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Today’s author tip is “HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR BOOK!”
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Book launches. I can remember googling this back in the day when I was first learning how to do this whole marketing thing. I’ve written about them a few other times as well but a few things have changed in 2018 so I figured, hey, why not revisit.
Books traditionally release on TUESDAY each week. But since many of us are self-publishing we can launch our book any day we want. I launched on Wednesdays for a few years and it worked well for me. Tuesdays are not the end-all be-all of book launch days by any means. I know some people who launch on Fridays. It just depends on what you want to do.
One thing to consider – if you launch on a Monday and you have a pre-order, your pre-order numbers will count towards the PREVIOUS WEEK if you’re thinking you might make USA Today. So don’t do that. 😉 Unless you have like a shitload of pre-orders and you don’t care. Then go ahead.
So I was in my favorite author group on Facebook about a week ago and someone asked the question – for those of you who release 8+ books a year, what kind of marketing do you do?
If you don’t “get” this question, let me explain. If you’re releasing like a maniac (like I’ve been doing this year) you cannot possibly treat all the book releases the same. Fans get tired on the constant promo, your advertising won’t be as effective, and honestly, you’re just gonna be tired. (unless you’re outsourcing that writing to ghostwriters, it’s pretty fucking demanding to release 8+ books a year.)
So you need to kind of… KNOW which books are your big books that you’re going to work hard for, and which book will WORK FOR YOU INSTEAD. I’m calling these in-between books – “filler books” – because they’re not going to get the “Big Book” launch, they’re gonna get the “budget launch”. Mostly because I don’t have time to give all the fucks about every single book I launch. If I was only writing one or two books a year I’d give them all the “Big Book” treatment, but that’s not how I roll.
And to be clear, “Big Book” launch is very much this same budget launch treatment, except I spend money on ads. Lots of money on ads. And I’m pushing the book on social media constantly for at least five days. Budget launches don’t get ads, or if I do run some ads, it’s a very small budget. And I’m pretty sure no one wants to spend five fucking days pushing a book on Socials, so yeah. I love not having to do that for the budget launch. That is time better spent WRITING THE NEXT BOOK! 😉
So here’s the basic book launch strategy:
Release Week Blitz – I use Xpresso Tours every time. If I’m doing a “Big Book” launch I’m doing two of these and then I use Give Me Books as well. For me the release week blitz with Xpresso is a no-brainer. I usually get about 100 or more blogs to sign up to post about my book on release day. And the price is very reasonable so this is just something I do each and every time without even thinking about it. There is absolutely NO WAY this can hurt you. I heard someone in the “biz” say this is outdated and doesn’t work. But hey, for $72 fucking bucks, I’m sorry. Who cares? I personally think it’s beneficial, but you bitches can do whatever you want for your $72 Lol (I get a discount, the typical Blitz from Xpresso is $90, I think. But still, cheap. Man. Cheap.)
Pre-release blog post – I try to update this blog regularly with author tips, or giveaways, or just an update on what’s going on with me. So I’ll usually do a blog post the weekend prior to release. Friday afternoons or Saturday mornings. In the Big Book launch I will pay a lot more attention to my blog in the months leading up to said release because while some authors don’t get a lot of traffic to their blogs, I do. It’s a major form of discovery for me. Even if I don’t post anything all month I still get 200-300 hits a day from rando people that show up for no reason at all. And when I do post I get thousands of hits that day and that bump continues for about a week. So the blog is a big factor for me.
Bookbub Pre-order alert – this is pretty cheap so you should definitely do this. There’s no way this can’t help you. I like to do the Saturday before release. I know Saturdays are slow but I like to send shit out on slow days myself. If you don’t like Saturdays do Friday before release (if you’re releasing on Tuesday. Obviously adjust to 3-4 days before release if you release on a different day of the week.) If you’ve never done one of these before and you have an author account over at BB, just go over there and click that little button for pre-order alert and choose your day. Boom. You’re done.
