As I promised, here is an outline of the strategy and promotion I employed for the re-release of the first four books in the Wing Slayer Hunter Series. These books were originally published in 2009 and 2011. Here’s the titles and re-release dates:
Blood Magic, Book 1 (Release 10/5/15)
Soul Magic, Book 2 (Release 10/19/15)
Night Magic, Book 3 (Release 11/2/15)
Sinful Magic, Book 4 (Release 11/16/15)
Covers, electronic: $343.50
Covers, print: $140.00
Editing (proofreading by copy editor): $1,362.00
Formatting (electronic and print): $1,065.00
Total Production Costs: $2,910.50
Some Key Strategies I Used:
- Pre-Orders. I didn’t actually care about pre-order numbers. I needed to set up pre-orders to get vendor-specific links so I could include them in the back of the books, then upload those version with the links before the books released.
- I treated the first book in the series, Blood Magic as a “loss leader.” That means my goal was to get that book in as many hands as possible to hook people into the series. And that is where the vendor specific links became critical. The best time to get a customer to buy the next took is when they finish the first (assuming they loved it) and they will click on the link to buy the next one right then.
- I priced all the electronic books to sell. Paperback is another issue because I can’t fully control the price here, so I’m talking specifically about digital books.
Promotion and Advertising:
- Netgalley for advance reviews
- Share/Giveaways on Facebook
- Facebook Ads
- Street Team support
- Freebooksy Ad http://www.freebooksy.com/for-the-authors/
- iBooks Promo
- Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/partners/pricing
Okay, now I’ll break it down a little bit:
- I put Blood Magic up on Netgalley before it released to get reviews. I was able to do that because I got into a “co-op” of a group of people so it only cost me $250.00 a year. I can have one book on Netgalley at any given time for that fee.
- For every release, I did a “SHARE/GIVEAWAY on Facebook. I offer a giveaway of an electronic gift card for 10.00 or 15.00 dollars. All people have to do to enter is share the news that the book is out (which ever one released that day) then come back and tell me where they shared it in the comments. I also put in the buy links.
- I ran a Facebook Ad for Blood Magic as First in Series only 99cents. Then once I set the book free, I ran the add as FREE First in Series. I linked one ad to the Amazon buy link and another to the iBooks buy link.
- Anna runs my Street Team. She offered them a copy of Blood Magic to review if they desired (we never require it), and asked for support for each release. She also asked them to help “push” the book when I did promos on FB by liking and sharing it. They are awesome about doing it too! But everyone has a life to live so Anna and I try to keep it low-key and not apply any pressure.
- We sent out a newsletter for each release. I did worry about this though as the releases were only two weeks apart. I didn’t want to spam people, just let them know the book was out. It’s a fine line sometimes.
- Freebooksy Ad. Freebooksy is an email that goes out to readers informing them of free books. I chose November 3rd to coincide with the iBooks Promo (see #7).
- iBooks Promo. I was lucky here. Because my previous book had hit the top of iBooks lists, a representative had contacted me. What that means is I now at a rep at iBooks. Once I had all the books up for pre-order so he could see them, I reached out and asked him if there was anything iBooks could do to help me. They did a nice ad promoting Blood Magic for free. I realize I’m fortunate with this – but I had to prove myself with my Plus One Chronicles first before a rep contacted me.
- Bookbub Ad. Bookbub ads are notoriously hard to get. They have a huge mailing list and they turn down a ton of authors. I’ve been turned done many times. But this time they accepted me. Persistence pays off! I was able to get November 10th date and I was happy about that. NOTE: I was “stacking promotions” doing the first two ads to build some momentum BEFORE the Bookbub ad came out. That strategy paid off.
- Netgalley: $0.00 I already bought that spot as part of my overall promotional budge for the year, not specifically to this release.
- Share/Giveaways on FB. $60.00
- FB Ads $330.00
- Street Team, $25.00 for a gift card contest Anna ran.
- Newsletter, $50.00 for two different gift card giveaways.
- Freebooksy $100.00
- iBooks $0.00 it didn’t cost me anything, they did it all.
- Bookbub $205.00
Total promotional costs $770.00
- Netgalley: I didn’t track this well, but I’d say we got about 20 to 30 reviews. Probably more on Goodreads. I have mixed feelings about Netgalley though. It’s expensive and there’s usually a chunk of negative reviews.
