Author Topic: Challenge: Top 500 reached. Stayed in the Top 5,000 for 30 days!  (Read 11564 times)  

Offline Bryan Cohen

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Update on Thursday, September 15th: After 30 days of release, Cinderella Dreams of Fire remains in the Top 5,000! The experiment has met both of its milestones.

Update on Monday, August 22nd: I've reached my launch goal by getting into the Top 500! I actually hit my stretch goal of the Top 250 by the final day of my 99 cent price point. Now comes the second part of the challenge: trying to stay in the Top 5,000 for the next 30 days.

See more details about the launch with a series of videos and Facebook posts on my FB Group: http://bit.ly/mastercindlaunch


Intro: Several months ago, Chris Fox and I were planning a project where we would teach people the art of writing faster. In preparation, I sought to dictate a book quickly that would also follow the "Write to Market" strategy. While we decided to shelve the training, I went ahead with the book anyway.

The Challenge: Write a book to market and launch it into the Top 500 on Amazon, keeping it in the Top 5,000 for 30 days.

The Book: Cinderella Dreams of Fire by Casey Lane

The Genre/Market: Fantasy Fairy Tales

Writing Strategy: I used Chris' formula to determine which subcategory had enough demand but not quite enough supply. I then used the customer reviews and the text of several of the books in the genre to determine the tropes. I outlined the book by hand before dictating the 50k word novel through Dragon. I used a VA to help with "dictation errors" before sending it off to the editor for two passes. I combined my beta and ARC stage, with half a dozen readers offering me extensive notes. According to BookFunnel, approximately 200 people downloaded the ARC from a combination of my Street Team for my previous YA Superhero series and folks who joined a private Facebook Group for the launch. I gave them the book three weeks ahead of time to read and prepare a review.

Marketing/Launch Strategy: I hired a cover designer who had previously designed the covers of some of the books in the genre. I published the book as a pre-order about six days ahead of the Monday, August 15th soft launch with the goal of getting into also-boughts for similar books. I asked my Street Team to post honest reviews of the book on the 15th, with the hard launch beginning on Wednesday, August 17th. The strategy has paid off so far, with 28 reviews on the official "launch day."

To prepare for the launch, I connected with several friends and some additional authors in the genre with hopes that they'd share the book in the first few days. I've been able to secure a few folks with 5-10k lists, and others with 500 to a few thousand FB fans. I also have my own list of 2,000+ for my YA Superhero series as well as a new list of 300 that I built for the new pen name with Jonny Andrews' Author Platform Rocket service through a rolling 90-day giveaway. I'll also be putting this out to my nonfiction list of 12,000+ to tell them about the challenge, though I suspect there won't be a huge crossover of fairy tale readers in there.

I've purchased several promos, and I've been running FB ads for the last week. Yesterday, about 14 KDP Ads went live (at $5 per day), and in a few days I'll be using BookBub Ads beta to give the book a boost as well.

I've launched the book at 99 cents for the week, and I'll bump the price up to $2.99 on the morning of Monday, August 22nd.

Goals: I want this book (and subsequent series of standalone fairy tale retellings) to become a major earner for me. I've enjoyed the author service business of writing book descriptions, as well as training other authors in copywriting. There's a LOT of upkeep through all of that, and it'd be nice to diversify my earnings with a successful launch and a long tail fiction earner.

Promo Schedule:

Wednesday, August 17th:
- Promote to my fiction lists
- 1-2 other authors promoting on their lists & FB pages with boosted posts
- FB Ads, KDP Ads
Thursday, August 18
- Big push of other authors on mailing lists & boosted FB page posts
- FB Ads, KDP Ads
Friday, August 19th
- Hungry Author Triple Email Blast
- More authors' email lists & FB posts
- FB Ads, KDP Ads
Saturday, August 20th
- Romancing the Dragon Email Blast
- Share with nonfiction list
- BookBub Ads, FB Ads, KDP Ads
Sunday, August 21st
- BookBub Ads, FB Ads, KDP Ads
- Author Ad Network, Awesome Book Promotion, Raven Publicity
Monday, August 22nd
- Raise price to $2.99
- Continue ads to help keep rank sticky

