Author Topic: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?  (Read 1029 times)  

Offline EleanorRigby

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Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
« on: September 08, 2020, 04:14:56 am »
I'm fast approaching being able to launch. I have a sort-of plan but since we have so many experts here I wondered if there was anything glaringly obvious I'm missed or something I've included that should be a no-no.

It's my debut so I am a total nobody. My book is a thriller, on the short side at 60k words. It is a standalone and I don't yet have book 2 written, so no chance of rapid release. I will be doing a paperback version as well as the ebook.

- I am setting up a Facebook author page and Facebook book page (mainly so I can run ads)
- I'll be setting up a Goodreads author profile
- I plan on pricing at 2:99 from the off.
- I considered a 99p start but decided against it after reading a million posts here (though I may do a countdown deal at some point)
- I will place the book in KU from the beginning
- Run Facebook and Amazon ads (probably no more than 5 a day) to see what effect they have
- I might have a go at some Bookbub ads, though I've heard they were not effective for a lot of people - still, I may as well have a go
- Setting up a newsletter with mailchimp so I can add the sign-up link to the back of the book

I see lots of people doing the book promo sites, but I'm still unsure of how they work. Are these mainly for books that are running a special 99p offer, or do people put them on there at full price?

Also, the big one I've really flip-flopped with is the whole pre-order tactic. I like the idea of running a pre-order if for no other reason than to see whether my cover and blurb are creating any interest, but I realise they may only be beneficial for established names.



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    Offline Nicole Simon

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #1 on: September 08, 2020, 04:53:09 am »
    Author page and book page - pls read my reply to sandy in separating profile and page
    https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,325353.msg3914245.html#msg3914245

    It is unlikely that you will have a following on both you as an author page and the book. Until it is a serious series, nobody will care.
    In all of your launch plan I am missing the usual question for marketing:
    - why should a reader care about your book in a sea of books?
    - why should they buy your book?

    I agree on the basics - a simple webpage, a simple newsletter to catch the straggle few who will sign up, and using ads on fb maybe for cover options and other testing. However that can only be done for research - facebook is not the place where you go to to get advertised books to. (yes you get those advertisements and others all the time but it is not why you went there).

    The big question is always: who is my customer? Where do they hang out and why do they hang out there?
    What newsletters do they subscribe to`? There is a bunch here who do these type of newsletters, do you fit anywhere?
    Bookbub ads - what makes you stand out versus others more experienced authors?

    You may have more luck and less expense by targeting on facebook based on pages those customer are following. It is a roundabout way but likely the best if you want to try it out. What is your thriller most like? Target the audience of the author  but still ask yourself: why would anybody who visits facebook want to visit you?

    This always sounds like an attack or similar, but it is not. It is simple marketing 101.
    KU: are there newsletters / websites which list new KU titles? Make a daily outreach to them to place your book.

    Pre order: If you look through the above questions you will see that there are already many question marks. Now generate all that interest for a potential preorder? Ask yourself, how likely are you as a reader to buy such a book - no reviews, nothing on the author etc?

    And if you want to make this a business: write the next book. Consider writing it a as series to allow readers a read through and build momentum. Use your first book to scout around options, do a free run maybe for the KU stuff with one of the inexpensive promo sites, to get a feel for it but write the next book. hth

    Offline EleanorRigby

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #2 on: September 08, 2020, 05:33:58 am »
    Thanks for your reply, Nicole. No, I don't take that as an attack at all - it makes perfect sense. I'll have to read through again to catch everything but that will be really useful. I did plan on messaging certain groups on Facebook, politely asking if they could post an image of my book with the Amazon link as I think it might suit the group members. I don't expect any sort of following on Facebook at all, I've only created the page so I can have a go at targeted adverts

    Offline DmGuay

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #3 on: September 08, 2020, 05:53:24 am »
    Yes to:
    facebook author page (skip the book page)
    Goodreads author profile
    Claim your amazon author central profile and take the time to fill in your author page details.
    Get a basic web site with your bio, book information and buy links, mailing list sign up, contact page with your social media links. If you have a news feed or blog, you can link that to your goodreads and author central profiles, so those are always updating with your new content.
    Set up a mailing list, and put the link in the front matter and the back matter of your book.

    2.99 is fine for launch as well, as is KU.

