Author Topic: I launched Book 2 and it went well. Here's what I did ... Now, about Book 3 ...  (Read 2563 times)  

Offline Steven Kelliher

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Hey peeps,

So, I've recently released my first sequel, and the launch has been going really well. It's only June 12, and I've broken 4 figures for the first time ever (started in August, 2016 with my debut.)

I packaged my first-ever Kindle FREE promotion for Book 1 with a 99c launch of Book 2, ran each for five days and basically leveraged the following strategies over that span to hit a solid ranking, which has stuck (somewhat) in the week since returning to full price:

- Personal Mailing List (Around 3k subs, fairly new.)
- Cross Promos w/ authors in my genre (epic fantasy, eastern/asian fantasy, etc.)
- Promo sites (Freebooksy, Bargainbooksy and ENT)

I got Book 1 into over 5,000 hands with the free promo, and got the 99c sequel into over 500 hands. I obviously wanted to hit the algos well, but my main goal was to get the books into a lot of hands.

I am increasing my production output, but at best, I don't see myself churning out more than 2 books annually. They are typically long reads (between 125k and 200k words,) and I'm going for the long haul.

One of my concerns is regarding launching Book 3, which I hope to have out before the end of the year. My basic concern is when it comes to the promo sites. I'd like to leverage them again for Book 3, but I don't think I'll promo Book 3. I know it's more effective to promo the first in the series, but I wonder if people have experience using the same promo sites for the same book, say, 6 months apart. Was going to drop Books 1 and 2 to 99c and launch 3 at full price.

Think I'd be better off using different promo sites than those I hit already? And if you're not stacking releases like a lot of authors are doing these days, how would you manage launches for sequels months apart?

FINALLY ... is there anything big anyone thinks I'm missing in terms of my launch strategy? Anything besides mailing list, cross promos and promo sites I could be hitting/using?

Thanks for any and all advice!

Steven Kelliher | Web site | Twitter

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    Offline Nicholas Erik

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    Just a general FYI to those lurking about the strategy: Free runs tend to do really well with longer books in KU, because of the KENP. You can also get away with fewer releases when your books have monster KENP #s. I'd assume these books are somewhere between 700 - 1000 KENP each. Long series + long books + free run = pretty substantial #s, even if you don't hit super-high on the charts. You can already see this, even w/o the "long series" component in place (yet). Took me awhile to figure it out, since I've done similar things with shorter books and the response wasn't nearly as good - finally surmised that it was the KENP differential.

    Anyway, well done. The longer books work heavily in your favor (provided people read them, which it seems they are doing); if you can get two out a year, then you can do quite well.

    Answers:

    > you should be okay to rebook sites after six months; I try to wait at least that long when using smaller promo sites (a year, if I can swing it). Expect a ~30% decline in effectiveness. But with long books (assuming KU is still around/the same then), you're still going to be in the green, particularly with three books instead of two. I'd try for a BookBub in the meantime.

    > add in different, unused promo sites next time. Might as well go all-out if you're only launch every 6 months. Makes sense.

    > Missing: PPC. Not cost-effective (generally) for free runs, so I wouldn't direct traffic to a free Book 1. But you can use some cheap AMS/Facebook ads on Book 1 to help hold the rank now that the promo is over. Might even work well at full price; or you can get aggressive and drop Book 1 to $0.99. You're in Epic Fantasy, which tends to be less price-conscious than other genres; people expect to pay $4.99/$5.99, so I don't even know if $0.99 would help you.

    >> Next time: since you're going to promo Book 1 @ $0.99, PPC would be helpful. A couple hundred bucks a day for Facebook/BookBub/AMS can really catapult the series up the charts. ~$1,000 - $1,500 over launch week. Sounds like a lot, but if you have six months, that makes it easier to plan ahead.
    >> Keep building the list. That'll be key to launching Book 3 at full price. You can do that via Facebook if you have a short story/novella in the world. Otherwise keep doing cross promos and stuff.