Results:
46 preorders before Monday
Monday 8/15: 21 Sales, 644 Pages Read, Rank #12,500
Tuesday 8/16: 28 Sales, 1,181 Pages Read, Rank #5,500
Wednesday 8/17: 85 sales, 1,273 pages read, Rank Range #2,350
Thursday 8/18: 180 sales, 1,461 pages read, Rank Range #821-2,396
Friday 8/19: 226 sales, 4,098 pages read, Rank Range #740-944
Saturday 8/20: 253 sales, 6,304 pages read, Rank Range #525-695
Sunday 8/21: 490 sales, 9,466 pages read, Rank Range #215-571
(price change to $2.99, some sales came before the increase)
Monday 8/22: 95 sales, 14,701 pages read, Rank Range #199-343
Tuesday 8/23: 40 sales, 11,921 pages read, Rank Range #384-#682
Wednesday 8/24: 38 sales, 12,455 pages read, Rank Range #684-980
Thursday 8/25:  42 sales, 11,966 pages read, Rank Range #940-1158
Friday 8/26: 28 sales, 13,893 pages read, Rank Range, #1106-1253
Saturday 8/27: 34 sales, 13,013 pages read, Rank Range #1269-1661
Sunday 8/28: 29 sales, 12,823 pages read, Rank Range #1442-2001
Monday 8/29: 29 sales 13,138 pages read, Rank Range #1502-1881
Tuesday 8/30: 23 sales, 9,927 pages read, Rank Range #1888-2305
Wednesday 8/31: 21 sales, 8,078 pages read, Rank Range #1771-2074
Thursday 9/1: 19 sales, 10,002 pages read, Rank Range #1963-2772
Friday 9/2: 21 sales, 7,365 pages read, Rank Range #2071-2658
Saturday 9/3: 37 sales, 9,932 pages read, Rank Range #2073-2697
Sunday 9/4: 17 sales, 8,872 pages read, Rank Range #
Monday 9/5: 17 sales, 10,594 pages read, Rank Range #2,293-2,914
Tuesday 9/6: 17 sales, 7,038 pages read, Rank Range #2,612-3,192
Wednesday 9/7: 22 sales, 7,488 pages read, Rank Range #2,747-3,743
Thursday 9/8: 19 sales, 7,098 pages read, Rank Range #2,870-3,473
Friday 9/9: 20 sales, 8,054 pages read, Rank Range # 2,594   -3,085
Saturday 9/10: 12 sales, 7,608 pages read, Rank Range #2,931-4,573
Sunday 9/11: 12 sales, 9,634 pages read, Rank Range #3,903-4,506
Monday 9/12: 24 sales, 5,461 pages read, Rank Range #3,050-4,010
(DAY 30) Tuesday 9/13: 12 sales, 6,042 pages read, Rank Range #3,284-4,143
Wednesday 9/14: 17 sales, 5,619 pages read, Rank Range #3,361-4,741
Thursday 9/15: 12 sales, 2,603 pages read, Rank #4,765 (as of 1:38 pm Central)


I'll keep everybody up to speed on my progress. Thanks for reading. I hope this is helpful for folks!

« Last Edit: September 15, 2016, 11:42:59 am by Bryan Cohen »

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    Offline hulklogan

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    Good luck Bryan!

    Offline A.A

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    Sounds like you've got it sorted. Hope the book (and coming series) continues to do well!

    Offline dianapersaud

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    Thanks for sharing.

    Your strategy may work for established authors who know other established authors, but I don't see how a newbie (someone with only one book) would be able to use this strategy.

    A new writer won't necessarily have access to a fan base/mailing list or access to a writer with a large following. Without X# of reviews, they won't be able to schedule promos.

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    Offline James Dreyer

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    I've been following Chri's work as well and I have read his write to market series. He was the one that actually convinced me (through his books/ vlog) to go for it and made me stop dragging my feet on writing.

    I'm looking forward to your updates because it'll be nice to have a comparison for when my book will launch. I don't have any of the support that you already have so it's going to be interesting to see the differences.

    Offline Bryan Cohen

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    Good luck Bryan!

    Thanks, Hulk Logan!

    Sounds like you've got it sorted. Hope the book (and coming series) continues to do well!

    I hope so! Thanks, A.A.