    As for your ads...
    Ad platforms take time and money to master. Concentrate on learning one, before branching out. For most of us, that one is AMS. (Amazon).
    You can easily set up one category ad (wherein Amazon advertises your book in your general category, like UF, Thriller, etc.). Then set up one auto target ad where Amazon chooses the targets. These are quick and easy and a good way of gathering data for future ads/keywords. Then, set up some manual targeting ads using books/authors whose readers you strongly believe will like your book.

    CAVEATS: Your amazon keywords, blurb, and categories need to be spot on from the start--for lots of reasons--but especially to get AMS ads to serve. That metadata is teaching Amazon who to show your book to, who your audience is. So it matters. David Gaughran's Amazon Decoded is good for explaining this in more depth. Also, don't spend a ton on bids for Amazon ads. Ignore the suggested bids and stick with something under 40 cents a click.

    Take it from me, take the time to get that stuff right.

    Now, sometimes I break my own advice. When I launched a new series as a nobody, I also ran $30/week of Bookbub test ads for 3 weeks. My targets were only the authors I wanted in my Also Bought section on my Amazon product page (see: showing Amazon who your audience is). This really helped my launch. From the Amazon side, and by making me take the time to really think about who my audience was.

    Random thoughts:
    Running all those different ad sites all at once might be confusing. It's always best to try one new thing at a time, so you know what's actually working. If you start out of the gate with AMS, Bookbub and Facebook, will you know where the sales are actually coming from? It isn't always clear.

    Also, if you would like to launch with reviews, BookSprout has a free version of their Arc service. You can get up to 20 reviewers for free. So that is an option for you if you're worried about launching with a couple of reviews.

    Your other questions:
    Yes. The promo sites are really only worth the $ for a 99 cent or free book. You can use your Kindle countdown deal days for this in the future. These sales sites aren't really effective at full price, as people sign up looking for discounted books.

    Preorders: There's really no wrong or right answer for preorders. I did a short, 7 day one for my new series/no name launch. And that was helpful just so I could get an ASIn and the link to the Amazon product page, and start sharing it before the book went live. It also gave me time to tinker around with product page/author page, etc. before it went live.

    Good luck!
    « Last Edit: September 08, 2020, 06:01:23 am by DmGuay »
     
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    Offline EleanorRigby

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #4 on: September 08, 2020, 06:38:21 am »
    Wow, that's great. Thanks a lot for all that info. There's a lot of stuff in there I completely forgot - like my author central page, duh. I see your point about the ads. I will probably do as you advise and stick to Amazon, though it hadn't occurred to me to run multiple ads on there from the off.

    What's the general feeling around keywords (for the book itself rather than ads)? I've heard some people say to separate each one with a comma and others who say that the commas can have a negative effect. Or is this yet another mysterious Amazon thing no one knows for sure?

    Offline DmGuay

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #5 on: September 08, 2020, 07:10:28 am »
    Wow, that's great. Thanks a lot for all that info. There's a lot of stuff in there I completely forgot - like my author central page, duh. I see your point about the ads. I will probably do as you advise and stick to Amazon, though it hadn't occurred to me to run multiple ads on there from the off.

    What's the general feeling around keywords (for the book itself rather than ads)? I've heard some people say to separate each one with a comma and others who say that the commas can have a negative effect. Or is this yet another mysterious Amazon thing no one knows for sure?

    Don't use commas. And use all the space. Put in phrases that make sense and that people might actually use to find books like yours.
    And yes, run multiple AMS ads. You never know which ones will stick and which ones won't. I have about eight going right now, all different types and keywords. Bryan Cohen does a free Amazon ads course for authors that will be a very good introduction to the process for you.

    And as for rapid release: Don't worry about that. It doesn't work if you don't already have some sort of audience. Get this launch in order. Set the ads and forget them, and concentrate on writing the next book. All of us start as nobodies from zero. It takes time and good books to build a career. Everything you do is another brick in the wall!
    « Last Edit: September 08, 2020, 07:16:28 am by DmGuay »
     
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    Offline Trioxin 245

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #6 on: September 08, 2020, 07:59:10 am »
    EDIT- I just reread and saw yours is a thriller which I do not know the genre. You might want to look at the latest launches and decide from that. Good luck. Ill keep this post up in case someone later is researching.