    Nick
    « Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 09:41:24 pm by Nicholas Erik »

    Offline kathrynoh

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    If it's going to be 6 months until the next book launches, I'd aim for a Bookbub on book #1. Of course, it's not a sure thing but if you aim towards it (I was going to say get your ducks in a row, then wanted to slap myself for using business jargon), then you stand a much better chance.

    Plan B would be to hit some promo sites you've not used. I'd probably still go with Free/Bargainbooksy but expect to get less of a bump from them. Robin Reads can be good, but who knows what will be working in promo sites in six months time... I'd just see which ones are getting results closer to your launch.

    The only other thing I can think of is maybe sending teaser chapters to your mailing list to keep them engaged before you release.

    Offline Steven Kelliher

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    Just a general FYI to those lurking about the strategy: Free runs tend to do really well with longer books in KU, because of the KENP. You can also get away with fewer releases when your books have monster KENP #s. I'd assume these books are somewhere between 700 - 1000 KENP each. Long series + long books + free run = pretty substantial #s, even if you don't hit super-high on the charts. You can already see this, even w/o the "long series" component in place (yet). Took me awhile to figure it out, since I've done similar things with shorter books and the response wasn't nearly as good - finally surmised that it was the KENP differential.

    Anyway, well done. The longer books work heavily in your favor (provided people read them, which it seems they are doing); if you can get two out a year, then you can do quite well.

    Answers:

    > you should be okay to rebook sites after six months; I try to wait at least that long when using smaller promo sites (a year, if I can swing it). Expect a ~30% decline in effectiveness. But with long books (assuming KU is still around/the same then), you're still going to be in the green, particularly with three books instead of two. I'd try for a BookBub in the meantime.

    > add in different, unused promo sites next time. Might as well go all-out if you're only launch every 6 months. Makes sense.

    > Missing: PPC. Not cost-effective (generally) for free runs, so I wouldn't direct traffic to a free Book 1. But you can use some cheap AMS/Facebook ads on Book 1 to help hold the rank now that the promo is over. Might even work well at full price; or you can get aggressive and drop Book 1 to $0.99. You're in Epic Fantasy, which tends to be less price-conscious than other genres; people expect to pay $4.99/$5.99, so I don't even know if $0.99 would help you.

    >> Next time: since you're going to promo Book 1 @ $0.99, PPC would be helpful. A couple hundred bucks a day for Facebook/BookBub/AMS can really catapult the series up the charts. ~$1,000 - $1,500 over launch week. Sounds like a lot, but if you have six months, that makes it easier to plan ahead.
    >> Keep building the list. That'll be key to launching Book 3 at full price. You can do that via Facebook if you have a short story/novella in the world. Otherwise keep doing cross promos and stuff.

    Nick

    Awesome advice. My books are indeed pretty long, and my KU numbers have rocketed since launching Book 2 and doing the free run on Book 1. Book 1 is listed at 594 KENPC and Book 2 at 929 KENPC.

    I've been trying to Bookbubs every week with Book 1, and I get rejected every week. Some thing it's because of being in Select. Idk.

    I actually have been running FB and AMS ads, but I'm only spending between $5-10 per day on each. Those spend limits do indeed sound crazy to me, but you're speaking from experience. I haven't really figured out either system. I've been concentrating on PD ads instead of Sponsored recently, as they actually have worked better for me than sponsored. Do you have a specific strategy for ads on both platforms?
    Also, how do you even get AMS and FB to take that much money per day? High bids?

    In terms of promo sites, I'm unsure how effective the smaller ones are, but super inexperienced. Any you think work particularly well for my genre? Heard good things about BookBarbarian but didn't book them in time for Book 2.

    Steven Kelliher | Web site | Twitter

    Offline Nicholas Erik

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    Awesome advice. My books are indeed pretty long, and my KU numbers have rocketed since launching Book 2 and doing the free run on Book 1. Book 1 is listed at 594 KENPC and Book 2 at 929 KENPC.

    I've been trying to Bookbubs every week with Book 1, and I get rejected every week. Some thing it's because of being in Select. Idk.

