Author Topic: How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch  (Read 1026 times)  

Offline Catherine Lea

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How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch
« on: January 12, 2018, 02:31:55 PM »
First up, let me tell you how I downloaded and read just about EVERY post here on how to perfect the launch of a new title...and yet!

My new book, the third in the Elizabeth McClaine series, A STOLEN WOMAN, has been a tough write. It took me way, way too long. By the time I got to about halfway through, I'd gotten a new job (and more stress than I'd anticipated) I'd taken in boarders, my mother had moved homes and I'm the only one that visits, my garden looks like my house has been abandoned, and my dog died. Stress upon long hours upon grief. I'm not complaining, there are those here whose lives are way harder than mine.

So, I finally finished the book. I'd lost my editor, and found another who couldn't fit me in until later this year.

Later this year? Are you kidding?

This book has already taken up too much of my time. And frankly, I know the beats and twists needed in these stories. I've written a lot of them.

So, I sent it out to a number of betas, waited for their feedback and just got on with it.

The pre-order was mandatory. I'd read to go short, so it launches on the 25th of this month.
Then I checked out advertising. Well, it's so long since I did any except AMS, I was stunned at the lead time. So, I just went with AMS.
Oh, Lord, I'd completely forgotten to send out a newsletter. That went yesterday. And that was after a gut-churning amount of time trying to remember how to navigate Mailchimp.

Reviews: None. Every time I think about reviews it makes my hands shake. Amazon has been busily taking down some of my reviews. And those were gotten legally. How am I supposed to get reviews at this stage of the game without outright infractions of Amazon's code?

So, yeah. There it is. I'm not complaining. I got what I deserved. I failed to plan. For those who also with to screw up your launch, it's easier than you think.

But I do have a nice cover.  :D
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 11:20:52 AM by Catherine Lea »


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Offline PaulineMRoss

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Re: How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2018, 03:13:34 PM »
Congrats on having a great cover! (And a great sense of humour!). A couple of things you can do:

BargainBooksy and FreeBooksy both have very short lead times for promos. So you still have time to squeeze in a freebie on book 1 or a 99c deal on the new book, if you want to. Quite a few of the promo sites have been touting for business lately, so it's always worth asking.

For reviews, I use my mailing list for ARC volunteers, but if you don't mind paying, Hidden Gems is a good choice. They have a long lead time for romances, but for other genres not so much. Worth thinking about.

And get the new book into your sig, so we can all admire that cover.  :D Good luck with it!
 

Pauline M. Ross (epic fantasy) Website | Mary Kingswood (Regency romances) Website 
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Offline Catherine Lea

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Re: How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2018, 01:01:52 AM »
Congrats on having a great cover! (And a great sense of humour!). A couple of things you can do:

BargainBooksy and FreeBooksy both have very short lead times for promos. So you still have time to squeeze in a freebie on book 1 or a 99c deal on the new book, if you want to. Quite a few of the promo sites have been touting for business lately, so it's always worth asking.

For reviews, I use my mailing list for ARC volunteers, but if you don't mind paying, Hidden Gems is a good choice. They have a long lead time for romances, but for other genres not so much. Worth thinking about.

And get the new book into your sig, so we can all admire that cover.  :D Good luck with it!
Thank you so much for the tips.


There's no such thing as a simple plan.
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Offline TimothyEllis

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Re: How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2018, 01:39:59 AM »
I have to say nothing you said indicated a screwed up launch to me.

I find I cant predict at all when my next book will be done, mainly because of health issues.

It gets done when it gets done. And sometimes you are at the mercy of other's timing, simply becasue you cant predict anything in advance. In my case it's covers.

You do what you can on release day.

My last one, I completely forgot to email my list. And I didn't notice I hadn't, until a week later. The thing was, even without the email, the launch numbers were about what I'd had for the previous one. And I was suddenly thinking about how useful the list actually was. When I finally sent it out of course, it proved itself.

Thing is though, that goof gave me a longer launch tail than the previous 3.

When you exist in a life situation where your writing isn't predictable, launching is what you do when its ready, and how well it does is how well it does.

Life getting in the way, doesn't make it a screw up.


