My Book Marketing Plan

After releasing four books, I’ve tweaked and retweaked my new-release marketing plan. I’d love feedback on ways to improve it, but here’s what I have so far.

First, I release a first in a series at 99 cents for 8 days, though when I release Fur & Feathers, I may try a release at full price ($2.99). The reason for 99 cents is to encourage sales and hope that the Amazon algorithms pick it up to be “sticky.”

Here’s my advertising plan:

Paid Promos: Schedule about $100 of paid promos (This also helps with Kindle unlimited page reads) I learned that more promos is not worth it, as you end up hitting the same readers over and over.
Newsletter Swaps: Participate in as many newsletter swaps as possible – make sure to have a sign up and require proof they shared. Also, send a reminder/confirmation, otherwise, sometimes I think the other authors forget to do their end of the swap. Honestly, I think with the right network of authors & newsletters, you could do a release solely on free swaps.
Multi Author Cross Promo: Sign up for as many KU or 99 cent sales as you can find.
Create your own KU & 99 Cent Cross Promo if not many are available during your release week. I did this, you can see what they looked like HERE (99 cents) or HERE (KU)
Daycause campaign: Create & ask for support. I used to use Headtalker, but they went out of business. Thunderclap is another one, but you need so many supporters, I fear I’d work hard and my campaign would never be published.
Social Media: Post on all channels you utilize. I think, at some point, I need to break into you tube.
Schedule twitter & facebook posts
Blog Post
Boost Facebook Post: People who like your page & their friends. This has been the most effective for me.
Genre Targeted – I haven’t found much success with this yet.
AMS Ad: Begin selecting keywords early.
My Newsletter: Send on day 2 or so. Resend in 24 hours to non-openers or do the below.
Non-openers (a thank you on my new release) – Day 6
Non-openers (gmail-repeat last email) – Day 8
Other Bookbub email – automatic, work on gaining follows
Amazon email – automatic, work on gaining follows
KDROi promos
Misc Ideas Goodreads Giveaway
Amazon Giveaway
Sample Chapters on Instafreebies
Schedule a Facebook Hop
Blot tour?
Post on reader facebook pages?
Goodreads Lists?

So what does it all look like? Here’s how my release of Hidden: A Pregnant Fairy Godmother’s Journey went. I don’t follow the plan above perfectly, but it serves as a guide. Of note, I couldn’t promote using some of my favorite paid promo sites because of my story being a novella or they were booked when I contacted them. Also, some of the paid sights below, I wouldn’t use again due to lack of sales.

**Note: I had a 3 month pre-order period. For Amazon, this does nothing to help your ranking, but does help build also-boughts for some free advertising a little later.

Date Price Promo 1 Promo 2
11/7/2017 still on pre-order Reader’s Gazette 1 Author Newsletter Swap
11/8/2017 pre-order
11/9/2017 $0.99 Facebook
AMSMy Kindle Unlimited Promo
KDROi (until the 14th)
1 Author Newsletter SwapBookbub Email (automatic)
11/10/2017 $0.99 Book Sends/eReader IQ
Amazon New Release Email
Choosy Bookworm
My Mailing List (List 1 – 1st 1/2)
11/11/2017 $0.99 Book Runes My Mailing List (List 1 – 2nd 1/2)
Resend Mailing list 1 (1st) after 25 hrs
11/12/2017 $0.99 Romancing the Dragon Blog Post
Resend Mailing List 1 (2nd) after 25 hrs
11/13/2017 $0.99 Fussy Librarian Author Newsletter Swap
11/14/2017 $0.99 eReader Café 3 Author Newsletter Swaps
11/15/2017 $0.99 Awesome Gang 2 Author Newsletter Swaps
11/16/2017 $0.99 BK Knights 1 Author Newsletter Swap
11/17/2017 $0.99 My 99 Cent Promo My Mailing List (list 2)
1 Author Newsletter Swap
11/18/2017 $0.99 My 99 Cent Promo
Light UF Promo
My Mailing List again (list 2)
11/19/2017 $0.99 My 99 Cent Promo
Light UF Promo
11/20/2017 $2.99
11/21/2017 $2.99
11/22/2017 $2.99

How am I doing so far? Okay, but I have four more days to go at 99 cents. Someday I’d love to discover the secret formula, but I think massive sales takes a bit of luck as well. Here are my Amazon sales charts so far:

hidden release

And don’t forget, I hit #1 in a category (humorous fantasy) and earned the elusive Amazon best seller ribbon. Both of which are a huge win for me!!!

Hidden #1Hidden best seller

Oh, and I saw my name on the same page with two of my favorite authors, Patricia Briggs & Robin McKinley. You can’t put a price tag on that one.

schultz mckinley briggs.png

So, what marketing am I missing? What’s worked for you?

