Planning the “PERFECT” Book Launch

My Writing Journey (1)

Is there such thing as a perfect book launch?

I have my new novel, Blood & Holy Water, set to launch this week. I’ve done a pile of reading, listened to as many podcasts and webinars as I could find, and spoke with other indie authors on successful techniques.

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, just hitting the “publish” button does not bring in sales for a novel. It takes some work (and, perhaps, some magic.)

I know I don’t have the secret formula here, but here’s how I lined up my release.

Pre-Launch:

  • Built up my email list / mailing list. I began my push in January, with a real focus in February. Now, I’m up to nearly 1500 subscribers. (You can see how I did this in my 1000 “True” Fans Blog Series.) I’ll email this list during my launch and cross my fingers for some interest in Blood & Holy Water.
  • Kindle Scout program. This was a way to extend my reach / distribution list in a different way. I had 1400 people view my campaign page and Amazon will send those that voted for my book a notification that it’s available at launch. I’ve already had eight people sign up for my mailing list due to the campaign. We’ll see if it helps launch day. If not, I may be done with this program.
  • I hosted a few Amazon Giveaways of my last novel. To qualify for the giveaway, you needed to follow my author page. Amazon then sends notification out to my followers when I publish new books. (You can check out how this looks HERE.) (Of note, I think they already sent out notification of the pre-order which returned 3 or 4 sales.) Here’s a post on how to set this up.
  • I started distributing Advanced Reader Copies 6 weeks ago so I’d have some reviews on launch day (social proof). This is working as I have 9 fantastic reviews up on Amazon so far.
  • Published the paperback so I can collect these reviews from my Advanced Readers. (You can’t leave a review on a pre-order.)
  • Since I have a paperback version, I created a Goodreads Giveaway building up Blood & Holy Water’s “to read” list. After publishing Love, Lies & Clones, I said I wouldn’t do this again…but I did with only one copy this time. (HERE‘s that giveaway, if you’d like to see how that looks.)
  • Coordinated my launch schedule — see below — booking places to advertise and coordinating cross-promotion. I understand, the way Amazon’s algorithm works, you want a few days of steady sales for Amazon to notice you. I chose to spread the heart of my my launch over five days.
  • Put my book up on pre-order so I can make sure the blurb, categories, etc are okay. I am not advertising this pre-order because they don’t help you out on Amazon (actually, they can hurt you if they pull away sales from launch day. I did this wrong last time.)
  • Got an Amazon Marketing Service (AMS) ad ready for the new book. It takes time to put in the 1000 keywords.

Launch:

This is what I have planned this week for my launch. I don’t know if it’ll work…I’m pricing the book at 99 cents for most (perhaps all) of April, since I’m a no-name author and am trying to build up ranking. I tried $2.99 with my other book, Love, Lies & Clones for a few days and sales suffered. I know I may be throwing money away doing this, but I’m afraid to go at $2.99. If the novel does well, I might try to vary the pricing on the days I don’t have promos. Not on this list is I’m also running a discount on my other novel, with hopes that maybe there’ll be some cross-promotion between the two.

  • Tuesday 4/4: Launch day! I’m not pushing the book yet. I want to make sure everything looks good before I go that route. I will notify Kindle Scout of the release so they can send out their email to those that nominated me. This is more of an experiment, as I want to see if the Kindle Scout Program brings book sales. (Free, so far.)
  • Wednesday 4/5: Notify my Facebook followers. Get a post ready to boost later this week. Ask for shares to extend my reach. Also, a review forum I belong to, http://www.critters.org, will send out a notification to the other members late this night. Will also use twitter, instagram, and tumblr, mostly to prepare posts for use of co-promote later this week. Alert Reader’s Gazette of Bargain. (Note, all of this is free.)
  • Thursday 4/6: Headtalker campaign (free) and Booksends / eReader IQ ($35). What (Shameless plug: You can support my HeadTalker campaign HERE, if you’d like.)
  • Friday 4/7: Bargain Booksy $40 & People Reads $9  and my newsletter goes out (1500 subscribers) and an email from a critique forum I belong to (critters.org) that critiqued the novel. Also, will start using copromote to extend my reach.
  • Saturday 4/8: Free Kindle Books & Tips $25. I will also boost a Facebook post to people that like my page, their friends, and upload my newsletter email list. http://www.critters.org will also resend my info to the group.
  • Sunday 4/9: Resend my newsletter to non-openers as a “Thank-you for your support” email. Awesomegang $10 & SweetFreeBooks $7
  • Monday 4/10: BK Knights $11. I’m participating in a cross-promotion for Science Fiction & Fantasy Books priced at 99 cents. 4/10 through 4/16.