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Offline LilyBLily

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Re: How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2018, 06:12:36 AM »
In my recent experience (I'm in the middle of launching a new series), I can do everything right, and still forget important stuff, spend a lot of money and fail to attract clicks/sales regardless, and so on. There's always some component I forget, or some component that simply isn't working for me this time around.

Offline RedAlert

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Re: How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2018, 07:10:09 AM »
I don't know if it means anything at all, but you talk about your book as, "The Stolen Woman," when the actual title on your cover is, "A Stolen Woman."  Would that make a difference say, in your newsletter or ads, that would make it harder to find?

Other than that, congratulations on your publishing.  Condolences on your dog.  That sucks.  And, taking care of your mom is the primary thing there.  Keep going.

Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 07:27:46 AM »
I second Pauline's comment about Bargain Booksy having a short lead time.

Actually, the only promoter I couldn't book for my last release was Book Barbarian (requires 10 reviews and doesn't seem to make an exception for new releases), and EReader News Today (didn't take me this time  :'( ). It's true that most promoters can't book you within a week, but I got 24 booked for the first month. These days spreading them out is probably better than stacking them, considering Amazon tends to rank strip books that climb too high too fast. Come to think of it, though, I was promoting a book 1, not a book 3. I know a lot of promoters won't take later books in the series.

I also second the recommendation for HG. They have a bigger pool for romance (the genre they started with) than for others, but it's not hard to get enough reviewers to have ten or maybe even twenty reviews up pretty quickly.


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Offline Deke

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Re: How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2018, 08:46:50 AM »
I've never studied how to launch a book.  It's such a hassle writing, editing, and publishing in a variety of formats that I just want a stiff drink at the end of it all. This may be why my novel "Bio-Adversity" still has no reviews after being out years....I write'em and then forget'em.

I'd like my new one, "Machine" to have a chance. So my initial thought it just market it for free for however long it takes to get some reviews.  Is that the general idea?

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Offline Tizzy

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Re: How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2018, 10:08:48 AM »
I second Pauline's comment about Bargain Booksy having a short lead time.

Actually, the only promoter I couldn't book for my last release was Book Barbarian (requires 10 reviews and doesn't seem to make an exception for new releases), and EReader News Today (didn't take me this time  :'( ). It's true that most promoters can't book you within a week, but I got 24 booked for the first month. These days spreading them out is probably better than stacking them, considering Amazon tends to rank strip books that climb too high too fast. Come to think of it, though, I was promoting a book 1, not a book 3. I know a lot of promoters won't take later books in the series.

Actually, BB does make exceptions for new releases. Their ruling is:

Reviews exception: If the novel is a new release, we will consider it if you have a previously published book with more than 50 reviews from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

I also second the recommendation for HG. They have a bigger pool for romance (the genre they started with) than for others, but it's not hard to get enough reviewers to have ten or maybe even twenty reviews up pretty quickly.

HG does indeed deliver, although for niche novels I'm not sure it's great. I tried it and got what I paid for - no complaints there - but a few of the reviews were people who rated basically everything five-stars and copy-pasted a review copy then changed the name, while some of the more critical reviews were from people reading outside their genre and not knowing the conventions of funny fantasy (this I gathered from checking their review history). So if writing on a niche, thread carefully there because most of the readers are romance readers who might not really be either the ideal people to review your book or the kind of readers you would attract (or would want to attract) ordinarily. Remember in the end an ARC is a free book, and the rule of free books potentially attracting negative reviews because people read outside their genre should apply.

Not that I regret having hired them, tho, just a comment. I'm sure my book would have sold worse over the last month hadn't I signed up for an ARC and some of the critical reviews I've received raise points I've taken note of just to make sure I don't fall into such pitfalls in current and future projects.

Offline Catherine Lea

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Re: How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2018, 11:13:09 AM »
I have to say nothing you said indicated a screwed up launch to me.

I find I cant predict at all when my next book will be done, mainly because of health issues.

It gets done when it gets done. And sometimes you are at the mercy of other's timing, simply becasue you cant predict anything in advance. In my case it's covers.

You do what you can on release day.

My last one, I completely forgot to email my list. And I didn't notice I hadn't, until a week later. The thing was, even without the email, the launch numbers were about what I'd had for the previous one. And I was suddenly thinking about how useful the list actually was. When I finally sent it out of course, it proved itself.