    I actually have been running FB and AMS ads, but I'm only spending between $5-10 per day on each. Those spend limits do indeed sound crazy to me, but you're speaking from experience. I haven't really figured out either system. I've been concentrating on PD ads instead of Sponsored recently, as they actually have worked better for me than sponsored. Do you have a specific strategy for ads on both platforms?
    Also, how do you even get AMS and FB to take that much money per day? High bids?

    In terms of promo sites, I'm unsure how effective the smaller ones are, but super inexperienced. Any you think work particularly well for my genre? Heard good things about BookBarbarian but didn't book them in time for Book 2.

    I'm assuming this is a typo, but BookBub should only be submitted to every 4 weeks (once a month). Every week will probably annoy them. You can, however, submit the same title right away for free if it gets rejected at $0.99 - I always do this. They just accepted one of the titles I publish when I did this.

    I'd get an ad working at $5 before you scale up. That doesn't necessarily mean a positive ROI on Book 1 - with longer books, and a full-priced launch, you can make up a ton of money on sell-through. I've stopped using AMS ads for the moment, since the reporting annoys me. Hard to tell what's going on and what's making money. You can get a lot more impressions with higher bids - $0.50 - $0.75, particularly for more competitive keywords (e.g. "urban fantasy" or "epic fantasy"). That gets expensive quick, though. Other people have them working. I'll come back to them when the reporting improves.

    On Facebook, the most important things:

    > image
    > audience targeting

    Those are both super-important. Make sure your image looks good/is clear on mobile, since that's where most of the clicks tend to come from. The headline/top ad copy is important if you're trying to sell books, but way less important than the image/audience. Also, those can be pretty much garbage and still get carried by a good image/audience targeting. The Amazon page is what ultimately sells the book; the goal of the ad is just to get the click, so you don't need to convince them with the world's greatest tagline at that point.

    Naturally, that doesn't hurt. 

    The key metric on Facebook is Relevance. Anything below 7 I generally kill; it means either the image sucks or the audience targeting is off. The higher the relevance, generally the cheaper the ad, as Facebook's algorithm serves the ad cheaper. There are exceptions, but if an ad is expensive, but the relevance is 9 or 10, I'll let it ride a little and see if the CPC/CPM (however you're bidding) comes down. After relevance, things like CPC (cost per click and cost per conversion) are both obviously important.

    I haven't gotten AMS to take the whole budget (beyond $5, which I did by bidding $0.70+ per keyword), but I haven't been running them the past 6 weeks. In the AMS thread here on KBoards people have been saying that Amazon is now spending the full budget much more frequently, without any workarounds or absurdly high bids. Can't confirm, but it makes sense that they'd be working to fix it already.

    Facebook has no problem with eating your ad budget, no matter if it's $5 or $50. I always start at $5, not only to see how the ad will perform, but also because if you start much higher their algorithms tend to optimize poorly (particularly when you're dealing with a smaller audience - e.g. less than 50,000 people). E.g. clicks/conversions you could've been getting for $0.30 they'll be charging you $0.60 or $0.70 for because of a $40/day initial budget. For getting sales via Facebook, I tend to retarget people on my mailing list or people who have visited my website/FB page, rather than interests (e.g. Patrick Rothfuss). Judging from the bids, many authors are saturated with ads - the CPCs are often north of $0.40 - $0.50 in the USA, which makes it difficult to turn a profit unless your Amazon page is absolutely killer (or you're selling an expensive boxed set). You can get cheaper bids outside the USA with interest targeting, but the audiences are generally pretty small, so if your ad budget is big, you quickly start serving the ad to the same people over and over again, making it lose effectiveness fast.

    $0.50/click is about my cutoff point, and it can still work during launch, of course, but the retargeted folks are already "warm," so the CPCs tend to be a little lower and you tend to get more sales. I just run that retargeting ad at $5/day, and it does well on auto-pilot. These people (mailing list peeps/website visitors/page likes) are also more likely to buy the book and pick up the next one, so it makes sense to advertise to them rather than cold audiences. To retarget people who visited your website, you need to install the Facebook pixel on your website.