- Share/Giveaways: I love them! It’s easy, and they do a good job of getting the word out on social media for a day or two. As a bonus, it creates more interaction with fans and readers on Facebook. I can’t measure the ROI (Return on Investment) in concrete numbers, but I think its well worth the price.
- FB Ads. Good. Less effective than they used to be, but I see steady click throughs. For the last four-day ad I ran to Amazon I had over a 1,000 clicks. Not sure how many actually downloaded the book. I see fewer click throughs for iBooks – about 400 for same amount of time.
- Street Team. Awesome! They help get the word out about a release, do reviews, build excitement and momentum.
- Newslettter. I always get a spike in sales after the newsletter goes out. Yes it’s worth it.
- Freebooksy — it’s a much easier ad to place than Bookbub and worth it for me. For this ad, I have over a 1000 downloads at Amazon.
- iBooks Promo, their promo is a big help. On November 2nd, I had 47 downloads of Blood Magic. On the day the ad ran, November 3rd, I had 251 and kept going up until I had over 3,000 downloads for the week. Definitely worth it!
- Bookbub. This is GOLD for free books. My book was placed in the paranormal romance category. (The contemporary romance category costs a big more.) For Bookbub, I had a huge spike at Amazon the day of the ad—19,786 downloads of Blood Magic. The next day I had 4,614 downloads. I easily attribute 35K overall to Bookbub. At one point, Blood Magic reached #3 in overall rankings for free books. For iBooks, my download 2,630 the day of the ad, and the next day I had 1,063. Barnes and Noble saw a spike too, but I can’t give you exact numbers for that. Right now, there had been over 6,000 free download in total.
That’s how the promotions worked in terms of Blood Magic, which is my loss leader. But how are sales going? I’ll give you examples, using Soul Magic. It released Oct 16, and at Amazon by November 2nd, it had sold 183 copies.
Then after the promotions, total sales of Soul Magic spiked up to 1,533. The other books are showing very solid spikes. It takes time for people to read the book they downloaded, but I’ve seen a very nice increase in sales.
Man I was sweating this. Re-releasing these books turned out to take a lot of time, effort and money. I really didn’t know if I made the right decision. At this point, I’m breathing a sigh of relief. I have earned out my costs (production costs of $2,910.50 + promotion costs of $770.00) with some profit. I’m not getting rich, but I can pay some bills :-). I’m very happy with that. If things continue this way, I will be able to write the next two books!
Okay guys, I hope this helps anyone interested. If you have any questions, I’ll try to answer them, with the exception of how much money I make.
November 23rd, 2015 at 3:08 am · Link
It’s so interesting to see the breakdown and hear about the purchase spikes. It was a crazy whirlwind! I’m glad to hear how well they did!
November 23rd, 2015 at 8:40 am · Link
Thanks, that was very informative. Not sure how much I can apply it to my own situation, though, since I’m an unknown and basically have a small following (and a teeny-tiny budget). But there’s always the future! I’m tucking this away for when it’ll be more germane.
I’m so glad the re-releases did well for you. Yay for more people reading the Wing Slayer Hunters! Now you can write more so I can read more. =o)
BloodFlow releases tomorrow. I had hoped to have a more spectacular marketing hoopla for this one, but then things fell apart. I have an excerpt coming out with Omnimystery News. And I’ll do a FB ad campaign. The rest is all me – tweeting and posting and blogging. Speaking of which, I should go do that. ;o)
November 23rd, 2015 at 12:24 pm · Link
Anna, it was crazy, wasn’t it? What were we thinking when we planned this? LOL!! Thanks again for all your help!
November 23rd, 2015 at 12:29 pm · Link
B.E, you can do the smaller things like Share/Giveaways. Also have you looked at Bargain Booksy to advertise? If I remember right, it was about $70.00 and the return was decent.
I was also in the situation of have the four books ready to go and two more already available so the investment had a bigger payoff. Every release is different,the key is to define your goal for that release, and choose your promo to support that AND your budget. It’s always hard!
And man I’ve had that “then everything fell apart” scenario. Life happens.
Can’t wait for the release tomorrow!! I can’t remember if I pre-ordered so I’ll wait to see if it shows up, if not I’ll buy it! It’s an exciting week for you!
