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Author Topic: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch  (Read 3659 times)  

Offline Holly Dodd

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Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« on: January 10, 2017, 10:59:15 AM »
It's finally my turn to write one of these. I've been stalking the Kboards and other resources for months before settling down to decide what I wanted to do, and how to do it.

I put my NA romance novel Giving It Up for Pre-order on December 2, 2016 to release today, January 10th, 2017.

I knew I didn't want to spend a lot (see anything) on promotion until the #3 in the series. So I put a lot of feet on the ground. I spent days compiling blog E-mails (see 16 hour days of E-mailing), Arc e-mails, did a cover reveal. And went out and interacted with my readers.  When I did this I had under 100 people on my FB page, and ZERO people on my newsletter.

I posted last week that I had 15 or so Pre-orders. Which was amazing. Then I signed up for E.B Brown's MML Marketing promo as a pre-release sale push. And amazing turned into "OMGHS". I coupled that push with a small ($5 dollar a day) Facebook ad for 5 days (I spent 25 dollars). The outcome was 99 pre-orders. (102 if you count the pre-orders on book #2 which I totally am going to)

At the start of today I was sitting at #13, 853 in the store, #22 in a niche, and #752 in my category.

Right now I'm at: #2,951 in the store, #7 in a niche, and #247 in my over category. I'm also at #88 in Hot New Releases in Romance -> New Adult. I have my fingers crossed that the HNR proves to be as powerful as people suggested.

My Arc reviewers are really bringing it in. I have 40 reviews on Goodreads and 21 on Amazon. I don't doubt that number will increase as the Goodreads reviews migrate over.

I have no promos booked, and a couple cross-promo newsletter swaps for the middle of the week. The only thing I have going is the Facebook ad, and word of mouth/visibility from my position in the store.

When I launched I wanted to see if I could get into the #10,000s. Then when that happened I wanted to get into the #5,000s. Now, now I wonder if I can break into the #1000s.

The moral? Sometimes stupid blind luck, a mixture of knowledge, and hard work pays off.


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Offline Sean Sweeney

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2017, 11:29:25 AM »
Awesome stuff, Holly. Which price point did you target?
Sean Sweeney, formerly John Fitch V -- author of 28 novels and counting.

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Offline Holly Dodd

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2017, 11:42:02 AM »
I'm at .99 for the week then bumping up to 2.99. It was 2.99 for all of pre-order until the sale.

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Offline JessicaPAuthor

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2017, 02:51:29 PM »
Wow - just checked to see how your book is doing, and you are ROCKING IT! Congrats, girl. Going to pick up a copy myself to check out GIVING IT UP!

So I also write New Adult romance, and I'm also a newbie author in the genre. I wonder what you did on release day to get your ranking where it is? I've also reached out to bloggers - I can so feel you on those 16-hour days sending emails - but haven't had the success you obviously have. Any tips to share in getting a positive response? As a new name, I feel like I get passed over quite a bit. I just released the third book in my STUDY ABROAD series a couple weeks ago, and while the launch was the best I've had to date, it was still seriously underwhelming.

How did you target your Facebook ads? I'm running a few right now, and I've had the most success targeting "Reading on my Kindle" plus "contemporary romance" and a few NA authors (Colleen Hoover, etc.). Any advice you can share would be awesome. Thanks!

Jessica
Author of Smexy Study Abroad Romance
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Offline Jenny Schwartz

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2017, 02:59:20 PM »
Holly, congratulations! I just saw Giving It Up's rank!!! You did amazing - those 16 hour days of emailing - plus the awesome blurb (so awesome) - sure paid off. Super congratulations :)

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Offline Holly Dodd

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2017, 03:55:01 PM »
@jessica Thank you! I'm still in shock at how well it's doing. At this point it's so surreal. It's continuing to climb and holding in mid 500's now.

The only thing I did on release day, other then having the pre-orders, was I boosted my "It's alive" post on my page for a $20 FB ad which had my hook, links, and a nice notice that it was live and in KU. I targeted New Adult Fiction, Narrowed it by Kindle E-reader and another keyword (for me it was erotic romance because that is the sub category I believe it fits in). Once that was finished I started my lower ad ($5 a day with the same audience) which wasn't doing very well. I tweaked the ad copy (description) today and it's doing so much better. Once I hit the hot new release list it really took off.

