Author Topic: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k! 3 week update: Sticky!  (Read 17453 times)  

Offline wingsandwords

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***EDITED TO INCLUDE SALES AND KENP!***

Well, knocking as in it's ranked in the one thousands  :P  Maybe I'll get there eventually!

So I love reading the launch threads, they're some of my favorite threads here on the kboards. Maybe mine is redundant, maybe no one cares, but I do so I thought I'd share.

Some background:

I wrote Grave Mistake large in part without doing a lot of market research. Woops! I didn't know what a 'no no' that was at the time, but I also was an avid urban fantasy reader and swear on The Dresden Files like they're holy books. So I did know a thing or two about tropes in the urban fantasy genre, and I'd like to say that served me well. I banged out my book with the original intention to traditional publish, or at the very least to shop it around until someone said 'yes' and then turn and run the other way because a gatekeeper approved me so now I could pursue the option that made money.

I never said I was bright.

Enter a series of vlogs by a self-professed self-publishing guru. I didn't know much at all at that point, but they said they had published one book and now they're a full time author, and isn't that the dream? So I gobbled up their videos, all the while thinking I could publish a book a year and be fine and dandy--hey, this person is still editing book two a full year and a half after their first book came out, why shouldn't I be able to do that? Hm. Because I'm not that person.

Enter kboards! Oh my goodness did I devour launch threads like they were going out of style when I first got here, Domino Finn and JA Cipriano's were two of my favorites that I kept returning to. At the time I was still struggling with the idea that fast publishing had to equal bad writing, but I could see that fast publishing meant a living...and then I read the books and promptly told myself to go sit in a corner and think about how mean I'd been, even if I'd kept the comments to myself. So I'm sorry for all the bad thoughts I put out into the world! I swear I know better now.

I can't really pinpoint the moment I switched from "I'm just reading these self-publishing posts for fun" to "I'm going to do this and I'm going to give it my all." It happened somewhere in those launch threads, though, I'm certain of it.

So after much editing on my part, I sent Grave Mistake to the editor, and hired Bookfly Designs to do my cover--which I'm still absolutely in love with!



And then I lined up my launch plan. For the sake of not repeating myself overly much, I'll go ahead and say that FB and AMS ads were a large part of the launch plan.

I participated in an IF cross promo and used FB ads to drive traffic to my IF giveaway to build up my mailing list. I knew these weren't going to be the best subscribers, but I wanted to start somewhere.

I also put the book up for preorder one week before release, and scrounged on Goodreads for ARC reviewers. I had the paperback up for two weeks prior where my ARC reviewers could leave their reviews, and had the paperback and ebook preorder linked before launch. And just to test out the FB ad with the audience I had crafted for the IF giveaway, I ran a fb ad pointed at my preorder as well as an AMS ad to learn how to use it.

I managed to garner 42 preorders, which I thought was pretty darn snazzy considering no one knows who the heck I am or why they should care about me.

Day 1
Enticing Journey Book Promotions
GenrePulse
Day 2
Enticing Journey Book Promotions
Books Butterfly
Day 3
Enticing Journey Book Promotions
Books Butterfly
Price Dropped Books
Day 4
GenreCrave Newsletter
Day 5
Bargain Booksy
Day 6
GenreCrave Book Blast
Day 7
Choosy Bookworm
Day 8
I Love Vampires
Day 9
Romancing the Dragon

Geez, that's a spaced out promotion schedule! I know, but I read a lot of Chris Fox and watched his videos, and I learned that Amazon likes to see steady sales, not spikes. So, since I didn't have an amazing mailing list to space out the announcement to, I did it with promotions. I used the resources I had available.

Did it work? You tell me.

No, I'm serious, I have no idea what constitutes a good launch for a new author and I'm kind of hoping I'm not making a joke of myself by sharing this with you all. I was going to make this thread at the beginning of my launch, but nerves got the better of me. The official excuse was that I wanted my also-boughts to populate first. Which they have!

As of right this second, I am sitting at 1,467 in the store. #2 in Werewolves & Shifters, #4 in Psychics, and #4 in Vampires.

