When Andrew approached me about doing this article, I had some reservations, after all, I am a new writer, but then I thought about how many more writers have come into our circles since I published my first novel back in November of 2019.  I also thought about how long it took me to get my feet wet in this very deep pool of knowledge, websites, opportunities, and open calls and I realized that maybe I could make this part a bit easier for those that choose to follow suit.

My Story:

Like many of you, I hit the ground running with my debut novel, excited, motivated and eager to get it out there into the hands of the masses!  And sure, ready to rake in dollars! But after months on Amazon, and months of research, promoting, marketing, networking, etc., my sales were still disappointing. Nevertheless, I kept going and published my sequel, still full of excitement and motivation. I created my website, began doing author interviews, and book reviews started my Instagram and began being much more vocal in my Facebook groups.

I made tons of friends and connections, I worked with a mentor, I passed along as much knowledge as I could to anyone that asked and I tried to do everything that I thought I should be doing, but still, sales only marginally improved. I joined Story Origin, joined group promotions. I started a newsletter and a mailing list, which brought some mild success; numbers grew for my mailing list and my website and some books began to move, 5-10 a week.

I was happy to see those small sales, happy with all the new connections and thrilled with my website progress and growth, but my books, my creation, this EPIC story that I had told, was still not truly out there with the MASSES! I revisited all my steps, all my notes from my mentor, all the promotional sites, what was I missing?  I started to get a little despondent, a little frustrated by the lack of sales and even free download days that I had attempted, but then I stumbled across a note I had made about Freebooksy and I thought, well, why not?!

What is Freebooksy?

I had been aware of Freebooksy for a while but had no real idea of their reach or their results. Like many of you, I heard about it somewhere, probably in an author’s group discussion and I made a mental note of it and kept moving. So I did some research, read their reports, and  I learned a lot.

Essentially, Freebooksy offers targeted, promotional ads for authors at cheap rates for their eBook “Bargain Booksy” newsletters or their “Freebooksy Newsletters”. Generally, each newsletter states that they reach more than 400K readers a day, but the catch is, each subscriber has chosen the genre’s that they wish to see promotional offers for, so the newsletter only sends those subscribers the ad’s that meet their genre choices each day.  For instance, horror readers receive only horror eBook promotions, romance readers receive romance, and so on.

For the author, this is great because only a few slots are open each day, to each genre, so your book will be noticed. Often, for horror, there are only 1 or 2 books being featured on any given day, which further increases your odds for a download. It’s nice for readers because they are not scrolling through 20-30 books in order to select the 2 or 3 that might interest them.

For the “Freebooksy” newsletter, horror subscribers total 131K, and Sci-Fi total 174,000. An ad placement for a horror book on their free newsletter will cost an author $40, while a sci-fi ad currently costs $75.  

There are also Series Post promotions and Deal of the Day promotions that you can purchase, although both the criteria and cost are a bit different for each type of feature. Also, the main guidelines state that your book must be at least 50 pages in length, must be free for purchase the day of your Freebooksy promotion, or be priced lower than $5 to be included on the “Bargain Booksy” newsletter.

My Results:

So, I decided to give this a shot. I honestly had nothing to lose except $40 and if it resulted in a couple dozen downloads, then at least my novel would be in a couple dozen more hands. No harm/no foul. I already was spending money on other sites and ad’s so why not this one?  I made the conscious decision to put both of my books, “Breach” and “Beyond the Breach” back on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited for the duration of the promotion.  I also made the eBook purchase price free for “Breach” for five days, taking advantage of the KU free promo days that they allow, as well as made the sequel $1.99 for the week to purchase. 

Next, I chose my five days, April 29 through May 2.  After I had my promo days set, I purchased my ad on Freebooksy and chose April 30 as my run date. Then, I decided to also place an ad on “The Fussy Librarian” to run a promo on May 1.  The Fussy Librarian site works basically the same way as Freebooksy and their site claims to reach a little over 400K subscribers per newsletter; I had already used them twice before, with the largest number of sales standing at 22 eBooks sold the weekend the ad ran. Still, I figured that it couldn’t hurt to optimize my ad potential for my promo week. The more the merrier, right?

And now, it’s “Go Time!”  I told everyone about it that I could, phone contacts, business contacts, friends, family, cousins of cousins! I posted on my social media, including Tik Tok. I let everyone know that NOW was the time to download “Breach”, if you had not gotten it. It was FREE for 5 days! The day before the ad ran on FreeBooksy, I had 55 downloads.  The rest of the week is spelled out below!

April 29, 2021     Breach-55 Free Downloads          Beyond the Breach-0 paid units sold

April 30, 2021    Breach-1880 Free Downloads     Beyond the Breach-7 paid units sold

May 1, 2021        Breach-320 Free Downloads       Beyond the Breach-3 paid units sold

May 2, 2021        Breach-466 Free Downloads       Beyond the Breach-2 paid units sold

May 3, 2021        Breach-153 Free Downloads       Beyond the Breach-0 paid units sold

Grand Total        Breach-2874 Free Downloads    Beyond the Breach-12 paid units sold

KU Pages read as a result so far=2,860

My Reaction and Next steps:

Well, needless to say, I was overjoyed with these results! I had expected maybe 2-3 dozen, secretly hoped for maybe a hundred or two, never expected more than two thousand downloads! And, did I mention, that this also pushed my debut novel into the #1 spot on the free Kindle books chart? It stayed there for almost four days and stayed in the top 25 for the next four days!!

For me, this is a huge accomplishment. Yes, it was free and did not translate to dollars, I was still thrilled because this means that my novel is now out there. Almost three thousand people are now reading Breach or hopefully, plan to read it soon.

People that I had been unable to reach before, now know I am an author and know there is a sequel to the book they hold in their hands. If they read the book, they most likely will purchase the sequel. Then, hopefully, they will look for me on social media, find my website, sign up and buy the next novel, Hank Flynn, coming soon in late June.

My next plan of attack is to put “Beyond the Breach” on the Bargain Booksy newsletter in early June, and hopefully, those numbers will repeat themselves and translate into sales this time.  I plan to repeat this course of action in the fall, offering “Breach” for free, followed by “Beyond the Breach” for half off. 

To me, this was worth every single cent of my $40 dollars. Establishing yourself as an author is the most difficult part of the process and getting your name out there in the world can be a huge challenge. I hope that anyone reading this, will consider giving Freebooksy a try, and the other platforms like it. They are there for authors to use and their fees are fair, given the results. While I cannot guarantee that you will have the same exact results, I cannot imagine that you will be remotely disappointed.  They have a system that truly includes active, engaged readers, which means people that are really interested in your book will download it.  Try it for yourself and let us know how you do.

Candace Nola

Candace Nola

Author

I am a Pennsylvania based author with a passion for the written word. I fell in love with reading at a very young age and became a huge horror fan by the time I was twelve. I began writing poetry and had written dozens of poems and short stories by the time I graduated high school. I have submitted several poems to contests over the years and have won several editor’s choice awards and honorable mentions but alas, life got in the way and I began a career in the insurance industry and spent twenty years working and raising my children.

Check out my website at www.uncomfortablydark.com for my updates and to discover new authors and new books through my many book reviews, author and publisher interviews and New Release features. The website also offers original content and my personal blog.

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