Author Topic: How I got my best release ever (Book 2 release update)  (Read 11391 times)  

Offline J.A. Cipriano

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How I got my best release ever (Book 2 release update)
« on: February 09, 2016, 10:36:35 AM »
Here's a link to the book 2 release update. http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,230741.msg3240531.html#msg3240531

Here is a link to the 30 day update. http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,230741.msg3234822.html#msg3234822

The original post is below.

**
Let me start off by saying. I'm apprehensive to share this post, but at the risk of sounding like everyone else, I wanted to write a post on how I just had my best release ever in the hopes that maybe it will help you guys too. It was for the book Cursed in my sig.

Let me give my story, very briefly. In my opinion, Im an okay writer. Im not going to give you Shakespeare or Stephen King, thats for damn sure. I published fifteen novels at about 800K words last year, and all that got me was to about 500 sales a month. Ive been there since July.

My best selling series is my Lillim series. It accounts for about 80% of those sales. When I released Wardbreaker, a prequel to my Lillim series in October 2015, it sold all of 8 copies at $2.99 the first day. Two weeks later, when I released Mind Games, the sixth book, it sold 6 copies at $3.99.

Those have been my best releases to date. Woo, pop the cork on some champagne and gas up the yacht!

That was when I began retooling. If 2015 was the head to the grindstone and keep writing year, well, 2016 was going to be that but smarter!

I began planning in November. I went to a gun range in Reno and had a sheep-dipped navy seal who could kill me by blinking teach me all sorts of stuff except, you know, how to seduce librarians. I then read some best sellers in UF Id put off because I didnt want to be thought of as a copycat and realized something. Their books were way better than mine.

I started trying to figure out why I liked their books so much. I made character sheets using a vampire the masquerade sheet (dont judge) for many of these characters. I then decided I needed something else. Something comic book. Why? Because I wanted to write a Batman type character. Dark, brooding, but bad ass and able to take down solar powered demigods even though there is no reason he should be able to do so. /end rant.

It was also because several Batman Graphics are written by Alan Moore (watchmen) and Frank Miller (sin city, 300) and are heralded as some of the best graphics of all time. And, you know, I needed an excuse to spend two months reading comics. Still, I dont think the library was super pleased with me having written notes in the margins of their books.

Then because my eyes hurt, I went and watched a bunch of movies like Kill Bill, Terminator, and Die Hard trying to come up with reasons why the people I loved them. It was weird to sit down and make notes while watching them. I felt like a film student without the goatee and turtleneck.

After that, I decided I was missing a critical art form. Anime/Manga. On the plus side, my two year old now runs around shaking his fist in the air and yelling One Punch Man!

Satisfied I had several workable and completely unique ideas, I started shooting them at my wife while watching for the exact moment her reaction went from disgust and boredom to less disgusted and less bored. (Thats a joke, my wife is very supportive.)

We settled on what I like to nutshell as Jason Bourne with Magic which, let me tell you, was way better than Terminator where Harry Dresden comes back to save Sarah Connor.

I thought about my character and point of view. I knew I wanted to do a male MC around thirty which was unlike everything I'd done (female teen). I thought about stuff that had stuck with me and designed him with way more detail than Id ever use in my stories so he was more than tallish-shortish with lightish darkish hair. Oh, and I gave him tattoos because, hello, UF. And whats better than tattoos? Magic tattoos. #originalgoldmine.

Then I outlined my book and wrote like the dickens. I hit the 2/3 mark around 40k. The book was terribad. I lamented it, telling my wife it didnt work. She started asking about basic things Things Id totally missed in my haste to have a fight every other chapter followed by Michael Bay explosions. You know, like reasons why the guy would even save the girl or making him or her at all likeable.

I rewrote the book, yes nearly an entire book, adding pivotal character development scenes because apparently people like them? You know, the ones where your MC is like I need to do X, but Im the hero so Im going to have a chapter to whine before deciding I should do the right thing anyway even though it has costs.

I changed the main female to a single mom to help engender support for her because who doesnt love the crap out of single moms with nerdy eight-year-old sons who love Spiderman? This made it even better because I was able to have the kid have conversations with the MC that wouldnt work between two adults. I rewrote my ending. I added Green Lantern references.