My best ranks so far(today is Day 4):

Day 1
Sales: 44
KENP: 2,406
Highest Rank: 3,305
Niche 1: 6, Book Psychics
Niche 2: 7, Kindle Psychics
Niche 3: 7, Vampires

Day 2
Sales: 40
KENP: 6,789
Highest Rank: 3,272
Niche 1: 6, Kindle Psychics
Niche 2: 7, Vampires
Niche 3: 7, Book Psychics

Day 3
Sales: 42
KENP: 5,728
Highest Rank: 2,534
Niche 1: 4, Vampires
Niche 2: 5, Werewolves & Shifters
Niche 3: 5, Book Psychics

Day 4
Sales: 105
KENP: 7,393
Highest Rank: 1,245
Niche 1: 1, Werewolves & Shifters
Niche 2: 3, Vampires
Niche 3: 3, Psychics

Day 5
Sales: 127
KENP: 11,678
Highest Rank: 928
Niche 1: 1, Werewolves & Shifters
Niche 2: 2, Witches & Wizards
Niche 3: 2, Vampires

Day 6
Sales: 168
KENP: 12,502
Highest Rank: 656
Niche 1: 1, Werewolves & Shifters
Niche 2: 1, Vampires
Niche 3: 1, Witches & Wizards

Day 7
Sales: 127
KENP: 15,192
Highest Rank: 671
Niche 1: 1, Vampires
Niche 2: 1, Werewolves & Shifters, Books
Niche 3: 1, Werewolves & Shifters, Kindle

Day 8
Sales: 128
KENP: 20,269
Highest Rank: 558
Niche 1: 1, Witches & Wizards
Niche 2: 1, Psychics
Niche 3: 1, Werewolves & Shifters

Day 9
Sales: 121
KENP: 22,978
Highest Rank: 559
Niche 1: 1, Book Werewolves & Shifters
Niche 2: 1, Psychics
Niche 3: 1, Kindle Werewolves & Shifters

Day 10
Sales: 180
KENP: 26,247
Highest Rank: 390
Niche 1: 1, Ghosts
Niche 2: 1, Psychics
Niche 3: 1, Werewolves & Shifters

Day 11
Sales: 177
KENP:  37,944
Highest Rank: 353
Niche 1: 1, Vampires
Niche 2: 1, Werewolves & Shifters
Niche 3: 1, Ghosts

Day 12
Sales: 191
KENP: 39,112
Highest Rank: 283
Niche 1: 1, Ghosts
Niche 2: 1, Witches & Wizards
Niche 3: 1, Psychics

Day 13
Sales: 253
KENP: 60,872
Highest Rank: 241
Niche 1: 1, Werewolves & Shifters
Niche 2: 1, Vampires
Niche 3: 1, Psychics

So, am I crazy, or have I done pretty well for myself?

EDIT 1/28:

I AM NOT CRAZY. I BROKE THE TOP ONE THOUSAND. WOOOOOOOO.


EDIT 2/6

So I think it's safe to say the LAUNCH was a success. We are now entering the sticky period, where the book has been raised to $2.99, and we will see where it lands in the rankings.

EDIT 2/13

All right, Grave Mistake has been at full price for one week now, and it looks like I have achieved this mythical stickiness. I have stayed in the top 500, currently in the low 400s so that might be on its way out. I also just threw book 2 up for pre-order, so we're going to see how that does and if it affects book 1 at all. Fingers crossed I didn't ruin everything with a semi-long pre-order. (Book 2 won't be out until 3/28.)
« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 11:53:45 am by wingsandwords »

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    Offline Not any more

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #1 on: January 27, 2017, 05:37:05 pm »
    You've done very well. Congratulations! :)
    This post remains on KBoards over my objections.

    Offline wingsandwords

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #2 on: January 27, 2017, 05:38:06 pm »
    You've done very well. Congratulations! :)

     :D Thank you! I'm alternating between amazed and numb!

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    Offline Not any more

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #3 on: January 27, 2017, 05:46:25 pm »
    When I launched my new series in Dec., I left it at 99c for 10 days, then boosted it up to $2.99. The number of sales during that 10 days helped it to stick at the high rank. I got up to around 1125 or so. The real revenue started about 2 weeks after release. So, tighten your seat belt, cause you're probably in for a wild ride.

    How close are you with the next book?
    This post remains on KBoards over my objections.

    Offline wingsandwords

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #4 on: January 27, 2017, 06:01:10 pm »

    I'm planning on leaving it at 99c for 14 days to take advantage of Patty's promo, and then I'll be going up to $2.99. I hope my rank steadies at a decent number once I pull up.

    I finished book two yesterday! But it won't be coming out until March, because of cover scheduling unfortunately.

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    Offline AYClaudy

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #5 on: January 27, 2017, 06:18:15 pm »
    Awesome job!