Four Books Later, I Finally Hit #1

That’s right. I finally did it!

Hidden #1

Hidden: A Pregnant Fairy Godmother’s Journey hit #1, and I received the elusive Amazon Best Seller orange tag!

Hidden best seller

And it didn’t take many sales. The day it hit number one, I sold 50 copies.

The key was a good cover, a little bit of the right advertising, and picking the correct categories for the book. Here are a few tidbits:

  1. The right cover: I’ve finally given in. I did make my Hidden Cover, but moving forward, I think I’ll be hiring cover designers. I reached out to one of my favorite designers to work on redoing Blood & Holy Water & making one for book 2 & 3 in this series.
  2. The right advertising: Having a group of authors that help support this project has helped me bring in sales (if you haven’t read my blog about the “Hidden” project, check it out HERE.) I’ve also developed a new release spreadsheet/plan that works on multiple angels of advertising, including paid promos, newsletter swaps, social media, cross promo with other authors, and Amazon/Bookbub notifications. Someday, I’ll write a blog about this — if you want a copy sooner, just comment below.
  3. The right categories: Yeah, this makes all the difference. There’s a whole mess of sites about getting into specific categories, but what I do is just browse every ebook category on Amazon, write down which ones I want, then contact Amazon (thorough author central) to add my book where I’d like it. This article has been helpful. I go right to step 3.

Oh, and a bonus to all of this…my reviews are coming in better than I expected. I have 18 reviews so far (it released three days ago,) and I’m currently averaging a 4.6 stars!

Now, my next goal: figuring out how to get “sticky” on Amazon. First, I’ll have to write more books!

Thanks for sticking with me & my writing journey.

Talk to you again soon!

 

Hidden: One Title. Endless Possibilities.

I’d like to officially introduce everyone to a project I’ve been working on since spring. You’ve all read about my novella, Hidden: A Pregnant Fairy Godmother’s Journey… Well, this was written as a part of a 70+ author collaborative where we each wrote a story with the same title: Hidden.

Confusing, right?

When you see the variety in the covers, it’s not confusing at all, just take a look at these October/November releases.

HIDDEN (1)

Each author could write any story they like, in any genre they enjoy, as long as it has the title, Hidden. Then, once weekly, a book is released…and we’re booked out into 2019!

The purpose of the project–besides having fun–was to connect indie authors for cross-promotion. Hopefully, when someone reads my eBook, they find another one of the Hidden authors and read their book as well. (Those that are interested in the outcome of this, don’t worry, I’ll blog about it sometime during this project.)

You can follow along on our website or with any of our social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram) to see what this fantastic group of authors came up with, or simply sign up for our newsletter to receive updates of the current new releases.

Here’s what’s in store until the end of November:

Here’s October/November’s Releases:

October 26thCheck this out HERE.

Laura Greenwood – Dystopian RH Fairy Tale Retelling

November 2ndCheck this out HERE.

Alasdair Shaw – Military SF

November 9thCheck this out HERE.

Joynell Schultz – Quirky Fairy Tale / Urban Fantasy / Romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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November 16thCheck this out HERE. 

Troy McLaughlan – Dystopian Science Fiction Adventure

November 23rdCheck this out HERE.

Deidra D. S. Green – thriller, murder mystery and suspense

 November 30thCheck this out HERE. 

A.J. McWain – Post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t wait to see all 70+ covers, side-by-side, in 2019 when this project concludes…and, of course, read every one of these titles!

Sneak Peek of “Hidden: A Pregnant Fairy Godmother’s Journey…”

I’ve been polishing up my first novella, Hidden: A Pregnant Fairy Godmother’s Journey… and I wanted to share it with you.

This is part of a multi-author project where everyone writes a story titled, “Hidden.” The stories can be any length the author wants and in any genre. We all will have them showcased on a group “Hidden” webpage and link to this page in the back matter of the book.

Okay…here’s my cover:

Hidden Cover

And the blurb:

Even being the best fairy godmother in all the land, Ciera’s been hiding a secret. Not only is she pregnant, but she’s magically pregnant with a human child.

Humans are not allowed in the fairy realm. Period. That includes half-fairy half-human babies. The only solution is to give the baby to its father before the Fairy Council finds out her secret. Finding the father should be easy, how many men named John could possibly live in this place called Chicago?

…and the sneek peek!

**Remember, this is not the final, polished manuscripts and is subject to beta readers and editing yet.**

YOU CAN FIND THIS ON AMAZON PRE-ORDER HERE FOR 99 CENTS.


Chapter 1

 

Ciera

 

Under the violet-tinted sun, Ciera tapped her wand against her hand and forced a calming breath. She focused on the light breeze tickling her face and the sweet, almost undetectable scent of the rainbow high in the sky.

