Author Topic: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?  (Read 3286 times)  

Offline Megan Crewe

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Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« on: September 12, 2016, 12:32:40 PM »
What is the next level up from prawn, anyway? ;)

BACKSTORY: I have two self-pubbed books out under this name (a re-released trad-pub book gone OOP and a follow up to a trad-pub series) and four under a pen name, and unless I'm running a promo I'm lucky if any of those sells more than a copy or two a week. But for the past several months I've been getting ready to launch my first completely indie title under this name, and I would like more for this one. A MORTAL SONG is a book I've been writing and then revising on and off since 2009, which my agent didn't feel fit the current trad-pub market or my backlist well enough to put on wide submission, but now that I have some indie experience under my belt, I decided it was time to finally get it out into the world.

I know conventional wisdom is that, generally speaking, books don't really gain traction unless part of a series with at least a few books out. But SONG is a standalone, so it seemed that my options were either throw a bunch of promo at it during launch hoping I could give it enough momentum to make it sticky on Amazon (which I have seen happen for some series starters and standalones, so I know it's possible) or toss it out there to flounder alone. After everything I've invested in this book, in terms of time, emotion, and finances (editing, cover, etc.), I felt I needed to give it the best possible chance to succeed. So join me in seeing how well (or not) that goes.  ;D

CURRENT STATUS: I'm feeling a little optimistic, because the pre-order period has gone better than I expected. The book has been up for a month. I'm going exclusive with Amazon in the hopes that KU will help the book stay afloat, and so far (last day before release) I've gotten 534 pre-orders for the ebook there, mostly in the US with a handful from Canada, the UK, and Australia. Other than a brief burst in the first two days when I announced it, during which the US rank got as low as around #4000, those orders have been coming at a slower but steady pace, the rank mostly hovering between 10K and 20K with a few dips above and below. The book has been in the top 3 Hot New Reads for at least a couple categories most of that time, and in the top 20 overall of one or more at least half of the time. Right now it's in one of the good dips at #8,679, a few top 20s and #2 in some HNRs. I've also been able to get 59 advance reviews with an average rating of 4.1.

(I had a bunch of different strategies I used to achieve all that during the pre-order period, and am happy to talk about that too if people are interested.)

GOALS:
1. To see the book get lower than #1000 in ranking as quickly as possible after release. - achieved Sept 15th!
2. To see it stay there as long as possible after it gets there. - Other than a couple hours dip, stayed there for almost 4 days straight
3. To have it reach #1 in at least one category on Amazon.com so I can get that little Bestseller tag. :D - achieved Sept 13th!
4. To have it keep a steady rank for at least a few weeks after I put the price up to what'll be the regular $3.99.

THE PROMO!

Note: Though technically the book is YA, it has few teen elements other than the age of its characters and I think it'll appeal to adult fantasy fans too, so I've booked fantasy rather than YA categories where available because of the larger audience. Because I'm hoping to sustain a reasonably good rank over time rather than peak and then decline, I've tried to spread the promos out fairly evenly over the seven days.

Sept 13: Genre Crave Book Blast, Reign of Reads, MyBookCave, ChoosyBookworm, ebooklister, emailing my mailing list

Sales: 194
Pages read: 1908
Best rank of the day: #1040

Reached #1 in the Asian Myths & Legends category!



Sept 14: BookBarbarian, MyBookPlace

Sales: 113
Pages read: 585
Best rank of the day: around #1100 first thing in the morning, held over from yesterday's sales (dipped to around #1400 by the evening)

Sept 15: BookGorilla, OHFB, BooksButterfly (phase 1), MML KU/free promo

Sales: 133
Pages read: 2405
Best rank of the day: #971

Broke the top #1000!



Sept 16: GenreCrave SFF, SweetFreeBooks, BookRaid, BooksButterfly (phase 2)

Sales: 154
Pages read: 1024
Best rank of the day: #851 (first thing in morning)

Sept 17: Ripley's Booklist, BookSends & eReaderIQ, ENT, BooksButterfly (phase 3), resend to unopens on my mailing list

Sales: 186
Pages read: 2725
Best rank of the day: #798 (mid-afternoon)

Sept 18: Bargain Booksy, Rainy Kaye's visibility service, Roz Marshall's KU cross-promo

Sales: 193
Pages read: 3296
Best rank of the day: #542 (late afternoon)

Sept 19: GenreCrave YA

Sales: 80
Pages read: 6190
Best rank of the day: #748 (first thing in morning)

Ongoing throughout the launch week: Social media promo (mostly unpaid, probably a couple of boosted FB posts), big Japan-themed giveaway focused around the release, Xpresso Review Tour followed by Fantastic Flying Book Tour, $50 daily in BookBub ads, a bunch of newsletter swaps with fellow authors.

