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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Update on Thursday, September 15th: After 30 days of release, Cinderella Dreams of Fire remains in the Top 5,000! The experiment has met both of its milestones.

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

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


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

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

The Book: Cinderella Dreams of Fire by Casey Lane

The Genre/Market: Fantasy Fairy Tales

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

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

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

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

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

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

Promo Schedule:

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

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

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

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Thanks for sharing.

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

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

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

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

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
hulklogan said:
Good luck Bryan!
Thanks, Hulk Logan!

A.A said:
Sounds like you've got it sorted. Hope the book (and coming series) continues to do well!
I hope so! Thanks, A.A.

dianapersaud said:
Thanks for sharing. Your strategy may work for established authors who know other established authors, but I don't see how a newbie (someone with only one book) would be able to use this strategy. A new writer won't necessarily have access to a fan base/mailing list or access to a writer with a large following. Without X# of reviews, they won't be able to schedule promos.
You're welcome, Diana. I agree, that where I am now with my connections is far ahead of where a newbie would be. But I definitely think that new writers should always consider networking a must in their promotional plans. I didn't try to schedule with places like eReaderNewsToday and whatnot since I didn't have any reviews up, so that aspect would be the same.

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

James Dreyer said:
I've been following Chris' work as well and I have read his write to market series. He was the one that actually convinced me (through his books/ vlog) to go for it and made me stop dragging my feet on writing. I'm looking forward to your updates because it'll be nice to have a comparison for when my book will launch. I don't have any of the support that you already have so it's going to be interesting to see the differences.
Congrats, James! Getting started is the hardest part. Chris' work is awesome. I hope I can hold a candle to him! Consider starting to connect with other authors and see if there's anything you can do for them. Networking by providing help has always been one of the pillars of my author business. Good luck and thanks for following along!
 

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

A new writer won't necessarily have access to a fan base/mailing list or access to a writer with a large following. Without X# of reviews, they won't be able to schedule promos.
I agree and disagree. Only having one book out doesn't preclude someone from connecting with other authors in their genre and doing what Bryan's done in asking for their support. As with anything, I'd hope a newbie author would take the time to study the market, understand who the players are, and analyze previous release strategies (like this one) to see what works for them, their genre, and their budget. It takes time to write a book, but there's nothing stopping anyone from doing their homework.
 

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

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

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update: Nice launch day stats so far. 50 sales and over 500 pages read. Just crept into the top 2,600. Should keep the rank nice and fluid for the "big dog" promotions coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

pajones said:
All the best. It will be interesting to follow up your progress.
Thanks, PA.

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

James Dreyer said:
Thank you Bryan.
Actually this is the reason why I made this account, to network with other writers, especially in my genre.
Very smart move, James!
 

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Comment deleted due to new TOS on 27/08/2018
 

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

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

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

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

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Chris Vaughn said:
Just saw you are at 2,558! Great job!
Who did you get for editing?
Thanks! My editor is Ashley Gainer. I've actually worked with her for over a decade. Here's her info:
http://www.ashleygainer.com/

Lysandra_Lorde said:
So you asked fellow authors in your genre to let their mailing list know 'hey this new book is out, check it out' and have them do that for their Facebook as well?
Pretty much, Lysandra. Mostly I only did that with folks I've chatted with before or who I'd consider a friend. And for Facebook, I made sure to offer to pay for any post boosting. I imagine this gives them one "IOU" at some point, but I'm happy to repay the favor for these folks in the future.

GwynnEWhite said:
Good luck. I watch with interest. But please don't stop writing blubs-you are amazing at it and that makes you essential to my book production team. :) Congratulations on your lovely orange bestseller banner! And I love the blurb. Bought the book.
Thanks, Gwynn! I have no plans to stop the blurb writing, so don't worry :). I appreciate you picking up the book!!

ADDavies said:
Am I correct thinking the Bookbub Ads beta is the pay per click service for those ads at the bottom of the regular newsletter? I'll be especially interested in how that goes.
I recently had my first full Bookbub and hit #60 overall in paid (briefly), so was delighted with that. I've been wondering how it will compare success / cost wise.
Correct, AD. BookBub Ads is the PPM (Pay Per Mille, so it's impressions, not clicks you pay for) at the bottom of the newsletter. I'll definitely share my BB Ad results.

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

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

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

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

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

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
michaelsnuckols said:
Could you elaborate a little more on how you put together your street team? Are they readers off your mailing list or individuals solicited from beta-reader groups? Secondly, how did you motivate them to leave reviews, especially on what appears to be a tight schedule? Congratulations on a great launch. Looks like you have a true winner here.
Sure thing, Michael. So, getting folks onto my Street Team is one of the two main focuses of my email autoresponder sequence. The first three emails once folks get onto my list are "getting to know you" emails. They're like dates #1-3 :). I give them a freebie, check-in about the freebie, show them where else to connect with me, and otherwise describe who I am and what I'm all about. I don't even tell them I have a book for sales until email #4. In email #5, I ask them to join my Street Team. I pitch it as getting "free books from me for life," and it works pretty well. I send them to another landing page where they can opt into another list. With my YA list of 2k or so, I've recruited almost 300 folks to my 2nd list for the Street Team. About 10-15% of them end up leaving a review, when I give them the book 3 weeks ahead of time.

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

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

MKK said:
Wishing you all the best with this and thanks for the post(s). I don't have the wherewithal to be as organized as your strategy requires, but there are plenty of nice juicy tidbits in it. Thank you. I'm especially interest in hearing how the bookbub advert clicks pan out.
Thanks, MKK! It definitely requires a bit of organization (which isn't always my strong suit), but it's a one step at a time sort of thing. Glad you're finding this helpful! I'll definitely let you know how the BB Ad goes.
 

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

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