My glamor will stay—it must.

To a fairy godmother like Ciera, a simple glamor spell to change your physical appearance should be easy. Heck, it had always been easy for Ciera, but now, in her current predicament, her magic was weak and drained too quickly.

In eight more months, her abilities would return. Could she keep pretending that long?

“Are you sure this will feed us forever? It’s such a small garden plot.” A farmer stood in front of Ciera. His hair was a vibrant copper color that complemented his worn, brown leather trousers. A little girl in his arms tightened her hold around her father neck. Her red hair blending in with her father’s as she buried her face in his neck.

Ciera stopped tapping her wand and waved it towards the tilled soil tucked against a plain, tigerwood fence. “You think that’s small? You should have seen what I did with a few empty wine barrels on the other side of town. Trust me. You have nothing to worry about.”

A shiver of magic flowed up her spine and wrapped itself around her stomach. She looked down at her belly in time to see her glamor enchantment flicker. Did he notice? She jerked her head towards the farmer to see him focused on his daughter.

Ciera shifted her weight from foot to foot. “We need to get moving though. I…um…have stuff to do.”

Ciera scooted across the yard to dig her toes into the small patch of tilled-up sand. No matter how much love Erdians gave the nutrient-poor soil, stuff still wouldn’t grow without fairy intervention. The cool and dry dirt softly tickled her feet as she walked across it.

Even with her dying magic, she could easily turn such a small area into fertile soil. She had fertilized fields as far as the eye could see for many royal families. She tapped her wand against her hand. “No problem. Your wish is my command. Dibbity, dobbity, doo!” Ciera gave a little wink toward the man; her signature move.

She channeled her magic into the wand. The current flowed as slow as honey today, growing slower day-by-day.

How long will I be able to put up this charade?

The magic seized-up, not wanting to budge. She shook her head and tried again. Reaching deep inside her core, she warmed the honey to make it flow faster. Staring at the tip of the wand, she waited for the golden glow.

One flicker, then another, but then her magic dissolved into nothingness.

The glamor she created to hide her growing belly dissolved and her flat stomach disappeared, revealing her true abdomen size, giant, like the size of one of those leather balls royalty throws through hoops. Ciera pulled all the magic she could find, from everywhere; inside her heart, from back home, and even the little bit that resided in Erde and rewove the glamor around her, disguising her pregnancy.

This time, when she jerked her head up toward the father, his eyes were wide. She needed a distraction. “Um, do you have a glass of water?” Queasiness overtook Ciera as she plopped down on a petrified dragon egg lining the garden.

When the man disappeared into his house,  Ciera released all her magic to give it time to recharge. She placed her hand on her stomach as she tried to regain control.

“What are you doing to me?” she whispered while rubbing her belly. “This is way too early, I still have eight months left. How am I going to hide you without magic?” Inside her stomach, the child swirled. It had been doing this more and more lately. It took seventeen months to grow a baby fairy, and Ciera had been pregnant for nine. A stomach this size was impossible at this point.

An image of the baby’s father flashed through her mind. Gray well-groomed hair and kind, brown eyes that seemed almost desperate. When she first realized he wasn’t a fairy, she had been disappointed. She had passed him off as an Erdian, but now she wasn’t so sure.

What if he had been human?

How long did it take to grow one of their babies? And if this was a human child, did that explain the odd behavior of her magic?

Stop thinking about that!

The human realm was off limits, and the other fairies would certainly shun her—she had worked so hard to earn her status with her peers.

Footsteps approached, and she wrapped herself in the glamor once again.

“How are you feeling?” The man handed over a copper-hammered cup filled with water while holding his child in the other arm.

“Like a dragon flying upside down.” The cool drink did nothing to alleviate her nausea. Her anxiety was making her sick to her stomach, and she needed to get in control of it. “Now, let’s give this another shot.” She stood up and raked her eyes over the sandy soil. She focused on her magic, but all she found was a hollow void where the baby grew.

She pulled harder, fighting with the child in a game of tug-of-war. She pulled one way, and the baby pulled another. When Ciera felt she had a good grip on a strand of magic, she quickly shoved it down her arm and into her wand.

Quick, Ciera. Hurry. You can’t fail.

“Dibbity, dobbity, doo!” She zapped at the soil, filling her mind with images of rich green vegetation and plum red fruits. The ground quivered with a ripple of light, and parts of the soil turned from pink and yellow sand to black dirt…but not all of it.

Shaking her head, she searched again for her magic. She found a tendril connected to her glamor and pulled and stretched it, but then realized the baby grasp was tighter than hers. She gave a yank and shot the magic down her arm and into her wand before there was a protest. Quickly, she gave the garden another zap. “Dobbity, do!”