    You need to ask yourself what is the purpose of this first book? For example, are you looking to make sure you get every penny? If so then a  2.99 launch is your best bet.

    If you are looking to gain a lot of readers and then hope they in turn follow you/sign up for NL etc, then I would consider launching at 99 cents. This also depends on your genre as some are more welcoming to new authors at 2.99.

    You could launch book one at 99 cents, then the following at 2.99. The pros are you will more than likely attract more buyers. The con is ams is not going to be profitable. But that is going to be tough no matter what. The count down deal , newsletter promo etc will come later and you can always price up before bringing it back down.


    Anyways, I would give thought to what you want out of this and go from there.

    « Last Edit: September 08, 2020, 08:01:31 am by Trioxin 245 »

    Offline EleanorRigby

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #7 on: September 08, 2020, 09:00:45 am »
    Don't use commas. And use all the space. Put in phrases that make sense and that people might actually use to find books like yours.
    And yes, run multiple AMS ads. You never know which ones will stick and which ones won't. I have about eight going right now, all different types and keywords. Bryan Cohen does a free Amazon ads course for authors that will be a very good introduction to the process for you.

    And as for rapid release: Don't worry about that. It doesn't work if you don't already have some sort of audience. Get this launch in order. Set the ads and forget them, and concentrate on writing the next book. All of us start as nobodies from zero. It takes time and good books to build a career. Everything you do is another brick in the wall!

    Brilliant, thanks. I'll check that Bryan Cohen course out. I recently looked at the free Mark Dawson one about Amazon Ads, though that might be out of date now as (I think) it was a couple of years ago.

    Offline EleanorRigby

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #8 on: September 08, 2020, 09:02:03 am »
    EDIT- I just reread and saw yours is a thriller which I do not know the genre. You might want to look at the latest launches and decide from that. Good luck. Ill keep this post up in case someone later is researching.


    You need to ask yourself what is the purpose of this first book? For example, are you looking to make sure you get every penny? If so then a  2.99 launch is your best bet.

    If you are looking to gain a lot of readers and then hope they in turn follow you/sign up for NL etc, then I would consider launching at 99 cents. This also depends on your genre as some are more welcoming to new authors at 2.99.

    You could launch book one at 99 cents, then the following at 2.99. The pros are you will more than likely attract more buyers. The con is ams is not going to be profitable. But that is going to be tough no matter what. The count down deal , newsletter promo etc will come later and you can always price up before bringing it back down.


    Anyways, I would give thought to what you want out of this and go from there.

    Thanks for the reply. I think I might have read nearly all the launch threads from the past couple of years here. I have to say they're one of the best bits about this forum

    Offline Elita Daniels

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #9 on: September 08, 2020, 10:01:07 am »

    That was all very useful thank you, especially to DmGuay!

    Offline DmGuay

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #10 on: September 08, 2020, 10:04:28 am »
    That was all very useful thank you, especially to DmGuay!

    Aw, thanks.
    I remember all too well how overwhelming the process was at the very beginning. I didn't know how much I didn't know. And I made all the mistakes you can make. If I can save someone else the trouble...
     
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    Offline Elita Daniels

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #11 on: September 08, 2020, 09:58:25 pm »

    DmGuay, it is all very overwhelming. It's nice to know there are experienced authors willing to offer some wisdom.

    Offline H.C.

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #12 on: September 08, 2020, 10:33:01 pm »
    First, congratulations!

    Now, to the tough part. I can't see your book so I have no way of giving the most important advice, but let me repeat the core message.

    1) Cover- Your cover should be as good as the top-selling books in your category on Amazon. Great art, professional typography, and most importantly, the cover MUST convey the genre at thumbnail size. IF your cover is not top notch you can still succeed, you are just walking around with a weight attached to your leg instead of running freely.

    2) Blurb- Your blurb should be an ENTICING piece of ad copy, NOT a summary of the story and who is who. If your blurb isn't enticing people won't download it.

    3) Look inside- There are many theories on this but at the very least we can all agree the look inside must intrigue the reader and make us want to keep reading. No info dump prologue or the like.

    Cover catches the eye, leading some to read the blurb, blurb catches the imagination, leading some to "look inside", the look inside is the final confirmation of quality that the reader can use. If it catches people, some will buy.