     And you scored well with the ARC reviewers too. Sitting at 4.8 stars is great!

    I finished book two yesterday! But it won't be coming out until March, because of cover scheduling unfortunately.

    I don't think that's unfortunate! A month to two months between releases is a good timing!

    Offline Nicholas Erik

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #6 on: January 27, 2017, 06:19:54 pm »
    That's impressive for a new author. You've done well and brought together a lot of moving parts that more established authors even struggle with. A great launch for even a full-time mid-list author; given the lineup and the quality of the cover, you have a good chance of sticking. I'd certainly have been pleased with your early results with my latest UF book, which isn't doing nearly as well (novel #20, for what it's worth).

    So definitely give yourself a pat on the back - especially since Book 2 is already done. You're off to a tremendous start.

    BookFly Designs makes some of the best covers in the business. Great work all around.

    Nick

    Offline wingsandwords

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #7 on: January 27, 2017, 06:39:33 pm »
    Awesome job!

     And you scored well with the ARC reviewers too. Sitting at 4.8 stars is great!

    I don't think that's unfortunate! A month to two months between releases is a good timing!

    Thank you! I danced around the house each and every time I got an ARC review--I made someone cry! That's the dream!
    And that makes me feel better to hear that a month to two months is good; I've heard such differing things about release timing that I was starting to stress about not being able to get a book a month out.  :o

    Quote
    That's impressive for a new author. You've done well and brought together a lot of moving parts that more established authors even struggle with. A great launch for even a full-time mid-list author; given the lineup and the quality of the cover, you have a good chance of sticking. I'd certainly have been pleased with your early results with my latest UF book, which isn't doing nearly as well (novel #20, for what it's worth).

    So definitely give yourself a pat on the back - especially since Book 2 is already done. You're off to a tremendous start.

    BookFly Designs makes some of the best covers in the business. Great work all around.

    Nick

    Thanks, Nick! I did a lot of studying for the launch, and I'm definitely in the hole after cover, editing, and promotion costs, but I am lucky enough to have a partner who agreed that we can give this a shot without being in it for a profit for a few books. I'm hoping the visibility on book one will pay off by book four, and then I can start to see a profit!

    And yes, BookFly Designs has stolen my heart and all of my business, lol!

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    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #8 on: January 27, 2017, 06:42:42 pm »
    Definitely in the not-crazy category, wingsandwords! Congrats! :)

    Welcome! :)
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    Offline Anarchist

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #9 on: January 27, 2017, 06:48:16 pm »
    First book... launched with 15 solid reviews... broke 1,500...





    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

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    Offline SC

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #10 on: January 27, 2017, 07:23:11 pm »
    You've got a great cover, which really helps. Hey, it got me to buy it. I just sort of scanned the blurb quickly--"Yep, looks interesting"--and scanned the first couple paragraphs--"Good opening line. She can competently string words together."--all of which helps, but for me, and I'm guessing a lot of other readers, we are easily reeled in by a really pretty and professional-looking cover.

    Congrats on a great launch!

    Offline wingsandwords

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #11 on: January 27, 2017, 07:36:56 pm »
    Definitely in the not-crazy category, wingsandwords! Congrats! :)

    Thank you, it's good to have my sanity validated!
    First book... launched with 15 solid reviews... broke 1,500...







    *squeal!* Thank you!

    You've got a great cover, which really helps. Hey, it got me to buy it. I just sort of scanned the blurb quickly--"Yep, looks interesting"--and scanned the first couple paragraphs--"Good opening line. She can competently string words together."--all of which helps, but for me, and I'm guessing a lot of other readers, we are easily reeled in by a really pretty and professional-looking cover.

    Congrats on a great launch!

    Oh my gosh, thank you for buying a copy! And I'm sure the cover makes the sale a large percentage of the time. If there's one place not to cut corners, it's the cover! (And I'm glad I can string a sentence together!  ;D)

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    Offline SC

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #12 on: January 27, 2017, 08:21:32 pm »
    Oh my gosh, thank you for buying a copy! And I'm sure the cover makes the sale a large percentage of the time. If there's one place not to cut corners, it's the cover!

    Well, it's a good price and in one of my favorite sub-genres, so it's an easy sell. ;-) I totally agree about covers. I actually would love to hire a notable professional cover artist for the first cover in a novel series I'm working on. But it's a lot of money for quality original art like that, so it may take me a while. In the mean time, I figure I can try to write the rest of the series (and some other books that I have less sky-high aspirations for, cover-wise).

