About the Site:
Brazen Bookshelf brands itself as a site that brings authors and readers together. They do so in three ways.
Daily Newsletter (Price range $10 - 25) (NOTE after the first promotion they changed to 3 times a week, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and added solo promotion days)
Instafreebie Pushes (seems to be defunct at the time of this writing)
Featured Giveaways (Price $200)
It’s run primarily by one person, Beth, who puts together the bookings, contests, and mailings.
What we did:
We did two promotions through Brazen Bookshelf, one when The Language of Flowers was in pre-order, the other once the book had been out for a bit. Both of them were to be part of the daily newsletter… That kind of didn’t happen.
Sneaky-Peek $10 – April 26
This is a listing in their newsletter near the bottom of the email. It features a picture of the cover, a blurb that you submit, and the release date.
Headliner $25 – May 20 (This did not happen)
This is a listing in their newsletter at the very top of the emails, that’s set off from the rest of the email. It features a picture of the cover and a blurb that you submit.
Solo Promotion $100 – May 21 (Done in lieu of the Headliner)
This is single listing that is more in-depth than the Newsletter. Only one book will be sent out in their email and it can include a longer blurb, a small excerpt from the novel, an about the author blurb, and a few review blurbs. It’s meant to be a special feature to drive people to buy the book.
Return on Investment:
I’m going to be rating these based on the following: units sold, mailing list grown, new social media followers, reviews, and starting book rank/highest book rank. (Ending determined after either 1 week or when a new promotion launches, whichever comes first).
Sneaky-Peek (April 26)
Confirmed Units Sold: 11
New mailing list members: 1
New Social Media Followers: 2 on Twitter
Starting Book Rank: 78,413
Highest Book Rank: 27,289
Headliner (May 20)
Confirmed Units Sold - Promotion did not happen
KENP Pages Read: - Promotion did not happen
Mailing list members - Promotion did not happen
New Social Media Followers - Promotion did not happen
Reviews - Promotion did not happen
Starting Book Rank: - Promotion did not happen
Ending Book Rank: - Promotion did not happen
Solo Promotion (May 21)
Confirmed Units Sold: 42 Ebooks, 1 paperback
KENP Pages Read: 2166
New mailing list members: 0
New Social Media Followers: 1 Twitter, 0 Tumblr, 1 Facebook
Reviews: 1 Goodreads ranking
Starting Book Rank: 95,837
Highest Book Rank: 5,157
The site has a positive reputation and claims to have several top 100 titles. However, it is very geared toward erotica and more explicit romance. While The Language of Flowers has explicit content and features 2 sex scenes, the cover is more geared toward sweet romance, as are the overarching themes of the book. While the site doesn’t restrict what is promoted, it’s very clear that the subscribers of the site prefer things that are more steamy. This makes a difference.
PROTIP 1: Before doing ANY marketing make sure your product appeals to their audience.
Essentially, we picked the wrong book for the site. And to be fair, we likely wouldn’t have gone with this site for that reason. Except, I won a giveaway from them for some free promotion and needed to use it up by August. So you promote what you have. And The Language of Flowers is what we had.
However… we also booked a headliner spot for May 20th, paying extra to make sure we were featured. May 20th rolled around and the our book was nowhere to be found in the email. I double checked my receipt and it had the 20th on it. So I emailed Beth, the admin of the site, to ask her what was up.
She responded less than 10 minutes later with an apology and a promise to find out what happened. On a Saturday. Now, here’s the thing… some promo places are fire-and-forget deals. They take days… sometimes whole weeks off.
Beth responded again 15 minutes after that explaining what had happened – due to my having to book through her rather than through the site because of my contest win, an error occurred. She immediately refunded my money and my contest win. And offered to do a special Single Book Promo Deal at no charge if I wanted.
So let’s just say we wanted.
PROTIP 2: NEVER TURN DOWN FREE PROMOTION!
We hastily threw together a little more information and found a viable excerpt which would appeal to Brazen Bookshelf’s clientele. I even forgot to mention the promotional rate… AGAIN… but shot her a quick follow up email with it. Then, she sent us a preview of what the promotion would look like. Which means I can share it with you.
It looks better in the email. She even made sure that the subject was appropriate to our content.
So now to sit back and wait.
We hadn’t had a promotion in a while so our Amazon Ranking was abysmal… almost 96,000. I checked our sales about a half an hour prior to the email going out and we’d sold nothing… 15 minutes after the email went out, it had sold a paperback and 8 ebooks… not too bad.
As the day went on, the number climbed… and remember we had the ABSOLUTELY wrong kind of book for this site. And we were still getting sales. Our page rank topped out at 5,157… and for a brief moment in time our book was in the Hot 100 new releases in two of our categories.
By the end of the day, we’d sold 38 ebooks, 1 paperback, and had 262 page reads. After the first day, the sales fell dramatically, but the page reads climbed. That’s how it tends to work.
But unlike other sites we’ve used, Brazen Bookshelves doesn’t appear to be a Kindle Unlimited bastion. Which is good if you don’t have a book in KU or are doing a pre-release.
If I were to use them again, I’d do the pre-release and maybe something a month or so later near the end of my sales run. But I wouldn’t spend the big bucks on the single promo deal… mostly because $100 is a lot of money and we saw a better return on other sites for less money. But this site is more economical and has a better ROI than Hot Zippy (although not the KU readers which matters for us).
Inexpensive if you use the newsletter option in comparison to a lot of other similar sites. Fairly large mailing list.
The newsletter is well formatted and highlights each title well. The solo option lets you pimp your title in depth.
Beth is extremely responsive and values customer service. When a huge mistake was made, she went above and beyond to make sure we walked away happy customers.
If you need a promo code… there’s one for Brazen20. Which gives you 20% off.
The website needs a better description of each product and what it entails and what the restrictions are.
Needs to highlight better who their target audience is.
NOTE: As of May 20, 2017. The Language of Flowers sold enough units and accrued enough page reads to make back the entirety of our marketing spend. And we still had promotions lined up. So the marketing has paid for itself, which is sometimes all you can ask.
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