Last month I set 43 Seconds perma-free on Amazon. Like many indie authors, I followed the strategy of offering the first-in-series as free to attract new series readers. Since doing that, I've received a trickle of daily downloads for 43 Seconds.
I've read about Books Butterfly guaranteed promos, which guarantee a specific number of downloads, and decided to give them a try. Overall, I'm happy with the results. Here's how it played out:
1/23/18 - I requested the Silver Eagle promotion package ($50) with a guaranteed 500 book download via Books Butterfly online signup form. The site had a Stripe popup which had me pay $50 at the time of signup via credit card. On the form, I could enter my requested ad date. I just entered 'first available' since my book is permafree, and I indicated the book is permafree. I received a confirmation mail the same day from Book Butterfly stating my request was received and someone would get back to me within a few days.
1/26/18 - I noticed a spike in downloads for 43 Seconds. I hadn't heard anything yet from Books Butterfly, but assumed they must have started running the ad.
1/27/18 - I received a confirmation email from Books Butterfly that my ad started running on 1/26 and would continue until 2/6 on Kindle, Nook, Apple, and Kobo. There were many terms and disclaimers in the email including a one-time exception to guarantee downloads for a short story. Books Butterfly offers a prorated refund in the event they don't meet the minimum download promise (the refund is in store credit).
Here's the results of the promo (as of 2/6 @ 6 pm)
Downloads: 473 (Kindle 415 / Apple 49, Nook 9, Kobo 0)
Paid Sales (other titles): 7
New Reviews/Rating during the ad period: 4 (Kindle 2 / Apple 0 Nook 0, Kobo 0, Goodreads 2)
In general, downloads per day were ~60 at the start of the promo and ~30 the second week. Note this download rate was sufficient to keep 43 Seconds in the top ten free books for its category, which was helpful. Its best spot was #4 on the Sci-fi & Fantasy 90 Minute Kindle Short Reads list.
Overall, a good result. I've easily spent $20 on Amazon promos which yielded a single 99 cent sale, so $50 for 500 downloads and 7 sales is a good value. The ad did not pay for itself in terms of sales, but I sell 99 cent short stories and no ad has ever paid for itself (I need to sell higher-priced books before ads become viable). For now, the ads are about building a customer base for the series.
I should note that book totals for the guaranteed download promise should be calculated through 2/7, so I don't have the final tally today as of 2/6. 473 is close to 500, and it's entirely possible I will pass 500 downloads by the end of 2/7. Either way, I'm happy with the promo result.
Lastly, if you were one of the readers who left a review or rating - thank you! You can see that out of the 415 Kindle downloads, 2 left reviews, so this is 0.5%. You are in the top half-of-one percent and you're awesome - thanks again!
EDIT: The final download total (Kindle, Apple, B&N, Kobo) at the end of 2/7 was 506