    Thanks for sharing. Your strategy may work for established authors who know other established authors, but I don't see how a newbie (someone with only one book) would be able to use this strategy. A new writer won't necessarily have access to a fan base/mailing list or access to a writer with a large following. Without X# of reviews, they won't be able to schedule promos.

    You're welcome, Diana. I agree, that where I am now with my connections is far ahead of where a newbie would be. But I definitely think that new writers should always consider networking a must in their promotional plans. I didn't try to schedule with places like eReaderNewsToday and whatnot since I didn't have any reviews up, so that aspect would be the same.

    Hopefully newbies and... oldbies will get something out of following along.

    I've been following Chris' work as well and I have read his write to market series. He was the one that actually convinced me (through his books/ vlog) to go for it and made me stop dragging my feet on writing. I'm looking forward to your updates because it'll be nice to have a comparison for when my book will launch. I don't have any of the support that you already have so it's going to be interesting to see the differences.

    Congrats, James! Getting started is the hardest part. Chris' work is awesome. I hope I can hold a candle to him! Consider starting to connect with other authors and see if there's anything you can do for them. Networking by providing help has always been one of the pillars of my author business. Good luck and thanks for following along!

    Offline pajones

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    All the best. It will be interesting to follow up your progress.

    Offline Craig Andrews

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    Your strategy may work for established authors who know other established authors, but I don't see how a newbie (someone with only one book) would be able to use this strategy.

    A new writer won't necessarily have access to a fan base/mailing list or access to a writer with a large following. Without X# of reviews, they won't be able to schedule promos.

    I agree and disagree. Only having one book out doesn't preclude someone from connecting with other authors in their genre and doing what Bryan's done in asking for their support. As with anything, I'd hope a newbie author would take the time to study the market, understand who the players are, and analyze previous release strategies (like this one) to see what works for them, their genre, and their budget. It takes time to write a book, but there's nothing stopping anyone from doing their homework.


    Offline James Dreyer

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    Congrats, James! Getting started is the hardest part. Chris' work is awesome. I hope I can hold a candle to him! Consider starting to connect with other authors and see if there's anything you can do for them. Networking by providing help has always been one of the pillars of my author business. Good luck and thanks for following along!

    Thank you Bryan.

    Actually this is the reason why I made this account, to network with other writers, especially in my genre.

    Offline Bryan Cohen

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    Update: Nice launch day stats so far. 50 sales and over 500 pages read. Just crept into the top 2,600. Should keep the rank nice and fluid for the "big dog" promotions coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

    All the best. It will be interesting to follow up your progress.

    Thanks, PA.

    I agree and disagree. Only having one book out doesn't preclude someone from connecting with other authors in their genre and doing what Bryan's done in asking for their support. As with anything, I'd hope a newbie author would take the time to study the market, understand who the players are, and analyze previous release strategies (like this one) to see what works for them, their genre, and their budget. It takes time to write a book, but there's nothing stopping anyone from doing their homework.

    Great point, Craig. We should all study up to give ourselves the best chance of succeeding.

    Thank you Bryan.
    Actually this is the reason why I made this account, to network with other writers, especially in my genre.

    Very smart move, James!

    Offline Chris Lord

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    Comment deleted due to new TOS on 27/08/2018
    « Last Edit: September 27, 2018, 11:54:02 am by Chris Lord »
    On September 27th, 2018:
    -I do not agree with the fact that new Terms of Service were instated without notifying us. | I do not agree with parts of the Terms of Service which allow Vertical Scope to use my information elsewhere. | I do not allow VerticalScope to reproduce any content I posted on this forum in any newsletter, website, or other forum. | This is my personal opinion, not intended to influence anyone, and I believe I am within my rights to think so.
    -I don't want this signature to be in the forum anymore. I've already asked for account deletion, however, the owners of this forum REFUSE to delete my content.
    -I had no choice but to modify my postings. I don't think I ever posted anything of importance but that still doesn't mean I give anyone authorization to steal and reproduce any content I added to this forum. 
    -Further, the site started to show links and ads that I don't consider appropriate. Just today, (September 20th 2018), while browsing not logged in, I saw a link to an image of a bare chested woman. I do not want nudity connected with my branding, but this is not the right place for this, and I do not want to associate my content, my ideas, my book titles or anything related to my work to these ads. | Further, I do not desire to have any association with ads that are sexist, racist, and demeaning to women, such as ads for Ukrainian wives, or links to posts saying "These Russian women were caught at the right time". This is why I no longer want my blurbs, my ideas, links to any of my sites, or comments about anything I do to remain on these boards. | Again, I do not want to display this message, or messages that I don't agree with the terms of service, but I have no choice, considering the administration's refusal to delete my content.

