Author Topic: Slow-burn launch for stickiness  (Read 4016 times)  

Offline aimeeeasterling

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Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« on: March 23, 2016, 04:27:25 PM »


I hesitated to make this post because I changed my strategy so much between my last launch and my current one that it's hard to say which factor is at play. But for the first time ever, my launch nearly broke 1,000 in the Amazon store. And after I raised the book back up to $2.99 on Saturday morning, rank has held largely steady while borrows continue to increase (although sales have decreased). I have high hopes I've finally hit on a strategy that results in launch stickiness rather than in a sudden spike that drifts back down as soon as I stop promoting.

Here's what I did:

December:
  • Analyzed the authors I most want to emulate. Then analyzed my own books. What are those other authors doing that I'm not? Answer: My books have only closed-door sex scenes and the external action plays second fiddle to internal drama.
  • Plotted out the first book in a spinoff series keeping the parts of my previous writing style that fit but focusing more on what the market wants.

January:
  • Created a streamlined website, reworked my autoresponders, and started emailing my existing list every week.
  • Started using facebook ads targeted toward Patricia Briggs readers to build my email list. I was relatively tentative but still ended up with 568 new subscribers.

February:
  • Built my ARC list from 13 members to 43 members. Offered to send a free review copy of Half Wolf to anyone who had read and reviewed the free book I gave them as an incentive to sign up for the list as long as they promised to review within 7 days.
  • Continued to build excitement with weekly emails, cover reveals, first chapter excerpt, etc.



March:
  • Sent the finished book to ARC team.
  • A couple of days later, I was starting to get emails asking where they could leave reviews. So I went ahead and put the book up on Amazon but told no one about it until I had accumulated 10 reviews. (This took three days.)
  • Emailed my lists in waves every 12 hours, starting with the least engaged and working toward the most engaged.
  • Set up a few short-turnaround promotions and boosted a facebook post for $2/day. I didn't want to use many sites since I plan a big promotion in late June when book two goes live. But I didn't like to see rank dwindling.
  • Alsoboughts began populating on March 14, which is also when I began sending out another round of emails to nonopeners.
  • I hit 1,008 in the kindle store just as my last promotion ended...then I raised the price to $2.99. Immediately, sales plummeted, but borrows bounced upwards. Rank settled around 2,000 and appears to be sticking or becoming slightly better.



For the sake of comparison, here's what my launches usually look like. I email my lists all at once and get a spike...then the book drops and takes about a month to rebound. After that, it's a slow slide downward until the next promotion.

Of course, it's too early to tell whether Half Wolf will do the same. But I have high hopes that the more organic-looking slow build will be rewarded by the Amazon algorithms (although they still haven't emailed me to ask if I want to share the book with my followers). Only time will tell, so for now I'm pounding away at book two --- first draft 1/4 complete!

Offline Jenny Schwartz

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2016, 04:45:29 PM »
Congratulations. Your launch looks really good, and I appreciate your sharing what you did behind the scenes. Mailing lists seem so important.

Jenny Schwartz | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Offline aimeeeasterling

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2016, 04:47:19 PM »
Congratulations. Your launch looks really good, and I appreciate your sharing what you did behind the scenes. Mailing lists seem so important.

Thank you! I'm still a little in shock.  :) I think mailing lists were definitely key, but so was eschewing a preorder, writing more to genre, and focusing hard on getting early reviews before emailing my lists.

Offline Marina Finlayson

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2016, 04:56:10 PM »
Congrats on a great launch!

You mentioned that you sent the first chapter to your mailing list to spark interest. I was thinking about that only this morning, except I was thinking of putting it on my blog and linking to it in the email. I was worried that putting it in the body of the email would make the email too long and put people off. Did you put it in the actual email? What sort of reactions did you get?

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Online pwtucker

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2016, 05:26:33 PM »
What a great launch - congrats! Plus you seem to have nailed the elusive 'stickiness' factor, which is huge.

Quick question: you said you started using facebook ads targeted toward Patricia Briggs readers to build my email list. What did you offer them since this was Book 1?

Offline aimeeeasterling

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2016, 05:38:10 PM »
You mentioned that you sent the first chapter to your mailing list to spark interest. I was thinking about that only this morning, except I was thinking of putting it on my blog and linking to it in the email. I was worried that putting it in the body of the email would make the email too long and put people off. Did you put it in the actual email? What sort of reactions did you get?

