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Author Topic: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan [FINAL UPDATE: PROMO + 7 WEEKS]  (Read 24264 times)  

Online PaulineMRoss

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Yep, folks, another one of those threads. I've scheduled a couple of weeks of promotion to give the new book a bump out of the starting gates. I'll update this post with the results. For anyone who just wants the results, check back on 25th Jan.

Background My first epic fantasy book, 'The Plains of Kallanash', was published in September with no promotion, apart from me wittering excitedly on my blogs and Twitter. It performed exactly as you might suspect (around 60 sales in the first month, plus a few borrows, then flatlining). I always intended to delay heavy promotion until I had at least three books out, but the new book, 'The Fire Mages', is a much more marketable candidate (coming of age, young girl finding her powers, loads of magic), so I want to give it a bit of a head-start without pushing the boat out financially.

Pricing I'm going to keep it at $0.99 for the full two weeks of the promotion period, then up to $3.99 the day after the last promo event.

Strategy I've booked a two-week blog tour with Enchanted Book Tours ($87, including cover reveal and Twitter party). I've never tried this before, and I've heard mixed reports, so my expectations are low. I don't expect to sell many books directly, but the blog appearances will be useful exposure and I may get some early reviews. It also gives me a structure around which to build paid promotions. I'm aiming to have some promotion scheduled for every day of the two weeks, in addition to the blog tour events (owing to several sites offering multiple days for free and me getting slightly carried away, a number of days have 2 or 3 promos planned). I also have a Goodreads giveaway under way, to end a couple of days after the book's release.

Expectations My last unpromoted release got to a ranking of 30K before drifting slowly into obscurity, so with promotion I should be able to get to around 10-15K and sustain that long enough to get into some sub-genre lists (that's around 5-10 sales a day, plus a few higher spikes). At a $0.35 royalty, I'd have to shift around 750 copies to break even on the promotion costs, but I don't see that happening. I'll be happy with a modest number of sales, perhaps 250 over the promotion period, plus some borrows and maybe a few extra sales of book 1.

Schedule Many sites expect a number of reviews before they'll accept a book. A few have a special new release slot, and others I just applied to anyway, pointing to my last book for evidence of a track record. Only FKBT turned me down, because their new release spot was fully booked for the whole period. OHFB would take a new release, but at $75 a pop - eek! I aimed to have the smaller sites in the first week, and the big hitters in the second week. Total promotion expenditure: $261 ($87 for blog tour, $174 for ads).

Results I'll include the ranking for 'The Fire Mages' at 8am UK time (midnight Pacific) and sales each day; I'll summarise sales of book 1 and borrows at the end.

Fri 9th   #79,798   Release day, no ads, the only mention was on KBoards   Sales: 41 (18 pre-orders, 23 new)
Sat 10th   #13,996   Blog/social, no ads   Sales: 14
Sun 11th   #11,063   BKnights ($21)  Sales: 22
Mon 12th   #8,274   SciFiFantasyFreak (free)  Sales: 2
Tue 13th   #15,686   AwesomeGang ($10);  SciFiFantasyFreak  Sales: 9
Wed 14th    #20,358   EbookLister (free); SciFiFantasyFreak  Sales: 3
Thu 15th   #24,101   EbookLister; Flurries of Words ($8) Sales: 4
Fri 16th #30,901   EbookLister; Flurries of Words Sales: 5
Sat 17th    #35,540   EbookLister; Sweet Free Books ($5) Sales: 11
Sun 18th    #16,668   Ebooksoda ($10) Sales: 7
Mon 19th    #19,356   BargainEbookHunter ($15); PixelScroll ($15); Booktastik ($5) Sales: 5
Tue 20th   #19,778   BargainEbookHunter ; PixelScroll; Booktastik Sales: 13
Wed 21st    #15,266   GenrePulse ($30) Sales: 23
Thu 22nd   #12,387   BargainBooksy ($40) Sales: 38
Fri 23rd #6,810   ENT ($15) Sales: 80
Sat 24th    #3,168  no ads Sales: 30
Sun 25th #3,256    no ads; price goes to $3.99

Final numbers: Promoted book sales: 252; borrows: 48
First book sales: 4; borrows: 4

Combined sales plus borrows covered the cost of all the promotions (just), although not the blog tour.

