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.