    I haven't ramped up a budget to spend $100+ day trying to get sales yet; I think the highest I've gotten is $40 - $50. But I've seen a number of bestselling authors spend $500+/day and launch well (Top 100 well), so I'll be channeling a lot more money toward that during the next launch. Since it might not be clear, that aggressive spend is only during the launch window; that # goes down to a much more reasonable daily spend ($5/$10/$20/$30 a day) after the launch is over. It's a visibility push, loss-leader thing, rather than a pure immediate ROI strategy.

    From my experiencing spending upward of $100+ day on getting subscribers, I will say that it's better to practice small. I scaled some of the ads way too fast because I got excited about how fast I could start building things - from like $5/day to $25, and the conversion costs skyrocketed. So it's good you're running ads, now, even if they're not making a ton of money. Play with them in the interim, try to scale some of the ones that are working and see how that works for you. PPC is kind of painted as this statistical thing, but it's almost more art and getting a feel for the platform's quirks than cold-hard analytics (which is surprising).

    By continuing to run ads, you'll have a better idea of how fast to push/what type of budget you feel comfortable allocating during the next launch. Sometimes it doesn't make sense to spend $100+ or $500 day, even if you're willing to burn money as a loss leader - the audience just isn't there. I write urban fantasy, and there are some decent sized audiences on Facebook (~100,000 people), but they get burned through quick at higher spends (which results in rapidly escalating CPCs).

    I wouldn't do anything crazy. Even $5/day is $150 a month, so this stuff gets expensive if you're running a ton of tests. But a continuous ad or two could not only help you stabilize the book's rank a little, but also give you a lot of valuable intel/data for when you do want to push that spend up come next launch.

    Kathryn had an excellent point above; 6 months is awhile to keep subscribers engaged. Some news or an interim email or two delivering fans something of interest is probably in order to make sure they don't forget they signed up in the meantime.

    Most promo sites are nonsense in general. BookBarbarian is a winner, and they have a double feature that allows you to list both Books 1 & 2. It'd work well for epic fantasy; definitely use it next time. You might have to schedule a couple months in advance, though - it books quick. I write sci-fi/urban fantasy, so the recommendations on my curated promo list should work fairly well for you as well. Also, if all the FB stuff above sounds too complicated/boring, you could always allocate more of the ad budget to promo sites. It worked well for you this time around, so doubling down and expanding the # of sites could work, too.

    Hope that helps.

    Nick
    « Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 11:52:24 pm by Nicholas Erik »

    Offline MattHaggis

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    I don't see a coherent plan other than give out lots of free books and sell as many at 99c as you can. Your genre, epic fantasy, easily supports higher priced books. Why launch book 2 at 99c? The readers that buy it are fans and guaranteed sales, launch at full price.

    As I see it, your current strategy will put your books in the 99c market. Is that what you want? To sell epic fantasy at 99c? My advice since you have two books in a series out with a third on the way is to price them all at $4.99+ and use price pulse promotions for book 1 only. That's free promos and 99c promos, preferably Bookbub but the smaller sites if you need to. Focus on building your mailing list, reviews, and readers that have no trouble paying $4.99+  Plenty of epic fantasy authors sell at far higher prices. Mitchell Hogan sold at $7.99 and did well, Brian Anderson prices at $3.99-4.99 and does extremely well, plus there are many others.

    I see you posting on Reddit Fantasy on some FB groups, and that's a good way to put your name out there and stay noticed. Keep doing that, and slowly build your name and brand as a quality author readers are willing to pay more for.  There are many different market segments, and too many self published authors focus on the lower priced one since it's easier to get a sale. But a sale at $4.99 is worth far more than a few at $0.99. If you sell the majority of your books at $0.99 then in the long term you're shooting yourself in the foot.

    Offline Steven Kelliher

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    I don't see a coherent plan other than give out lots of free books and sell as many at 99c as you can. Your genre, epic fantasy, easily supports higher priced books. Why launch book 2 at 99c? The readers that buy it are fans and guaranteed sales, launch at full price.

