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.
Unexpected….there are a lot of things that happen in life that are “unexpected.” My latest release, UNEXPECTED LOVE, was completely unexpected. I’ve talked about this book in a previous post [UNEXPECTED NOVEL, JULY 2017].
Since then, I did a cover change and set out to try a new launch plan. First step in my new launch plan, setting up an ARGroup [HOW I SET UP MY FIRST ARGROUP, SEPTEMBER 2017]. I didn’t realize how valuable an ARGroup could be.
On October 3rd, I released my 17th title. Let me step back and do a happy dance and a HUGE PRAISE GOD! Okay, now on to my post. I have been taking the Mark Dawson courses on Self-Publishing and one of the sessions described a new release launch sequence. I figured I’d try it. I’ve release a few books and thought I was doing a decent job, however, I didn’t realize I could have done better.
A little more than thirty days ago, I asked my mailing list for ARGroup members. I got a few volunteers, which I am very grateful for.
According to Mark’s Launch Sequence, 30 days out, I needed to send my book to my ARGroup. I missed that by a couple of weeks because of a few tweaks. Once I sent the email out, I made it very clear what I wanted. Mark said he found it a little difficult to ask for reviews. Me too. It almost felt like I was begging, but there’s a scripture that says, “…you have not, because you ask not…James 4:2” This was very true. It never really occurred to me to ask for reviews without some sort of compensation [i.e., giveaway, treat, etc.]. As I wrote the email detailing what I needed, I really did feel uneasy, but that was because it was foreign to me.
In the past when I released a book, I never did it with ANY reviews. Nor did I release at a special price. My previous launch plan was, a cover reveal about a week before release day. Then an email to my mailing list, post it on all my social media, book a couple of ads, possibly a guest post and a lot of prayer.
Here’s how I made Mark’s plan work for me.
Send manuscript to ARGroup via Book Funnel.
Cover Reveal Email to Mailing List [see revised cover.]
Make any changes based on comments. [There were a few things changed. I had two characters with the same name. One was a first name and the other was a second name.]
Final proof read
Book launch promotion [I decided to wait until I had reviews before placing ads. I did post to my social media. Elena Dillion helped me design some graphics I could use on my social media and eventually as Facebook Ads. See below.]
Email mailing list with an excerpt
Tease about a launch contest [I opted to do a Goodreads Giveaway which I set up to run during the hard launch phase. Three signed copies. In the past, I’ve had pretty good results with the giveaways.]
Upload to all relevant platforms [I’ve opted to go wide, so my book is on
Send and email to list announcing new release…build a little drama with one of my graphics.
Email Advance Group that book is live and ask for reviews [This has been very exciting. During my soft launch phase, my ARGroup is responding very well. As of this posting, my team has posted 6 reviews, 5 Amazon US and 1 Amazon CA. I have never released a book with reviews. This was the most difficult part, because I really wanted to by a couple of ads. But now that I have a few reviews, I’m in a better position for promotional ads.]
Ask for 99c sales – State why the sales would be helpful
[This is where I am as of writing this. In one of my Amazon categories with my ARGroup’s reviews, I started the day in the 120s in one of my categories. YEAH!]
Keep track on sales and traction. or once you’ve reached your review goal. If it’s great, switch price to regular price.
“Hard Launch” [My plan is to start my AMS Ads at this point. I’ve been doing very well with AMS Ads. I like the results. AMS Ads are a little tricky. I’m currently running three. One is costing me money. However, it’s getting me sales I don’t think I would have gotten otherwise. The other two are making money. I’m curious to see how this new ad will work.]
Email your list the book is live
“Mop Up” email to people who haven’t opened the first email. Thank them for the great launch.
“Second Mop Up” Email
If you’re moving the price up, let them know in this email [I’m moving my price up earlier in the process.]
Close Launch contest [this signifies the end of a launch]
I’ll let you know how this worked for me. See you next month. Happy Fall.
