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Book Release Strategies for Authors
Welcome to the Author’s Mindset Podcast. I’m Dan Padavona, your partner on this amazing journey to becoming a successful author. If you haven’t already, please click the subscribe button so you can receive all my tips and motivation. And while you’re at it, head over to my website at DanPadavona.com and click on my Advice for Authors blog for my latest tips and tricks and new techniques I’m using to advertise my author brand and generate higher earnings in my writing career. Once again, that’s DanPadavona.com.
I generated half a million dollars in Kindle sales and Kindle Unlimited page reads over the last 12 months and kept over $360,000 in profit. That’s after advertising, book cover designs, editing and new equipment. I did it all as a self published thriller and mystery writer. And I want to teach you to do the same.
Today we’ll discuss release strategies. This is a question which was posed by author William Cook. He wants to know what is the best way to release books in 2022 and 2023.
If you joined us on our last show, we had an interesting discussion on generating a mailing list using Facebook advertising. Some of you also caught me last week on The Creative Penn podcast with Joanna Penn. During that podcast, I made the statement that Facebook advertising doesn’t seem to work very well when I’m building an email list. So you may wonder what happened between that podcast and my last episode.
I’ve had some amazingly successful advertisements through Facebook when building an email list. But boy, for the last few months did I struggle, I just couldn’t get it to work, no matter what combination of targets, images and text I used. It just wasn’t working for me. Perhaps I had simply worn out my audience. Either way, I shifted to using lookalike ads, and I changed up the text and I changed up the images. And lo and behold, everything worked. Not only did those advertisements work, they worked so well that I started duplicating them, and moving them into different countries and different audiences. And all of them so far, with the exception of maybe two or three are working very, very well. I think I’m running five or six right now and spending about $60 to $80 per day just in advertising my mailing lists. I’m adding between 100 and 150 new subscribers every single day, and I couldn’t be happier. So I retract that statement I made on Joanna Penn’s Creative Penn podcast.
Facebook ads do work for me. Eventually, they just stop working. So strike while the iron is hot. If you have an ad right now that is working well, pour your money into it and get what you can out of it because there will come a day probably sooner than you would like when that ad is going to stop working.
In the meantime, I’m constructing a new study where I’m looking at Amazon ads or AMS ads, click through rate versus conversion rate. I have posted about this in the past on my blog, which you can find at DanPadavona.com and by clicking on the Advice for Authors blog link. In the past, I’ve found a strong correlation between CTR, or click through rate, and CVR, or conversion rates. But I did a more exhaustive study in the last two weeks, and I can’t wait to share that with you. It should be great conversation material.
Alright, let’s get into today.
Release strategies. Let’s say you’re a new author, or you are an established author who is switching into a new genre, which I was doing back in 2019, back when I used to write horror and then I shifted into thrillers. First off, I love pre orders. But just a warning. You need a sizable readership to make pre orders work; you also need to ensure before you start any new release strategy that your covers and your descriptions for your upcoming books are in order. Nail those covers, nail those descriptions because all the strategy and advertising in the world will not save you if you don’t have strong covers and descriptions.
So let’s begin. I recommend two different techniques for new authors or authors switching genres and building a new audience. The first technique is probably the least costly technique, and also is going to be the least writing intensive technique. If you are familiar with Book Funnel and Story Origin, you know that you can join group promotions on these two sites and build your newsletter email lists. As far as newsletter promotion services go, I’m talking about something completely different. These are services which will advertise your book, The Best of all is BookBub. With Book Funnel and Story Origin, what you want to do is spend a few months joining group promotions which are related to your genre, and building up at least a decent sized mailing list of 200 to 500 new subscribers, this is something akin to kindling, which will start the eventual fire. If you can grab 500 to 1000 new subscribers, then more power to you. But either way, you need to start somewhere. And Book Funnel and Story Origin each provide very cost effective ways to do this.
Step two. You run an advertisement with one or more newsletter promotion services and set your book to 99 cents on release. Who are the best services to work with?