Bookbub New Release Alert – this is new. And a little bit pricey, so yeah. Do what you will with this. Also you have to be “accepted” by BB for this. It’s not guaranteed like the pre-order alert. But do put in for them. I think the general consensus is that this is alert is a nice bump. And your book is listed at full price. NICE!! If you don’t get accepted, no big. It took you exactly 30 seconds of time to submit for it.
Bookbub Featured Deal for a Book One if the new book is later in a series. Again, you gotta submit for this but this is a nice way to revive a lagging series and get a bump. Very expensive, but again, took you 30 seconds to submit for it, so why the hell not? If you nab one the upside far outweighs the depression of being rejected! Lol (BTW – everyone gets Bookbub rejections. I get them all the time too. So who cares?)
Booksnub – if you don’t get a BB FD. Booksnub is just stacking ads for your free or 99c book everywhere else you can think of. Again, I only use this type of thing for a book one in a series IF the NEW book is later in the series. If you’re in KU, you can do your free days for this.
Facebook Author Page – I start putting up teasers (not paid ones) about five days before release just to get people’s attention. If I’m doing a Big Book, then this is turned WAY UP for release week. I use my author page a lot because it’s free. If I have a cool pic of the book to share I’ll sometimes boost a post. But that’s reserved for just before release.
ARC Readers – I have a long-time ARC reader group that I use and Filler Books just get ARC Group treatment. Big Books get NEW ARC READERS through Give Me Books or a public sign-up on Facebook, or Netgalley if I really want to get a bunch of new people. Budget books get about 120 ARC readers, Big Books get 200+.
SWAG AND GIVEAWAYS – special note about these because honestly I still think giveaways that are planned well are a really good value for your money. Swag… eh. I mean I usually make some. Usually bookmarks, circle stickers and/or magnets, usually some buttons, and maybe something extra like pens, or lip balm, or note pads. IF I don’t have a cover that has a ton of stock art on it (like 1-2 pics) I will make “goods” like tote bags and mugs and shit and sell those on Society 6. BUT – word of copyright caution, you must have an EXTENDED LICENSE for all stock art that you are going to mass produce and sell this way. So like I said, if I don’t have a ton of artwork that needs that license on my cover I will make this kind of stuff. The swag is a great way to sweeten the giveaway gift. If I’m really feeling creative I will make some hand-stamped key chains or other things. Like right now I’m making these hand-made journals and cloth book ornaments to give away for The Dirty Ones. But Dirty Ones is not really a “budget launch” so I’m OK with this investment.
Here’s the most important thing about giveaways – well, two things. ONE – offer up a sweet prize. Ebooks are a NO. No one is gonna share your shit for an ebook. and TWO – make sure you GET SOMETHING out of the giveaway. You can’t MAKE PEOPLE BUY YOUR BOOK but if you plan your giveaway well you can get people to share your announcement or follow you on Bookbub or Amazon. I think that’s a win.
Where do I buy swag:
Stickers and buttons – Stickermule
Bookmarks – Next Day Flyers
Magnets – Usually Blue Bee Printing (they have a really nice, thick “car magnet” that I get over there)
Notepads – Uprinting
You can get this stuff almost anywhere so shop around if you don’t like my places. ALSO – BLACK FRIDAY IS COMING UP! The deals will be out in full force. So look around this weekend if you’re gonna be ordering swag. Stickermule often has ONE-DAY ONLY COUPON CODE sales that you can only access via their newsletter. So it’s totally worth getting on their newsletter list and checking those regularly.
OK, ALL THIS HAPPENS BEFORE RELEASE.
SO ON RELEASE DAY I typically send out a newsletter, put up a blog post with the giveaway I gave to the bloggers, announce in my fan group on Facebook, and run some giveaways in my fan group and maybe my author page. I don’t always do the blog post and the newsletter on the same day. Sometimes I’ll do a newsletter Monday evening as the pre-order is dropping and then the blog post the next morning. Or sometimes I send the newsletter out Release Day morning and save my blog post for Wednesday.