I'll check in each day to update sales and borrow figures and rank, and then again at least a couple times after the book is back at full price to report on stickiness. Let me know if there's anything else you'd find it useful to hear about! And wish me luck!

*crosses fingers*
« Last Edit: September 20, 2016, 07:29:46 AM by Megan Crewe »

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Offline David J Normoyle

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2016, 01:08:05 PM »
Congratulations on what's already been a terrific launch given the number of preorders and reviews you've gotten.

I recently released a YA fantasy (minor in promo dollars/effort compared to yours), and the best part was that it ended up being much stickier than I expected. It only went up to 2.5K rank at its best, but 5 weeks later it's at 5K and page reads are continuing to increase week by week. I think that's the magic of KU. Hopefully you see something similar except at a much higher stable ranking.

Maybe consider trying Amazon ads if you haven't planned for them. You don't end up spending much, but they are easy to set up and seem to give good ROI.

Good Luck!
« Last Edit: September 12, 2016, 01:11:53 PM by David J Normoyle »


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Offline JaclynDolamore

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2016, 01:58:03 PM »
It seems like you've done all you possibly can, and my fingers are crossed that it really takes off on launch. It certainly seems well poised. Your  preorder numbers are awesome! I haven't done Book Butterfly yet but I was thinking of trying them with my next round of promo...which package is it that you booked with them?

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Offline Megan Crewe

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2016, 05:18:38 PM »
I recently released a YA fantasy (minor in promo dollars/effort compared to yours), and the best part was that it ended up being much stickier than I expected. It only went up to 2.5K rank at its best, but 5 weeks later it's at 5K and page reads are continuing to increase week by week. I think that's the magic of KU. Hopefully you see something similar except at a much higher stable ranking.

Maybe consider trying Amazon ads if you haven't planned for them. You don't end up spending much, but they are easy to set up and seem to give good ROI.

Your experience is reassuring to hear! I'd be happy with the book settling somewhere stable like that. And I forgot that I do have Amazon ads in my plan too, although I'm just going to try them out and then stop them if they don't seem to be panning out... I haven't had great luck with them in the past.

It seems like you've done all you possibly can, and my fingers are crossed that it really takes off on launch. It certainly seems well poised. Your  preorder numbers are awesome! I haven't done Book Butterfly yet but I was thinking of trying them with my next round of promo...which package is it that you booked with them?

I asked for the 100 sales $0.99 one knowing they might recommend a lower one, and they recommended the 50 sales one, so I went with that. It's going out to something like five or six different genre partitions across the three days (they sent me a full breakdown).

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Offline lizapennbooks

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2016, 05:56:40 PM »
How did you get so many advanced reviews before the book was released?

Offline Lee Sutherland

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2016, 06:02:49 PM »
Hope the launch goes well!  I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes.

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Offline FFJ

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2016, 06:31:07 PM »
Fingers and toes crossed for you!!!!

Your stats look good already, so I'm sure your launch will go well.

Good luck!!!

PS: May I ask how big your mailing list is, please?

Offline JaclynDolamore

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2016, 07:12:52 PM »
Your experience is reassuring to hear! I'd be happy with the book settling somewhere stable like that. And I forgot that I do have Amazon ads in my plan too, although I'm just going to try them out and then stop them if they don't seem to be panning out... I haven't had great luck with them in the past.

I asked for the 100 sales $0.99 one knowing they might recommend a lower one, and they recommended the 50 sales one, so I went with that. It's going out to something like five or six different genre partitions across the three days (they sent me a full breakdown).

Oh, that is a cool way of doing it! I'm looking forward to trying them out.

re: Amazon ads, I think I'm getting a lot of KU borrows from them. Or else my book just got more popular for no reason in the last week. I just tweaked them recently and my average ranking went up from that day forward. It is really hard to tell if they're working if you're in KU!

