What Buck Books has to offer to indie authors? Exposure. A factor which is priceless on Amazon. The biggest hassle with starting on Kindle is getting the initial traction. I remember how I observed my mentor with jealousy just a year ago. He was launching book after book and they all stayed in the top #10k, #20k, #50k or #100k. When I did research on his books some time ago I found only a couple titles which were above #100k on the bestselling list. And these were the titles from his old catalogue published about a year prior, which he mostly left alone.
The biggest difference between my struggle and his success was the size of a mailing list. At the beginning of January 2014, my list consisted of just 27 people. He “lent” me his list promoting my book to his subscribers (about 1800 at that time). It wasn’t the only marketing tool I used for that launch, but I credit many of the results to that ‘lease’. Master Your Time became a bestseller in a very competitive niche and stayed on the first page of bestsellers for the next few months.
The initial exposure is the king on Amazon. It keeps your book afloat for months to come. And Buck Books gives indie authors exactly that.
It is my publisher’s service and my books have already been promoted three times using it. Let’s discuss the results and compare them with these books’ performance from the past.
A Personal Mission Statement: Your Road Map to Happiness was my first work ever published. As you can check in my income reports, it wasn’t a smashing success at the beginning. But with growing exposure it started to sell quite well. It sold just 99 copies from May 26th 2013 to the end of October.
Since then it became a solid position in my catalogue and before the beginning of September 2014 it sold 1038 copies overall, at $1, earning me about $245.
This book was launched on the 11th of September and it sold 135 copies with Buck Books.
#1, 702 in paid store:
Hot new release in Self-Help-> Self Esteem category:
1st in search results for “personal mission statement” keyword:
My publisher checked on the numbers 9 days later. The book was set at the higher price point of $2.99 and was selling 4 copies per day on average. It matched its best performance in the past, but being in a better royalties threshold it makes me 4 times more money. Within three weeks it made 30% of the aforementioned $245 generated in the 14 previous months.
I launched The Fitness Expert Next Door on 14th of July 2013. It was my second work ever published. I had no mailing list at that time. I used a free promo for the launch.
Up until the middle of October 2013 it sold only 17 copies. I think the ugly cover had a lot to do with that.
Another promo, a new cover
and the success of my other books (exposure, exposure!) increased this number significantly. This book sold 259 copies up to the re-launch with Archangel Ink.
I priced it at $1. To make the picture whole, I confess I made it a permafree book at the beginning of April 2014. By the end of August 2014 the free copy was downloaded from Amazon 8149 times.
I must admit that this level of performance was not particularly impressive.
On 4th of September 2014, three of my books were published and promoted to the Buck Books mailing list. I was promoted as a ‘featured author’.
My fitness book was one of them.
It reached just below #2k in bestseller rankings during the promo.
A fancy bestseller badge:
Hot new release in Health-> Exercise & Fitness category:
Hot new release in the main Health, Fitness & Dieting category!
#1 in Health, Fitness & Dieting Short Reads:
It sold 136 copies within 2 days. It bounced back, but only to #20k-ish places within first 10 days.
A month after the promo, its lowest rank was around #114k. The Fitness Expert Next Door was also priced at $2.99 and made me $55 in the first month after Buck Books promo.
The first book I published together with Archangel Ink was Learn to Read with Great Speed. I launched it for the first time in October 2013, starting from 5-day long free promo. I paid $35 for a Fiverr marketing service. They submitted my promo to 20 freebie sites and a few Twitter and FB accounts. I also used freebie groups on Facebook to spread the word.
The results were quite impressive (for me). In November I sold 74 copies on Amazon.com and 39 on Amazon.co.jp. To give you some comparison: in October 2013 I sold just 31 copies of my first two titles (and 40 in November; exposure).
Since the launch to the 9th of August 2014 Learn to Read with Great Speed sold 762 copies.
For all that time this book was priced at $1.
Buck Books event
The book was re-published and promoted with 15 other books in the Buck Books event.
To participate in the event, each author must:
1. Drop the price to 99 cents
2. Drive traffic to the site on the day of the event with an email broadcast to his/her subscribers.
It’s a way to unite indies’ dispersed powers.
The site was hit just over 16,000 times during the event (including the whooping 34 visitors from the broadcast to my tiny list):
It was 6th in the whole Short Reads category (including fiction)!!
It sold 357 copies during the promo at $0.99 and then the price was increased to $2.99. It stayed below the #20k rank on the bestsellers list till the next promo on 4th of September.
