So many of my posts focus on specific tools or micro details that you can use in your book marketing efforts, but for this post I’d like to step back and talk about a mindset that will increase your ratio of success and help you not feel so overwhelmed. (A win-win, yes?)
John Maxwell, the great leadership guru, has taught for years about his “Rule of 5” daily practice. The Rule of 5 is simply a series of activities that you do EVERY DAY that are fundamental to your success. For John, his Rule of 5 are as follows: every day he reads, every day he files, every day he thinks, every day he asks questions, and every day he writes.
Picture a forest of trees in your backyard – massive pecans and oaks. If you choose one tree to strike at with five swings of an ax every day, eventually you’ll cut down that tree. If you take five swings at five random trees each day, what will you end up with? An ugly forest full of scarred trees.
I love this concept for so many reasons, but mostly because it makes succeeding at huge tasks manageable, and helps build productive habits. Read the rest of this entry »
One of my goals for 2016 was to grow my reader email list – by a lot. I started the year with a list of 135 reader emails, and my goal was to add 7,500 new emails, while making sure those new emails were my target reader. As you can imagine, that goal would require a lot of focus and hard work!
I ended the year with a total of 7,313 subscribers on my fiction reader list, which means a net increase of 7,178 emails. Not quite my goal, but close enough I was happy. Of course, those don’t include people who have unsubscribed as I’ve sent emails to the list throughout the year (because those unsubscribes weren’t my target reader, right?), nor does it double-count people who have subscribed through multiple ways. (I use Groups in Mailchimp and consolidate all my reader emails to separate groups within a single list, so no email is duplicated. Otherwise, that would be a sure way to spam someone!)
I’ve talked about the importance of doing a postmortem for a book launch, so as I set my email list growth goals for 2017, I thought it might be helpful to see what efforts produced the best (and worst) results in 2016. The open and click rates for each category below are from the campaign I just sent on 12/27/16 for my new release, so it should be a fairly equal comparison.
Here’s the list:
• Organic sign-ups: 345 emails
Open rate: 61.6%. Click rate: 22.4%.
This is people who sign-up for my mailing list through links in the back of my books, my website, or social media profiles. These people have not received anything in exchange for signing up, except an excited welcome email from me. 🙂
• Sign-ups to receive my free short story that goes after book 5 in my Mountain Dreams Series: 506 emails
Open rate: 33.3%. Click rate: 11.1%.
This offer is in the back of all my ebooks and has a special page on my website. I don’t promote it anywhere else, because it’s helpful to have read that series to appreciate the short story.
• Facebook Lead Generation ads promoting my permafree, book 1 in the Mountain Dreams Series: 4,077 emails
Open rate: 26.1%. Click rate: 8%.
I’ve run these throughout most of the year at a low budget, usually between $5-7/day. I haven’t blogged specifically about this type of FB ad, but I plan to when time permits. It’s my favorite for mailing list growth for many reasons, including the fact that it’s great at helping authors narrow down their target audience and find pertinent keywords. I have a 3-email automation sequence that goes out to new sign-ups giving them the free book in email #1. Then email #2 gives the first few pages of book #2 in that series, along with the link to buy. Then email #3 announces my newest release. So I use these ads as a tool for both list growth and book sales.
• Ongoing Instafreebie giveaway for my permafree book. 835 emails
These were harder to get exact open and click rates because of the way I was tracking subscribers from Instafreebie. From what I can tell, it looks the open and click rates were approx. 33% and 11% respectively.
I blogged about the Instafreebie giveaway here. I was a little skeptical about how high the open and click rates would be, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
• Instafreebie group giveaway for my permafree book: 812 emails
Open and click rates appear to be similar to Instafreebie above.
This was a group of 8 authors who write Christian fiction in a variety of genres. Potential readers chose which (if any) author they wanted to follow in exchange for receiving that author’s free book. The giveaway was done right before Christmas, which is not always a time people are focused on reading or seeking out new books. I have a suspicion it may have been even better right after Christmas. I’m pleased with the results, though!
• Fall Author Mailing List Promo organized by Ryan Zee of BookSweeps: 603 emails
Open rate: 56.8%. Click rate: 19.3%.
This was geared toward fans of Inspirational historical romance (my specific genre), and I was really pleased with the outcome. Ryan’s team gave great ideas to the authors for how to onboard the sign-ups, and I had great interaction with the new readers. It was interesting to find that some of them were already on my list or had sent me reader emails previously. That goes to show this method of recruiting email address is successfully reaching my target audience. Ryan is doing another of these in the spring, and I’m already signed up. There are other similar services out there, but Ryan’s has the best targeting for my specific genre.
In a postmortem, my next step would be to analyze what I would change and what I definitely want to repeat. I won’t bore you with those details, but here’s a chance for you to analyze whether you’d like to try anything from this list!
And I’d love to hear from you now! Did you try any other approaches to growing your reader email list this year that I haven’t mentioned here? If so, what were the results? Or maybe you’ve tried something I did. If so, I’d love to hear about it!
Are you releasing a new book into the world? I talk with so many authors in this position, who are drowning in book marketing advice and just want a simple step-by-step list of what to do to launch the new book properly.
In response to this, I created a simple checklist for a new book launch with “required tasks” (such as adding the book to your Amazon Author Profile) marked separately from “optional tasks” (like a blog tour).
Feel free to use and share it with other authors preparing to launch their latest book baby!
I make no secrets of my respect (almost love) for Bookbub.com advertising. My first Bookbub ad is what really kick-started my book sales, back in January 2015. Since then, I’ve been blessed to have my books featured with Bookbub (6) different times. Through these, I’ve identified some clear strategies for obtaining and pricing a Bookbub feature. Over the next week, we’ll talk through these strategies! Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been quiet on this blog over the past few months, as my life has taken a turn for the busy! With two new book releases and the birth of my third daughter, prioritizing has become a necessity.
But I’ve also taken the opportunity to spend focused time learning from some of the top teachers in the world of book marketing – experts like Mark Dawson (of Facebook Ads for Authors fame), Tim Grahl (teaches a fantastic course called Launch a Bestseller), and Nick Stephenson (Your First 10,000 Readers).
I applied many of the approaches I learned to my latest release (The Lady and the Mountain Call), and released the book with over 3,700 preorders. While not enough to reach the NY Times Bestseller list, these did give the book a nice kick-start as my baby entered the world. This was book 5 in my Mountain Dreams Series, and was available for preorder purchase on all the major sales platforms for just under 90 days (the most allowed by Amazon).
When I sat down to hold my launch post-mortem, the results were quite interesting! Over the next few weeks, I’ll share my data and observations about how each of my strategies worked, with the numbers to support each. Not sure what a post-mortem is? We’ll talk about that, too!
So stay tuned!
But before then, let me share a quick overview of the three main strategies that have proven successful for marketing a new fiction release.
As we talk through paid advertising that works, we’ve finally come to one of the most successful:
This is one of my all-time favorite marketing methods, because this is the way I see the biggest spike in sales. It also works well with my introverted personality. 🙂 Read the rest of this entry »