I have noticed that bloggers will do cover reveals and new release blitzes, but only a fraction will review for you because they are so booked. The earlier you get to them, the better your chances are. Of those long, long days I had 20ish who agreed to read the Arc and review it for release.

Then I stalked my readers (shout out to Chris Fox for that idea and verbage). I joined groups (not promo groups but my brand new street team does use them) and really engaged them. And when it came time to share my Arc sign-up form, they were happy to sign up because they knew who I was by then.  I think I had round 20 or so from those sign ups.

The same with my release. I was a part of the community, and I loved hanging out with them and they loved the silly stuff I posted. So I believe (this is all theory) they were happy to go out and buy the book and give it a shot. Their decision was supported by the long-standing members of the communities who'd read my book and loved it. And then they became fans, and started telling everyone they could about the book.

I'm not even going to lie. My life for the past month has been consumed by planning this release, and hoping. And it's worked out beyond my wildest dreams.

This week I have some more cross-promo NL swaps (found via promo newsletter swapping groups on Facebook) and I have my fingers crossed they will help sticky my rank.

I hope this has helped you and if you have more questions let me know!


@jenny Thank you so much! I agonized over the blurb and then went with my gut with some minor tweaking.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 04:06:26 PM by Holly Dodd »

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Offline Lee Sutherland

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2017, 04:27:35 PM »
Congrats!  That's great news.

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Offline LilyBLily

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2017, 04:58:03 PM »
Congratulations! Always good to hear that a launch plan is succeeding.

Offline Dpock

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2017, 05:10:38 PM »
Your book is doing awesome. Congrats.

When you said you spent 16 hours emailing blogs, do you mean for reviews?


Offline Holly Dodd

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2017, 11:20:09 PM »
@dpock 16 hour days :D There were 3. That whole week was a blur.  But yes, that's what I meant.

@arieswriting This is also for you!

What I wanted from the blog was three things: cover reveal, arc review, and new release blitz. The more a customer sees my book/me the more likely they are interested in buying it. It also gets them excited and builds momentum (I learned that from JA Huss' marketing Monday tips!)

So, I googled reviews and cover reveals of indie authors who were in my same sub-genre. I found those blogs/Facebook pages that met my criteria. Then I E-mailed them if they charged and were interested.

Those that wanted me to pay them to host my reveal got pitched. Those that were free and excited went onto a spread sheet. When I had about 60 names I e-mailed with my sign-up form.

Then, i went hunting on Facebook. I didn't target just big blogs. I went everywhere. And I messaged them the sign-up form.  After Facebook, I stalked Instagram and did the same thing.

After that, I went to Amazon and searched for books with a lot of reviews in my sub-genre. And I went through every. single. one and looked for E-mails in the profiles of the reviewers. I got about 5 E-mails per 100.

The good thing is you only really need to gather the E-mail data once.

Once I had my Arc finished, I went back through Google, and signed up for reviews on those blogs who didn't do cover reveals/blitzes and had forms. Those are the ones less likely to review it, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

For my second release, I just hired a promotion company (Xpresso Book tours another recommendation from JA Huss' blog. This will cost $130 total for the cover reveal and book blitz) because they work almost exclusively in my genre, and have access to blogs that won't accept me without a PR company.  I have not yet decided if I am utilizing their review service.

I think the reason I had such success with the Arcs is I'm a romance writer, and romance readers are passionate and ravenous about books. Library thing isn't worth the time IMO, I've given away hundred of books and gotten maybe 2 reviews. I haven't tried Goodreads Arc groups yet.

If all else fails, and you have an okay budget (between $50 and $100) find a promo company in your genre with an Arc team. The Arc teams are already vetted, and it's about as good of a guarantee as you're going to get that they will review your book. No, you are not paying for reviews. You are paying the promo company for their time they put in to vet the Arc reviewers. The only thing the reviewers get is an Arc of your book.

