I want to thank Marianne Donley for the cool graphic she put on my last post. I thought it only befitting to use it again this month on part two.
Where do I start? Last month I was in the midst of launching a book with a new campaign strategy. I want to make it perfectly clear, I am not trying to sell you on one of Mark Dawson’s courses. Although, I do like the results I got on my last launch.
So here’s what happened.
In the past when I launched a book, I didn’t really do any kind of pre-promotion. I would book a couple of ads, alert my mailing list, put the book out at full price and hope for the best. This time, I sent the book to my ARGroup, asked for reviews, forgot to book the ads pre-launch and launched it at 99¢.
My ARGroup had 20 people, but one dropped out after she read the book. Yes, I was a lot ticked off. But I went back to her acceptance email and remembered, she wanted me to pay her. I sent her a nice email expressing my sadness in her leaving the group. However, someone else joined. I had a little glitch getting the book out and pushed the date back. I got excited when some of my ARGroup emailed asking when could they post, because they really enjoyed the book. That made me feel good.
Every step up to the release day, I kept the group informed. I sent the new cover, asked them if they would buy a copy to help me in the rankings and graphics for the book to keep them engaged in the launch process. I wanted to make sure I kept the momentum going.
Launch day, I had 7 US reviews and 1 international. That was a first for me. I’ve never released a book with reviews. I was hoping for ten, but this was great.
As for sales. This was the first time, I sold 100 copies in the first week. For some people that’s probably what they do in the first day, but for me that was huge. I missed the top 100 in one of my categories by 24 on launch day. I have had books release with a top 100 category ranking, but none with a sell through like this one.
Promotion wise, I forgot to book ads for the launch. I was upset at first, and then I remembered, I wanted my list to have first dibs at the special price. I waited about ten days before putting the price up. I hoped for the best and was treated to a continued stream of sales.
It wasn’t until after the soft launch that I ran two facebook ads. I mentioned earlier that I had already made some facebook ads. When I tested the ads, the feedback wasn’t great. However, I used those for my social media and mailing list reminders. And used the ads below for FB instead.
In the beginning the male ad was doing very well. Then the female ad clicked and took off. At the end of the month, the female add had out done the male. Let me back up, when I noticed the way the ads were going, I was very tempted to shut down the male ad, but I didn’t because something happened. I did something else I had never done…I used an affiliate link. I put an affiliate link on my book on my website and used that as the link in the ad. I started getting sales which I knew were from the FB ads. However, I wasn’t sure which ad was producing the sales. That’s why I never shut the weaker ad down.
I think this was the first time in a while all my titles had steady sell-thru at the same time. It’s exciting to see a sales report with numbers not zeroes next to all the titles. Again for some of you this is your normal, but for me, it wasn’t. YEAH!!!
I was very pleased with the results and believe if I had done everything according to Mark’s suggested plan, I would have done even better.
Let’s see what happens with my next release. Happy Thanksgiving.
This last week, I took a Facebook for Business Made Easy 5-Day Challenge led by Sherri-Lee Woycik of Social Media Minder. It was wonderful, intensive, and my Facebook pages have never seen so much activity!
One of the lessons involved boosting a post from your Facebook page. I was able to successfully boost one post at my Lyndi Lamont Page. (I’m always happy to get new likes and engagement. Hint, hint.)
Then I tried to boost one from my Linda McLaughlin page. This is what the ad looked like:
Seems pretty straightforward, right? Easy question plus two images. Should be a no brainer.
So when it wasn’t approved, I was surprised. I delved into why FB found the post unacceptable and got this mind-boggling answer.
What the heck?
After Sherri-Lee got done laughing, she explained that the ads are checked by bots, not real people. Apparently the bot is somewhat color-blind since it seemed to mistake my sunrise for naked skin, and the clouds surrounding the moon for cleavage? Or something like that.
So much for artificial intelligence, LOL.
Needless to say, I sent an appeal and I’m waiting for a human being to get around to looking at it.
Also, I’m participating in the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale through July 31. Rogue’s Hostage and Lady Elinor’s Escape are now half off at Smashwords through July 31. Don’t forget to use the code SSW50 at checkout.
Hope you’re having a great summer. Mine has been hectic and productive as well as fun.
aka Lyndi Lamont
Happy Summer to everyone. I hope you had an amazing Fourth of July.
Before I get into my post, I want to give a brief update on my 12 TITLE IN 12 MONTHS Project. Last week I soft launched my June title, THE FLING.
Here’s the summary:
Selena Crawford and Reuben Porche [por-shay] are lonely work-a-holics in need of a vacation. When both are forced into taking a vacation, they get a little more than the luxury Anguilla resort offered on the website.
This is a story that came about while I was trying to figure out what to write. When I started my project, I had a few of the titles writtenâ€¦the two Alex books, Love Notes, and The Good Girl Part Deux. There are two books I am probably going to use for the fourth quarter that were previously written. Otherwise, the rest of the titles are new. Iâ€™m excited. Praise God, because I am on track to completing my project. Once the project is complete, Iâ€™ll do a project summary post
Onto my post. Thereâ€™s another project I’ve been working on this year…increasing my mailing list.
Like quite a few new authors, I didn’t have a mailing list when I started. Let me backtrack. I have another business with a mailing list. However, I didnâ€™t want to use that for my writing career. It was important to me to keep both entities separate. That decision meant I had to build my mailing list from scratch.
When it comes to building a mailing list, I’m sure I’m not alone in how I got my first subscribersâ€¦my family and friends. I’m very grateful for those early subscribers, however, I needed and wanted more subscribers. I set a goal of getting my list to 1000 subscribers by the end of this year. [As of this post, Iâ€™m at 780â€¦YAY!]
