Happy Monday! It’s President’s Day in the United States, and hopefully you have the day off to sit and relax and enjoy a slow, easy Monday! If not, I hope the holiday slows your workload down and it’s not such a hectic day for you.
I don’t have a lot of news this week. I’ve had some personal stuff going on–I think a lot of you know I lost my cat three weeks ago to old age and colon issues. Then the week after that my car battery died and that cost me a lot of money I didn’t have on top of Harley’s vet bill. It was a blow to my wallet and I’ll need a long time to recover. But, as the saying goes, just keep on keeping on because it’s all you can do.
I”m 40k into the second book of my trilogy as of this writing, and I’m excited I turned what was supposed to be a standalone into more books. This might be the first time with any of my series where I actually like all the characters equally. Does this happen to you? Maybe that might be getting ahead of myself as I haven’t written the third book yet, but I’m actually eager to start their stories. Bits and pieces of who are they’re going to be are already flitting to the surface of my brain, and that is the best feeling in the world.
I added up all my book spending and subtracted that with the royalties I made in 2022, leaving me in the red by 268 dollars. I did my year-end summary in December, but didn’t do a full tally like I have to for my accountant. In my blog post I approximated that I broke even, and I really would have, but last year I had two new things I paid for: Bookfunnel and my Alli membership. Two very important things that will aid my writing business, but my royalties did not cover everything I spent on my books last year. On the bright side, I’ve already made 34% of what I made for the entire year last year, so I’m hoping that trend continues.
I’m very excited about my Freebooksy Promo coming up on Thursday. I have two free days scheduled Thursday, February 23rd and Friday, February 24th. I have my promo booked on Thursday and I add an extra free day because not everyone opens their emails on that day and I would hate for anyone to miss out. I’m giving away Give & Take, the first in the trilogy I published last month. This promo will be different than the ones in the past and I’m hoping this promo will bump up sales overall. Here’s why I think it’s different than the ones I’ve done for my 3rd person books:
All my books are billionaire (I have 6 under my pen name right now). Unlike my 3rd person books, my billionaire books are the same sub-genre–though I do have a lot of fun with tropes. Hopefully that will make it easier for readers to want to read more of my books after the promo if they like Give & Take and
hopefully the rest of the trilogy. When I bought a promo for my small town holiday series, those were the only small town holiday books I had. We like to fool ourselves and think readers will read anything if they like us, but you have to have a very large audience for that to actually work. When you’re just starting out, genre-hopping is hard and you’ll lose readers if the rest of your books aren’t what they like.
They’re written in first person present. I haven’t done a survey for the past couple of years, mostly because I drank the Kool-Aid and gave in, so the number of books written in first vs. third on the Amazon bestseller lists didn’t mean that much to me. But when I was promoting my small town holiday series, they were written in third person past which, for romance, has fallen to the wayside when it comes to popularity. We can take a quick look at what’s selling right now–not to prove myself right, but out of sheer curiosity now that I brought it up. The top five Billionaire Romances are:
1. The Temporary Wife by Catharina Maura: First Person Present, KU
2. Final Offer by Lauren Asher: First Person Present, KU
3. Black Ties & White Lies by Kat Singleton: First Person Present, KU
4. The Auction by Maggie Cole, First Person Present, KU
5. The Vow by Maggie Cole, First Person Present, KU
I could do that with other subgenres or Contemporary Romance in general, but it’s part of market research and just with that quick of a glance, I think any billionaire books written in 3rd person might be a tough sell. I get where authors would say, your book is going to sound the same as everyone else’s, but readers like familiar, they like similar, and in my case, I said, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” If I don’t have to work so hard to find readers, sign me the hell up!
Because I’m more curious than a cat, I looked at the top five of Contemporary Romance on Amazon, and three are the same. The two changes are The Wrong Bride by Catharina Maura (First Person Present, KU) bumped The Auction, and a new title coming in at Number 2 is Beyond the Moonlit Sea by Julianne MacLean (First Person Past, KU). This is a very small sampling, of course, and when I was debating switching over from 3rd to 1st I spent hours pouring over the lists to see where exactly the shift was taking place, when it did, and I guess more importantly, why. Maybe I never found out, but it still interests me nonetheless.
They’re in KU. My books always have been, but doing a free promo will usually lead to page reads. When a KU subscriber sees that it’s in KU, they will more than likely borrow it rather than download the free book. The promo brought our book to their attention, and we get paid for the page reads. When I did my free promo for my series back in November, it earned me page reads for the entire series.
I said in previous blog posts that my promo earned out, and it did. I gave away three other books at the same time, bumping me over the fee cost. I counted them because without the promo, those books never would have gotten the attention they did.
Anyway, that was an “oh well” kind of promotion because I’m not writing under 3rd person anymore and I don’t have a newsletter signup for that name, either. It was just something fun I did, but I also regretted spending the money and trying to garner attention for books that don’t really need it. That will probably be my last promo for those books I’ll do for a while. I can’t split my focus and my marketing budget anymore.
I’m doing my own version of “promo stacking.” Promo stacking is when you pay for more than one promo and you spread out your advertising to other promotional services. While I’m paying for a Freebooksy, I’m also running Amazon ads and paying for a Facebook ad to Rescue Me, which has sold 55 books this month (at .99 that’s only 17.99) and has netted me $46.36 in page reads. With the promo, I hope even more people see the .99 cent sticker on Rescue Me and go on to buy that too, or borrow it in KU.
Depending on how this promo does, I probably will do something with Captivated by Her when my next standalone is set to release in May. I’ll use the bump the new release of Faking Forever will give me and hopefully get some sales and reviews for Captivated and Addicted. What little feedback I’ve heard about those books is favorable, so I just need to push those books out there. I didn’t put them on Booksprout first, so the reviews are lacking. I had an FB ad running to Captivated, but something was off. I was getting clicks, but no sales, so my ad wasn’t giving readers the right idea and they were bailing when they reached my Amazon product page. I’ll have to think about what I can do to fix that.
Anyway, if you want some quick tips on how to make promos work for you, here’s what I’ve tried and what others advise:
1. Promo a first in series. You’ll earn your royalties with read-through.
2. Make sure your series look like a series. Amazon does a good job of letting a reader know what the next in series is, but make it easy for your reader, too. Make your covers cohesive.
3. Keep in mind your price. As you can see from my small-town holiday series above, a few people actually bought the other books instead of reading them in KU. At $4.99 that’s 15 dollars!) Make sure your price is competitive and in line with what others are doing in your genre. Readers won’t overpay for your book. There is too many choices out there for them to do that.
4. Don’t forget a call to action in your back matter. Add a newsletter sign up link, or the link to another book you really want them to read. All my back matter now has my newsletter signup link that offers a free full-length novel. Always give your reader somewhere new to go if they like your stuff.
While it won’t be a full picture of what my promo did (I’m hoping for a long tail), I will write about my initial first couple of days for my blog next week. Wish me luck, and I hope you all have a wonderful week!