I’ve been experimenting with Facebook advertising for a little over a week now and I’m going to have to call it a failure for the moment.
That’s not to say that Facebook advertising itself is a failure. I learned a heck of a lot in the last week. Facebook give you such detailed information that you can easily hone down your focus and get new readers.
The trouble is with my current situation in terms of books. I have four series at the moment:
- Hard Vacuum has two books;
- Bytarend has five;
- Shiny New Swindle is a standalone for the moment;
- Greenstar has two books.
The trouble is that the books where I have more to read and therefore more to sell have a free book to start the series. Hard Vacuum 1 and The Bite on the Line are free. You might wonder why this is a problem, and it’s down to retention rates.
Here are the rates I manage to work out for my Bytarend ad on Facebook. At the top, each click to my website was only costing me about 12 US cents. Only 41% then went from my website to the store to grab a copy. So that increases the price for that reader to 29 cents, since I need to know who will actually read the book.
So far so good. Then I know that about 5% of people that download the first book will read the second one. That makes the price for that reader $5.85. The second book is the first one where I make a profit of 35 US cents.
The figures continue in the same fashion below:
|Price per click||$0,12|
|Click to store rate||41 %|
|Price to store||$0,29|
|1st to 2nd book rate||5 %|
|Price to second book||$5,85|
|Profit from second book||$0,35|
|2nd to 3rd book rate||50 %|
|Price to third book||$11,01|
|Profit from third book||$2,74|
|3rd to 4th book rate||95 %|
|Price to fourth book||$8,27|
|Profit from fourth book||$2,74|
|3rd to 4th book rate||95 %|
|Price to fifth book||$5,53|
|Profit from fifth book||$2,74|
|4rd to 5th book rate||95 %|
|Price to fifth book||$2,79|
|Profit from sixth book||$2,74|
|5rd to 6th book rate||95 %|
|Price to sixth book||$0,05|
As you can see at the bottom of the table, at the rate people generally read my books, I lose a little money, even by the sixth book. Of course, they may read other series of mine, but I don’t have figures on those rates. From what readers have said, though, most of them prefer to just read the one series.
So even though 12 cents per customer sounds good, it would take them a year to finish the series. This is after a lot of experimentation to get down to 12 cents, as well. I had plenty of ads costing me 50 cents to $1.
A winning strategy, then, is to have a series where the first book isn’t free. Or ideally a box set of multiple books. For instance, when my Bytarend series is complete, I’ll probably have a box set of all six books. That box set has to cost less than 10 dollars due to Amazon’s rules, so that would be a great deal for a new reader (10 bucks versus 17 individually). That would also mean I could instantly calculate the cost vs profit, instead of having to rely on the complicated calculations above.
Overall, though, I’d say that Facebook advertising isn’t the terrible return a lot of authors have said it is. You just need to have a great deal for readers that also makes sense for you.
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For a limited time, I'm giving away the first two books in the Bytarend Fantasy series and the Hard Vacuum science fiction series for free.
Bytarend is fast, fun fantasy that'll have you on the edge of your seat. Hard Vacuum is hard-talking, violent science fiction and my tribute to 80s action movies.
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