Still, concerned my character wasnt likeable enough. I made him save "cats." (get it?) As an example, right at the start he steals clothing, but I have him leave some money behind. He does a bunch of things like this so youll like him. I have no idea if it works.

I also addressed one of the main criticisms I'd received in my Lillim stuff. Lillim's magic was too complicated (as was everything else). So I made my magic easy. My MC points at things and says the latin word for it. Bam! Magic explosion.

I commissioned the Amazing, the Stupendous, the Im totally in love with everything she makes, Lou Harper to do the cover. She completely redid the cover five separate times. Oh my god, who does that?
She also made me Facebook art!



I wrote twelve pages worth of Blurbs and sent them to people, carefully tweaking until I had something amazing. I had discussions with people about literary terminology I'd never understand and whether I can talk in my character's voice. But EVERYONE loved the character talking one's more, so I went with that.

Then it was on to the hard stuff. Conditioning people for sale. I began reeling in my mailing list over about a month. I tossed a preliminary cover and blurb into my mailing list email where I announced the winner to an unrelated contest. No less than 15 people responded saying they needed the book now! That's actually never happened and made me apprehensive and skittish.

I did this a couple more times over the next month, casually inserting (okay, completely blatantly) hints about the new book into emails. I managed to give out 7 whole review copies and hey, theres two reviews on the first day.

By the time release day came, I was actually physically sick with worry. Torn between, "just fail already so I can go on with my life" and please, for the love of god, do well so I don't have to start foraging for roots and berries to publish my books because I really hate roots and berries.

I decided to run some Facebook ads even though everyone said to release at $0.99 and there was no way for that to be profitable. I dont think they are effective since according to tracking Im netting one sale at $.99 for every $3 I spend, but Id decided I could spare $15 whole dollars over the three day launch period. It netted me about 3 sales so far.

I sent my lists (theres four based on how they joined, back of the book, facebook, giveaway, etc) the release email, staggering them throughout the day and got 25 sales the first day for my first in series new book from them! From the same people who bought 8 on a highly anticipated Lillim book. For reals! No contest or anything. (and yes, Ive tried that.)

That alone was amazing to me, but I also had one more trick up my sleeve. Id contacted Rebecca Hamilton of Free kindle giveaways based largely on Jasmine Walts recommendation. Her hungry author email blast sold another 50 copies. In like 2 hours.

And my ranking shot to 3,700. Thats way better than Ive ever done, and you know what, I had virtually nothing to do with any of that. You know, other than telling someone awesome to make an awesome cover and writing the best blurb I could. I'm reasonably sure Rebecca can't make people buy my book, unless she can, in which case I'm stealing her magical whip powers. Or treats, maybe she uses treats.

Now, is the time I most dread. Seeing if any of that helps or holds or if Cursed will begin its slide into obscurity. Were in day two and theres been 15 sales so far Ive had nothing to do with. Cross your fingers. I hear it brings luck to random people on the internet, and I just so happen to be one of them.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 09:10:51 AM by J.A. Cipriano »

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Online Monique

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2016, 10:43:09 AM »
Sounds like you worked hard for your success. I hope it stays sticky.

But ...

Defacing library books? Don't be that [expletive].

Monique Martin | author website | facebook | twitter

Offline Chris Fox

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2016, 11:02:15 AM »
I love that you've been so persistent, and I hope you take it to the next level this year.

Offline Sara C

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2016, 11:30:58 AM »
Here's hoping the ranking holds, and thanks for the great post! I'm in talks with Lou for her to redo my entire Xoe series. So much excite :D

Sara C Roethle | Website

Offline Rachel E. Rice

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2016, 11:39:15 AM »
J. A. I started reading your post when I didn't have time to spare, however, I couldn't stop reading it. If your books can capture your readers' attention, as this post just did mine, then you should do very well.  :)


Check for more books by Rachel E. Rice and R.E. Rice
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Offline Augusta Blythe

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2016, 11:41:17 AM »
Love it!
And your wife sounds awesome. Hope you sell enough books to buy her a token of appreciation. Or a beach house.

Offline amyates

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2016, 03:00:29 PM »
Totally used Vampire the Masquerade character sheets in the past too. [emoji1]Thanks for sharing your story!

