Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Sales and Marketing, It's a Numbers Game

Today is the fourth day of the Trick or Treat for Ebooks promotion. But I want to talk about what happened on the second day, when the lovely and wonderful people at who also own Kindle on the Cheap sent out the link to a potential audience of 10,000+ (based on their Facebook likes). Within one hour, the clicks on my link went from 59 to 126! Our total linky tool exposure grew by 1,000 views.

There's more data. I'm a geek and track as many things as I can. I happened to reconfigure my Google Analytics right before the hit, so this was fascinating. In the span of 1 hour, 67 people visited my Madame Elizabeth's Fortune Tent. The average time spent was :45 seconds. :) So, even the people who did not buy the book were exposed to my plot line. The main blog for the promotion had a total of 191 visitors in that one hour time frame. Now, my link received 67 clicks, but the links appear in a random order to each visitor, so some links were clicked a little more, some fewer. All of the links are disguised, so a visitor can't say "Oh, I only want Elizabeth's book."

191 visitors to main blog. 67 clicked my link. That's a 35% conversion rate. Many ad programs would kill for a third of viewers to ACT (convert). In this case, they clicked my link (and they also clicked the OTHER links, so really it's compounded exposure). I also happen to know how many sales I received. According to my statistics on, 8 people clicked Madame Elizabeth's crystal ball taking them to my Amazon purchase page. How many bought the book? 2 on Amazon. I had two other sales on BN and the link to my book there was featured on the blog post on

This was one hour and a fluke to tap into such an established network of readers. But, the 35% conversion rate tells me that this was a great match up of what our promotion was offering and what the people clicking the links were looking for. And some authors might be upset about 2 sales for 67 clicks. I'm not. Remember 8 people went to my Amazon site, so that's another potential 6 later sales if they downloaded a sample. 2 people bought right away, so that's 25% of the people I got to click three links and finally land on my Amazon page impulse bought my book. Not too shabby.

Huh? 3 Links? Yep, a reader had to click the link on Facebook or blogs promoted by This took them to the main page of the blog hop ( Then, the reader had to decide to click on one of the links in the blog hop, and each reader had a random configuration of the links. Then, once they landed on my blog post, if they wanted to buy my book, they had to click another link to get to Amazon. Generally, the fewer links you can have between pitch and purchase page, the higher your conversion rate.

This is why it's a numbers game. You can't feel bad about low conversions, MOST ad campaigns do not have high conversion percentages. I know this because I just came from working in the SEO/online marketing area of writing. There's a reason why advertisers even calculate CTR (click through rates)/ 1000 visitors. It's because it's such a small percentage. You can Google information on conversion rates, but this was a great article about conversion rates from 2010. 10% is usually an over-the-moon ad campaign. This is important if you're putting money into advertising. You need to have an idea of how many people will SEE the ad, calculate 10% of them will click on it, and then only 10% of that number buying the book. And you'll probably see this roughly time and time again.... a review site with 300 followers, 30 probably check out your book, 3 probably buy.

So the more you can promote your book and put yourself out there in front of new audiences the better. This is key--flogging on the same venue or channel won't help. Definition of insane: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This is how it builds and the more blogs and tweets you have going out about your book from all different directions the more you'll get RTs and invites to other blogs. It's kinda like a snowball rolling down the hill, you pick up more snow with each rotation. Most of us start with a single snowflake though, so be patient, it's a VERY tall hill. :)

I wrote this on Tuesday night, and thought an update might be in order. 2 things have happened... when the promotion was featured on, other groups became willing to share our link with their readers. Exactly. Snowball. :) Our total page views of the Linky Tool has risen to 5400, and every blog participating has had over 200 clicks. A few are approaching 300 clicks! Oh and my sales? I went from 2 sales Tuesday night to a total of 7 sales on Amazon (19 for the month) and another 11 sales on Nook (14 for the month). :) I have officially sold more books this month than I did last month, and I didn't pay a single penny for this promotion. I am over the moon on a broom about how successful #TrickorTreat for #Ebooks has become.

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords WIP: PAST DUE A nurse, crippled by debt, takes a part-time job in medical investigation only to find the man she's dating is a fraud!  (status: outlining)

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