events to grow their subscriber base and they promote each event on their list. They actually pay for the number of subscribers signed up thanks to author’s recommendation, not for the number of visits. They pay also tier commissions, so the event’s coordinator have an interest in signing authors to their affiliate program. I was paid (in affiliate commissions) about $2 per hour for organizing the Productivity Event (something I would happily do for free as long as other authors will send more people to Buck Books, the compensation will grow).
The direct financial incentive seems to smooth out all of the inertia accompanying a usual organizational chaos.
What is the author’s job? Far from overwhelming:
1. Write a great book.
That’s an easy part and already done, isn’t it?
2. Sign up to Buck Books affiliate program.
This the first affiliate program I has ever been involved in and it took me about 10 minutes to set everything up.
3. Drop the price at the specific date.
You can do it, can’t you? You know, KDP panel and so on? I agree that with Amazon’s moodiness, it can be a bit tricky. The simplest solution is to do it well in advance.
4. Send a broadcast to your email list promoting the event.
Include the Buck Books affiliate link so you can be paid for people who subscribe to the Buck Books mailing list and the event coordinator will get his tip too.
You can also promote the event on social media. A broadcast is just the minimum requirement.
In addition, here are the results:
Buck Books Paleo Event – 26th of November 2014
Buck Books Productivity Event – Cyber Monday 2014