    Offline wingsandwords

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #13 on: January 27, 2017, 08:37:38 pm »
    Well, it's a good price and in one of my favorite sub-genres, so it's an easy sell. ;-) I totally agree about covers. I actually would love to hire a notable professional cover artist for the first cover in a novel series I'm working on. But it's a lot of money for quality original art like that, so it may take me a while. In the mean time, I figure I can try to write the rest of the series (and some other books that I have less sky-high aspirations for, cover-wise).

    It's definitely a lot of money, nothing to just jump up and do on a whim. You have to balance what's best for you and what's best for your business. But in defense of great cover art, there's nothing quite like having someone bring your book to life like that. I had NO idea what I wanted on the cover, and when I got the first draft my heart almost stopped.


    And unrelated, but an update to the original post: I just made it to #1 in Werewolves & Shifters!! That's another goal to cross off my list. I'm not screaming, your screaming.

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    Offline lincolnjcole

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #14 on: January 27, 2017, 08:49:32 pm »
    Congratulations!

    Offline Ron Tucker

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #15 on: January 27, 2017, 09:01:27 pm »
    Wow, way to go.

    I plan on publishing my first book in a few months, so this is very encouraging and enlightening.

    Awesome job!

    Offline SC

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #16 on: January 27, 2017, 09:27:44 pm »
    It's definitely a lot of money, nothing to just jump up and do on a whim. You have to balance what's best for you and what's best for your business. But in defense of great cover art, there's nothing quite like having someone bring your book to life like that. I had NO idea what I wanted on the cover, and when I got the first draft my heart almost stopped.

    That does sound pretty cool. Who's your cover designer, if I may ask?

    Offline JaclynDolamore

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #17 on: January 28, 2017, 06:31:29 am »
    You should definitely be excited! My debut indie novel only cracked the top #2500 when I released it but then really got cranking around when book 2 came out. I usually sat in the top 2000 for a couple of months. You're in an even more popular genre so buckle up. Good work! I can only hope my urban fantasy series does this well. Would you consider actually updating with the # of books sold each day of your promo? That's really helpful for those of us who plan launches in the same genre later in deciding which sites to book. (Rank is good too but it fluctuates more.)

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    Offline wingsandwords

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #18 on: January 28, 2017, 07:41:24 am »
    Congratulations!

    Thank you! :)

    Wow, way to go.

    I plan on publishing my first book in a few months, so this is very encouraging and enlightening.

    Awesome job!

    Thank you! I'm happy to help in any way possible. I'm planning on updating this thread with numbers as they come and will also come back to confirm whether or not I managed to get 'sticky.' I hope that will be helpful to my fellow newbie authors. We have to stick together to figure out what's working!

    That does sound pretty cool. Who's your cover designer, if I may ask?

    No problem at all, my cover designer is BookFly Designs. Here's a link to their portfolio: https://www.bookflydesign.com/portfolio/

    You should definitely be excited! My debut indie novel only cracked the top #2500 when I released it but then really got cranking around when book 2 came out. I usually sat in the top 2000 for a couple of months. You're in an even more popular genre so buckle up. Good work! I can only hope my urban fantasy series does this well. Would you consider actually updating with the # of books sold each day of your promo? That's really helpful for those of us who plan launches in the same genre later in deciding which sites to book. (Rank is good too but it fluctuates more.)

    Thanks! I'm super excited right now, waltzing on cloud nine. I really hope I manage to get sticky. And I absolutely don't mind sharing books sold numbers, I hope it helps.


    So update for today!

    First, books sold for each day, and I'll go back and update the original post to include that.

    For preorders running FB and AMS ads:
    Sales: 42
    Highest Rank: 21,594

    Day 1:
    Enticing Journey, Genre Pulse, FB Ads
    Sales: 44
    KENP: 2,406

    Day 2:
    Enticing Journey, Books Butterfly, FB Ads
    Sales: 40
    KENP: 6,789

    Day 3:
    Enticing Journey, Books Butterfly, Price Dropped Books, FB Ads
    Sales: 42
    KENP: 5,728

    Day 4: Sales and final rankings!
    GenreCrave, FB Ads
    Sales: 105
    KENP: 7,393
    Highest Rank: 1,245
    Niche 1: 1, Werewolves & Shifters
    Niche 2: 3, Vampires
    Niche 3: 3, Psychics

    Unfortunately GenreCrave's genre targeted newsletters are no longer offered, but they were hands down the best newsletter promo I've had as you can see.

