Questions for Indie Authors

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Mrs. PG and PG were discussing the upcoming release of her newest book (more details in a later post) and came up with a couple of questions, the answers to which we were uncertain:

1. What is the best day of the week for the release of an indie book? Or does it not matter?

2. What experience has anyone had with BookGorilla?

Feel free to provide facts, opinions, opinionated facts or factual opinions in the comments.

20 thoughts on “Questions for Indie Authors”

  1. I didn’t find any day of the week being better than the others.
    I stopped advertising on BookGorilla because they were too pricey for the sales I received. Genre YA Fantasy and Vampires

  2. I haven’t used Book Gorilla in a while, but when I did it worked for me. Since BookBub is so hard to get and expensive, I wanted something that would get me a wider distribution for my sale. Book Gorilla provided that and had a great sell through for me on several titles I’ve advertised over the years. Can’t say what it’s done in last 6-8 months though. Haven’t used it since but I plan on doing another ad in the next few weeks or so.

  3. I run ads with BG on occasion, but I agree that the results aren’t as good as they used to be. I believe their prices have come down a little, though. I’ve found that some advertisers work better for certain genres, too. The only way to really find out what works for you is to set aside the $$ and try a bunch out. This blog has a pretty solid list of advertisers:

    https://blog.reedsy.com/book-promotion-services/

    As far as the first question, I think it would depend on where you publish. I use D2D for my non-Amazon publishing and it can take several days (or more) to hit some stores, so there’s really no way to plan or monitor results for comparison.

    • The day of the week does not matter.

      I have had a good relationship with BookGorilla over the years. It’s been a break-even proposition, but even at a slight loss it adds new readers, which is a long-term gain. Nothing matches BookBub, of course, but I’d encourage a BG try.

  4. BookGorilla is certainly a reputable service. I haven’t used them in quite some time, but when I did, you had to dedicate at least three sale days to get the full effect of their particular promotional model. Since you only get 5 free days per 90, that restricts its value to campaigns where you run successive ads on several services across the three days to get the most out of them.

    I currently use the following services, in the following order, as I have found they provide the best value for a thriller. Some or all show their subscriber base by genre, so you can get a good idea how this would translate for Ms PG. Figures are for a first ad for a new book (they fall off in later runs): FreeBooksy: 1500-1800; RobinReads: 1200 – 1500. After those, it drops significantly but for a first ad she should do better than 500 with Fussy Librarian and MyBookCave. After that, fkbt and ManyBooks should several hundred, but for a higher cost per download. There are also some services that specialize in romance that I can’t opine on. Riffle should produce a good return as well if you use the following promo code, good through October 31 (otherwise, they are far too expensive): RSFALL19

    One last observation, after a recent BookBub acceptance for a free offer that yielded over 37,000 downloads. I left the book on permanent-free with the thought that I’d make it up on sales of the next four books in the series. While there have been sales, they’ve been disappointing despite the fact that I picked up 60 new reviews at Amazon (and many more at other channels) almost all of which were enthusiastic four and five star reviews.

    The sad truth is that people who download free books tend to only download free books, so it’s something of a bridge to no where. A few reviewers remarked that they liked the book so much they were even willing to pay to try another book in the series, but these comments underline the point.

    At the same time, running discount ads seem to generate only a handful of sales, so they are ver cost ineffective, at least in my experience.

    The bottom line to me is that while paid ads for free downloads may put one in a position where luck will strike, neither free nor discount ads seem to provide a reliable pathway to building a large reader base – and I say this after 100,000 free downloads and excellent reviews. If others have had better results and have figured out why, I’d love to have their advice.

    Best of luck to Ms. PG

    • Wow! Pretty awful. I think that the 99 cent specials and freebies have ‘conditioned’ large swaths of readers to think that there’s no reason to pay for a book. I pity. I’m sure they get lots of stuff to store in their kindle and read later, but I’d bet that most of it is crap.

      Also, I think that a lot of these folks who download freebies never get around to reading them. They strike me as hoarders. They have thousands of free books in their kindles and won’t read 99% of them.

      Just my musings on the subject.

  5. … and don’t forget Amazon Ads and Bookbub CPM ads. The former can form a solid base and latter can move a lot of books in a short time, although BB ads work best with big discounts.

    + I don’t think release day means much in the long run, which is what counts.

  6. I have found either Friday or Sunday to be best for release days. Saturday was by far the worst. My sense is everyone is running around doing errands, taking kids to practice or lessons and people are too busy. I send an alert to my mailing list when the book goes into preorder. My preorder is at a discounted price. Twenty-four hours prior to going live I send another mailing list alert stating ‘Only 24 hours left at the discounted preorder price.’ A week before going live I send a Bookbub notice to followers that the book is in preorder. I’ve had poor results with Facebook ads so I only post on free FB sites, no more than 20 sites per day. My genre is Crime Fiction. Wishing you all success!

  7. For me Sundays seem to yield slightly higher sales overall, though I really don’t know about releasing on that day. One thing I do know, however. Don’t release just before a major holiday. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and so on. I always see a major drop in sales 1-2 days before a holiday which lasts until about 1-2 days after the holiday(s) has ended. Hope this helps.