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Online Darius Brasher

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2016, 03:55:32 PM »
Dude, if your book is as awesome as your post, I'm going to love it! I just downloaded a copy. Congratulations on your early success with the book, and I hope it continues.

Darius Brasher

Offline Eric T Knight

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2016, 04:08:23 PM »
Congratulations! Now I want to head on over and check out your new book. You've got me interested.

Eric T Knight | ericTknight.com

Offline crusoe

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2016, 04:18:12 PM »
Although your cadence comes across strange sometimes, you write with lucidity and fire. Thanks for sharing your story, and good luck :)

I write heart-expanding Mythic Sci-Fi that predicted gravity waves, years before they were proven in 2016.  Follow along on my travels to Hawaii & beyond → 🌺

Offline angela65

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2016, 04:32:14 PM »
Loved your post. I suspect you're a great writer. Glad your persistence paid off!

Offline UnicornEmily

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2016, 04:36:56 PM »
Sounds like you worked hard for your success. I hope it stays sticky.

But ...

Defacing library books? Don't be that [expletive].


I hope you're kidding about writing in library books.  If you're not, I'm kind of shocked they didn't demand that you pay to replace them.  Mine would (and rightly so).  Writing in library books is incredibly inconsiderate.  If you need to do so for research in future, why not use post-it notes?

But as for the most important part of the post, congratulations on a great launch, and thank you for sharing!  That cover is AWESOME, and I hope you keep killing it with the sales.  :D

Fairy Eyeglasses is free.  Trials of a Teenage Werevulture is my newest release!
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Offline JLCarver

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2016, 04:50:47 PM »
*waves the VtM flag* It's amazing how useful those can be sometimes, bubbling in dots to figure out your character.  8)

Thanks for sharing, and I hope it stays successful!

Online SunshineOnMe

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2016, 05:24:58 PM »
LOL Great post- so glad it worked out for you!

Offline My Dog's Servant

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2016, 05:46:05 PM »
Good luck on your launch. With all that hard work, it will definitely get you the next step up (and I bought a copy to help).


Offline CJArcher

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2016, 06:12:44 PM »
Congratulations! I loved your post. It just goes to show that hard work and paying attention to the market and improving your writing/blurb/product can pay off. I hope you have many more sales.

BTW, your wife is awesome.
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Offline Max Zsol

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2016, 06:24:51 PM »
(+1 for not defacing library books)

Congratulations, and thank you for sharing your insights and lessons learnt.
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Offline Bbates024

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2016, 06:26:54 PM »
Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing. You already had me with you were selling 500 copies a month of your other works. I can't wait to get there. My best month so far was right around 400. I'd love to be able to string together 500 sales months and if I could add in a couple hundred thousand page reads it would be even better.

Thank you again for sharing this year is my buckle down and grind out the books year!

Online Tulonsae

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2016, 07:38:46 PM »
With that (great!) cover and blurb, you should do Book Barbarian.

Offline C. Gockel

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2016, 08:03:15 PM »
Fantastic job! Congratulations! (Also, I bought a copy.)
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 08:06:11 PM by C. Gockel »


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Offline Matt Ryan

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2016, 08:16:36 PM »
Nice cover. Looks like you are fitting it into a good genre. I think you have the makings of something special here. Good luck with it and keep us posted.

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Offline TheForeverGirlSeries

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2016, 12:40:36 AM »
I'm so glad you saw such a great success on your release day! Of course, I appreciate the mention <3 But as I told you, you gave me something GREAT to work with. I can't control what people buy. All I can do is get the book in front of their eyes. I'm glad they made the right decision and clicked the buy button <3 Keep it up! Every release should be better than the last. You deserve the success!

Offline jazzywaltz

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2016, 01:01:22 AM »
SAH-WEEEET! Congrats on your new release! Rebecca is awesome. <3

Oh, and I bought a copy of Cursed, of course. :)

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Offline Sonya Bateman

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2016, 05:13:28 AM »
Awesome! Congratulations!! :) Now get going on that next book... LOL. :)

(I share the Lou Harper love! :D)
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Offline JR.

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Re: How I got my best release ever
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2016, 05:27:11 AM »
What is 'sheep-dipped'?