    As I see it, your current strategy will put your books in the 99c market. Is that what you want? To sell epic fantasy at 99c? My advice since you have two books in a series out with a third on the way is to price them all at $4.99+ and use price pulse promotions for book 1 only. That's free promos and 99c promos, preferably Bookbub but the smaller sites if you need to. Focus on building your mailing list, reviews, and readers that have no trouble paying $4.99+  Plenty of epic fantasy authors sell at far higher prices. Mitchell Hogan sold at $7.99 and did well, Brian Anderson prices at $3.99-4.99 and does extremely well, plus there are many others.

    I see you posting on Reddit Fantasy on some FB groups, and that's a good way to put your name out there and stay noticed. Keep doing that, and slowly build your name and brand as a quality author readers are willing to pay more for.  There are many different market segments, and too many self published authors focus on the lower priced one since it's easier to get a sale. But a sale at $4.99 is worth far more than a few at $0.99. If you sell the majority of your books at $0.99 then in the long term you're shooting yourself in the foot.

    Yeah good points. I just didn't know if my mailing list would bite on a full price launch when I've got most of them from cross promos, etc. And I wanted to do a big push with this launch sort of as an experiment to get the books into as many hands as possible. I think I'll be launching Book 3 at full price.


    Steven Kelliher | Web site | Twitter

    Offline Steven Kelliher

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    I'm assuming this is a typo, but BookBub should only be submitted to every 4 weeks (once a month). Every week will probably annoy them. You can, however, submit the same title right away for free if it gets rejected at $0.99 - I always do this. They just accepted one of the titles I publish when I did this.

    I'd get an ad working at $5 before you scale up. That doesn't necessarily mean a positive ROI on Book 1 - with longer books, and a full-priced launch, you can make up a ton of money on sell-through. I've stopped using AMS ads for the moment, since the reporting annoys me. Hard to tell what's going on and what's making money. You can get a lot more impressions with higher bids - $0.50 - $0.75, particularly for more competitive keywords (e.g. "urban fantasy" or "epic fantasy"). That gets expensive quick, though. Other people have them working. I'll come back to them when the reporting improves.

    On Facebook, the most important things:

    > image
    > audience targeting

    Those are both super-important. Make sure your image looks good/is clear on mobile, since that's where most of the clicks tend to come from. The headline/top ad copy is important if you're trying to sell books, but way less important than the image/audience. Also, those can be pretty much garbage and still get carried by a good image/audience targeting. The Amazon page is what ultimately sells the book; the goal of the ad is just to get the click, so you don't need to convince them with the world's greatest tagline at that point.

    Naturally, that doesn't hurt. 

    The key metric on Facebook is Relevance. Anything below 7 I generally kill; it means either the image sucks or the audience targeting is off. The higher the relevance, generally the cheaper the ad, as Facebook's algorithm serves the ad cheaper. There are exceptions, but if an ad is expensive, but the relevance is 9 or 10, I'll let it ride a little and see if the CPC/CPM (however you're bidding) comes down. After relevance, things like CPC (cost per click and cost per conversion) are both obviously important.

    I haven't gotten AMS to take the whole budget (beyond $5, which I did by bidding $0.70+ per keyword), but I haven't been running them the past 6 weeks. In the AMS thread here on KBoards people have been saying that Amazon is now spending the full budget much more frequently, without any workarounds or absurdly high bids. Can't confirm, but it makes sense that they'd be working to fix it already.

    Facebook has no problem with eating your ad budget, no matter if it's $5 or $50. I always start at $5, not only to see how the ad will perform, but also because if you start much higher their algorithms tend to optimize poorly (particularly when you're dealing with a smaller audience - e.g. less than 50,000 people). E.g. clicks/conversions you could've been getting for $0.30 they'll be charging you $0.60 or $0.70 for because of a $40/day initial budget. For getting sales via Facebook, I tend to retarget people on my mailing list or people who have visited my website/FB page, rather than interests (e.g. Patrick Rothfuss). Judging from the bids, many authors are saturated with ads - the CPCs are often north of $0.40 - $0.50 in the USA, which makes it difficult to turn a profit unless your Amazon page is absolutely killer (or you're selling an expensive boxed set). You can get cheaper bids outside the USA with interest targeting, but the audiences are generally pretty small, so if your ad budget is big, you quickly start serving the ad to the same people over and over again, making it lose effectiveness fast.

