Author Topic: Getting close to pulling the trigger on my first launch. (eeeekkkkk)  (Read 282 times)  

Offline vstewart

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I have the first book in a five-book fantasy series completed. I'm just figuring out formatting and waiting on my cover design, and then it'll be time to launch this sucker. I think.

Book two is in rough-draft format, and book three is outlined. I have detailed plot notes for books four & five (and know how everything ends). Plus I've got a prequel already written. It'll be published last as it offers backstory into the villain.

I've worked as a ghostwriter and can consistently write 50-90K words a month and my books are about 150K words long. My very rough plan is to publish this first book this month, then follow with the second book in March, the third in June, and so on, hopefully getting the whole series out by this time next year.  :o

I do not have a mailing list, but I do have a very established personal blog (running since 2001) with a good network of followers. They aren't all going to be interested in my book, but I have posted about my writing and I have readers who are interested. It's a start, right? I've signed up for MailerLite after reading all of Patty Jansen's books. I won't add anyone manually, they'll all need to sign up on their own.

I also have an author website. Somewhat barebones at the moment, but it'll have a permanent home for the newsletter sign up form, and will feature more detailed book pages and buying options as I complete the series. www.vonastewart.com

I'm wondering if I *shouldn't* publish the first book this month, and instead, wait until early summer when I can publish the first three all together. I know first and lone books usually don't do all that well, and even with back matter announcing the second book coming in a couple of months w/ a link to the newsletter, I'm still worried I'll lose people. However, there's something to be said for getting the first book out there, I think?

If I do publish the lone book, it sounds like wasting pennies on advertising at this point is pretty pointless? 

How does this plan sound?

  • I have some final betas who are going to be diving into the book this week, so I'll be emailing them .mobi and .epub links tomorrow.
  • I'll add front and back matter with a little blurb about book two and a "coming spring of 2018" with a plea to sign up for the newsletter to hear more. I'll utilize smartURL just in case anything changes in the future.
  • Announce book on personal blog and offer it free to anyone who will sign up for my newsletter. Is it worth signing up for instafreebie or book funnel for this? Even if I don't quite yet have a second book to push them toward? How long should I keep it free or discounted?
  • My Twitter and Facebook following is smaller, but I'll announce there as well and make a sticky link to my newsletter
  • I plan on distributing wide: Amazon, Apple, Kobo, etc. I won't waste any ad monies on it at this point, I don't think, though I'll try for a Bookbub. Is it worth sticking it up as a preorder first? Maybe that's a way to get it up and out there while I close the gap between the second book's launch?
  • Get to work on the second book.

An alternative plan would include putting the first book up as a preorder for 3-4 weeks? Going 'live' with it in February, then the second book would come out in March. I'm not entirely sure what the benefits to preorders might be, so maybe this is a dumb idea and the above plan is better.

Or of course, as mentioned above, I could wait and roll out the first three books all together, launch a more aggressive advertising campaign, and make sure books four, five, and the prequel will follow shortly.

I know all of this is very hit and miss and experiment, but if any of you have some thoughts, I'm all ears.  This series is an older MG / early YA with some crossover into regular YA, especially as the series progresses. My main protagonist starts out at age 14 and will end up around 16 at series end. My betas ages 11-16 have been enthusiastic and encouraging. Think Fablehaven, Janitors, and Percy Jackson. A younger market that has some challenges as far as marketing goes, but I'm a seasoned entrepreneur, and I think I can make it work.

Thank you in advance!
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 03:44:53 PM by vstewart »

Offline KSRuff

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Re: Getting close to pulling the trigger on my first launch. (eeeekkkkk)
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 04:05:42 PM »
Hi there,
Congrats on the accomplishment! I'm anxious to see how the other authors weigh in. I held back on releasing the first book in my romantic suspense series until the first three books were completed and ready for release. Another author recommended releasing all three at once and that advice made a lot of sense to me. That decision to release all three books at the same time gave me the flexibility to run a few free e-book promos on the first book (so I could snag some readers and reviews) and recoup the advertising expense in the sales I made on the second and third books in the series. I more than recouped the advertising costs. I'm not sure how you can recoup those costs if you don't have any other books released for your readers to purchase. With that said, I'm preparing to release a tween fantasy novel under a different pen name (totally different target audience and genre!), and am seriously contemplating releasing the first book in the trilogy before the other two books are complete. I'm still researching how one markets to tweeners and exploring how best to launch this new book, so I look forward to hearing how our fellow k-boarders chose to proceed.
k.


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Offline BJAllan

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Re: Getting close to pulling the trigger on my first launch. (eeeekkkkk)
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2018, 04:08:27 AM »
I haven't published myself yet, so I can't advise you on most of your questions. But one thing that stuck out to me was that, unless I misunderstood, you're going to try for a Bookbub with only one book out. I've been pondering how much advertising to put behind a book when it's the only one out and the one thing I know I'm not going to do is go for a Bookbub. I'd rather keep that for when there are other books in the series to maximise sell-through. I assume your goal is awareness and newsletter building, but still, everything I've read says promos are less effective every time you use an outlet, so I'd try other promo places if you want to advertise a lone book and keep your Bookbub powder dry until you've at least got one more book out.

Offline vstewart

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Re: Getting close to pulling the trigger on my first launch. (eeeekkkkk)
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2018, 12:39:55 PM »
I haven't published myself yet, so I can't advise you on most of your questions. But one thing that stuck out to me was that, unless I misunderstood, you're going to try for a Bookbub with only one book out. I've been pondering how much advertising to put behind a book when it's the only one out and the one thing I know I'm not going to do is go for a Bookbub. I'd rather keep that for when there are other books in the series to maximise sell-through. I assume your goal is awareness and newsletter building, but still, everything I've read says promos are less effective every time you use an outlet, so I'd try other promo places if you want to advertise a lone book and keep your Bookbub powder dry until you've at least got one more book out.

Really good point, thank you!

Offline vstewart

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Re: Getting close to pulling the trigger on my first launch. (eeeekkkkk)
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2018, 12:41:21 PM »
Hi there,
Congrats on the accomplishment! I'm anxious to see how the other authors weigh in. I held back on releasing the first book in my romantic suspense series until the first three books were completed and ready for release. Another author recommended releasing all three at once and that advice made a lot of sense to me. That decision to release all three books at the same time gave me the flexibility to run a few free e-book promos on the first book (so I could snag some readers and reviews) and recoup the advertising expense in the sales I made on the second and third books in the series. I more than recouped the advertising costs. I'm not sure how you can recoup those costs if you don't have any other books released for your readers to purchase. With that said, I'm preparing to release a tween fantasy novel under a different pen name (totally different target audience and genre!), and am seriously contemplating releasing the first book in the trilogy before the other two books are complete. I'm still researching how one markets to tweeners and exploring how best to launch this new book, so I look forward to hearing how our fellow k-boarders chose to proceed.
k.

Thank you! Such good advice. It's probably the wisest course. I wonder if there is harm in putting out the first lone book. I've read some people think Amazon's algorithms punish you for having a lower performing book, but I'm not entirely sure that's true.