I actually had the same thoughts you did...so I posted the first chapter on my blog and linked to it from an email. I'm still working on getting more engagement, but I had a few comments and lots of clicks. So hopefully it helped!

Offline aimeeeasterling

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2016, 05:40:58 PM »
Quick question: you said you started using facebook ads targeted toward Patricia Briggs readers to build my email list. What did you offer them since this was Book 1?

I have another trilogy that's complete so I offered them book one of that trilogy. Once book one went permafree last month, I added on a prequel serial to increase the value of my reader magnet.

I already had at least one review that compared that first book to Patricia Briggs, which was handy since I could quote it in my facebook ads for social proof. Interestingly, I soon saw a spate of reviews comparing me to Patricia Briggs --- I think the unintended subliminal messaging of that initial ad paid off.  :)

Offline Lisa Blackwood

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2016, 06:04:10 PM »
Congrats on the great launch. Stickiness is something I've never had until my newest release (I hope it stays sticky.) I took a slightly different approach than you, but the same concept. I tried to avoid any big spikes of sales, instead lining up promo sites for a slow, more gradual climb up the charts.

Great post and thanks for sharing.

Offline Marina Finlayson

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2016, 06:18:52 PM »
I actually had the same thoughts you did...so I posted the first chapter on my blog and linked to it from an email. I'm still working on getting more engagement, but I had a few comments and lots of clicks. So hopefully it helped!

Ah, thank you. Sounds like I'm on the right track, then.

Marina Finlayson | Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram

Offline Claire Frank

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2016, 06:58:33 PM »
This is great info - thank you!

I love the idea of posting the first chapter. Awesome.

Claire Frank | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter

Offline carrie 123

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2016, 03:05:18 AM »
Thanks for sharing your launch process, Aimee, and congratulations on a fantastic launch!

Offline aimeeeasterling

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2016, 06:23:37 AM »
Congrats on the great launch. Stickiness is something I've never had until my newest release (I hope it stays sticky.) I took a slightly different approach than you, but the same concept. I tried to avoid any big spikes of sales, instead lining up promo sites for a slow, more gradual climb up the charts.

Great post and thanks for sharing.

I'm going to be watching your new book with an eagle eye because you definitely outdid me!  :) For anyone who didn't see it, Lisa's launch post is here: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,232721.0.html. She's been up in the top 100 for over a week!

Offline aimeeeasterling

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2016, 06:24:25 AM »
(And thank you to everyone for your congratulations!  :) )

Offline mmandolin

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2016, 10:09:17 AM »
Great post, Aimee. Thanks for the awesome detail and info  ;D

Offline Bbates024

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2016, 01:11:36 PM »
I'm not hating that 12.5k page read day, that's for sure.

I'd love to get up there soon. I hover right around 5-6k if I could make it to ten plus sales I could probably do this thing for a living. :-)

Great launch and I love the graphs. Getting down inside 3k on Amazon is awesome, cracking 1k would be sweet. I have a feeling your almost there. :-)

Offline aimeeeasterling

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2016, 03:54:41 PM »
I'm not hating that 12.5k page read day, that's for sure.

I'd love to get up there soon. I hover right around 5-6k if I could make it to ten plus sales I could probably do this thing for a living. :-)

Great launch and I love the graphs. Getting down inside 3k on Amazon is awesome, cracking 1k would be sweet. I have a feeling your almost there. :-)

Yeah, for the first time I started wondering whether, if I pushed this book really hard when I launch the second, I might get in the range of one of the single-book All-Star bonuses. Probably a pipe dream...but I wouldn't want to get content and complacent, right?  :)

Offline aimeeeasterling

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2016, 04:19:55 PM »


I'm coming up on the 30-day cliff, which suggests a big flaw in my initial plan. Yes, the book's rank has stuck remarkably well for the last few weeks (ranging between low 2,000s and mid 1,000s). But giving Half Wolf that week to slow-build momentum at the beginning means I'm hitting the cliff after only three weeks of big sales rather than four. We'll see how much of a problem that is, but I've already noted in my launch plans for book two to allow a week-long preorder for momentum building so I won't make that mistake again.