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Offline Salvador Mercer

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2016, 07:27:54 PM »
P2F. Good luck, seems like a nice promo.  :)
 

Offline UnicornEmily

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2016, 10:07:26 PM »
Megan, I would love to hear about your strategies to achieve all that during the pre-order period.  That is fantastic!

I have a book I actually seem to have managed to launch successfully.  It's been hovering in the top 10,000 with only a few nudges from me (re-sending to unopens, tweeting about it, no paid promotions) after the first 10 days.  Yay!  I was planning to raise the price, but since it's not a standalone, I'm afraid to mess with it and have it dip.  You'll have to tell us how it goes when you raise the price of A Mortal Song to $3.99!  I'd love to hear how it works (and hopefully hear that it went really well!).

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

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2016, 05:20:59 AM »
Emily, your book is in my also-boughts! I would go ahead and raise the price, myself. I was terrified to put The Sorcerer's Concubine at $2.99 but sales only dipped a little and earnings definitely went way up! I think once you're solid with great reviews and good placement in other people's also-boughts it's worth trying.

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Offline Megan Crewe

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2016, 07:04:52 AM »
How did you get so many advanced reviews before the book was released?

Mostly by giving out advance copies to people on my mailing list who requested with the understanding that they would review during the pre-order period (by posting the review on the paperback, which I had listed but "unavailable" by unapproving it on CreateSpace). I gave out about 150 advance copies and I think about 50 of the reviews are from those. The rest are either from bloggers I queried about reviewing or people who got the book via NetGalley and figured out the paperback trick on their own. ;)

PS: May I ask how big your mailing list is, please?

For sure! Right now it's at about 17K. I'll note, though, that most of those are subscribers I gained through various promo methods over the last month, and weren't much of a factor in the pre-orders, because I didn't want to go straight to trying to sell to them. I only directly pushed the pre-order to about 4K, but I'm mailing all of them about the release. :)

re: Amazon ads, I think I'm getting a lot of KU borrows from them. Or else my book just got more popular for no reason in the last week. I just tweaked them recently and my average ranking went up from that day forward. It is really hard to tell if they're working if you're in KU!

Interesting! I'll definitely have to play around with them. I keep hearing conflicting advice about which type/approach works best.

Megan, I would love to hear about your strategies to achieve all that during the pre-order period.  That is fantastic!

I have a book I actually seem to have managed to launch successfully.  It's been hovering in the top 10,000 with only a few nudges from me (re-sending to unopens, tweeting about it, no paid promotions) after the first 10 days.  Yay!  I was planning to raise the price, but since it's not a standalone, I'm afraid to mess with it and have it dip.  You'll have to tell us how it goes when you raise the price of A Mortal Song to $3.99!  I'd love to hear how it works (and hopefully hear that it went really well!).

I'll definitely report back! But very cool that yours has been able to stick at a good ranking without too much promo! :)

Pre-order strategies (some of which you've heard about via Facebook group posts):
-Have the book at $0.99 for the pre-order period, with a note that it'll go up soon after it's released.
-Make a pre-order offer where people who pre-order the book can request an exclusive gift pack, plus earn more prizes by referring other readers: http://www.megancrewe.com/song-preorder.html
-Booked a cover reveal blast with Xpresso Tours that announced the book and mentioned the special price and the pre-order offer.
-Promote the pre-order offer to existing mailing list and on social media, sometimes tied with a giveaway (e.g., a Twitter follow and retweet giveaway that includes a graphic with the pre-order info on it).
-Mailing list swaps with several authors where they posted about the book and (in some cases) the pre-order offer.
-Boosted Facebook posts for the book focusing on the sale price (I also tried a couple that mention the pre-order offer too, and those didn't seem to work as well).
-As mentioned above, distributed ARCs to readers in advance and encouraged them to leave reviews as soon as the book was up on Amazon.
-Was actively building my mailing list using giveaways throughout the pre-order month, and indirectly letting new people know about the pre-order offer by directing them to the social media giveaways mentioned above.
-Had the book in Patti's SFF promo.
-Asked online friends and colleagues to share word about the book and/or pre-order offer in groups I'm a member of as appropriate.
-Had my street team promote the book and pre-order offer in various small ways (sharing giveaways, posting quote graphics, etc.).
-Re-designed my website and included prominent mention of the book and offer on the main page as well as a smaller graphic on all other pages.

