Following my post on how to get your book listed with Bookbub, I now continue with the second question: how long should a book promo last?
Turns out that the answer depends on what your goals are: are you looking to increase revenue, to market a book series, or to hit a best-seller list?
To increase revenue…
…you need to discount your book for five days or fewer. Authors see a 4x higher increase in post-promotion revenue when the book is discounted for five days or fewer. The key here is to revert your book to full price while it’s still high on retailer bestseller lists in order to maximize full-price sales and thereby drive more revenue.
To promote a book series…
…the best strategy is to discount the first book in the series, or make that book free. But whether you decide to drop the price of the first book or another book in the series, discount that book for more than three days. Authors see a 4x higher increase in sales of other books in the series if the price promotion lasts longer than three days. You want to allow enough time for news of the discount to spread virally, since your aim is to find as many new series fans as possible.
To hit a best-seller list…
…maximize your promotion during a specific week by keeping your price lowered for the entire week. Focus all your marketing efforts on that specific week to drive as many unit sales as possible in the lead-up to that week’s list. The cycles for each bestseller list are different, so you may want to plan your discount timing and promotional strategy around the specific bestseller list you’re aiming to hit:
- New York Times: The NYT bestseller list is published on Sundays, and each week’s list tracks book sales on a Sunday through Saturday cycle.
- USA Today: The USA Today print edition shows the top 50 bestsellers on Thursdays, and the online edition shows the top 150 bestsellers on Wednesday evenings. The rankings reflect sales from the previous Monday through Sunday.
- Wall Street Journal: The WSJ Bestseller list is published on Thursdays, and each week’s list tracks book sales on a Saturday through Sunday cycle.
- Amazon: Amazon’s bestseller list updates each category list on an hourly basis.
These are only three of the most common goals authors and publishers can achieve by timing their price promotions effectively, and there are many others that might require different timing strategies. For example, it can be smart for some authors to make the first book in a series permafree as long as there are enough other books in the series to make up for the lost revenue. Your promotion’s execution should depend on the books in your unique backlist.
Next in the series: Bookbub Insights: Increase Sales of Standalone Books
All this marketing stuff does your head in? Relax with my award-winning children’s book, Runaway Smile for free!