    Offline Lysandra_Lorde

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    So you asked fellow authors in your genre to let their mailing list know 'hey this new book is out, check it out' and have them do that for their Facebook as well?

    Offline GwynnEWhite

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    Good luck. I watch with interest. But please don't stop writing blubsyou are amazing at it and that makes you essential to my book production team. :-) Congratulations on your lovely orange bestseller banner! And I love the blurb. Bought the book.
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    Offline A. N. Other Author

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    Am I correct thinking the Bookbub Ads beta is the pay per click service for those ads at the bottom of the regular newsletter? I'll be especially interested in how that goes.

    I recently had my first full Bookbub and hit #60 overall in paid (briefly), so was delighted with that. I've been wondering how it will compare success / cost wise.

    Offline Bryan Cohen

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    Just saw you are at 2,558! Great job!
    Who did you get for editing?

    Thanks! My editor is Ashley Gainer. I've actually worked with her for over a decade. Here's her info:
    http://www.ashleygainer.com/

    So you asked fellow authors in your genre to let their mailing list know 'hey this new book is out, check it out' and have them do that for their Facebook as well?

    Pretty much, Lysandra. Mostly I only did that with folks I've chatted with before or who I'd consider a friend. And for Facebook, I made sure to offer to pay for any post boosting. I imagine this gives them one "IOU" at some point, but I'm happy to repay the favor for these folks in the future.

    Good luck. I watch with interest. But please don't stop writing blubsyou are amazing at it and that makes you essential to my book production team. :-) Congratulations on your lovely orange bestseller banner! And I love the blurb. Bought the book.

    Thanks, Gwynn! I have no plans to stop the blurb writing, so don't worry :). I appreciate you picking up the book!!

    Am I correct thinking the Bookbub Ads beta is the pay per click service for those ads at the bottom of the regular newsletter? I'll be especially interested in how that goes.
    I recently had my first full Bookbub and hit #60 overall in paid (briefly), so was delighted with that. I've been wondering how it will compare success / cost wise.

    Correct, AD. BookBub Ads is the PPM (Pay Per Mille, so it's impressions, not clicks you pay for) at the bottom of the newsletter. I'll definitely share my BB Ad results.

    Congrats on the BB! Always nice to break into that Top 100. I chatted with Daniel Arenson about his BB Ad, and he did pretty well on his. He says he had a positive ROI, even selecting a higher CPM (they recommend you pick between $4.50 and $7.50, he chose $7.50 and still got a positive return).

    Here was his article on the subject:
    https://insights.bookbub.com/how-i-launched-my-new-release-and-sold-20k-copies/

    Offline MissingAlaska

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    Could you elaborate a little more on how you put together your street team? Are they readers off your mailing list or individuals solicited from beta-reader groups?  Secondly, how did you motivate them to leave reviews, especially on what appears to be a tight schedule? Congratulations on a great launch. Looks like you have a true winner here.


    Offline MKK

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    Wishing you all the best with this and thanks for the post(s).

    I don't have the wherewithal to be as organized as your strategy requires, but there are plenty of nice juicy tidbits in it. Thank you. I'm especially interest in hearing how the bookbub advert clicks pan out.

    Offline Bryan Cohen

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    Could you elaborate a little more on how you put together your street team? Are they readers off your mailing list or individuals solicited from beta-reader groups?  Secondly, how did you motivate them to leave reviews, especially on what appears to be a tight schedule? Congratulations on a great launch. Looks like you have a true winner here.

    Sure thing, Michael. So, getting folks onto my Street Team is one of the two main focuses of my email autoresponder sequence. The first three emails once folks get onto my list are "getting to know you" emails. They're like dates #1-3 :). I give them a freebie, check-in about the freebie, show them where else to connect with me, and otherwise describe who I am and what I'm all about. I don't even tell them I have a book for sales until email #4. In email #5, I ask them to join my Street Team. I pitch it as getting "free books from me for life," and it works pretty well. I send them to another landing page where they can opt into another list. With my YA list of 2k or so, I've recruited almost 300 folks to my 2nd list for the Street Team. About 10-15% of them end up leaving a review, when I give them the book 3 weeks ahead of time.