I hope this helps you.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 11:23:00 PM by Holly Dodd »

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Offline JessicaPAuthor

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2017, 05:11:45 AM »
Awesome - thank you very much for sharing as much as you did. I especially think the idea of really getting involved in the romance community is important. I've done the same in various Facebook reader groups; I came to this genre as a reader first, so not only is it fun, but like you said, I also get to meet potential new readers for my books! I've hesitated setting up my own street team/FB reader group, thinking I didn't have enough readers, but now I'm second guessing that decision. I suppose it's never too early to get that started...all those shares and word of mouth are priceless!

I'd also love to hear how the newsletter swap goes. I've never tried one, but I've been working on building my mailing list for the past couple months and I'd love to try one out.

Thanks again for all the info you've shared. I downloaded my copy of GIVING IT UP last night and hope to get to it this weekend. Congrats!
Author of Smexy Study Abroad Romance
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Offline nikkykaye

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2017, 08:04:04 AM »
Congrats on such a successful launch! It sounds like you really did your homework and tried to optimize everything. I might steal some of your ideas. :) When is the next book coming out?

Offline Holly Dodd

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2017, 09:22:09 AM »
February 28th! It's in Pre-order right now

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Offline DmGuay

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2017, 09:30:12 AM »
Um, let me just add that your blurb is fantastic.

You're welcome to write my blurbs for me any time! ;D

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Offline Holly Dodd

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2017, 11:28:58 AM »
Thank you :) I agonize like crazy over my blurbs. I'm hoping the second one is just as eye-catching!

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Offline Pizzazz

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2017, 11:38:36 AM »
Congratulations!  You're doing really well!  :)  :)  (Also, I'm taking notes on what you did.  Thank you for sharing.)
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 11:42:10 AM by Pizzazz »

Offline Holly Dodd

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2017, 11:43:49 AM »
You're welcome! It feels like a blessing I got this far, and if I some random thing I did can help someone break into their dream, I'm totally on board with that.

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Offline T E Scott Writer

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2017, 01:11:35 PM »
Congratulations, you put in a lot of work and its really paid off, well done!

T E Scott

Offline Pizzazz

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2017, 02:52:01 PM »
You're welcome! It feels like a blessing I got this far, and if I some random thing I did can help someone break into their dream, I'm totally on board with that.

You're spreading good Karma, and that's always a cool thing to do.  :)

Offline ChristinaGarner

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2017, 06:37:24 PM »
I'm reading through this strategy and can only say you deserve every ounce of success you're getting. Big congrats and thanks for outlining your steps.

I'm launching as well and I can see how some of your tactics might have worked nicely for me. I'll see about incorporating them in my next launch. Too early for me to know my own results (went live today) but it looks like you've done everything it takes to get the Amazon machine behind you. Enjoy, and thanks for the thread!


Offline JKata

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2017, 08:08:23 PM »
Wow! Awesome rank! The blurb hooked me, so I bought the book. :-)

Offline Holly Dodd

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2017, 09:16:05 PM »
Thank you!

My highest ranking was in the 400's store wide last night. I was sleeping during it :D

Today, I seem to be roaming around in the 700's. Tomorrow the cross-promo newsletters kick in. Hopefully all of that will be enough to carry me through the weekend and sticky my rank.

I will update with how they go.

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Offline Austin_Briggs

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2017, 01:36:12 AM »
Thats just so awesome, Holly! Heres for your MASSIVE success :)

During your research, have you come across similar companies to Xpresso Book Tours who work in Middle Grade OR Suspense genres, by any chance? 

Offline Holly Dodd

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2017, 12:52:17 AM »
The first cross-promo went out yesterday and it's kept me elevated in the 600s with a brief dip back into the 500s.  I have a nice little spike in purchases. My page reads are holding steady at the same level, which is really nice.

Last night I zipped over the 1k units downloaded (sold or read on KU) milestone.

Tomorrow I'll be featured in a large list. I'll update again then!

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Offline Austin_Briggs

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Re: Giving It Up - Pre and Launch
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2017, 01:08:39 AM »
Holly, thanks for the update. You can't believe how inspiring it is to me personally -- especially because you've outlined your "how to".

I'm getting off my bum to do some marketing beyond the AMS too  :o Maybe I'll even *gasp* finally email my mailing list!