We ran a 99c promo starting a few days ago (a Friday) in the Mystery/Thriller category. Booksends have 34,000 subscribers in that category, and charge $50. We needed to sell around 70 copies to break even - that's a 0.2% sale conversion. Sounded like a no-brainer.
24 hours after the promo went live we had sold fewer than 40 copies over and above what we would normally expect for this title. Day 2 saw no additional sales we can definitely credit to Booksends.
40 sales from a list of 34,000 'active readers' is a very poor return. So, either Booksends accepted a book that did not fit their subscriber list, their subscriber list is maybe not as 'active' as they claim, or their maths simply doesn't add up as an advertising opportunity.
This is only one example, and it may be on the end of the bell-curve of results. Your results (in a different category or on a different day) may be better, but go into it with the idea that you are paying to get a few more readers rather than buying meaningful/profitable advertising, and you won't be disappointed.
I'm seriously playing with the idea of adding some sort of star based, book advertisement rating platform to my website, but I haven't figured out how to go about it yet. I think something where they're all rolled into one area and you can compare and contrast cost vs. return and over all satisfaction would be fairly helpful.
I think that would be an extremely useful resource. The problem is that these things change so quickly. I tried Booksends because they came recommended by someone who had used them a while ago. Now, maybe things have changed, or maybe I just had a bad experience in this case. Who knows? If you can figure this maze out, I'll be there!
I have a booksends ad running tomorrow. Unfortunately I also have an ENT ad running that day, and a Fussy Librarian ad the next day, so I won't be able to separate sales figures from each ad. However, if I can get 100 sales total from all 3 ads, the cost of the advertising is paid for. Obviously I hope to do better than that, but hey, I am not picky.
Oddly enough, I got in to Booksends, ENT, and Fussy Librarian, but Midlist rejected me. I always heard ENT was tough to get into...
I would be happy as hell if the Booksends ad did 70 sales by itself, it only cost me $35.