    I've also taken to inviting them to a special Launch Team FB Group, so that I can constantly check in (and they can see other folks finishing the book), which gets them excited to finish and review.

    Thanks for the kind words! So far, so good. Lots of work left to do :).

    Wishing you all the best with this and thanks for the post(s). I don't have the wherewithal to be as organized as your strategy requires, but there are plenty of nice juicy tidbits in it. Thank you. I'm especially interest in hearing how the bookbub advert clicks pan out.


    Thanks, MKK! It definitely requires a bit of organization (which isn't always my strong suit), but it's a one step at a time sort of thing. Glad you're finding this helpful! I'll definitely let you know how the BB Ad goes.

    Offline Salvador Mercer

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    Oooh... such fun. P2F. Good luck!  :)

    Offline Moist_Tissue

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    As a listener of your podcast, I wish you good luck, Bryan!

    (Psst... I know your family is expecting to expand soon, are you planning to take any time off from writing blurbs? I'd like your help with a blurb but not until October.)
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    Offline A Woman's Place Is In The Rebellion

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    Good luck, Bryan! Warm up those readers for me because my next YA release will be out in a couple of months and it's also fairy tale-based.

    Def report back on your BB ad. I just read the Lauren Blakely article on her experience (thanks Mark Cooper) and am curious to see how a different genre compares.   

    Offline Bryan Cohen

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    Nice results on official launch day #1. 85 sales and 1,273 pages read. The red line graph is trending up! Hoping to keep it that way for the rest of the 99 cents promo.


    Oooh... such fun. P2F. Good luck!  :)

    Haha, I had to look up P2F to understand it. Thanks, Salvador :).

    As a listener of your podcast, I wish you good luck, Bryan! (Psst... I know your family is expecting to expand soon, are you planning to take any time off from writing blurbs? I'd like your help with a blurb but not until October.)

    Thanks, MF! I'll probably have to scale back a little after Little Lady Cohen is born, but she's not due until December. So, you should be all set in October. Thanks!

    Good luck, Bryan! Warm up those readers for me because my next YA release will be out in a couple of months and it's also fairy tale-based. Def report back on your BB ad. I just read the Lauren Blakely article on her experience (thanks Mark Cooper) and am curious to see how a different genre compares.   

    Thanks, Augusta! Ok, I'll try to keep 'em warm for ya :). I'll let you know about BB. I tried a few with Nonfiction a couple of weeks back, and I wasn't in love with my results. I think this genre will perform much better.

    Offline Shalini Boland

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    Re: Can I launch into the Top 500? Writing to market challenge continues!
    « Reply #22 on: August 18, 2016, 04:48:27 am »
    Good luck, Bryan. Looks like you're off to a great start. I did something very similar in June for my psychological thriller (a brand new genre for me), also using Chris Fox's strategy. My first 3 days looked very similar to yours, and I'm over the moon with how it went. I'll be watching your progress and rooting for your success.

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    Offline Bryan Cohen

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    Re: Can I launch into the Top 500? Writing to market challenge continues!
    « Reply #23 on: August 18, 2016, 06:41:35 am »
    Good luck, Bryan. Looks like you're off to a great start. I did something very similar in June for my psychological thriller (a brand new genre for me), also using Chris Fox's strategy. My first 3 days looked very similar to yours, and I'm over the moon with how it went. I'll be watching your progress and rooting for your success.

    Holy crap, Shalini. I just checked out your sales ranking for your psychological thriller. That's fantastic after two months of launch! No wonder you're over the moon :). Might have to pick your brain a bit ;). Thanks for the well wishes!

    Offline Shalini Boland

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    Re: Can I launch into the Top 500? Writing to market challenge continues!
    « Reply #24 on: August 18, 2016, 07:28:24 am »
    Holy crap, Shalini. I just checked out your sales ranking for your psychological thriller. That's fantastic after two months of launch! No wonder you're over the moon :). Might have to pick your brain a bit ;). Thanks for the well wishes!

    Thanks, Bryan. You look like you're doing just fine, but my brains are at your disposal :D

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