    $0.50/click is about my cutoff point, and it can still work during launch, of course, but the retargeted folks are already "warm," so the CPCs tend to be a little lower and you tend to get more sales. I just run that retargeting ad at $5/day, and it does well on auto-pilot. These people (mailing list peeps/website visitors/page likes) are also more likely to buy the book and pick up the next one, so it makes sense to advertise to them rather than cold audiences. To retarget people who visited your website, you need to install the Facebook pixel on your website.

    I haven't ramped up a budget to spend $100+ day trying to get sales yet; I think the highest I've gotten is $40 - $50. But I've seen a number of bestselling authors spend $500+/day and launch well (Top 100 well), so I'll be channeling a lot more money toward that during the next launch. Since it might not be clear, that aggressive spend is only during the launch window; that # goes down to a much more reasonable daily spend ($5/$10/$20/$30 a day) after the launch is over. It's a visibility push, loss-leader thing, rather than a pure immediate ROI strategy.

    From my experiencing spending upward of $100+ day on getting subscribers, I will say that it's better to practice small. I scaled some of the ads way too fast because I got excited about how fast I could start building things - from like $5/day to $25, and the conversion costs skyrocketed. So it's good you're running ads, now, even if they're not making a ton of money. Play with them in the interim, try to scale some of the ones that are working and see how that works for you. PPC is kind of painted as this statistical thing, but it's almost more art and getting a feel for the platform's quirks than cold-hard analytics (which is surprising).

    By continuing to run ads, you'll have a better idea of how fast to push/what type of budget you feel comfortable allocating during the next launch. Sometimes it doesn't make sense to spend $100+ or $500 day, even if you're willing to burn money as a loss leader - the audience just isn't there. I write urban fantasy, and there are some decent sized audiences on Facebook (~100,000 people), but they get burned through quick at higher spends (which results in rapidly escalating CPCs).

    I wouldn't do anything crazy. Even $5/day is $150 a month, so this stuff gets expensive if you're running a ton of tests. But a continuous ad or two could not only help you stabilize the book's rank a little, but also give you a lot of valuable intel/data for when you do want to push that spend up come next launch.

    Kathryn had an excellent point above; 6 months is awhile to keep subscribers engaged. Some news or an interim email or two delivering fans something of interest is probably in order to make sure they don't forget they signed up in the meantime.

    Most promo sites are nonsense in general. BookBarbarian is a winner, and they have a double feature that allows you to list both Books 1 & 2. It'd work well for epic fantasy; definitely use it next time. You might have to schedule a couple months in advance, though - it books quick. I write sci-fi/urban fantasy, so the recommendations on my curated promo list should work fairly well for you as well. Also, if all the FB stuff above sounds too complicated/boring, you could always allocate more of the ad budget to promo sites. It worked well for you this time around, so doubling down and expanding the # of sites could work, too.

    Hope that helps.

    Nick

    Facebook sounds super complicated, and I've found their interface tough to use, but there is a lot of info and the reporting is so much better than AMS.

    My current ad has a relevance score of 6, so not ideal, I guess. I was counseled by another author to stay away from the audience targets other authors will be using (epic fantasy, etc.) and try to focus on people who are into reading as well as more ancillary interests my book is related to. It's often compared to Hayao Miyazaki films and Avatar: The Last Airbender, so my ad is targeting basically people who like reading and those two things. Maybe not the best idea.

    As for the promo sites, I'll check out your list, and yeah, it seemed to work pretty well this time, so I should be able to get a good push going next time out.

    Steven Kelliher | Web site | Twitter

    Offline WyandVoidbringer

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    I'd get an ad working at $5 before you scale up. That doesn't necessarily mean a positive ROI on Book 1 - with longer books, and a full-priced launch, you can make up a ton of money on sell-through. I've stopped using AMS ads for the moment, since the reporting annoys me. Hard to tell what's going on and what's making money. You can get a lot more impressions with higher bids - $0.50 - $0.75, particularly for more competitive keywords (e.g. "urban fantasy" or "epic fantasy"). That gets expensive quick, though. Other people have them working. I'll come back to them when the reporting improves.