Best promo sites for this book were: ENT, BargainBooksy, GenrePulse, Bknights, but all of them produced some sales and borrows (borrows were higher than I expected).

Best ranking (briefly): around 2,000, and appearances in 3 different bestseller lists.

Update Almost a week after the final promo, sales and borrows are still holding up well, even though the book is now $3.99. Ranking is hovering around 7,000. Sales have now comfortably covered the cost of the promotions and blog tour. I'm counting the promotion a big success. ;D

One week update It's now a full week after the promo ended and sales/ranking are still steady.

Weekly updates: up to w/e Feb 28th (average sales, including borrows, for both books):
Pre-promo (3 days): 23 per day
Promo week 1 - free and cheap sites: 13 per day
Promo week 2 - big hitters: 30 per day
Post-promo week 1: 23 per day
Post-promo week 2: 16 per day
Post-promo week 3: 11 per day
Post-promo week 4: 30 per day {Fire Mages 10/day; Kallanash 20/day via a Countdown promo}
Post-promo week 5: 13 per day
Post-promo week 6: 11 per day
Post-promo week 7: 10 per day



« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 12:44:09 AM by PaulineMRoss »
   

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Offline Randall Boleyn

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2015, 09:08:52 AM »
I am pulling for you, Pauline.  I really appreciate you posting this info. I released a fantasy work in OCT. that mirrored the numbers on your first release and am trying to figure out a plan for my next release.   I'd bet you'll enjoy the next few days. Cheers.

Offline Claire Frank

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2015, 10:18:56 AM »
This looks great, Pauline. I'll be watching with lots of interest! I hope you kill it!

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2015, 12:42:19 PM »
Thanks, Randall and Claire. I'm glad people are still finding this sort of thread useful - I'm a bit nervous that folks will get fed up with them.

I'm not really expecting to 'kill it' - just set up a sequence of steady sales over a couple of weeks that will, I hope, sustain the book for a while after it goes to full price, and keep it airborne past the 30-day cliff. I know it's more difficult to promote a discounted book, so I'm prepared for any eventuality.
   

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Online PaulineMRoss

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2015, 06:39:43 AM »
The first promotion day, and Bknights did OK for me - 22 sales, which for a discounted, not free, book is pretty good. The ranking has tiptoed past the 10,000 mark, and the book shows well on a number of Hot New Releases lists and even on the bestseller list for Romance -> Fantasy.

Today is SciFiFantasyFreak, which is still building its lists, so my expectations are low (but it's free, so that's fine).
   

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Offline ufwriter

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2015, 07:12:39 AM »
Good luck! Can't wait to see how this turns out. Also, I really love your covers.


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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2015, 07:46:48 AM »
Good luck! Can I ask why you started with low price and then went up? I would have thought it might make sense to get the 70% royalty and a higher price during the promotion/blog tour and then discount. Of course I am new to Indie publishing so curious as to which is better

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Online PaulineMRoss

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2015, 07:53:32 AM »
Good luck! Can't wait to see how this turns out. Also, I really love your covers.

Thanks! I love my covers, too. I chose Streetlight Graphics to do them as their work always seems to 'pop', somehow.
   

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Online PaulineMRoss

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2015, 08:05:50 AM »
Good luck! Can I ask why you started with low price and then went up? I would have thought it might make sense to get the 70% royalty and a higher price during the promotion/blog tour and then discount. Of course I am new to Indie publishing so curious as to which is better

It's extremely difficult to promote a book that's not discounted (at least) - and free is better. Bknights will shift hundreds of copies of my book if it's free (my first book was downloaded 500 times on its first free day, with only a Bknights promotion). But at a price of $0.99 - only 22 copies. At a higher price point, I'd be lucky to get any sales out of it at all.

