Launch went well. I learned a lot. For one, the self-publishing gurus go on and on about free promo days for your book, and on and on about getting to number 1 in an Amazon niche category. I assumed there was a correlation there, but there isn’t. My guess is that the gurus talk about the free days because they were a killer strategy back in the day. A promo site would send out a newsletter with free books, the author would flip back to paid the next day, and the people who got the newsletter late would end up buying your book. Nowadays, there are a ton of these promos sites, and a megaton of authors using them, and not so many readers reading them. The reason free promos still can be a good strategy is to get reviews. In my case, I realized they weren’t a fit for me a couple days beforehand and turned off the free promos that I could. A couple ran anyway and I got 1350 downloads, but I didn’t have my review link in my book at that time, so don’t think that will help me.
What did help were the 99 cent promos, because those count toward sales and rankings. I stacked a bunch during the week after my scheduled free promo week, and got to number 1 in several categories on the first day. When you get to number 1, Amazon puts an orange Best Seller sticker next to your book when it shows up on searches, and in the product details page, it says which category you’re number 1 in. This is cool to show your friends, but don’t think it did much for me. Maybe a few more sales. What it didn’t do was generate any interest from any podcasters or bloggers who I tried to reach out to. Unfortunately, there are no ‘influencers’ that I know of in my genre anyway. However, a Shroud of Turin expert reached out to me and I’m setup to do a book fair and radio interview with a Catholic station in Michigan in June, pending Corona. Maybe it helped him when I told him I was number 1 in Christian Sci-Fi, but it was probably enough to get recommended by the Shroud of Turin expert. This of course would be a money loser, but an investment in my resume.
The AMS ads have been a flop. I spent over $100 before I made my first 99 cent sale. I had an Average Cost of Sale above 10,000%! But, another good thing about the best seller badge is that I finally figured out how to get Amazon to let me use that in my ad copy. Since then it has been selling better. But every fiction author I’ve heard from spends a lot more than they make there. Again, they said back in the day it was good, but now with a glut of authors, and everyone using advanced tactics in the ads, the prices have gone up and the sales have gone down. I don’t want to sound like I’m whining. I’m really happy with everything, and like I said before, at least self-publishing is an option unlike it used to be. It’s just hard to prove you’re legit with so much noise out there.
My new goal is to get my book accepted by BookBub. This is a very lofty goal, because they usually only take books by famous or established authors, or authors with tons of reviews. BookBub is the mother of book deal and giveaway sites, and it’s a badge of honor to be accepted. I’m working on getting reviews a few different ways. Also, I think I’ll raise my book price next week, and then later do another round of 99 cent promos to get sales, and then free promos after that to get reviews. I also entered a few indie book contests, one which happens pretty soon, and one which won’t happen until about this time next year. That’s another thing that BookBub likes, other than reviews, is awards. What is tough about BookBub for me is genre. My book is a Christian Archaeological Biographical Apologetic Sci-Fi Literary Thriller, and for some reason they don’t have that genre. So I’m left with Supernatural Thriller, which seems like it needs about 400 reviews to compete, and Christian Fiction, which for them is synonymous with old-timey Romance/Amish books, and BookBub is clear that they accept books that are similar to those that are selling for them. I’ll let you know if I figure out how to crack the code, or what comes up next.