November 23rd, 2015 at 4:13 pm · Link
Wow, that’s an amazing breakdown. You put an incredible amount of work into this. I bet you had several spread sheets to keep track of it all. Didn’t you study bookkeeping? Bet that paid off ;).
It makes me feel good that the re-release was a success. I love your books and know that the more people exposed top them the more fans you’ll have :). And we will help the trend to continue because WE want the next two books ;).
I hope you’re having a really great Monday :)!
November 23rd, 2015 at 6:18 pm · Link
Viki, thanks. It’s probably too much info, but I can’t seem to help myself once I get started. I do have some spreadsheets, which helped me compile the info. But I also have Wizard (who is an accountant) to set all the formulas up for me so I pretty much just plug in the numbers
I’m naturally pretty organized–in everything except writing. That’s why I have such a crazy process: One side of my brain is trying to write the story, the other sight is fighting to control/organize the story. It’s a constant battle.
Thank you so much for saying that about my books! It means a lot to me!
Hope you’re having a great Monday too!
November 24th, 2015 at 12:32 am · Link
All I can say, girl, is you are awesome. Such solid planning paid off, and a huge thing you also had going is that this is a great series. I’m sure you will see a swell of sales.
Best of luck!
November 24th, 2015 at 6:58 am · Link
Thank you so much for sharing your results. Very helpful and informative. I’m impressed with all your promotions you did and listing what worked for you. I’m glad you made a profit.
November 24th, 2015 at 8:50 am · Link
Debra, thank you! I was in the fortunate position of having all four books ready to go at the same time. And planning came from the generosity of other authors sharing their strategies and results. I wanted to pay that forward
Thanks so much for your support!
November 24th, 2015 at 8:52 am · Link
Diane, I’m really wanted to share this info for anyone who can use it. I also had a great deal of help between my assistant Anna, my street team, FB friends and the awesome people who hang out here.
Thanks for stopping by!
November 24th, 2015 at 3:02 pm · Link
Thank you so much for sharing all this! I’m pre-published and decided to finish my first, four-book series before taking the publishing/marketing plunge. Your strategy is a great resource for when I’m ready. Wishing you all the best in your continued success with your Wings series and the rest of your work!
November 24th, 2015 at 5:05 pm · Link
Kady, I’m so pleased you found this helpful! Finishing the series before publishing is a solid plan and will give you a lot of options in preparing your promotion. Good luck!
November 24th, 2015 at 6:31 pm · Link
Thanks! Holding back has given me an opportunity to make the series stronger, too. I’m not constrained by having to work around any material that’s already published, so in stone.
November 24th, 2015 at 11:32 pm · Link
Thank you for the insight! I pre-ordered Blood Magic after reading your newsletter and I have been hooked on the series. I’m reading Linc’s story now (over halfway through) and am trying to drag it out since I don’t want it to end. I can’t wait for Ram and Eli’s stories. Will you do interviews with Linc and Eli like you did with the others? Any other books planned for the series?
November 25th, 2015 at 11:32 am · Link
Carrie T, thank you so much for your awesome support! I’m so happy you are enjoying the series! I have some ideas for books beyond Eli and Ram’s stories, but I need to focus on those first — after I get the book I’m working on finished.
Oh and on the character interviews, I haven’t had time, but if I get a chance I’ll round up Linc and Eli for an interview Linc will talk nonstop, but getting Eli to talk will be a huge challenge!
November 25th, 2015 at 11:10 pm · Link
Thank YOU for writing such wonderful books! I became a fan after reading The Plus One Chronicles. I reread the trilogy recently; I love Sloane and Kat’s story so much.
I finished Caged Magic. Big happy sigh at Linc and Risa’s happily ever after. I’ll be eagerly waiting for the next two books. I’m definitely intrigued to find out more about Eli after reading Caged Magic.
November 28th, 2015 at 9:58 pm · Link
Thanks for the breakdown. Very helpful.
November 28th, 2015 at 10:01 pm · Link
I just finished the Wing Slayer Hunters. I read them one right after the other. LOVED THEM!!! Thank you and I hope you get that puppy.
November 29th, 2015 at 11:23 am · Link
Laurie, you’re very welcome! I’m glad you found it helpful.
November 29th, 2015 at 11:24 am · Link
Cindy, thank you so much!! I just saw this comment and it made my day! I really appreciate you stopping by and telling me