Dead on Demand was featured by BookBub last night. It was already doing pretty well in the USA thanks to a Kindle Nation Daily feature, but BookBub has kicked up a notch and landed us at our current #3 in store placement.
We reported on the 10th (just six days ago!) that we'd shifted 38,000 copies of Dead on Demand in February.
That figure now stands at just shy of 71,000.
Throw in our 'Jan' freeloads, and our 5 day Select run from 2012, and the lifetime freeloads of Dead on Demand now stands at approximately 133,000. That is absolutely insane - that's two or three packed football stadiums worth of people (or 17 very small countries!). At peak last night, people were picking it up at the rate of two per second. That's some serious exposure.
Now the flipside of that is the cost. BookBub charge $200 to authors for a free feature in their Thriller list. To make that back, we need 600 or so sales at 99c. That's a fair number of sales by any account, and it's only a break even calculation. If we wanted to make say $1000, then we'd be talking about 3600 sales at 99c (which rather confirms how unsuitable 99c is as a long term price). If you think about that as an average royalty per copy, then $1000 for 3600 sales + freeloads is a fraction of a penny.
So how many freeloads do we credit BookBub with?
Pre-BookBub Feb stat 46,000 freeloads
One day later: 71,000
But, not all of those are BookBub. Some we would have got anyway (we were already top 100 USA free, and top 10 UK free). Based on the 46k in 14 days already managed, we can easily discount 3-4k of those freeloads.
That gives us a net gain of over 21,000 freeloads.
A typical read rate of freeloads is roughly 20% based on our historical data. We can therefore expect perhaps 4,000 people to actually read Dead on Demand.
If 15% of those who do read it like it (and keep in mind the BookBub list is targeted by genre so these guys are predisposed to like our stuff) then we break even. If less than 15% like it, we lose some money. If more like it, we gain a little.
Our potential loss is $200.
Our potential gain (based on 90% of the BookBub readers liking it enough to buy the sequel) is $1,000.
My gut says we'll be comfortably in the middle and make a few hundred dollars. It's not pay the bills money, but we're not aiming for that now. What we're trying to do is build a fanbase to buy later works (which will have to be priced higher than 99c to be financially viable - it doesn't make sense to spend thousands on production costs like editing and art in the hopes of making a few 99c sales; $2k costs = 6000 sales just to avoid losing money. Add in interest, time invested, and suddenly you need tens of thousands to make minimum wage).
We're reasonably happy with our results. We're bound to get a few low reviews out of this - by hitting top 10, people not disposed to British crime novels will pick it up anyway, and then they won't like it. That could cause a problem if we reverted to paid, but for free it's not much of an issue.
For now, our 99c for two books offer is gaining some traction. We'll keep at it while we work on book three, and monitor sell through closely to minimise our risk of losing money.