    ETA: I'm a doofus, the Spotlight blast includes the targeted newsletters!
    « Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 07:59:20 pm by wingsandwords »

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    Offline Harriet Schultz

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #19 on: January 28, 2017, 07:45:00 am »
    Well done! And it's great that your second book will be coming out in March which is soon enough for readers of book #1 to remember you and pick it up.

    Harriet Schultz

    Offline Eugene Kirk

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #20 on: January 28, 2017, 07:53:04 am »
    Wow great job! You inspire me as I think about my own series launch approaching. Could you expand a bit on what you mentioned below?


    I participated in an IF cross promo and used FB ads to drive traffic to my IF giveaway to build up my mailing list. I knew these weren't going to be the best subscribers, but I wanted to start somewhere.

    I also put the book up for preorder one week before release, and scrounged on Goodreads for ARC reviewers. I had the paperback up for two weeks prior where my ARC reviewers could leave their reviews, and had the paperback and ebook preorder linked before launch. And just to test out the FB ad with the audience I had crafted for the IF giveaway, I ran a fb ad pointed at my preorder as well as an AMS ad to learn how to use it.

    What did you use as you IF giveaway? And did you do the paid IF? How did the IF work with the prelaunch? Did you decide not to enroll it in KU for that reason?

    Thanks in advance for the more detail info ^^

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    Offline amdonehere

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #21 on: January 28, 2017, 07:56:03 am »
    Congrats! That's excellent results!

    May I ask what is your experience with Enticing Journey? I've never heard of them before. Were they effective? Did you like working with them? Do they send news out to bloggers with a lot of followers?

    Offline Melody Simmons

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #22 on: January 28, 2017, 08:00:17 am »
    That's fantastic!  I hope you can get the next one out fast as I am sure readers will look for more...

    Offline Evenstar

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #23 on: January 28, 2017, 09:13:33 am »
    Love the cover. I just picked up a copy too

    Offline wingsandwords

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    Re: My debut novel is knocking on the door of 1k!
    « Reply #24 on: January 28, 2017, 09:14:54 am »
    Well done! And it's great that your second book will be coming out in March which is soon enough for readers of book #1 to remember you and pick it up.

    Thank you, and I hope so. I've been debating about putting it up on pre-order once I have the cover art, but I don't want to miss out on mailing list sign ups from people who would just pre-order instead. But maybe having book two on pre-order will keep me in the mind of some people and legitimize the series a bit...ah, decisions.

    Wow great job! You inspire me as I think about my own series launch approaching. Could you expand a bit on what you mentioned below?

    What did you use as you IF giveaway? And did you do the paid IF? How did the IF work with the prelaunch? Did you decide not to enroll it in KU for that reason?

    Thanks in advance for the more detail info ^^

    Absolutely! I wrote a novella that takes place between book 1 and 2, but it's not necessary to read book 1 to understand. It's a story within a story, where one of the side characters is telling the main character about an adventure they went on. I did the trial version of the paid IF so that I could require mailing list sign ups. I didn't really use the IF giveaway to feed pre-orders, since I did the brunt of that before it went up for pre-order. That's definitely worth looking into. HOWEVER, the mailing list I got from IF did end up buying what looks like 57 copies across some of those first few days, based on the clicks I got. I plan on sending out a 'last chance' reminder before I put the book up to $2.99 as well.

    I did enroll in KU, since I did not use my book as the IF giveaway option. The novella served a dual purpose of being mailing list bait for the back of the book as well. I considered it worthwhile to take a week out and write that.

    Congrats! That's excellent results!

    May I ask what is your experience with Enticing Journey? I've never heard of them before. Were they effective? Did you like working with them? Do they send news out to bloggers with a lot of followers?

    Thank you! I was very happy with Enticing Journey. Unfortunately I'm not entirely certain how effective they were, since I did use them in conjunction with other promos. They did send my book out to a multitude of bloggers with varying platforms, all generally rather large. I also got several ARC reviews from them--what was best IMO was that they fit me in on a very tight schedule, and the customer service was stellar.

    That's fantastic!  I hope you can get the next one out fast as I am sure readers will look for more...

    Thank you! Book two is slated for launching in March, and I'm debating doing a pre-order as soon as I have the cover. I'm very torn on what to do there, so if anyone has advice on that I'd be happy to hear it!

    Love the cover. I just picked up a copy too

    Thank you! I appreciate the support, every bit helps :)

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