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You ever just spin up some memes as promo material?
Sometimes you have to spin up your own custom version of the Drake meme because you want to post it to your favorite queer shitposting subreddit...
Wait, these next ones aren't memes! These are ads! Still, it's interesting to see the progression from my first homemade ad to my most recent attempt... We're getting there?
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Hey nerds! So back on September 2nd I released my first ever book, Stray Dogs, an urban fantasy romp that had been in the works for the better part of a decade. It was about damn time I kick it out the door. Get a job, you freeloader.
Sale page is here if you'd like to take a look the the blurb/cover/reviews (or, you know, buy it for yourself): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08H7XPZVV/
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Lv1hkM1HJA6lL9F5v1mPYSDCsEj5VyYsxkbh60inzKM/edit?usp=sharing (this includes sales/day for the first 3 weeks, then sales/week and total expenses)
ARCs and Reviews: I don't have a street team or ARC team yet, but I used a few sites to help kickstart the process. Booksprout for ARCs, with 7 claimed and 2 confirmed reviews (both 5 stars). I'm happy with that result.
I was going to use Hidden Gems as well but I kiiiiiiiinda booked it for Sept 2021. Oops. At least I have that slot booked a ready for Book 2 or 3.
I've been pleasantly surprised with the general review rate coming in at over 10%. The percentage will fall with time, but having 18 ratings/reviews on amazon after 50 days is pretty rad. Seeing 5-star reviews from complete strangers who connected with my material has made my entire year worth it.
Release and Promo:
On release day, I blasted out the news to all my personal social media channels, to a few specific subreddits where I'm a regular participant, an old-school forum that I've been a part of for 15 years, and the sub-200 twitter following I have. All told, pretty small scale release, but it netted me 59 sales on Day 1 and 112 sales after Week 1 concluded.
Since then, I post about the book once every few days on social media and make a post in fantasy novel facebook groups every week or so.
The drop off is real. After the first 7 days Stray Dogs pulls in 2-10 sales per week and even that's with considerable social media hustle.
Cover cost me 250 buckazoids from the talented https://www.natashasnowdesigns.com/. I was nervous approaching her since she primarily works in romance, but I love her aesthetic and we made it work within my genre! I'd be frankly surprised if the cover turned potential readers away.
For ads, I ran a few Facebook ads after the initial sales dropped off but I'm not sure they did anything. Got 70+ clicks but I feel like my conversion rate is dreadfully low. Could be my blurb? Not sure. If anyone has ideas, I'd love to hear suggestions on click conversion.
I also ran a suite of AMS ads and while my clicks are in the high single digits, I've generated 100s of impressions so just keeping my book in the public consciousness can't be a bad thing. I have NO idea what I'm doing with ad copy so I'm sure that doesn't help things.
I plan on going Kindle Unlimited by the end of the year. I should have done this from the beginning, but I saw conflicting opinions on if you should go broad or focused. This is probably my biggest regret--seeing the KDP Unlimited success of so many other authors on this sub--but I'm hoping that a fresh campaign around the holidays with KDP Select+Unlimited enabled will yield results. Folks will probably be a LOT more willing to try out a new author if they see it's 'free'.
I plan on making smaller ad campaigns over the next few weeks to see if I can't lock in on my demo. After I go KU, that larger push will ensue. I feel like my ad game sucks? I'll probably make more posts about this on a later date.
I never expected my first book would be profitable, but here we are. It ain't much, but it's mine.
I fully intend to release an audiobook as soon as I can get it spun up through ACX. Kinda terrified it will end up as a money pit, but I love the audio medium and I have disposable income to make it work, so by-god it will be MY money pit.
I plan on offering a paperback on Amazon soon, purely as a vanity project.
The (new) goal is to hit 200 sales by the end of the year. We're at 152 right now, so I feel this is an attainable goal with the right kind of push.
YOU CAN WIN. YOU FEEL GREAT. YOU. CAN. DO. THIS.
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[WP] Ghosts are real and widely known about and they tend to be attached to the place they die. You are a real estate agent and have to sell these haunted homes.