    Congrats on the book launch, Steven!

    The AMS reporting annoyed me too, until I realized I could just watch my sales, which seem to update very quickly, to track the success of an ad. On the launch of Rune Empire a month ago, I ran several product placement AMS ads on all the hottest keywords I could think of. $250 total budget, $2.50 max click bid. I paid, on average, $1 a click. In total, I spent about $900 over the course of a week on these ads. Every time I would run an ad, I would see a spike in my book sales, and then a delayed spike in page reads over the next few days. The highest spike was 38 books sold in a day with 30k page reads the next day. When I stopped seeing these spikes, I stopped running the ads.

    I don't know how much these ad spends contributed to the early success of the book, but I've not run a product placement ad since the first week and the book has not dropped lower than 1,300 in ranking. It sat around 800 for a few days last week.

    Sandell Wall | Sandell's Website

    Offline Steven Kelliher

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    Congrats on the book launch, Steven!

    The AMS reporting annoyed me too, until I realized I could just watch my sales, which seem to update very quickly, to track the success of an ad. On the launch of Rune Empire a month ago, I ran several product placement AMS ads on all the hottest keywords I could think of. $250 total budget, $2.50 max click bid. I paid, on average, $1 a click. In total, I spent about $900 over the course of a week on these ads. Every time I would run an ad, I would see a spike in my book sales, and then a delayed spike in page reads over the next few days. The highest spike was 38 books sold in a day with 30k page reads the next day. When I stopped seeing these spikes, I stopped running the ads.

    I don't know how much these ad spends contributed to the early success of the book, but I've not run a product placement ad since the first week and the book has not dropped lower than 1,300 in ranking. It sat around 800 for a few days last week.

    I've been seeing your book in my Also Boughts and those of some of my peers. You've absolutely knocked it out of the park with your debut. Incredible ranking.

    I've currently got 23 PD ads running with low bids. Getting solid numbers of clicks and impressions. Sales data is slow to populate and not sure how well they're doing.

    I definitely think the product page is the biggest factor. Hard to know whether or not mine is effective.

    Steven Kelliher | Web site | Twitter

    Offline Craig Andrews

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    Facebook sounds super complicated, and I've found their interface tough to use, but there is a lot of info and the reporting is so much better than AMS.

    My current ad has a relevance score of 6, so not ideal, I guess. I was counseled by another author to stay away from the audience targets other authors will be using (epic fantasy, etc.) and try to focus on people who are into reading as well as more ancillary interests my book is related to. It's often compared to Hayao Miyazaki films and Avatar: The Last Airbender, so my ad is targeting basically people who like reading and those two things. Maybe not the best idea.

    As for the promo sites, I'll check out your list, and yeah, it seemed to work pretty well this time, so I should be able to get a good push going next time out.

    Hmm... I don't know if I'd follow that advice, to be honest, especially when you consider how many successful epic fantasy authors are in FB's Ads Manager for audience targeting. My UF series was unfortunately not written to market, and the covers vary drastically from what the most successful authors are doing, and I can still get a relevancy score of 7 targeting Jim Butcher and various Kindle eReaders (IE: a very simple ad). With your gorgeous, market friendly cover and strong reviews, I'm sure you can do *much* better than that.


    Offline Craig Andrews

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    And Nick once again proves why he's one of the most valuable members of Kboards. Amazing advice, man.


    Offline CynthiaClay

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    I don't see a coherent plan other than give out lots of free books and sell as many at 99c as you can. Your genre, epic fantasy, easily supports higher priced books. Why launch book 2 at 99c? The readers that buy it are fans and guaranteed sales, launch at full price.

    As I see it, your current strategy will put your books in the 99c market. Is that what you want? To sell epic fantasy at 99c? My advice since you have two books in a series out with a third on the way is to price them all at $4.99+ and use price pulse promotions for book 1 only. That's free promos and 99c promos, preferably Bookbub but the smaller sites if you need to. Focus on building your mailing list, reviews, and readers that have no trouble paying $4.99+  Plenty of epic fantasy authors sell at far higher prices. Mitchell Hogan sold at $7.99 and did well, Brian Anderson prices at $3.99-4.99 and does extremely well, plus there are many others.

