To raise the profile of the impending launch of her second book, self-published thriller writer Alison Morton gave its prequel an extra promotional boost. Here she explains why and how, and shares her strategy's pleasing results.
Last month, I decided to increase interest in the imminent launch of Perfiditas, book two of my Roma Nova alternate history series, by discounting its prequel, Inceptio.
For a new author's first book, Inceptio had achieved respectable sales both hand-selling and online, plus 41 reviews on Amazon UK (34 of which were 5-star and the remainder 4-star), 12 on Amazon US (11 5-star and 1 4-star) and a GoodReads average of 4.41. Added to that, Inceptio had been shortlisted for the International Rubery Book Award and earned a BRAG Medallion.
I now particularly wanted to raise its profile in North America, to generate some additional reviews, and to try out paid promotion.
I decided to run a 99 cents/pence promotion on the e-book for six days, and to use a book promotion service for one day in the middle of that period. The results have been excellent: satisfying sales and undreamed of, if temporary, ranking.
Visibility and discoverability are the two buzzwords for self-published work, and these were my goals. I researched the big companies – BookBub, Pixel of Ink, Ereader News Today – but eventually decided on a smaller one, Book Blast, cited as one of the following pack in David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Visible. Two factors were important: list segmentation and cost. This was my first dip in the paid promotional ocean.
I asked for a date and category. Inceptio is marketed as an alternate history thriller, but it has strong elements of action adventure, history and a core romance, so I could be flexible. In the end, the helpful Jason at Book Blast suggested fantasy. Information about Inceptio would be emailed to 10,000 people who had signed up for that list. I paid my $15 happily.
To be eligible for inclusion, your book must be on offer at the time of its Book Blast promotion, so I reduced the price on 2 October, ahead of the Book Blast day scheduled for 5 October. How embarrassing would it be not to have it all ready? I elected to do this on Amazon only – they are the big one and the easiest to alter. I tweeted, and posted to Facebook about the promotional price (but not about the Book Blast listing) and tracked an increase in sales which had dropped off in the previous month.
On Blast day, I was glued to the computer. I had plenty to do for the release of the second book – writing guest posts, sending invitations for my UK paperback launch in November, interacting with media. I was also working on my draft of book 4. I tracked my ranking on Amazon US throughout the day and watched it rise from #104, 459 on 2 October to the heights of #5,662 in Paid in Kindle Store. It achieved #9 on Kindle Store>Kindle ebooks>Science Fiction & Fantasy>Fantasy>Alternative History, #11 in Books>Science Fiction & Fantasy>Fantasy>Alternate History and #27 in Books>Mystery, Thriller & Suspense>Thrillers>Historical. For over 24 hours, Inceptio was on the first page of the alternative/alternate history listings.
As I write, the rankings have, of course, dropped; overall Paid in Kindle Store stands at #16, 063 but that’s a hell of a lot better than the #104,459 at the outset.
Over the period of 5/6 October, accounting for time differences, I sold two and a half times my normal number on Amazon.com but around the same as before on the UK market. Hopefully more reviews will come later. It’s not a lot of books as such, and they were at a third of their normal price, but I learnt early that the objective of my first book was to gain a presence, a reader base and fans. Poised to launch book two in the series, Perfiditas, I felt I was in a better starting place than I was before this promotion – and I had a blast, too!