Paid Advertising – Kindle Books and Tips vs Book Gorilla & Kindle Nation Daily

My first paid ad this month was with Kindle Books and Tips. It cost me $50 and I did this as a bit of an experiment to find out if our book would appeal to their demographic – (women in the US between 35-55). I set the categories as Thriller with the second choice Action/Adventure and I kept the price at $2.99. I sold 25 books in the US, 1 in Canada and 2 in the UK and made my money back.

The second book ad I did was a joint ad (called a sponsorship) with Kindle Nation Daily & Book Gorilla which cost $100. This was $100 I could afford to lose as I knew that by setting the price at .99c there would be no chance that we’d break even. To do that we’d need to have sold around 285 as we’d be getting the 35% royalty rate and not the 70% we got for the Kindle Books and Tips ad. By now I’d taken the book out of the second category Action/Adventure as there was no way we could compete in such a large category as there are just too many books there…I chose Political as the second category. It’s not a perfect fit but on a Google/Amazon search I found that there were more people looking for that than they were for Conspiracy.

What I like about Kindle Nation Daily is that on their website they publish the sponsorship results so if you check it out you can see for yourselves that we rose in the rankings from 307,011 up to 7,908. We had a 3782.28% gain (Movers & Shakers formula). We made the top 100 in political thrillers in the UK just by moving into a smaller category – even though we only sold 2 books there….

In the US we made the top 100 of political fiction. Compared with the 240 or so other books with paid sponsorship in May (and we still have a few days left so our ranking could change) we came in at 180. Incidentally, also in May a certain F Scott Fitzgerald (or his estate) was plugging Gatsby Girls (categorised under Romance!?). Despite a movie tie-in he began at 62,026 but did end up in the coveted 100 – at no 100.

So how did these stats translate into numbers? So far we’ve sold 2 in the UK (that was from my efforts on Facebook) and 34 in the US and 0 in Canada. The loss then was around $88.

It was a useful exercise and far less of a risk than a Bookbub promo as although we can afford to lose $100 – $280 is another matter.... Incidentally, we were turned down by Bookbub as either our 11 reviews weren’t enough – or they didn’t think the book was right for their thriller readership. Annoyingly with Bookbub, they won’t tell you why you’ve been turned down even if you ask them so you could end up re-submitting, getting it wrong again and once again be wasting your time (and theirs).

Where I think paid ads are useful are for when you might be languishing in the lower ranks (as we were) and getting fed up with sinking ever further and perhaps needing a morale boost. Or, it might be that you sell better in the UK but can’t seem to get much traction in the US.

Would I do it again. Yes – but maybe I’ll have another crack at Bookbub again- when we’ve had a few more reviews – unless of course they put up their fees again…

8 thoughts on “Paid Advertising – Kindle Books and Tips vs Book Gorilla & Kindle Nation Daily

  1. heartfeltassociates

    Thanks, good data on ads. We’ve had similar experiences with our book, The Leopard Tree, losing a little on each ad or breaking even. Digital Book Today has given us our best return buying their silver level ad, not the sponsorship of the free top 100. We’ve also done surprisingly well with Goodreads ads, usually selling more books than the ads cost per month. We place the ads at .50 cents per click through and set a $3 a day limit and usually sell two or three books a day off that one ad. Selling at $2.99, our 70% is a bit more than $2 and the the Prime rate is also $2 plus. We keep looking for a good ad to buy in the UK. Any thoughts on that are appreciated. Free days have helped boost our book to 167 – 4.7 star reviews, but they only boost sales for three or four days after a 3-day free run. Tim Merriman

    1. Lambert Nagle Post author

      Tim, thanks for sharing your results. Your tips are really useful, particularly for those books that might not be such a good fit for a Book Bub promo. The UK market doesn’t seem to be large enough to have the same reach for advertisers as the US does. I do think though that the Leopard Tree should appeal to UK readers because of its setting and themes. Alison LN

    1. Lambert Nagle Post author

      Thanks for that tip, Thomas. I’m always on the lookout for other UK promotional sites. Do you know about eBook Soda? It’s quite new and although I didn’t make any sales as a result of my first promotion, I still think they’re worth supporting.

  2. Alison

    It’s always great to see stats behind book marketing promotions you’ve undertaken. I was also not accepted by BookBub, and like yourself they gave me no reason, not even a reply. Yet this turned out to my advantage since I tried KindleBookPromotions. My stats were not very different from the ones they publish – see
    The one thing I think that separates these guys from the rest is their long-term effect on your book. Not only do they provide the sales results they predict for you but I ended up with a good number of reviews that will stay on Amazon for months if not years. Now, that’s what I call a good investment.
    I hope you find this suggestion useful.

    1. Alison Ripley Cubitt Post author

      Thanks Alison. I really do appreciate your feedback on Kindle Book Promotions. I might use them for my next promotion, especially as you have had reviews as a result. I’ve found out a little bit more about BookBub subscribers since I wrote that post. Unless your book fits their demographic profile (older, female, looking for lighter reads rather than literary fiction) they won’t accept you, as you probably won’t sell well on there. And besides, the fees are so punitive now, who wants to risk potentially losing hundreds of dollars if the promotion doesn’t work.

  3. Jackie Weger

    March 20, 2015: I have looked at all of the promo sites mentioned in this blog. I have used most. I have had 3 Bookbub promotions. Bookbub has also turned my books down. And one has above 400 reviews. Usually one gets turned down because the slots for the genre you prefer are already filled. One of my colleagues was turned down a dozen times. I took a look at the book description. It needed tweaking. She revised it. Next time she submitted, the book was accepted. KindleBook Promotions looks interesting, but I’m curious about the number of subscribers. The site does not have an Alexa ranking in the US and only 4 sites linking in. I love eBookSoda. Sha has really worked hard since starting up to build her subscriber list. I always promote with Digital Book Today. You can find a nice list of promotion sites on the dropdown menu on Indies Unlimited here: One site I on which always see an ROI is Choosy Bookworm.
    Good luck with your books and thanks for the Twitter links.


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