Buck Books Part 2: The Results

Buck BooksIMPORTANT DISCLOSURE: Authors promoted by Buck Books agree to spread the word about them in return. As an affiliate, I’ll earn a few cents if you click the ad to the left and go on to sign up for their emails. Some of the folks here know me well enough to know I would never spread misinformation to fellow indies over a few pennies. Whole dollars? Maybe. Make it a hundred and we can talk. But in the meanwhile, what follows is an honest account of my experience with Buck Books. I think it’s worth sharing because, as discussed in my Part 1 post on my own blog, they’ve been the object of some controversy around the KBoards and elsewhere.

My marketing plan for book 2 in the Lydia Trinket series focuses heavily on promotion of book 1, the 99 cent “funnel” book. I had an opportunity to kick that off yesterday with a Buck Books promotion. It was the only promotion running and the first since December. To get to the meat of things right away, my results were:

  • 28 sales on Amazon
  • Peak Amazon rank (I think) #13,006; didn’t hit the top 100 lists in my categories

So, nowhere near the 50, 60, 100+ sales some people are reporting with them. But Ghost in the Canteen is a bit of an oddball book, and I don’t tend to get the kind of results from promotions that one with more mainstream appeal would have. That’s still the most ebook sales I’ve ever had in one day. Plus it’s been six months since the book was released, and I haven’t released anything since, so sales had dried up. The Kindle edition was ranked at about 900k before the promotion started.

All in all, that’s a big bump for me. And the promotion was completely free. I’m very pleased with the results.

On to the controversy: yes, they do require you to promote them in return. However, how you do that is entirely up to you. The only contact I had with anyone at Buck Books was one brief and friendly email exchange confirming the date of my promotion. At no time was I approached with any specific requests or suggestions. I did two blog posts (including this one), I have the banner ad in the sidebar at my blog, and I sent out ONE Tweet (I cannot stand Twitter spam) yesterday. None of these things were uncomfortable for me or unusual during a promotion.

I also hear it’s pretty hard to get a Buck Books ad, so a little bit about that: my genre is dark/paranormal fantasy. I imagine more popular/saturated genres would be more competitive. I did get a response from them pretty quickly after I applied (I believe it was within 24 hours). This book is always 99 cents so I wasn’t bound by a Kindle Countdown or anything like that, and I suspect my flexibility on dates was a helpful factor.

So there you have it. I have a bunch of promotions for Ghost in the Canteen running the week of May 4, which is the week after Peak of the Devil is released. (I’m hoping for some also-bought/sales rank cross mojination.) I’m using a mix of paid and free sites. I’ll post all my results here when it’s over.

6 thoughts on “Buck Books Part 2: The Results

  1. A friend of mine had great results with her nonfiction, and I’m waiting with baited breath for my Buck Books promotion to go off for my fiction book in 10 days. I’d be quite happy with 28 sales for a free ad on a 99 cent book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good luck with yours, Aimee! I hope you’ll post your results for us to pore over.

      And yes, I was quite happy as well. That’s more sales than I got from the one paid ad I did during my Kindle Countdown a while back, which was with BKnights (they weren’t bad though, I’m using them again in May). Those are really great results for an ad I had to do so little for. If they go paid at some point, I’d still be likely to use them.

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  2. Tomorrow, I plan to catch up on my posts/comments here on TWS. I lost my cable for a bit, and then got swamped with more eye doctor visits, etc, and I’m behind, but I’m VERY interested in this one, Jen, and I want to read it carefully. Thanks for sharing, and tomorrow, I’ll be back with a REAL comment. 🙂 So glad you’ve posted about this.

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  3. Okay, finally had time to read this more carefully, Jen. I’m happy it was a positive experience for you, and hope it continues to be one. I’m so out of the loop, I’d never even HEARD of Buck Books, but I will most definitely be checking them out. The last couple of months have been so disrupted due to other things in my life that I haven’t done one bit of promotion, other than my usual weekly tweets. I’ve GOT to get busy with this. Of course, I am doing a pretty good job locally, but that will never garner the figures that a good e-promotion can. But it IS part of “building my tribe,” so I consider it worthwhile. But no excuses. I’ve got to start dealing with self-promotion better. Smarter! And I’ll definitely be checking this out.

    I love your “funnel” book approach and plan to do that as soon as my 3rd book in WRR series is out. I decided I wanted two at regular price and 1 at a funnel price. It may or may not have been a good idea. Will let you know when I figure that out. 😀 But at that point, I’ll definitely be marking Wake-Robin Ridge down to 99 cents permanently. I did do a boxed set, which essentially does the same, but since I haven’t been doing any promos, I have little data on that.

    Why, oh why, do I need to sleep? I could get so much more done if I were awake 24/7!! 😀 Great post, Jen, thanks!

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    • I think Nick Stephenson is the one who coined “funnel book”. 🙂 He of course recommends a permafree but I don’t have enough books out for that yet. I need my whole backlist eligible for the paid lists in my genre to get my visibility up.

      I knocked Ghost down to 99¢ a while ago, as soon as I started my marketing for book two. It was probably premature, but at this point my writing income is not exactly going to send my kid off to college either way, so better to worry about growing readership than profits.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have come to the conclusion that there’s no one right or wrong way to do this. It’s a bit of a learn as you go thing, and what works for one person just might not work for another, for various reasons. Or even what works on one book might not be the best approach with another. I’m so glad we have good folks like you to share here, so we can see what we think might be a good plan of attack for ourselves. I first heard about funnel books in Write. Publish. Repeat. They had so many great ideas, but some of them are things I can’t do myself, yet.

        But I’m taking notes, and the time will come when I’ll get a good solid plan together that works for my situation, and lets me spend most of my time writing. I like what you’re doing, and think it will pay off at some point. Send a kid off to college with this stuff? I’ll be lucky if I can feed my dachshunds! 🙂

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