In my opinion, after BookBub it’s Robinreads, Ereader News Today (or ENT) as they’re often known, and there are some smaller niche type newsletter promotion services, which will work well depending on which genre that you sell your books in. For instance, I do very well with Book Adrenaline, which is great for thrillers and mysteries. So what are the cons of this technique? Well, the first is promo services might decline your new book if you aren’t proven. Also, do you want to build a reputation as a 99 cent author? I sometimes run 99 cent deals and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if your first impression is, hey, I’m a 99 cent author, your readers may then expect you to release future books at 99 cents rather than at full price.
Let’s talk about technique number two. This is the rapid release technique. There are different opinions among writers on what rapid release is. When I refer to rapid release, I’m referring to schedules where books are released every 60, 45, or 30 days. Each new release builds momentum on the last, and there are several advantages, including the fact that Amazon gives a lot of exposure to new books through their new release list or NRL. You may see these when you’re on Amazon and you click on hottest new releases for each genre. You can stay on this list for the first 30 days that your book is published. You can add additional days on this list if you use pre orders. You will qualify for that list on all the days leading up to your release date. But you need to have enough preorders to actually show up on that list.
All right, let’s look at the different rapid release schedules. The first is the 60 days schedule. This is a pretty reasonable pace which any author with a strong work ethic can keep up with even if you are holding down a job at the same time. So let’s say you’re targeting a 90,000 word novel; 1500 words per day will get you there.
Cons, however, are that you lose a lot of Amazon love between 31 and 60 days because after those 30 your days, your book will fall off the new release list. You may need to use advertisements between days 31 and 60, if you want to keep the momentum going on your new book and drum up new sales for your second book. It goes without saying, after every book that you release, as soon as you finish up your last paragraph, and you tie everything up in a nice tidy bow, you want to put a small paragraph, which targets your readers to the next book. Let them know that the next book is coming, and even put a direct link so that they can find it in the Amazon store.
Next is 45 days. This has worked very well for me in the past. In fact, I use the 45 day rapid release schedule for almost my entire Darkwater Cove and Wolf Lake mystery series. The same 90,000 word novel now requires that you write 2000 words per day to finish your manuscript on time, so it’s putting a little bit more pressure on you. However, this 45 day schedule keeps the momentum going a lot more strongly than the 60 day schedule does. And there’s a lower chance that you’ll need advertisements. If you fall off that hot new released date after day 30, don’t worry. Your next one is going to show up 15 days later on release day.
What about 30 days? This is a tough one to pull off, but it is so worth it. It works the best for all the rapid release strategies in my opinion, but you need to write fast. As soon as one book falls off a new release list, the next takes its place. If you’re using preorders, you could have two, three, even more than that books on your hot new release list at once. Talk about building some great momentum. The problem is it’s a break neck pace. You will almost surely have to finish that first book, and then hold a few books in the series back to make this work.
You can release a new book every 30 days while you’re working on later books in the series. For that 90,000 word novel I was discussing earlier, you’ll need to write 3000 words per day to keep pace with the 30 day release schedule. That’s a lot. There’ll be additional pressure. You must schedule covers to be designed, editing, and beta reading. You must schedule all of this ahead of time, so that everything is moving very smoothly. For all of these techniques, you may be wondering, where is the time for editing and proofreading? Don’t I have to get it edited? Don’t I have to get my book proof read. And the answers are of course, you must if you want to have a successful product which is quality controlled.
So all three rapid release techniques require what I call staggered starts. Once you finish book one, you immediately start on book two, while at the same time, your editor takes book one and begins editing. As soon as your editor is done., while you’re writing book two, book one goes to your beta readers. You have to develop organizational skills – strong organizational skills. So yes, your work is only 30 days on the manuscript. But what you’re doing is you’re writing book two, while book one undergoes editing and proofreading.
Alright, so those are my thoughts on release schedules if you are a new author, or you are an existing author trying to break into a new genre.
If you enjoyed this episode, please do me a favor and go to Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, or wherever you’re listening to this podcast and give me a rating and review. Positive reviews help other authors or anyone engaged in self development find this podcast. Remember to head over to DanPadavona.com and check out my Advice for Authors blog. It’s absolutely free. You can see what I’m working on now and what techniques I’m employing to grow my author business. If you like those tips, you can apply them to your own career.
Remember, the seeds of happiness flourish when you shine a positive light. Make someone smile today. Stay amazing.
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