Thing is though, that goof gave me a longer launch tail than the previous 3.

When you exist in a life situation where your writing isn't predictable, launching is what you do when its ready, and how well it does is how well it does.

Life getting in the way, doesn't make it a screw up.
I love you for this response. I've beaten myself up so many times it's ridiculous. I keep reading of authors who pump out books and book their launch months in advance. It's nice to know I'm not alone. :)


There's no such thing as a simple plan.
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Offline Catherine Lea

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Re: How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2018, 11:15:48 AM »
I don't know if it means anything at all, but you talk about your book as, "The Stolen Woman," when the actual title on your cover is, "A Stolen Woman."  Would that make a difference say, in your newsletter or ads, that would make it harder to find?

Other than that, congratulations on your publishing.  Condolences on your dog.  That sucks.  And, taking care of your mom is the primary thing there.  Keep going.
Thank you! The working title was THE Stolen Woman and I changed it to A Stolen Woman at the last minute. The name has stuck in my head, but I'm usually careful about sending out in newsletters etc.


There's no such thing as a simple plan.
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Online Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2018, 11:17:25 AM »
Good luck with the launch.

Your OP mentions THE STOLEN WOMAN but the cover says A STOLEN WOMAN. Better make sure your marketing and title agree  ;)

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Offline Catherine Lea

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Re: How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2018, 11:17:57 AM »
I second Pauline's comment about Bargain Booksy having a short lead time.

Actually, the only promoter I couldn't book for my last release was Book Barbarian (requires 10 reviews and doesn't seem to make an exception for new releases), and EReader News Today (didn't take me this time  :'( ). It's true that most promoters can't book you within a week, but I got 24 booked for the first month. These days spreading them out is probably better than stacking them, considering Amazon tends to rank strip books that climb too high too fast. Come to think of it, though, I was promoting a book 1, not a book 3. I know a lot of promoters won't take later books in the series.

I also second the recommendation for HG. They have a bigger pool for romance (the genre they started with) than for others, but it's not hard to get enough reviewers to have ten or maybe even twenty reviews up pretty quickly.
Thank you! I'm checking them out now.


There's no such thing as a simple plan.
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Offline Catherine Lea

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Re: How To Totally Screw Up Your Launch
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2018, 11:21:59 AM »
I second Pauline's comment about Bargain Booksy having a short lead time.

Actually, the only promoter I couldn't book for my last release was Book Barbarian (requires 10 reviews and doesn't seem to make an exception for new releases), and EReader News Today (didn't take me this time  :'( ). It's true that most promoters can't book you within a week, but I got 24 booked for the first month. These days spreading them out is probably better than stacking them, considering Amazon tends to rank strip books that climb too high too fast. Come to think of it, though, I was promoting a book 1, not a book 3. I know a lot of promoters won't take later books in the series.

I also second the recommendation for HG. They have a bigger pool for romance (the genre they started with) than for others, but it's not hard to get enough reviewers to have ten or maybe even twenty reviews up pretty quickly.
Thank you! I might check this out.
Actually, BB does make exceptions for new releases. Their ruling is:

Reviews exception: If the novel is a new release, we will consider it if you have a previously published book with more than 50 reviews from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

HG does indeed deliver, although for niche novels I'm not sure it's great. I tried it and got what I paid for - no complaints there - but a few of the reviews were people who rated basically everything five-stars and copy-pasted a review copy then changed the name, while some of the more critical reviews were from people reading outside their genre and not knowing the conventions of funny fantasy (this I gathered from checking their review history). So if writing on a niche, thread carefully there because most of the readers are romance readers who might not really be either the ideal people to review your book or the kind of readers you would attract (or would want to attract) ordinarily. Remember in the end an ARC is a free book, and the rule of free books potentially attracting negative reviews because people read outside their genre should apply.

Not that I regret having hired them, tho, just a comment. I'm sure my book would have sold worse over the last month hadn't I signed up for an ARC and some of the critical reviews I've received raise points I've taken note of just to make sure I don't fall into such pitfalls in current and future projects.


There's no such thing as a simple plan.
Catherine Lea | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon | Amazon