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Weird Indy Publishing Project: Book 2 Launch?

Things aren’t always what they seem. It appeared that there was no launch for Book 2 in the BURNOUT to BLISS series — but there was one planned. It just didn’t, well, “launch.” And there’s an explanation for that.

 

The Launch Plan:  Book 1, BURNOUT

The plan for Book 1 was spending my $250 launch budget on those promotion sites that have a website and/or email following for free or discounted books.The strategy is to make the book free when you’re ready to promote it, and then increase the price in steps from $.99 to 1.99, etc. until it reaches the full price.

First stage: Free book.  I used James Mayfield, Book Marketing Tool (online software that “sends your single application to a group of those sites”), and  free99books.com spread over 2 days. Fourteen people signed up to be on my launch; of those, 10 actually posted a “verified review” by the launch deadline (when the book went free).

What’s important here is to note that Book Marketing Tool requires at least 5 reviews with an average 4.0 rating. Fortunately, I had more than enough with Book 1. And, if you read the blogged status updates during the launch of BURNOUT — How a Desert Lizard Restored My Faith, you know that it was a “best-seller” during a few of those free days. (You also know which promo sites were most effective, at least for my book!)

And, most of the books I helped launch with reviews during “free period” did, in fact, achieve their “15 seconds of fame” in their 1st stage if their launch.

Second stage: book priced at $.99.  I used Just Kindle Books, Reading Deals, KindleBoards, Awesome Gang, and Buck Books — spread out over 3 days.

The intention in using such promotion groups is to generate interest with free downloads then “reduced price” books, and hopefully to get more reviews.

The plan was different for Book 2, CYCLING in the CITY.

 

The Launch Plan, Book 2, CYCLING in the CITY

First let me remind you that I am committed to an overall marketing plan for the series. It was mentioned when I began this weird project and I’ll share the results at the conclusion of this blogging series, My Weird Indy Publishing Project.

Everything I’m doing with this series  is considered a “learning project.” I want to know from my personal experience what works and what doesn’t for the kind of books I write, and for writing a series.

When the book was published March 13, I set up two free periods with my 5 days on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). March 15-16 was free for my launch team so they could “verify their reviews” by downloading the free book and then posting their review. They had gotten the PDF manuscript by email several weeks earlier so they would have plenty of time to read this short book and write their reviews.

Of the 6 people who signed up for my launch team, (writers who agreed to post a review by March 16), only 4 posted their reviews by launch deadline. Having one less review than BookMarketingTool requires, I was unable to use that excellent resource to promote my book when it was free for customers, March 18-20.

The book was already published and I had already selected free promotions on KDP. I assumed these friends would follow through and keep their agreements. My mistake, and I learned from it.

I did schedule a similar software program, KDROI, a tool I purchased from Mangools but of the 8 promo sites that were successfully engaged, only 1 followed through. It wasn’t enough.

That said, my entire $250 marketing budget for CYCLING in the CITY was spent on Choosy Bookworm Read & Review program. It’s too early to evaluate that choice because their “acceptance email” suggested that their promotion of my book (at least 30 reviews) would go on for four weeks. It started March 15 and theoretically will go until April 13.

So far, I’ve seen only one review that could be from “Choosy” readers, only one that was not from my “free” casual marketing efforts — blogging, tweeting, posting on Facebook. And I still have not seen the reviews from the MIA launch team members.

Why keep track of who follows through?

Because I’m an unknown. Writers who have a mailing list of 10,000 or more don’t need launch teams. Beginners do. We read books and we write reviews. We agree to help with launches. It works if everyone keeps their agreements. When people don’t keep their agreements, they get cut from that author’s list. Nothing personal; that’s just how it works.

I had reviewed those two author’s books apart from a launch. I had dropped what I was doing, purchased (as in spent money) for their books, and I wrote reviews for them. One was a gift to a friend who did not have a launch. I simply wanted to support her as a writer.

The other was in response to the guy’s request at the most inconvenient time possible, and I chose to do it anyway. I was not on his launch team.

What I learned from that experience of the MIA reviews was simply that I needed a much larger group. One gal from the Book 1 launch noted that my “71% reviews posted by Book 1 launch team members” was a high return — that 50-60% was average.  In that case, my 67% return on Book 2 reviews by launch team members could be considered slightly higher than average.

Bottom line: now that I understand the numbers, if I want to use Book Marketing Tools (and I do!) then I better have more than 6 people on my launch team!  More like 10-15 minimum!

This experience also reminded me how I tend to make other people more important than me  by dropping my work on my own book to buy, read, and review his book. That is, I tend to drop what I’m doing for myself to help others. I know that some consider that kind of behavior to indicate low self-esteem. Either way, I’ve been working on valuing myself more for a long time.

How effective were those social media promotions?

There’s no way to know for certain which social media venue “worked,” but my opinion is that it was my personal Facebook friends who downloaded books during the launch, not Twitter or SkatingThru2012 followers.

WHY? Because there generally is interaction with my Facebook friends, or at the very least, “Likes” or other icons indicating “someone’s there.” And generally, I get zip from Twitter and this blog.

And, unlike “airport novels” (thrillers, supernatural/paranormal, sci-fi, and romance), a memoir from an unknown invisible person is not going to get thousands and thousands of downloads — ever.

I’m guessing my Facebook friends are responsible for the 31 free books downloaded March 14-16 and the 89 free books downloaded March 19-21. Thanks, friends! And if you enjoyed the book, please do post a review, however short, on Amazon or Goodreads.

The “buy” decision is definitely affected by the number of reviews present when the shopper actually finds your book in the mass of 130 million books currently published.

Till next time, please be kind to everyone you meet for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi

 

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