    Oh, and make sure the book is professionally edited. The biggest knock against indie books is the lack of editors in many books. Grammarly and group edit is a recipe for disaster.\

    Good Luck!

    Offline ajoutwest

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #13 on: September 09, 2020, 07:23:35 am »
    Great work asking for feedback before launching. I've been afraid of feedback for many years and am learning to ask for it early and often. (Check out Tasha Eurich's book Insight--it's amazing).

    First, I know it's already been said, but put time and money into your cover. You've invested so much into writing your book, now make it visually grabbing. Get feedback from others on it, those who will shoot straight with you. Does the cover reflect the genre? If it's a mismatch, then readers will scroll past it. Fiverr is a great place to find affordable artists who are building their clientele, so I'd recommend checking it out. I've paid a few hundred dollars for covers, and even under $100. The key was more about finding a good designer, one who doesn't just drop royalty-free artwork onto the cover and manipulate some text. Try to find a designer you want to work with on other books or later books in your series. Getting a great cover could delay your planned launch date but I'd say it's worth it.

    Second, nobody wants to read our newsletters :) They want our lead magnet. The lead magnet is that promised PDF download that adds value to your customer. If you're writing fiction, it's a side story related to the most engaging scene or chapter in your book. Could it provide a backstory? Maybe an alternate ending? Preview of book 2? Here's a great starting point to thinking through your lead magnet: https://neilpatel.com/blog/creating-irresistible-lead-magnet/

    Best wishes with the launch!

    Offline LDB

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #14 on: September 09, 2020, 11:23:58 am »
    Be careful reading while hungry. I thought the thread title was for a lunch plan and was hoping to find inspiration.
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    Offline jacobk

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #15 on: September 09, 2020, 03:09:13 pm »
    What's the general feeling around keywords (for the book itself rather than ads)? I've heard some people say to separate each one with a comma and others who say that the commas can have a negative effect. Or is this yet another mysterious Amazon thing no one knows for sure?

    The KDPRocket guy did a video a little while ago documenting his experiments with the keyword system. The bottom line was:

    1) including multiple words separated by spaces will cover all of those words and combinations thereof

    2) keyword entries with only one or two words were weighted a little higher

    3) words that appear in your title are weighted about 7x higher

    The recommendations derived from this were:

    1) Use two or three of your seven keyword slots for your highest priority keywords.

    2) Use every character of the rest of the slots to hit every possible relevant combo

    3) Sometimes repeating a keyword is ok if you want to make sure it's in multiple combos (e.g. a slot of "thriller murder opium wife dagger" and another of "thriller kill dreams revenge" is not wasting space, it's making sure "thriller" gets combined with all the other keywords).

    4) If at all possible, use the slack Amazon provides between the title on the cover and the title in their system to beef up your biggest keyword in the subtitle

    Offline Nicole Simon

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #16 on: September 10, 2020, 04:16:55 am »
    The KDPRocket guy did a video a little while ago documenting his experiments with the keyword system.
    Thanks for sharing, those are interesting insights and the videos look well worth watching"!

    https://www.youtube.com/c/Kindlepreneur/videos is his channel and I think this is the video you mean?
     
    7 Kindle Keywords: Use all 50 Characters or Not?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdL[expletive]RlG4
    And here is the article that goes with it https://kindlepreneur.com/how-to-change-your-kindle-keywords/


    Offline jacobk

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    Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
    « Reply #17 on: September 10, 2020, 12:12:34 pm »
    Thanks for sharing, those are interesting insights and the videos look well worth watching"!

    https://www.youtube.com/c/Kindlepreneur/videos is his channel and I think this is the video you mean?
     
    7 Kindle Keywords: Use all 50 Characters or Not?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdL[expletive]RlG4
    And here is the article that goes with it https://kindlepreneur.com/how-to-change-your-kindle-keywords/

    That's it, thanks! Unfortunately the youtube code string has a c-bomb in it, but interested viewers should be able to find the video in his channel by scrolling down.

    I can attest that changing my subtitle from (series name book 1) to (a litrpg apocalypse begins) corresponded with a big uptick in sales even as I stopped paying for ads. In general, getting your keywords properly sorted out properly seems more important than ad spend to me. At least, you ought to squeeze everything you can out of your keywords before you start shelling out cash.

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