Post-Launch:

I may add to this list as opportunities arise. I want to keep the momentum going (if possible.)

Second week post-launch:

  • Tuesday 4/11: SF&F 99 Cent Cross Promo
  • Wednesday 4/12: SF&F 99 Cent Cross Promo and resend my newsletter to non-openers through a different mail program (Mailerlite instead of Mailchimp) trying to get as many opens as possible.
  • Thursday 4/13 through Sunday 4/16: SF&F 99 Cent Cross Promo

Third week post-launch:

  • Wednesday 4/19: Multi-genre indie author cross promo 99 cents
  • Thursday 4/20: Multi-genre indie author cross promo 99 cents and a newsletter swap with another indie author

Fourth week post-launch:

  • Saturday 4/29: Fussy Librarian $22

I had heard that spending about $100 on a launch is helpful for the Amazon algorithms to kick in. (Even though that means I need to sell an impossible 432 books just to break even with this.) For my last book (Love, Lies & Clones) I spent virtually nothing on the launch and wanted to try something different with this novel. This whole thing is an experiment anyway. Maybe I’ll get it right when I release my next novel, The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives.

As always, I’ll make sure to update you with results. I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect launch, and what works for some won’t work for others, but, hey, it’s fun to try. 🙂

If you’re interested in how my last launch went (for Love, Lies & Clones), you can check out my blog posts here: 30 Days Post-Launch, 60 Days Post-Launch, 90 Days Post-Launch.

I’m always looking for advice. What am I missing?

About Joynell Schultz

Writer & lover of all types of speculative fiction. I'm shivering in northern Wisconsin. Learn about my novels here: http://Author.to/JoynellSchultz
This entry was posted in Blood & Holy Water, Marketing, My Writing Journey, News! and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Planning the “PERFECT” Book Launch

  1. Lindsay says:

    Reblogged this on .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a good plan. All the best with your novel. As a reader of an earlier version (who loved it) I expect it to get a great response.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Book Launches: Games of Strategy – Jess the Storyteller

  4. raven avery says:

    I don’t know if it’s something you’ve considered but blog tours also tend to work well for promotion there are bloggers who run blog tour companies or you could try it yourself if you have the time to put in the effort. Here is a link to another author who did one herself…

    https://suzannerogersonfantasyauthor.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/2-easy-steps-to-a-massive-blog-tour-writingtips-bloggers/

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! I’ve thought of a blog tour. It was actually something I wanted to investigate further, but didn’t want to take the time. For my last book, I did a ton of author interviews, guest articles, had it reviewed by bloggers, but I didn’t think they amounted to much (and were a lot of work.) Have you done a blog tour? I’m curious exactly how effective they are. I haven’t ruled them out, I just need to spend my time on the higher traffic blogs. Another thing recommended was Facebook tours/parties. Again, lots of work and I don’t know how well they work. I’ve got both these on my list for my next book launch — especially if I stop doing the Kindle Scout program. Thank you for the suggestion/reminder. (I had forgotten about this.)

      Like

  5. Wow, Joynell, once again a very detailed, info packed blog post and with your permission will reblog on Weds. I’m thinking not too late to use a few of these suggestions for my gpa’s books, even tho the last one I published was in 2015. Appreciate your time and efforts. Really sounds like you are on top of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the compliment! (You can tell, I over think things, all the time.) You bet you can reblog this post. Hopefully, some of the suggestion do help with your grandpa’s books. I keep learning and don’t think I have the answer yet, but maybe a start. Thanks for following along! I’ll post again next week to see how this plan went. Have a great week!

      Like

  6. Reblogged this on Rosepoint Publishing and commented:
    I have been following Joynell Schultz for some time and watching with interest her progress as she decided on her book cover, published her first book, and proceeded to market and promote that book while beginning on her next. Joynell writes “speculative fiction,” a genre of which I had not previously been aware. In the meantime, she has been posting on her blog the details of her path to progress, including one of her latest blog series, “1,000 True Fans.” I’ve been amazed at the speed her blog has grown. Joynell lives in Wisconsin with her family and is a veterinary pharmacist. She enjoys nature, cycling, running, hiking, and travel–when she isn’t writing. She released her second book in early April and went on a heavily targeted plan to promote. She never fails to educate. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this post today, Joynell. I thought it exceptional. I have a lot to learn!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Book Launch Results | Joynell Schultz

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