One very important fact I keep in mind is that I have only been writing a few years and only published 18 months. Itâ€™s very easy to get caught up in the numbers. Iâ€™ve heard writers spouting out the size of their mailing lists and finding myself a little embarrassed at my small list. But I canâ€™t let those numbers intimidate me because Iâ€™m still growing my base. Another reason for my 12 Titles project.
I came up with that project because I wanted to add to my inventory. I also thought the additional inventory would insight people to subscribe to my mailing list. If I had known earlier that I wanted to self-publish and how important a mailing list is, I would have concentrated on building my mailing list in conjunction with writing my first book. No use in crying over non-subscribers.
Now that I realize I need subscribers, I’m on a mission to hit my goal by the end of the year, if not sooner. So what’s my plan? Or what have I done so far to get subscribers?
FREE BOOKS. Thatâ€™s not a typo. Weâ€™ve all heard this before. You need to give something away to lure readers in and turn them into subscribers. I have to admit; I didnâ€™t think this would work until I tried it. Iâ€™ve heard several writers say they have a title that’s Perma Free. The thought of giving away something I worked hard to create, didn’t appeal to me. Especially when I only had one published book. I looked at it as cutting off a possible revenue stream. But that couldnâ€™t have been farther from the truth.
I may have mentioned this before. When I began editing THE ALEX CHRONICLES: WHAT MY FRIENDS DONâ€™T KNOW, I deleted the first six chapters. I felt it was too much tell, not enough show. However, I thought there was some good stuff there. I was talking to Kitty Bucholtz about wanting to get something else out there before my next book, and she asked me if I had any discarded chapters I could turn into a novella. I instantly remembered those deleted chapters.
I tweaked them, got a cover and voila! I had a Perma-free book. I was ready to try this Freebie thing. I fondly refer to my freebie as “The Prequel”. I have to be honest, I wasnâ€™t too sure how this was going to work, but I was willing to give it a shot. I sent the freebie to my mailing list as well as posted it on my blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter. I also made it available wideâ€¦on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and Draft2Digital.
As of writing this post, I have given away over 5000 copies of my prequel since it came out in October 2015. When I made peace with the idea of giving this title away, I never thought Iâ€™d give that many copies away. To be honest, I really havenâ€™t given the book much thought. The reason for the laissez-faire attitude is because itâ€™s a loss leader so to speak. I did discover that in some countries, itâ€™s not possible to get the book for free on Amazon, so Iâ€™ve had a couple of paid downloads.
Iâ€™d like to say that all five thousand downloads became subscribers, but thatâ€™s not so.
SUBSCRIBER CAMPAIGNS. Since I put the Prequel out in October 2015, Iâ€™ve added 739 subscribers. Of course, you have to take the good with the bad. Since I began cultivating this list, Iâ€™ve had 52 unsubscribe. I tell myself not to freak out when someone unsubscribes, and then I ask God to replace those with people who really want to read my stories.
So far this year, Iâ€™ve participated in a few Subscriber Campaigns that have paid off very well. The Romance Readers Spring Fling and a couple of Instafreebie giveaways. These events are responsible for almost 700 subscribers. Again, I wasnâ€™t a huge fan of the freebie, but itâ€™s paid off. I should have kept better records as to how these free downloads affected my other books, but I didnâ€™t. I do know there was sales activity around the same time as the free downloads. I recommend the freebie as a great way to add subscribers. So much so, that I am working on another freebie for later in the year. I have to admit; I got the idea from Beth Yarnell. Itâ€™s a sampler. Iâ€™m excited to see how this will affect my subscriber list.
FACEBOOK ADS. This is an area I am really excited about. Kitty told me about Mark Dawsonâ€™s Facebook Ads course. If you havenâ€™t downloaded his free videos, do so immediately. And if you can take his course, jump on it. I used the three videos to set up my first Facebook Ad. Iâ€™ll preface this by saying, it ran it the same time I participated in an Instafreebie campaign.
I ran the ad for five days, at $5.00 per day. It was clicked on by 709 people and 46 subscribed to my mailing list. YAY! Not bad for a first timer. This got me to thinking. Iâ€™ve done blog tours in the past, and I have nothing but love for the blog tour companies. However, I never got any subscribers and saw very little sales action. I resolved myself that the blog tour was just to get my name out there. But after I watched Mark Dawsonâ€™s videos and did a five-day test run, I think Iâ€™ll channel the blog tour money into Facebook ads.
I spent approximately $150 on each blog tour, and that included two raffle gifts. One to a blogger host and the other to a reader following the tour. The tours lasted about four weeks each, not including weekends, and it doesnâ€™t reach nearly as many people as the Facebook ad. When I set up my Facebook ad, it had a pool of over 300,000. I hope I read the report correctly. Either way, thatâ€™s a better response than I got from the blog tour. And that was just over a five day period. Imagine what it would have been had I did it for a month. [Iâ€™ve only done blog tours with my full-size novels.]
This month Iâ€™ll be trying the Facebook Ad again, but a little differently. Iâ€™ll let you know what I did and what the results are.
So what have I learned about building a mailing list? Itâ€™s not as difficult as I thought. Iâ€™m so excited about the things Iâ€™ve learned and the results so far in building my writer mailing list, that Iâ€™m going to try it with my lingerie business. Iâ€™ve created a little how-to guide as a freebie. I hear you now saying, â€œWhat do I need to know about lingerie that would fill a book?â€ Youâ€™d be surprised at what you donâ€™t know. I know I was. Anyway, Iâ€™m very curious to see the results of my experiment.
Have a great Summer.