"Alright, so hear me out."
It wasn't the best way to start a tour, but looking at the ramshackle single-story home from the outside with its peeling viridian exterior and crusty brown lawn wasn't going to inspire much confidence. My main sales technique involved keeping my mouth running before the prospective buyers rolled their eyes and walked out of my life. I needed this commission and I needed it yesterday. My pickup's transmission mount wasn't going to go and repair itself.
"I know you said you're okay with sharing a home with a house ghost, but not a lot of new families are willing to go that route. That's one of the reasons this beauty has been on the market for as long as it has. More and more folks are building new ever since the Reawakening."
The blonde raised a perfectly arched eyebrow, her eyes flickering over towards her wife and searching for some sort of reaction. The brunette, her abdomen slightly swollen with the couple's first, lifted her shoulders into a shrug that said, 'Eh, what the hell.'
Good enough for me. I twirled the key ring about my forefinger and boldly stepped over the cracked pavement of the front walkway, waving my charges forward.
"His name is Geoff," I said, unlocking the front door and letting the couple enter the front hall and attached living room. They glanced around in the same way every prospective buyer does, their heads darting about like curious birds. "He spends most of his time on the first floor and when you do see him, it'll probably be in the kitchen. Incredibly sweet guy. Great conversation. World traveler. Lived one hell of a life. He used this house as his home base, so to speak, for over fifty years before he went down swinging. Pancreatic Cancer."
The blonde dipped her head to the brunette's ear, the two of them exchanging a private conversation. I caught the word 'carpet' escaping the blonde's lips accompanied with a disdainful curl of her upper lip. A few seconds later, they were predictably asking about making sweeping changes and renovations. I sucked in a breath between my teeth. Here we go.
"So that's the thing," I said, tempering my words with a note of apology. "Geoff insists that the house stay in the exact condition he left it in when he passed. Says it keeps him calm. The last realtor that tried to paint the walls found himself looking down the barrel of a full fledged poltergeist. Wasn't pretty."
The blonde started tugging at the brunette's sleeve and made a nod of her head towards the front door, but the brunette's nose crinkled and she remained anchored in place. Her nostrils flaring, the mother-to-be glanced towards the rear of the house. Towards the kitchen.
"If you'll follow me, we can cruise around the rest of the first floor and then I can take you down into the basement." I waved at them to follow along. The brunette floated behind me as if enchanted, her steps light and her gaze distant. "The kitchen is just through here..."
The gasp that escaped from the brunette stopped my pitch dead in its tracks. She froze in the threshold, her eyes locked on transparent form shuffling about the space and tending to his most recent masterpiece. Sitting at the kitchen's small round table were three place settings and a bottle of something cold and sweet resting in a bucket of ice. The blonde opened her mouth for one final objection, but I cut her off with a wave of the hand.
"Sparkling grape juice," I assured her. "Nothing more."
I was rewarded with a bright, breezy laugh from the brunette as she took a seat. The blonde continued to scowl, but she sat too and I hurried to join them.
My smile, my fake 'oh-god-please-buy-this-house-so-I-can-eat' smile, melted into something far more genuine and my heart finally rose out of my toes. I had been skeptical of Geoff's plan at first, selling his lonely self as the star attraction, but now I was feeling like an idiot for not giving him a shot sooner.
"Let's pop this cork, shall we?"
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[WP] A Time Traveler Went Back to 1400 AD Europe with an Assault Rifle, and used it to obtain power. He has lived like a Baron for 40 years. The gun's internals have been broken for the last 30 years.
“Dood aan de baron!”
Geoff sat atop the simple wooden throne at the head of his grand hall, trademark M4 loosely clutched in in his right hand, the symbol of his ironclad power. On a normal day, this might have been the time of afternoon he would entertain an open audience made from his subjects. A rueful smirk slithered across Geoff’s features. He supposed by the strictest definitions, that was still the case.
The chants were getting louder.
