Well, I’m excited to share the story of my very first launch! I literally earned 0 dollars prior to July 31. And for the month of August, I’m not going to share my final numbers, but they were enough to get me excited, though not enough to start writing full time. So I have more progress to make. And I ended up spending a lot of money to get the numbers I got. Regardless, I still consider it a successful launch, considering I went from 0 to a nice supplemental income in only 30 days. I’m pretty confident now that I can turn this into a career if I am persistent. Anyway, I thought I’d share everything I did to get here:
Long before launch:
First of all, I learned everything I could about the business. I read all of the books by Chris Fox, as well as many MANY others, trying to make sure I could get each “essential” aspect of book publishing down. I released a permafree collection of a serial I had written in 2017 to experiment with (ads, promotions, blurb etc.), which really helped to get an idea of how it all works before my actual launch. I HIGHLY recommend this. Having a guinea pig you don’t care about as much to experiment with is a great way to learn. When I learned about writing to market I had to change a lot about that serial, and I also changed what I was writing at the time to a story I had that was more marketable.
I then wrote the first three books of the series in time for the launch so I could have a rapid release. I did genre research to get a sense of the cover style for my genre, and purchased the covers from 99designs (which are great, by the way). I also made sure my story had some of the essential tropes of the genre, though thankfully this didn’t change my initial idea much. I also used my permafree serial and another short story as reader magnets to get people on my mailing list before launch. I had about 850 people at the date of first launch (that increased by 300 just this month).
Book 1 had a developmental editor, and all three had a handful of beta readers as well as a proofreader. That’s it.
The Month Before Launch
On the month before I scheduled a bunch of book promotions and newsletter swaps. I probably had about 40 all together (both promotions and swaps). I also released my reader magnet specific to this series about two weeks before launch, and put it up on the Prolific Reader as well as ran a Book Funnel group swap to get more people on my list. I also secured a blurb from Best Page Forward and did all the little things to get the books ready. I put the 1st book up for preorder about three weeks before launch.
The First 10 Days of Launch
On the week of, I spent about A LOT of money on ads (mostly FB, AMS hasn’t worked for me yet), spreading it out so that it increased over the first 10 days. I had previously scheduled my book promotions to increase in the same way. The 10th day had the most advertising and promotions. This was to try and get the algorithm to kick in with the slow curve. I think it worked. While my sales dropped a lot once I cut the advertising spend, the KU reads remained high, and have stayed high since.
On the first day of launch, I put my second book up for preorder for 1 week later. Once that was up, I put the third one up for preorder for 2 weeks later.
The first book reached a peak rank of 1,994, then hovered around 7,000 for a while. Once book 3 came out it began to drop again to around 12,000.
The Rest of August
Ever since I’ve been keeping my ad spend on a low but steady amount, focusing on getting as low of a CPC as I can. I’ve managed to get it down to about $.15 so far. I’m still tweaking and seeing success in lowering it.
Some of the lessons I’ve learned. First, I’m not sure spending all that money on advertising was truly necessary. I think much of the success I saw was more due to the promotions, which were much cheaper by comparison. I also wish I could have learned AMS ads better beforehand. But other than that, I can honestly say that I did everything I knew how to do, and I did it successfully. The launch was not the lightning strike that I’ve occasionally seen and secretly wanted, but it was a solid start. I’m currently hard at work on book 4, and having even a little money is making me excited to write harder and faster.