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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.