  8. If you have a pre-order, it makes sense to release on the last day or the day before the end of the month. That puts those sales into that month instead of the next, for payment purposes. Unless, of course, you have a reason to put them into the next month or year, say for tax purposes. But I prefer to get my money a month early.

    If the book is in KU, this goes double, as if it has any chance of a bonus, it’s best to try to concentrate the initial page read surge into one month rather than, say, split them 50-50 between two months.

    As for day of the week, I find Tuesday or Wednesday works best if you have no ability to notify (no significant mailing list or social media) and you rely on Amazon, as fewer people seem to release on those days, and so you get a little less crowded field to deal with.

    If you have a good mailing list, IMOo release Friday at 12.01 am and notify followers throughout the day and the weekend. Many people will see your emails or posts at work when they first check their personals on their work computers, and will get your book right away, eager to read for the weekend. Or, they will see them after work if they can’t at work, or on Saturday morning when they are catching up.

    BookGorilla is associated with Kindle Nation Daily, I believe. If you buy most KND packages, they give you a free BookGorilla spot, so that’s a twofer. I believe Lendle has the same deal, and Lendle prices are lower in most cases, and Lendle tends not to be as booked up, so I usually go the Lendle route. BG is not the most effective site, but it’s a nice add-on. The Booksy sites and ENT seem to be the most effective after BookBub. I also recommend Fussy Librarian .

  9. Save the worry and the money, and write the next book.

    TL;DR

    I’ve spent the last ten years discovering all of the authors that I missed during the go-go 90s, so I don’t see the point of worrying about what day of the week a book comes out or spending money on an ad that people are trained to ignore anyway. HA!

    – Remember, every day somebody discovers Stephen King, and spends the next five years buying every single one of his books.

    To say it another way, are you building a body of work that will continue to grow and be in print for decades(that’s the Indy Way), or do you obsess about immediate gratification and wait until the latest book makes money before you write the next book(the Trad Way).

    I plan on being well over a hundred years old, writing all the while, building a vast and amazing body of work that will still be in print long after I’m gone. The only way to do that is focus on one book at a time, adding to that body of work, book by book.

    Said another way, when I die I will not have the phrase, “I should have published on Tuesday” carved on my headstone. HA!

  10. There was a time, about twelve or more years ago, when Book Gorilla and other direct mail ads were worth it. I think that time has passed. Book Gorilla, probably out of a sense of competition, seems to have ‘over-saturated’ their own email flyers. Too many books in one email. The last time I did a book gorilla ad, I paid, I don’t know, approx $70 and sold about three books, at 99 cents apiece, making a dollar. Pretty pathetic ( for me, not for book gorilla. He’s laughing somewhere) I don’t think there’s any particular day, but if I had to guess, I would say a Monday is best. Also, tell her to try a ‘new book announcement ad’ from BookBub. It they accept the ad, it’s worth every penny. Also, BookBub seems to only promote ‘chicklit’ now. Yeah, I said it. Whitey Mann need not apply.

    Good luck!

  11. I try, when able, to release near payday (15th or 30th of month). I allow some lead-up time with news on my blog, and then release the book when people are more likely to have pocket change. When I started (2012-13) I was told that the second Tuesday of the month, or Tuesdays in general, were the best release days, but I don’t know if that applies any more outside of B&N. Since I don’t do B&N, it’s a bit moot.

    I have looked at BookBub, EBookSoda, and a few others, but never tried them.

  12. I have sold more than 100 books over 35 years, and regained/reposted close to 70 of those over the past 9 years (mostly on multiple sites, a few in KU). In my experience, nothing works anywhere close to what it used to, so it’s all a balancing act.
    Some useful techniques (not all at once)
    Joining other authors to reTweet/repost or even launch a series together (obviously, it takes time and effort to cultivate contacts)
    Building a mailing list (via website & Facebook) and putting out a good-quality newsletter monthly
    Having a freebie available (I have a novelet permafree) and occasional 99 cent sales.
    Putting out 99 cent first-in-series books
    Occasionally advertising on various sites and keeping track of how well they do (however, I hate spreadsheets and don’t do those)
    Promoting via Bookwrapt.com. It’s a great site with low-cost promos where you pay a modest amount ($5-$25 depending), contribute to promoting on website/newsletter/Facebook/Twitter, and get a lot of exposure. I had 250 visits to my Facebook author page during one brief promo. Sales? I think it builds name recognition and encourages readers to see my latest books on FB/website. Also helps build my mailing list.
    Using free opportunities such as via Amazon’s Author Central. I also participate in occasional sales & giveaways on Smashwords.
    Being nice to readers & not annoying them. Responding politely to their emails. I even generated a free download code on Smashwords for a reader whose download didn’t go through completely.
    Gee, I got a little tired while reading over this list. I spend maybe an hour a day on promo, doing a little here and there. Not getting rich yet. Always looking for new ideas!

  13. You might look at the ad service on the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books site. It’s all romance of any subgenre. I haven’t advertised with them myself, but, as a reader, I have *bought* things they advertised. They have a variety of options. 🙂

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