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Book launch - what am I doing wrong?

714 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  dotx
I published Strictly Murder (a typically British whodunit with a lot of British humor) on May 19th 2012, and between then and the end of the month it sold 19 copies. June sales were half that and July's one less than June's. In August I made it free for three days and had a great run, then sold phenomenally for the next 30 days. That brought in a load of good reviews on both dot com and the UK, most of them saying, "Looking forward to the next", I'll buy more from this author", "Can't wait for the next", and so on.

I released Organized Murder on Jan 1st and tweeted, FBed and announced it on various forums. The result? In 15 days I've sold 16 in the UK and 9 on dot com. Hmm. ??? What am I doing wrong?
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Now would be a good time to make book #1 free again for a couple of days.
I'd advise:

-Get a mailing list and advertise it at the end of your books. (A lot of people use mailchimp.)
-Run the first book free again now or get it price-matched free if it's no longer in Select. (You don't have to leave it price-matched, but expect it to be that way for 2 weeks to a month or so.)
Thanks, that's reassuring - I've just put Strictly Murder to be free this Friday and Saturday.

I put a link to contact me in the back of the book and three people did so. I've informed them of Book 2 and at least 1 has bought it. I've now got a MailChimp sign up in the back of Book 2, but nothing from it, so far.
Have you tried a different cover? Maybe that might increase your sales. People judge a book by a cover these days after all. Also you could try getting some promotions via blogs and other forums. I do agree that if you make your first book free and promote the second within it , you should get a good amount of sales. I'm sure your book with catch on soon.. Good Luck! :)
I don't think you've done anything wrong.  The issue it sounds like is that the people who enjoyed book one have no idea you released a new one.  One idea is to make sure you go back and update the product description of book one to let people know there is a follow up novel.  Also re-upload book one and add some back end material that lets people know when they finish that there is more available.  Also you can put links in the book to your website/facebook/twitter/mailing list or whatever method you are using to collect customer information from.  It is never too late to build a mailing list.

Also from my own experience after releasing three books, I still haven't had a month where a new book outsells the first book.  Someday it might happen...
I would second the fact that you should start a mailing list so you can take advantage of those folks that want to read the next one. Put an actual link in the back of your books that says "Join my list" or something like that. You could even use a screen shot of your form. I would recommend Aweber due to their high deliver rate. You can host your form or Aweber will do it for you. If you're planning on more books in your series, this will be a great sales tool for the launch of those books. Mailing list building can be slow, so hang in there with it.

I have been doing a lot of reading lately about KDP Select and promos and all of that and one thing I've noticed is that running repeated free promos keeps your book on the bubble and selling well. So running a free promo of your first book every six weeks or whenever sales start to wane will give you a good boost. If you have a blog, I find that Twitter works really great for getting the word out--just post some blog entries with content related to your book and then tweet about them (rather than saying buy my book) and you'll be able to drive traffic to your site and book. This also gives people an opportunity to sign up for your mailing list once they are on your site.
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valeriec80 said:
-Get a mailing list and advertise it at the end of your books. (A lot of people use mailchimp.)

Yes, lots of people said they can't wait for the next book, but without a mailing list you effectively have no way of letting them know that the book is now available. Sure, you can email the ones who emailed you directly, but I'm sure that was just a small fraction of those who enjoyed the book and would read the next. So unless you have their email address or they liked you on Facebook, you really have no way of reaching them.

Put a Mailchimp signup on your website, mention it in your bio on Amazon (tell them to visit your website to sign up for news on new releases), mention in the product description on Amazon/B&N/Kobo/iTunes, etc, and most importantly, put it at the end of EACH book.

You can't go back in time and get all those people you missed, but you can do a better job going forward.

(I speak from experience...I'd sold more than 12,000 copies before I finally broke down and got a mailing list, and now I basically have to start from scratch. I was stupid. Don't be stupid.)
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Lyndawrites said:
Thanks, that's reassuring - I've just put Strictly Murder to be free this Friday and Saturday.
Most promotion sites require at least one week notification for free titles. Have you sent emails out to all those sites to let them know your book will be free?
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