Back in February I took you behind the scenes of a fiction book launch and told you my plan for my first out of three book launches for 2017. Since the first launch is over, I thought I’d share what worked well, what went wrong, and what I’ll do differently next time. Here’s a look at the aftermath of a fiction book launch and what you can learn from it.
My first step was setting my Book Launch Goals. This helped keep me on track with promotions and determining where to invest my time.
Goal: Raise sales of The Five Warriors
I’ve been happy with the sales I’ve seen of The Five Warriors since it first came out in September of 2015. Because there was a huge gap between the release of The Five Warriors and the release of The Blended Ones, I was hoping to attract new readers by announcing a new release.
The good news is, it worked! I saw a spike in book sales for The Five Warriors and they began to get consistent. In fact, I had at least 1 book sell, if not more, every single day. All in all, over 200 copies of The Five Warriors ebook and about 10 copies of the paperback were sold. Some of this had to do with the price drop to $0.99 but most of it was due to newsletter swaps, collaborating with other authors and posting about the deal on social media.
The bad news = none.
Goal: Double my email list
During the launch of The Five Warriors, I was able to grow my email list from 0 to over 800 lackluster fans. This time, I wanted to double the size of my email list but I wanted true readers, people who weren’t just in it for an Amazon Gift Card. During launch month I was able to add over 3,000 subscribers to my current email list.
There was a combination of things that contributed to this massive growth. I participated in Instafreebie giveaways and collaborated with other authors doing group giveaways. Additionally, I created a quiz for The Blended Ones that asked people to join my email list after they took the quiz.
Finally, I participated in virtual events and author takeovers where I encouraged people to sign up for my email list. Out of all of these, collaborating with other authors had the biggest impact.
Goal: Get people excited about Book 3
This was a complete fail. I forgot this was one of my goals and forgot to talk about it during the book launch. Thinking back on my plan, it makes more sense to let people know about Book 3 later. I’ll do a cover reveal in July and make it available for pre-order. [If you want a sneak peek check on Book 3 here].
Goal: Sell 100 copies April 20
While I got close to this number, I did not reach it on April 20. I could have been more aggressive with promotions and even run Facebook Ads and Amazon Marketing Ads. However, I wanted to stay lean and focus on cross promotions to market the book instead of social media and ads. However, it was neat to see copies of The Five Warriors outselling The Blended Ones.
Goal: Consistent ongoing sells
Seeing ongoing sells has been a huge win. In fact, more books sold 2 days after the book launch than on the actual release date. Why? I decided to use staggered promotions to announce the book.
I announced it to my email list on April 20 and asked other authors to announce it to their email list every day from April 20 – April 30. I also took advantage of discounted sites like Bargain Booksy to promote it.
My goal was to see between 50-100 copies sell every day, at the time of writing this blog post, everything is on target.
What would I do differently?
ThunderClap + Headtalker. I said I wouldn’t run a ThunderClap Campaign but I ended up doing a HeadTalker Campaign because they are more author friendly. Within 2 days of setting up my HeadTalker Campaign, they featured it for me on their home page. Talk about support! Next time I’ll run 2 HeadTalker Campaigns and promote them a bit more.
Virtual Book Release Party. I did not promote my Virtual Book Release Party as much as I should have. I was worn out from book formatting, but now that I’m a pro at it, 14 hours of book formatting will never happen again. However, I did collaborate with other fantasy authors and hired someone to run the book release party for me. I’ll certainly do that again.
Advanced Review Copies. I wanted to send out ARC Paperbacks but I ran out of time. With my current book launch schedule, I’m not sure I’ll have the time I want to send out paperback copies to all of my favorite book bloggers and readers. I should have factored in 8 weeks between the time I got my novel back from the editor and the release date. This will be a task I’ll save for 2018.
Benefits of Releasing a Book
Self-publishing is a small business in and of itself. Honestly, I’m a storyteller and I write the books that I, personally, want to read without worrying too much about a target audience. Of course, I want to write the best story I can, but crowdsourcing opinions from my so-called “target market” isn’t something I’m a fan of. Nevertheless, there are benefits to writing and self-publishing.
I adore seeing the reviews online (they make me tear up sometimes), getting emails from my fans (I love chatting), and spending those royalty checks (yay money), however, I’m not doing this simply to make money. I’m doing this because I love telling stories that wow and inspire readers. Being a fantasy author is unique, yet I’ve had many business related opportunities open up since The Blended Ones was released.
- I was invited to be a guest speaker at another virtual summit
- Three collaboration opportunities came up
- Additionally, I have consultations and coffee dates with future bestselling authors, book marketers and fellow writers.
As a final note, write your book. Plan a book launch, and don’t be afraid of NOT reaching your goals. Sometimes things move along smoothly but sometimes you don’t quite hit your numbers. Pivot. Make changes. Seek advice. Keep going.
I’m currently working on my third novel: Eliesmore and The Green Stone. Available September 9, 2017. Learn more about it here.
What have you learning from releasing your book? What marketing ideas will you use during your next (or first) book launch?