A fancy badge:
Within the first 25 days of its time with Archangel Ink it earned us about $650. Not too bad, I doubt it earned me $50 any given month prior.
Icing on the cake
Learn to Read with Great Speed was promoted once again, together with my fitness and parenting books. During these two days at $0.99 it sold 230 copies, topped with a dozen borrows. It dived below #1k on the whole Kindle store.
Comparing to this book, The Fitness Expert was a smashing success.
On the 23rd of December 2013, I published my 4th book – Release Your Kid’s Dormant Genius. I did everything in my power to promote the book including several free promos with paid advertising on freebie sites. The results were invariably disappointing. This book sold just 20 copies in the first full month of its life and only 155 copies in the whole ‘before-publisher’ period.
It wasn’t the problem with a cover, which was decent;
it wasn’t the content, because reviews didn’t reflect any problems. It was just the lack of appropriate exposure.
The Buck Books promo went similarly to the fitness book: it reached just above #2k rank;
sold 135 copies during the promo and about 30 copies within the 10 days after increasing the price.
A fancy badge:
Two books in Hot New Releases in Education category:
The lowest rank it got within a month after the launch was #77, 518. By contrast, Release Your Kid’s Dormant Genius was regularly at about #300,000 when it was in my hands.
In the first month after the promo it made me $47, comparing to the $37 it made since December 2013.
Book #5 – my bestseller
On February 1st 2014, Master Your Time in 10 Minutes a Day transited from the free promo to a paid store. On the first day it sold 74 copies.
It was the first book I priced at $3. That one day I earned more than in the first six months of my writing career.
This book stayed on the first page of bestsellers in the Time Management category for the next few months. It has never left the top 100 in that category.
Before the beginning of September 2014, more than 2500 readers bought it. I was selling 12.5 copies a day. I earned on this book more than $3300 in seven months.
However it was just 7.66 copies in June, 5.8 copies in July, and in August the average sales dwindled to just 3.5 copies a day. The book was definitely losing its steam.
It was promoted on the 11th of September 2014 via Buck Books.
It dived below the #1k rank in the whole Kindle store. It occupied #1 stop in the Time Management category.
and it was high in a main business category:
It sold 199 copies during the promo and about 100 copies within first 10 days after the promo. It slipped to the second page in the Time Management category only after 3 weeks. It earned me $148 just on the USA market in 20 days.
Granted, it’s not just the promo effect.
All books were proofread by pros; all received superb covers. All have now paperback versions and on the listings they show as deals with the “You Save: $4.31 (54%)” message.
Those are all the factors which positively contribute to their rankings and sales.
But I have one interesting case to prove that Buck Books promo makes the difference: From Shy to Hi went through the same refurbishing process, a paperback version was also published, but in this case it also took Amazon a lot of time to bundle both formats on the store.
So the guys from Archangel Ink decided not to promote it with other books. It hung silently on the Book Bucks website and was available on Amazon for the minimal price. When my other books were promoted on the 4th of September it sold 22 copies and about 20 copies more up until its own Buck Books promo a week later.
At $0.99 it got the highest place at about the #15k rank, however it was also close to the #80k rank a few times.
From Shy to Hi has been a solid position in my catalogue in the past. I launched it on my own at the end of June 2014 and before the beginning of September it sold 102 copies at $3 (and was borrowed 19 times).
After the promo it was set back to $2.99 and was selling 5 copies a day on average. That grossly exceeded its previous performance.
It earned me $82 in a month.
That’s the power of Buck Books for authors.
My mentor always says, “Write great books.” But it’s not everything. It’s only a prerequisite. The great books can lose against the trash with superior marketing.
I wrote Master Your Time in October 2013, when I sold just 31 copies with a couple of titles. My marketing sucked so I didn’t sell a lot of copies at the beginning of my publishing career.
But once I refined my marketing a bit the same content was selling better. In January I sold 83 copies of those two books. And in February this number climbed to 161. In September, with the help of Buck Books, it exceeded 350.
Folks from Archangel Ink know their craft. Their marketing is far superior to mine. That’s why I’m more than happy to ally with them. I provide them content; they provide their marketing machine. Together we multiplied our effectiveness.
Those are facts supported by numbers. This alliance is the way to triumph over those who game the system by stuffing keywords, changing the release date every 3 months to get to the hot new releases section and so on.
Want more numbers details?
Take a look at the detailed numbers about the results of my Buck Books promotions and get to know my arguments why you should jump on the bandwagon.
And I invite you to participate in the Buck Books events mentioned at the bottom of that note.