On the positive side, I wanted to make a quick note about unintended factors leading to long-term stickiness. Hungry Author's service (http://hungryauthor.com/new-release-service/) turned out to be much more valuable than I'd originally anticipated (and I haven't even gotten any reviews from them yet!). Those initial sales were impressive, but what's more impressive is that Rebecca only launches a few books per week. (Not sure of the exact number.) That means I get very solid also-boughts in my genre of books being pushed high in the rankings at regular intervals. For example, see that nice big peak in my borrow graph yesterday? That's from Ashley Meira's Hunter, Hunted being pushed by Hungry Author. Ashley and I are both in each other's first page of also-boughts, and when she rose through the ranks I trotted up right along with her.

Offline R. M. Webb

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2016, 05:10:03 PM »
Aimee

Congratulations on a job well done! I'm so happy for you!

Just a little anecdotal evidence: I've used the slow-burn launch on my last three books--the romance books in my sig line--and I've found that the 30 cliff has not been as noticeable on these books as it was on my UF series.

Wishing you many more sales, page reads, and powerful launches!



R. M. Webb | Blog

Offline aimeeeasterling

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2016, 05:23:26 PM »
Just a little anecdotal evidence: I've used the slow-burn launch on my last three books--the romance books in my sig line--and I've found that the 30 cliff has not been as noticeable on these books as it was on my UF series.

That would be awesome --- I hope that holds true for me! If you don't mind me asking, how was your slow-burn launch different from mine, if at all? I'm always looking to tweak the plan to be better for next time.

Offline onguard74

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2016, 05:25:37 PM »
Great advice! Thanks for posting your strategy. I'll keep it mind for my next book launch.

Neal Martin | Neal Martin

Offline Shawn Inmon

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2016, 05:52:21 PM »
I love it when a plan comes together. Congrats. Well deserved.

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Offline Gator

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2016, 07:21:59 PM »
March:
  • Emailed my lists in waves every 12 hours, starting with the least engaged and working toward the most engaged.

Congrats on your success!  If you don't mind my asking, how many subscribers did you have on your mailing list and what percent was sent the book launch newsletter each 12 hours?

Offline aimeeeasterling

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2016, 04:04:53 AM »
Congrats on your success!  If you don't mind my asking, how many subscribers did you have on your mailing list and what percent was sent the book launch newsletter each 12 hours?

I've got multiple lists of various sizes. At the time this book released (and counting "my" bookbub followers), I had 1,986 subscribers broken down as follows.

                   List                  Time sent   Sales in first 12 hours   # Subscribers
3/11/2016   Facebook   6:30:00 AM             9                                           372
3/11/2016   New website   6:30:00 PM             5                                           161
3/12/2016   Giveaway   6:00:00 AM             2                                           467
3/12/2016   Bookbub   9:30:00 AM           13                                           312
3/12/2016   In-book           6:00:00 PM             1                                             51
3/13/2016   Old website   6:00:00 AM           22                                           623

As you can see, this first round led to not-terribly-impressive sum of 52 sales in the first 12 hours. But it was sufficient! (And more sales trickled in from the lists later, especially after I sent a followup email to nonopeners.)
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 04:11:36 AM by aimeeeasterling »

Offline Gator

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Re: Slow-burn launch for stickiness
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2016, 05:02:44 AM »
I've got multiple lists of various sizes. At the time this book released (and counting "my" bookbub followers), I had 1,986 subscribers broken down as follows.

                   List                  Time sent   Sales in first 12 hours   # Subscribers
3/11/2016   Facebook   6:30:00 AM             9                                           372
3/11/2016   New website   6:30:00 PM             5                                           161
3/12/2016   Giveaway   6:00:00 AM             2                                           467
3/12/2016   Bookbub   9:30:00 AM           13                                           312
3/12/2016   In-book           6:00:00 PM             1                                             51
3/13/2016   Old website   6:00:00 AM           22                                           623

As you can see, this first round led to not-terribly-impressive sum of 52 sales in the first 12 hours. But it was sufficient! (And more sales trickled in from the lists later, especially after I sent a followup email to nonopeners.)

Thanks!  Given the sales numbers on your charts for March 11 & 12, I would have thought your number of subscribers was somewhat smaller.  But they did give you a boost before the promotions started, and I think that helped in the algorithms for longevity of increased sales volume.

On a side note, it seems this is more evidence that we need to work really hard at building our mailing lists to help that initial boost on book launches.

Thanks for sharing your numbers and results.  I wish the best of luck to you in the hopes that the 30-day cliff is no more than a minor speed bump on your sales chart.