IF I’m not sick of this book by Friday afternoon I’ll send another newsletter to the people who didn’t click. But I don’t always do that.
THE BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FILLER BOOK AND BIG BOOK LAUNCHES is mostly my ad spend and my engagement on social media. And by engagement I mean I hit that shit hard. I hit all of them, every day, several times a day. Facebook, Twitter, IG, and Pinterest. I have no clue if Pinterest works, but who cares? I’m already invested in this nightmare, might as well just make some Pinterest graphics while I’m at it.
Another thing I’ll do for a Big Book that I will not do for a Filler Book is a release party or a takeover. I usually do those with Give Me Books.
I will also look for a few other authors to cross promo with if they are releasing around the same time as me.
Facebook ads – I’m so over Facebook ads these days. But if I’m gonna run them I’m gonna run the fuck out of them. I’ll usually do a week of testing, about 10 ads up at once, each with a $10/day budget to test and see what’s working. Then on Release day I up the ad spend to about $200/day for each of the ads I like. I’ll have a total budget in mind before I start and it’s typically around $3000-$5000 but if the book does well I’ll spend more. If I’m serious about keeping the FB ads going I’ll stop the ones that cost more than about .30c click and make a new one. High budgets on FB have a VERY SHORT LIFE SPAN these days. It used to be, in the good old days of 2015, you could keep a $300/day ad going for weeks and it would perform beautifully, but not anymore. At that budget they last about 3-4 days tops. Then the CPC goes above 30c and I’m out. I make a new ad and start again (or stop running them). Hell, I used to be able to keep a $1000/day ad going for at least a week and keep CPC under 40c, but not anymore. FB likes LOTS OF LOW BUDGET ADS. So that’s why I run at least 10 at a time with a budget of about $50/day MAX. $25/day and $35/day perform much better than $50. STILL, if you’re doing BIG BOOK LAUNCH, you want to get those 2-3 days of high budget ads in anyway (If you think it’s worth it). Just remember to turn them off and put up a new one (with new graphic and copy) when the CPC goes up. THIS IS WHY I TEST ADS. I rotate the best performing ones in and out of high budgets over the course of a week or two.
Bookbub ads – I’m not sure about these, but if I’m gonna go big, I use them for a very short period of time. Budget of about $600-$1000 total.
AMS ads. I’ll run them for about a week. Daily budget for all ads running at about $100-$200/day. I think these are good for also-boughts for release week, first in series, and sales.
The biggest difference between BUDGET BOOK launch and BIG BOOK launch is TIME AND MONEY. Time is something money can’t buy, so I’m not gonna waste it on a book that doesn’t have MASS APPEAL. I don’t write a lot of mass appeal books. I write dark, twisted stuff which is not a huge genre and most of them don’t warrant a BIG BOOK launch. So IF the book is performing I can turn a BUDGET BOOK launch into a BIG BOOK launch by simply adding TIME on SOCIALS and MONEY on ADS.
Otherwise, like I said, my time is better spent writing the next book.
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They said write what you know so that’s what I did. I wrote dirty, I wrote erotic, I wrote the truth.
And then they called me a liar. But it’s not me who’s lying, it’s them.
Our story isn’t for everyone. It’s not even for us. So if you’re looking for the fairy tale and the stupid prince on his dumb white horse, move along. You’ve got a hold of the wrong book. This is not your story, this is not your life, and this is not your opportunity to dip your frightened little toe into the dark pool of water and “try new things” and then pull it out and decide… #NotForMe.
When you go in with us you go all in. So make a decision before you turn this page.
Because I’m making one promise with this book.
We are The Dirty Ones and this is our truth.
The Dirty Ones is a brand new dark romance about the secret world of erotica authors releasing December 4, 2018.More info →
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OK, that’s it for today. I’m gonna go take my own launch advice now! I will have another author tip post next Monday with a brand new $100 (every week this month!) so make sure you don’t miss anything by filling in the “Follow This Blog” form below.