This time, nothing happened.

“I’m sorry.” She felt her magic recoil into the child inside her. A ripple shot through her spine, and her glamor quivered again. “I’m still not feeling well, and my magic’s not behaving quite right.”

“But you’re the best. Your Fairy Council assured me.” The man squeezed his child’s hand.

The toddler’s eyes held dark circles beneath them—she was hungry. The father was already too thin. Ciera couldn’t let them starve.

Come on, baby. Cooperate.

Sweat tickled Ciera’s brow as she focused on any magic she still had. She clenched all her muscles and forced the magic back into her wand. As soon as it appeared, she zapped the egg she had been sitting on. A simple spell on a smaller object, turning the fossil into a roasted platypus surrounded by magic beans on a silver platter.

Ciera wiped her brow, and her chest heaved. “I’ll be back when I’m better. For now,” she caught her breath, “eat the platypus and trade the platter and magic beans for some fruits and veggies. Magic beans are in high demand, maybe you can even get a cow for them.”

With that, Ciera tried to transport herself to the fairy realm, but that didn’t work. She probably looked ridiculous, squishing her eyes shut and waving her wand around her head. Argh! “I’m just going to leave through the gate and take a walk.”

Before the man said anything, the gate swung shut behind Ciera as she jogged down the dusty, yellow road with her wings flapping for speed and an arm wrapped around her unglamored belly for support.

I need to get home to my father. He’ll know what I should do.

How could she not complete an assignment? She hadn’t found a long-term solution for that hungry man and child. Could she go home a failure? It’d wreck her reputation, and the other fairies would wonder how this was possible. They’d figure out her secret.

Deep breath, Ciera. Rest. Let the magic recharge.

But what if this was a human baby?

That gray-haired man Ciera had met in a dream had a machine for one of his arms.. Erde didn’t have contraptions like that…did the humans? It didn’t make sense because fairies hadn’t crossed over to the human realm in a hundred years.

Her grandfather’s words haunted her: But you’re not a normal fairy. You’re a purple fairy.

She had always dismissed him as just flattering her…but maybe some of what he said was right?

No, Ciera. You’re like everyone else…only you have to work twice as hard because you want to be the best.

Maybe she could hide here in Erde. She loved this world with its warm violet sun, green grass, and the smell of the sea. She used to spend all her free time here, but over the past few months, her fading magic would no longer allow it. If she stayed too long, she’d lose her ability to fly, to grant wishes, and, perhaps her ability to return home.

Now, with the thought that the child could be human, there was no way she could stay. The Fairy Council would surely find her and discover her secret and…she lost her breath thinking the next thought…shun her family from the fairy realm.

Ciera detoured off the yellow dirt road and ventured into the forest, finding a patch of minty smelling moss. She lay down and began to drift asleep, nearly certain that the baby was human. There was no other explanation.

Focusing on what she could remember from nine months ago, she tried to figure out what went wrong

She had just granted King Wren’s wish for an appropriate suitor for the princess. This had taken way too long, yet she was the fourth fairy godmother on the project and the first to succeed.

She returned home that day, completely exhausted from hours of sending her magic out searching all the neighboring kingdoms and fell asleep wondering what was next. She felt like she could take on the world. A brief thought passed through her mind if there would be even bigger challenges on Earth, but she dismissed that idea.

The human realm was off limits.

But she wanted a challenge, and that world tugged strongly at her as she fell asleep.

She dreamt of a man with whitish gray hair and these dark, intense eyes. The most prominent thing was his arm made of silver. Her desire to grant a wish pulled strongly on her, taking over her logic. She didn’t even know what wish she was granting, but knew what she had to do.

“Lift your hands,” she had said.

He lifted one hand and pointed his index finger, then lifted his other. A claw or hook of some type. She touched a finger to both of his hands, smiling with pleasure as a bright violet light traveled down the man’s non-silver arm, through his finger, and transferred to Ciera. It traveled up her arm and her belly tingled when it settled there. She left feeling complete.

It wasn’t until a three months ago she discovered her pregnancy, and it wasn’t until well after that she began to wonder if that man was human. She kept pushing that thought away, not understanding how that was possible. Who heard of humans with robotic arms? She had dismissed it as some type of glamor magic.

Besides, for a fairy pregnancy, all ten of their fingers must touch in their dreams and a yellow light transfers. Quite different from what had happened.

The Fairy Council wouldn’t understand. Fairy godmothers always had control of their dreams…but this one was different.

The man…the human must have wished for a child…and for some reason, she granted it. Ciera never could refuse a wish…especially a wish that was not for wealth or prosperity, but a wish that came from the heart…

How could that be wrong?

 

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek. 🙂 Have a great day.

–Joy

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