    I see you posting on Reddit Fantasy on some FB groups, and that's a good way to put your name out there and stay noticed. Keep doing that, and slowly build your name and brand as a quality author readers are willing to pay more for.  There are many different market segments, and too many self published authors focus on the lower priced one since it's easier to get a sale. But a sale at $4.99 is worth far more than a few at $0.99. If you sell the majority of your books at $0.99 then in the long term you're shooting yourself in the foot.

    Thanks for this helpful advice. My epic fantasy (part one of series) just came out today. I thought I had to wait 72 hours for it, so got a bit of surprise. My book is long and so are the others in the series, so I really want to sell at 4.99

    Thanks for supporting my art.
    Cynthia Joyce Clay | Cynthia Joyce Clay's Blog | Plays I've Filmed | Cynthia Joyce Clay's Blog

    Offline Dolphin

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    Yeah good points. I just didn't know if my mailing list would bite on a full price launch when I've got most of them from cross promos, etc. And I wanted to do a big push with this launch sort of as an experiment to get the books into as many hands as possible. I think I'll be launching Book 3 at full price.

    Your mailing list is no good to you if they won't buy full-priced books. And that's fine! Some of them will, some of them won't. You're paying for them by the thousands, so there's little harm in keeping them around and hoping for the best.

    I'm really coming around on the advice to keep Epic Fantasy pricey. They're not a price-sensitive group, and you're writing just about as long as anybody. You might be losing more sales than you gain by sending the message that your books are only work $0.99 or free. Beyond that, asking a higher price requires the reader to do a better job matching themselves to your product in advance. That means better reviews, and more favorable outcomes generally. We're also inclined towards post hoc rationalizations to the effect of, "I paid $4.99 for this thing, so it must be good. I'm such a discerning consumer that I must have gotten my money's worth!"

    What I'm saying is that humans are weird, man. Sometimes they'd much rather buy a $4.99 book than a $0.99 book. Give the people what they want, you know?

    Offline Drew_Harmon

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    Congratulations Steven!

    I've just launched my second novel, a sequel. This thread has been a huge help. My first book is a 600 pager, the second is half the length. I am now seriously considering a Free run on my first book, Uncle Arctica.

    When I launched Uncle Arctica, I found my best success with ENT and a couple of others. FB gave me really interesting data, and I learned a lot about using FB ads, but realistically got no sales from it.  It turned out that the vast majority of clickers were women, aged 45 and above!

    I am seriously considering Booksbutterfly if I do a free run, and the usual suspects if I go .99.

    Thanks for all of the great info!
    « Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 09:22:55 am by Drew_Harmon »

    Drew Harmon | Trespass Island Blog

    Offline passerby

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    Someone suggested in another thread a while back that offering book one for free, keeping book two at it's regular price, and launching book three at 99 cents worked well for them. I'm not sure if anyone else has tried this successfully, however. Thoughts?

    Offline BillyDeCarlo

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    I think you have to be honest with yourself as to how much you think the drawing power of books one and two are, and price accordingly. For example, if you think book one is a great hook and readers will not be able to resist reading books two and three, why would you discount those? You've set the hook with great writing, why not reap the rewards.

    If you think book two is really the big hook, the best of the first two, then I'd discount that one and do something like 99 cents (book 1), 1.99 (book two), full price for book three.

    As others have said, free will get you a lot of looks but it comes with a price. It will screw up your also-boughts, it may bring you bad reviews, it may tarnish the value of your work in the eyes of others. Some have said that KU readers will judge a book's quality by the price (even though it's free for them) so it could cost you page reads.

    I did one free book under another name and saw all of that, and plus it just felt bad to give away my hard work. Maybe I'd do that with a prequel novella or short story, but not a novel. Not a fairly recent one anyway, perhaps I can see doing it with an old, stale one.
    « Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 03:20:50 pm by BillyDeCarlo »


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