My Experience with Robin Reads

Posted on May 7th 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Self-Publishing Woes

As I think most of you are probably aware by now, Saving the Dragon was on sale this week for 99 cents. Some of you may be wondering why I did the sale so early relative to the release of Courting the Dragon next month. Well, wondering no longer. My motivation for doing the sale this week was because I was able to secure a promo slot for Saving the Dragon on Robin Reads.

Each day Robin Reads updates their site with “hot deals” aka limited time free and 99 cent eBook offers. They promote each book for one day, and the author/publisher is obliged to keep that book free or 99 cents (depending on the promotion) at least until 11:59PM that evening. Robin Reads lists their address as Florida, so I assume that’s EST/EDT. Subscribers to Robin Reads will also get those deals in their email.

There is a fee associated with getting a promo slot. For the Fantasy genre for a 99 cent promotion I paid $60 USD. The question other indie authors looking to promote their books will be wondering is… is it worth it?

It’s a little too early for me to answer that question definitively. It will be hard to really quantify how this impacts sales for Courting the Dragon next month, or Saving the Dragon in the future. The promo was on May 3rd and today is only May 7th, so I don’t know yet how many reviews and/or Goodreads ratings this will produce. However, I do have some sales numbers and some thoughts, so I’d like to share those with any authors that may be considering this.

First, the day of my Robin Reads promo was my single highest sales day. Ever. May 3rd wiped the board with my best sales months. In fact, I came very close to selling as many books as my top 2 previous sales months combined. Now, before you think that’s super impressive, let me explain that I sold 39 books between Amazon (37) and Barnes&Noble (2), the two platforms that Robin Reads links in their promotion. My previous highest sales month was around 22 books across Amazon, Apple, and Audible in April 2020.

This (relatively) huge jump in sales did wonders for my Amazon rankings. I didn’t think to snap a picture at the beginning of May, but my rankings in the individual categories were in the 4000 to 5000 range. Here is where my rankings peaked after the Robin Reads promo:

I don’t think Saving the Dragon has ever broken the top 15K for the Kindle Store bestsellers. Not even on publication day. Some may not see being #12,812 as being a big deal, but for an indie book that was published 6 years ago with little marketing until very recently, I would say that’s a heck of an accomplishment.

Since the promo, my sales have fallen off, of course. However, they seem to still be slightly higher than normal. Some of that could be attributed to the on-going ad campaign for the 99 cent sale overall (paid on Facebook and just me tweeting like a crazy person). Given that the last few sales days were still higher than prior to the promotion, though, I think some of it may be a residual effect from the promo, possibly due to my improved ranking. It’s hard to know, because we don’t really get good analytics on the conversions.

So, did I make back my $60 in royalties? No.

Do I think the Robin Reads promo was worth it? In short, I think yes. Even if only 10% of the readers who purchased in rate and review it, that will bring me within spitting distance of 20 reviews. My rankings are dramatically improved, if only temporarily, which should improve the effectiveness of my very modest Amazon ads campaign (which does have good conversion metrics available, by the way). And, if all goes well, at least some percentage of these readers will probably be looking forward to the release of book 2.

It’s not a Book Bub Featured Deal, which I think most indie authors know is the most coveted of promos, but if you can’t get a Book Bub Featured Deal, well… this just might be the next best thing.

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