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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.