It had only been a matter of time. Between the sickness and drought, his people were suffering. They needed someone to blame. Geoff, and his station, represented the status quo.
It was a good run. His waist had grown. His family had flourished. His beard had turned grey. It had sure as shit beaten the hell out of life as a sanitation worker from Buffalo. At least here, he had made history. He had LIVED history. Not many could say that.
“Time to go,” Geoff muttered, clambering to his feet and letting out a groan as he straightened his back.
The first of the mob made it through the door, pitchforks, clubs, and torches at the ready. An inadvertent snort escaped Geoff’s face; if his situation hadn’t been so dire, the cliché scene might have been comical.
The leader of the mob hesitated, fear flashing over his face as Geoff leveled the barrel of his weapon at the man’s head. The chanting hushed to a low murmur and Geoff couldn’t help himself.
“There’s no way this old hunk of rust still works, right?” the baron said in a tongue only he could understand. “You want to see me gone so bad, all you've gotta do is ask yourself one question. ‘Do I feel lucky?’.” Geoff aimed down the sights, relaxing his breathing and thumbing a small red switch on the side of the lethal tool of war. “Well, do ya, punk?”
The mob, to their credit, were committed to their cause. Without hesitation, they surged forwards, a violent wave of humanity.
Geoff sighed internally. At least where he was going, he wouldn’t have to worry about his peers not getting his references. But the thought was a cold comfort.
In a single deft maneuver, Geoff flipped the weapon in his hands and pressed the cold, unforgiving barrel to the underside of his chin. His subjects skidded to a halt at the foot of the dais, baffled for the second time in as many minutes. Geoff gave them a final grandfatherly wink and pulled the trigger.
The world went away.
Baron Geoff of the Low Geofflands, long may he reign, stood in the entryway of his studio apartment in Buffalo, New York, tears rapidly blurring his vision. It was not good to be home.
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[WP] You're a powerful dragon that lived next to a small kingdom. For centuries you ignored humanity and lived alone in a cave, and the humans also avoided you. As the kingdom fell to invaders, a dying soldier approaches you with the infant princess, begging you to take care of her.
What did I know about raising a baby?
Fuck all, that’s what. I hadn’t even laid a clutch of my own yet. Not in this neighborhood.
I couldn’t blame Geoff. Not really. The town guardsman had stumbled to the mouth of my cave, riddled with centaur arrows, explained the situation, and promptly died on my doorstep. I paused, mid-stride, the implication of that thought hanging in the forefront of my brain. Son of a cerberus, I’d have to get rid of the body before it started to smell. First the sewage infrastructure, even though he knew full-well that I lived in this swamp, and now this? Inconsiderate to the end, that Geoff.
I shook it off. One thing at a time. Refocusing on my task and tucking my wings a little tighter against my back, I stepped down the cavernous corridor and came to the chamber I had been searching for: my hoard.
I picked through the mountain of silver, gold, platinum knickknacks until I found my prize somewhere towards the back. Gingerly gripping the tiny golden rod between two claws, I blearily shambled back towards the entrance where Geoff had ruined my early-spring hibernation. The little golden scepter was practically falling apart, but that suited my purposes just fine. The symbol of ultimate kingly power, encrusted with blood-red rubies, made a tinny rattling noise every time I so much as jostled it. Perfect.
“Here,” I rumbled in draconic, tossing the rod at the feet of this fleshy, wide-eyed monkey. “Entertain yourself while I figure this out.”
It didn’t even look at the golden treasure on the ground in front of it. It just started to scream.
I winced, internally weighing the merits of melting the little creature and being done with its incessant shrieking and constant appetite and other stupid mammalian needs. Black dragons such as myself weren’t blessed with the ability to belch fire like our crimson and gold comrades, but we could spit a mean gout of acid. I’d have to make sure the deed was done far enough away from the tapestries so that I wouldn’t...
Any thoughts of squashing the little bug came to a screeching halt when I noticed a glint around its neck. A pendant. Bearing a crest. The same crest as that on the scepter.
It was in that instant the plan... THE plan... first started to form.