So, Squiders, at the end of April I told you about some new marketing techniques Siri and I were giving a try, since there’s two of us to share the costs and whatnot.
Since then, the book has launched and I now have feedback on some of the things we’ve done. I thought it might be useful for other indie authors to see how things have worked for us. If you are also an indie author and have some technique you’ve found beneficial, let us know! (Also, if you are a reader, let me know if you have a go-to way to find new books/authors.)
As a recap, here are the things Siri and I are trying/have tried out:
- fancy-butt cover
- 1-day book blitz (last week, June 9)
- 12-week blog tour (not yet started, no data yet)
- in-person launch party (Siri, in Toronto, on May 29)
- FB launch party
- Goodreads ad/giveaway combo
So, how have things gone? Let’s break it down. Actually, let me preface by saying that sales for City of Hope and Ruin have been over double what my previous releases have done, and, in general, I think a lot of that comes from there being two of us. But, moving on:
- Fancy-butt cover. I don’t know that this has directly influenced sales, but we’ve gotten a lot of compliments, and the bookstore Siri did her launch at said they’d put the book front and center in the display because it looked so great. Also, I was super happy with the process and the results and will probably use our designer (Deranged Doctor Designs) again in the future.
- 1-day book blitz. We ran this last Thursday, June 9. We had about 30 blogs pick up the book, all of which were lovely, though some have gone above and beyond and are still tweeting, etc. about the book over a week later. We discounted the ebook version to $.99 for the duration of the blitz, and I think it cost us ~$70. The blitz, not discounting. Very exhausting–I went through all the blogs four times to thank the hosts and answer questions from commenters. We also gave away a $50 Amazon gift card as part of the tour, so all-in-all we spent ~$120 on the book blitz.
That being said, we sold four books during the duration of the blitz/giveaway (two days), which is not terribly encouraging. In the week since, we’ve sold an additional ebook (and had someone use Kindle’s matchbook program to get a free ebook after buying a paperback version). We’ve also sold two paperbacks. Are those additional sales related? Maybe? No real way to know. But $120 for four books is not a good return on investment.
Now, saying that, the book blitz did get us about 150 adds on Goodreads. That’s pretty decent. We’ll have to see how many of those convert to sales/reviews over the next few months. And, in general, the people commenting seemed genuinely excited about the book. Two of the blogs did include reviews, one who had finished the book and loved it, and one who was only part of the way in (and was loving it). Those reviews are only on the blogs (not cross-posted to Goodreads or Amazon), but they’re still something.
It certainly put the book out in front a bunch of new people, if nothing else. Now we watch and wait.
- 12-week blog tour. Again, this starts mid-July. At some point I believe we get sent a list of guest post/interview requests and then have to fulfill it, so this one’s going to be a ton of work too. At least it’s one post per week, so less constant stalking to do.
- Pre-orders. We ran pre-orders on all the ebook platforms, though the only ones we got a statistically relevant amount of sales on were Kindle and Kobo. And it did help our sales rankings–all those preorders counted as sales on launch day, which got us up in the Top 100 in a couple of categories. So in general, I recommend doing this. Why not?
- In-person launch party. Siri threw an in-person launch party at her local SFF store in Toronto. You can read about her experience in more detail here. I was not there, since Siri and I live in different countries, but from what she’s told me it went well. Siri’s been inspired by its success to contact other independent bookstores in her area, and at least one more has also been persuaded to stock the book. I should…probably do that too. >_>
- FB launch party. We did do a virtual launch party on the actual date of the book release, which went pretty well. (You can see it here.) We got a lot of great questions, and the whole thing seemed pretty high energy. We gained a number of new followers for our publisher, Turtleduck Press, and did “party favors” (I guess you’re not technically allowed to do giveaways on FB) of copies of the book and one $20 Amazon gift card. I’d do one again.
Though re: gift card giveaways in general–I’d be interested to see if lowering the amount of the gift card affected participation at all. I’d bet you it wouldn’t. With the FB party one, the girl who won it didn’t even know we were giving one away.
- Goodreads giveaway/ad. I’ve done this for all my books, and typically it works really well. I feel like it’s not working as well this time around. I’ve been steadily increasing the price per click in an attempt to increase views, but nothing’s really worked. The ad(s) have been running for a month–the giveaway ends today–and the ads have only been shown 16,000 times. Comparatively, the ad campaigns for both Hidden Worlds and Shards have over 304,000 views each. Not sure what’s up–at first I thought it might be because I limited the target audience more for CoHaR, but I actually had a lot less categories selected for Shards, and it had the most views. (For clarification, “views” in this case is just Goodreads popping the ad up on someone’s page. There’s no guarantee that someone will actually see it, just that it is there to be seen. Goodreads also keeps track of how many times someone clicks, and charges you money per click. I use the ads to drive people to the giveaways while they’re live.)
(If we’re going off clicks, CoHaR has 16, while Shards got 133 and Hidden Worlds got 172. No doubt due to the massively lower views.)
Speaking of which, here’s the link to giveaway–it ends tonight. We’re giving away three paperback copies, and as of me writing this, there’s 684 people signed up.
Comparatively, Shards had ~750 people enter, and Hidden Worlds had ~950. You always get a ton of people last minute, so it will be interesting to see what the final count ends up being.
Now, I think a lot of the giveaway people are coming from Twitter/the book blitz, judging by the lousy numbers on the ad.
What’s up with this ad compared to previous ones? It has nothing to do your actual ad copy, so is the competition just more fierce now? More people using the ads, so you have to fight more to get yours seen? Raise your per click price to a couple of dollars? Maybe so. I’m going to have quite a bit of money left over after the giveaway ends, so I’ll experiment with changing prices/categories to see if anything helps. But it may be that my old go-to of giveaways/ads isn’t as viable as it used to be.
So, that’s me thus far! Anything else you’d recommend, squiders?