What many authors do when they have a new book out is to promote the *previous* book, but sell the new one at full price. That works well for a series, but mine are stand-alones. Also, the new book is a much more marketable commodity - it would actually pass as YA, I expect. So that's the one I want to push. The idea is not to make money from the promotion itself, but to boost it in the rankings so that when it goes up to full price (and that 70% royalty!) sales will continue for a while. And I also hope for some sales of the first book, and borrows, both of which make me more than $0.35 a pop.

Promotion is like any advertising - the objective is to spread the word, and hope for increased sales in other areas. You don't necessarily expect to make money from the promotion itself.
   

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Offline DawnLee

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2015, 08:06:47 AM »
Following and rooting for you each day, Pauline. :) Thank you for sharing your results so that the rest of us can learn something applicable to ourselves.

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2015, 09:10:17 AM »
Following and rooting for you each day, Pauline. :) Thank you for sharing your results so that the rest of us can learn something applicable to ourselves.

You're welcome! I've enjoyed reading other people's promotion posts, and learned a huge amount from them, so I'm happy to be able to pay it forward.

I'm expecting a bit of a lull for the rest of this week.
   

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Offline Delusion of Grandeur

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2015, 10:10:36 AM »
I just bought both your books because I saw the book covers in your posts' signatures.  Don't know when I'll get to them, since I've got about 15 books in my Kindle now that I haven't read yet - but one of those 22 sales yesterday was me :)

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2015, 10:48:00 AM »
I just bought both your books because I saw the book covers in your posts' signatures.  Don't know when I'll get to them, since I've got about 15 books in my Kindle now that I haven't read yet - but one of those 22 sales yesterday was me :)

Thank you very much! That's very kind.

Only 15 unread books? Well done!
   

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Offline Delusion of Grandeur

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2015, 10:58:33 AM »
Thank you very much! That's very kind.

Only 15 unread books? Well done!

I bought a bunch during that January 1 Sci Fi sale that somebody here was promoting.  Still working on second or third book from that bunch, though I doubt that I will really read all of them to the end.  But, at 99 cents, it's hard to go wrong.

I am actually one of those readers who is generally insensitive to prices of books, as long as I am getting a known quantity.  For example, when Michael Connelly comes out with a new book, I buy it regardless of the price.

But I do see the difficulties new authors face, and the irony of it.  My Decaf Venti Raspberry Caramel Macchiato costs me $5.04 daily, which is more than most books go for these days.  But it's hard to persuade people to part with their hard-earned $2.99 when there are tons of free/0.99 books out there - in the absence of some reasonable certainty that you're getting a quality product.

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2015, 11:11:07 AM »
I'll be interested to see if you get any action from SciFiFantasyFreak. I did a three day new release listing with them and got one sale. To be fair, I expected absolutely nothing, since I didn't discount the book, and the ad was free, so it was just "let's list this and see if anything happens." I'm not doing any big promos/discounting yet. But I'd like to know if you notice a difference with their ad on a discounted book. Hopefully their list is growing!

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2015, 02:03:09 PM »
I'll be interested to see if you get any action from SciFiFantasyFreak. I did a three day new release listing with them and got one sale. To be fair, I expected absolutely nothing, since I didn't discount the book, and the ad was free, so it was just "let's list this and see if anything happens." I'm not doing any big promos/discounting yet. But I'd like to know if you notice a difference with their ad on a discounted book. Hopefully their list is growing!

I'm interested too! I've not used them before, so it's a bit experimental. And so much depends on genre, price, day of the week, position in the list, all sorts of details that could affect things. I'm not expecting much.

My bottom line, the minimum I'd like to hit each day, is 5 sales. Anything above that is a bonus. If all my promos manage that, I'll be happy (because my first book was essentially flatlining within a week and anything's better than that).
   