I think that covers it... I think all of those strategies helped at least a little!

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Offline Megan Crewe

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2016, 04:39:29 PM »
Goal #3 reached on the first day!   ;D



And sooo close to reaching goal #1. Go little book, go!

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Offline Salvador Mercer

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2016, 06:39:04 PM »
#1040!

Only 41 more ranks to reach that goal! Good luck!  :)
 

Offline Nicholas Erik

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2016, 08:35:52 PM »
That cover is absolutely incredible and your pre-order bonuses are fantastic. Really slick overall package. I'm not surprised A MORTAL SONG did well on pre-order and is poised to crack the top 1000. One of the most impressive launches I've seen in terms of the moving parts. Thanks for sharing all the behind-the-scenes work you did.

Nick

Offline UnicornEmily

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2016, 12:43:13 AM »
Emily, your book is in my also-boughts! I would go ahead and raise the price, myself. I was terrified to put The Sorcerer's Concubine at $2.99 but sales only dipped a little and earnings definitely went way up! I think once you're solid with great reviews and good placement in other people's also-boughts it's worth trying.

I feel sick . . . I decided to take your advice and raise the price to $2.99.  (Bites nails frantically.)  I hope this doesn't kill all its momentum!

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

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2016, 01:08:24 AM »
And also, Megan, I am so, so happy for you!  I'm DYING to hear about how it goes when you raise your price.  Thank you for sharing all your launch strategies.  You are very cool.  :D

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

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2016, 01:33:26 AM »
A great launch, Megan! Well done! Watching your progress from prawn to {something bigger} with interest.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2016, 03:49:29 AM by PaulineMRoss »
   

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Offline Devyn Jayse

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2016, 02:03:38 AM »
Best of luck Megan! I just purchased your book. I hope you manage to achieve all your goals!  :)
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Offline Megan Crewe

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2016, 05:26:45 AM »
Thanks for all the cheering on, folks! :)

Yesterday's results:

Sales: 194 (approximately--I'm not 100% sure how many of the initial bump were pre-orders going through vs. new orders, so this number might have been a tad higher)
Pages read: 1908
Best rank of the day: #1040

And as noted above I hit one of my goals, #1 status in a category! The book is #2 in at least a couple others and #1 on a bunch of HNR lists.

The only thing that would have made the launch day even better would have been leaping those last 40 spots to the top 1000 overall, but there's still time and I'm hopeful. :) Probably won't today, I'd guess, because my only big promo site is BookBarbarian, but maybe tomorrow when I have a bunch of heavy-hitters and several people sending to their newsletters for me. *fingers crossed*

I feel sick . . . I decided to take your advice and raise the price to $2.99.  (Bites nails frantically.)  I hope this doesn't kill all its momentum!

Good luck!

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Offline Megan Crewe

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2016, 05:52:02 AM »
Yesterday's stats:

Sales: 113
Pages read: 585
Best rank of the day: around #1100 first thing in the morning, held over from yesterday's sales (dipped to around #1400 by the evening)

I was hoping for at least 100 sales, so I'm happy with that. :) And also happy that the rank didn't dip too much even though it was quite a bit fewer sales than yesterday. This morning it's already almost back up to previous levels (it was around #1060 when I first checked). Fingers crossed that the big promo blasts happening today will push it over the edge into three digits! Although even if I can manage to keep it above #2000 for the entire week, I'd consider that a success.

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Offline C. A. Mitchell

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2016, 06:36:35 AM »
Woo! Go you! And thanks for detailing all your promo tactics.

Offline Catharine Glen

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2016, 07:01:21 AM »
Wow that's really awesome!  Thanks for sharing your strategies as well.  Sounds like a great launch.  Well done!   :D

Offline FFJ

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2016, 09:08:00 AM »
I'm here cheering for you Megan!!!!

Go! Go! Go!

Oh and thanks for answering my question.

Offline Megan Crewe

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Re: Promo post: YA fantasy launch - Can I move up from prawny to...?
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2016, 07:42:39 PM »
Thank you for the support! :)

I'm currently SIX measly spots away from my goal. Six! But I have to go to bed soon so even if it dips lower, I might miss it.



Edited: Yessssss!



Goal #1 achieved. :D
« Last Edit: September 15, 2016, 08:33:37 PM by Megan Crewe »

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