Your brand is your author name. Everything we post on our website, social media or blogs help add content to that author brand. For someone like me, still unpublished, I want to create posts that are worthwhile even if I’m not selling books yet. Figuring out what to do can be overwhelming and time-intensive. Here I share with you three website/apps I use that have helped save me time and mental energy.
I love the WordSwag App. For $4.99 in the app store, you can create memes for your social media fast and easy. You can use any photo from your phone and customize the text using either the given quotes or writing your own. I love to quote scripture this way using a nature pic I’ve taken. There’s even a way to enter a watermark so you can have your website listed at the bottom, branding your memes.
One of the websites I like to use is design-seeds.com. There, you will find blends of colors that make a variety of color palettes. You can select the colors you like and write down the color codes. Color codes are universal. In different design software programs you can type in a color code and it will match. So anyone you hire for cover designs or creating materials can use these codes and you can have a consistent look.
Having a recognizable color scheme with your author brand is a great way to build awareness and identity across your books, website and social media. Take a look at the books you read and notice the fonts and colors used on the covers. Then go to their website and social media and see if you see a connection.
So what are the colors you want to associate with your author name? You can select 5-6 colors from light to dark and use them in everything you create. Your website, memes for your social media, and yes, even to incorporate into your book cover designs. (You can then select additional colors for that specific series or book).
I would recommend creating a Pinterest board where you save the photos of the color schemes you like and reference back to them.
Once you’ve selected a palette of colors for your brand, write down the color numbers to use in your graphics.
Another website I love using is Canva. This website lets you create all sorts of media, including banners and social media sized for any app, to flyers, postcards and more. I created the image for this blog by uploading an image I purchased through a photo website. You can upload your own pictures that you take or buy and you can use the color codes selected from design-seeds.com (the brown in the image is one of my colors). You have the choice to use existing designs or create your own. I use this program to create memes. I even used it to design my son’s high school graduation announcement.
If you would like to learn more about these and other programs, I would highly recommend signing up for the teachable class Author Elena Dillon has created titled Visual Content Marketing for Authors. Take a look at http://confused-and-terrified-writer.teachable.com/ Her videos offer step by step instructions and she provides written out lessons explaining things in detail. (More information here.)
Although new to the writing fiction world, Denise Colby has over 20+ years experience in marketing, creating different forms of content and copy for promotional materials. Taking the lessons learned from creating her own author brand Denise M. Colby, Denise enjoys sharing her combined knowledge with other authors.
If you are interested in a marketing evaluation and would like help in developing a strategy for your author brand you can find out more here http://denisemcolby.com/marketing-for-authors/
The answer is simple.
Visual content is anything that uses pictures, graphics, video, etc. When you see a GIF of cats falling off tables? That’s visual content. A pretty graphic with a quote from a book? Visual Content. Those fabulous cooking videos where they make a cinnamon roll apple pie in twenty seconds? Visual content.
It’s what will get your content seen. As a matter of fact, statistically your readers are 44% more likely to engage with visual content. Hmmm. 44%? Hard to ignore. We all want to work smarter not harder, right? In this class, you will learn:
This class for you if you’ve never created any kind of graphics on your own. It’s for authors who need to learn how to create visual content for their author business and are unsure about using new technology. We will go over:
And believe it or not? I’ll make it fun. I’ll teach you how to create a graphic while you’re standing in line for coffee. =)
Who Am I?
I’m Elena Dillon, an author of the award winning Young Adult Breathe series. When I’m not writing, I love to help my author friends with technology and social media. I’ve taught Social Media for the Confused and Terrified, Pinterest for the Confused and Terrified, Visual Content for Authors and spoken at numerous conferences, chapters, and groups about social media and indie publishing.
Most of the time, I’m a wife to my husband of twenty-six years, mom to my two grown kids and servant to my high-maintenance English bulldog, Brutus, while I wait, not so patiently, for grandbabies.