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2015, 01:09:39 AM »
Only 2 sales yesterday from the SciFiFantasyFreak promotion. :-( And they gave me a good spot, too, second on the list. On the plus side, I've already had a sale this morning, so maybe SciFiFantasyFreak people stay up all night playing WoW and only check their emails after they're done killing things?? And borrows are steady, so maybe this book is more attractive as a borrow? Who knows.

Today is day 2 with SciFiFantasyFreak, and also AwesomeGang (another one I've never used before, so have no expectations).
   

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Offline DawnLee

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2015, 04:07:11 AM »
Pauline, Awesomegang did really well for me and Vinny was great to work with as well.

I can't be sure of precise results, but Tweeting my promo to a few genre-specific and indie hashtags (once each day)generated quite a few retweets for me and I think I got at least a few sales that way each day. I also promoted the book to a few of the FB groups for my genres and those that allow 99-cent promos. I'm sure all of this only netted me a handful of my promo sales, but sometimes that handful makes a difference.

Good luck today. :)


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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2015, 04:35:11 AM »
I can't be sure of precise results, but Tweeting my promo to a few genre-specific and indie hashtags (once each day)generated quite a few retweets for me and I think I got at least a few sales that way each day.

Oh - why do I never think of Tweeting?? Thanks for that. I'm not big on Facebook, and I have a couple of other places I post to at certain times (most places have rules about self-promotion).
   

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Offline Vinny OHare

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2015, 10:20:40 PM »
Hi Pauline I just saw this thread and sent out a bunch of social media post your way :)

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2015, 05:54:10 AM »
Yesterday was AwesomeGang, and I had 9 sales, which I'm happy with. Borrows continue to be steady, which I'm also happy with. I do think KU muddies the waters somewhat with promotions of this type. Money-conscious readers might well be looking for bargains as well as being in KU, so when they find a promoted book that's in KU, they'll go for that instead of buying. So sales alone may be a misleading indicator of the effectiveness of a promotion.

Today is day 3 with SciFiFantasyFreak, and day 1 (of 4) with EbookLister. I'm not getting my hopes up too high for this one; I'm way down the list on the website, since they use a formula for placement based on review numbers and ratings. Being a new release, The Fire Mages has few reviews yet. But we'll see.

Hi Pauline I just saw this thread and sent out a bunch of social media post your way :)

Thanks very much!

   

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Online PaulineMRoss

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2015, 08:22:41 AM »
Yesterday was another damp squib of a day - only 3 sales, and none from the US so the ranking on Amazon.com is nose-diving a little, sustained only by KU borrows. I'm still getting steady numbers of blue blobs on the graph (steadier than the red blobs), so I'm good with that. Borrows pay considerably better than sales at $0.99 anyway.

Today is day 2 of 4 for EbookLister (free) and Flurries Of Words (who haven't confirmed, but I've paid my $8, so I assume I'm in ETA: it's in!). Same again tomorrow, and then the weekend has SweetFreeBooks and EbookSoda. I'm hoping things will pick up a bit then.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2015, 08:50:16 AM by PaulineMRoss »
   

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Offline Delusion of Grandeur

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2015, 08:39:38 AM »
Quick suggestion - I haven't gotten to reading your books yet (though it's definitely on my list of things to do), but on the author's profile on Amazon, in the text on the left, you might want to update that there are two books out now (it only mentions the first book in the text), and maybe add a photo of yourself.  I've always thought that author profiles with photos in them are easier to relate to, in some sense, than ones without. 

And maybe say something about book 3 coming in March/April/May/whatever, assuming it's coming.

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2015, 08:55:03 AM »
Thanks for sharing this kind of data, Pauline. It's invaluable to a lot of us.

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Re: Second book launch: 2 week promo 11-23 Jan
« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2015, 09:01:37 AM »
You'll get there, Pauline. Meanwhile, we of the Prawn populace are rooting for you.

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