· When I first started, I had a publisher to do marketing for me.
· By the time I started self-publishing, I had a small but growing readership.
· I received additional promotion from the boxed sets I had the fortune and privilege to be a part of, many of which made it to NYT and USAT bestselling lists.
· I had mentors, whose advice was golden.
Now, a question: what if I wouldn’t be able to have any of this if I hadn’t started out with a publisher?
This has always bothered me…or at least it had until an experiment with another pen name has challenged me to put my money where my mouth is. So I applied my own advice, and I’m happy to tell you that the results have been astoundingly positive.
For a breakdown of the entire process, let’s start with what I did prior to releasing the book---
1. I picked a trend in romance that I figured would still be hot by the time I finished writing.
2. I worked on an outline for a trilogy with a possibility for continuing the series if there was a demand for more books.
3. Each installment was about 10k words or less, and they had the dreaded C word for readers: cliffhangers!
4. I ordered covers patterned after the latest bestselling romances targeting the same trend.
5. I decided to price everything at $.99 and enroll all three in KU.
Books 1 to 3 were released in quick succession, the first 2 just days apart and the last one a week or so after. I made sure to do a bit of free marketing such as---
1. Making use of Amazon’s free days for Book 1
2. And reaching out to Facebook page owners while Book 1’s free to download, asking them if they could the post the book for me and offering them ARCs for reviews and/or giveaways.
3. (Indirect marketing of sorts) I asked readers to let me know if they wanted a Book 4.
Once Book 3 was out, I was earning approximately our daily minimum wage (net total for all three books), and almost all of it is from KU borrows. I was incredibly happy with the earnings, but I felt like I should also give paid marketing a try. So I did, and the results were even more overwhelming.
Let’s just say that for every $1 spent on paid advertising, I earned it back and $3 more. I do have to warn you, though: I was only able to enjoy this level of ROI with a medium-range budget for marketing.
What does this mean for you?
Should You Invest in Paid Marketing?
But if I didn’t, I’d have done things a bit differently.
· Outline, write, and finish a series of novel-length standalones (length requirement is because of KU's new payout structure).
· Release in quick succession.
· Enroll everything in KU, with the first one at $.99 and the rest at $2.99
· If I don’t earn enough from KU, I’ll ditch it after three months and release wide.
· I’ll set Book 1 free and reach out to Facebook page owners about it.
· If and when I could afford it, do occasional paid marketing (low budget).
Rinse and repeat until I’ve grown my own readership.
And that’s it. If you have questions, feel free to post a comment below or email me. I know I’ve simplified things too much, and I haven’t talked about how to write a “good” book that would sell and all, but here’s the thing. I don’t think it’s my place to tell you what’s good or not. What works for me may not work for you, so I’ll just leave that part for you to figure out.
Always keep writing!