I collaborated with seven romance authors to publish a holiday anthology titled Hugs, Kisses and Mistletoe Wishes. Our goal was to by cross promoting eight-books-in-one to a wide audience, a strategy that led to launching the ebook at a bargain price. After a coordinated marketing effort, which included a BookBub New Release for Less, the ebook achieved bestseller status on Amazon. In this guest post, I’ll outline how a group effort inspired readers to take a chance on lesser-known authors, driving a rise in the ebook’s retailer rankings.
Collaboration: A Multi-Author Project
The project began during the pandemic, when authors from a local writing group met weekly via Zoom to share creative advice and moral support. The multi-author project enabled us to focus on our writing rather than a virus. We chose a theme of sweet, wholesome romance, including love stories in a variety of genres — contemporary, historical, and fantasy — that a broad audience could enjoy. We agreed on a bargain price of $0.99 for all eight novels/novellas in the digital collection with the primary goal of finding more readers.
Content: Book Design and Language
It’s difficult to achieve writing and publishing success without a plan. From the beginning, we mapped out the content and marketing language: a professionally edited book, beautiful yet simplistic formatting, an eye-appealing cover design, a compelling elevator pitch (“Straight from our hearts to yours, eight enchanting love stories to enjoy during the holiday season and all year long”), and an inviting book description.
At the time of publication, Amazon’s A+ Content was a newer option, allowing authors to decorate the ebook’s sales page on Amazon with images and customizable text placements. Having already made use of A+ Content in my own work, I chose an appropriate image (featuring a couple who embraced the joyful vibe of the anthology) and added keywords.
Marketing: Professional Relationships
We wanted to utilize resources we’d never used before, as well as professionals to advocate on our behalf. We hired publicist Mickey Mikkelson to increase awareness by providing press releases, interview spots, and editorial reviews. Each of the authors also pledged to post promotional content to their social media accounts.
Even with the best marketing content, some people want reader reviews to assist in their buying decisions. To generate early reader reviews, we hired BookBuzz, a book promotion company who not only placed advance copies of the anthology on NetGalley and BookSprout, but also provided us with marketing images. When a local TV channel interviewed me during a lunch hour broadcast, they used one of BookBuzz’s GIFs on-air.
Advertising: Promotion Services
Marketing and promotion services can be a substantial investment, but eight authors sharing advertising expenses gave us more buying power. To increase discoverability for the launch of the anthology on November 2, 2021, we stacked promotions through various companies, including Kindle Daily Nation (twice), Author Platform Rocket, Book Gorilla (twice), Bargain Booksy, Book Cave, Book Doggy, Fussy Librarian, Hidden Gems, Romance Reads, The Tuesday List, Ebook Soda, Book Lemur, Hot Zippy, Book Goodies, EReaderIQ, and News Today. This method achieved early success, but the ebook needed a boost to climb higher.
I serve on the board of directors for When Words Collide (a festival for readers and writers), and have also taken a BookBub marketing course from Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula, which educated me on BookBub’s advertising reach. With 20 million users and endorsements from well-known authors, BookBub held a key position in my advertising goals. But only a handful of our anthology’s authors had a BookBub Author Profile. Those who didn’t set one up by the release date. One of our authors submitted the anthology for a Featured Deal, twice, with no luck. Three weeks prior to the release I applied for the New Releases for Less tool instead, and BookBub selected Hugs, Kisses and Mistletoe Wishes for a promotion. This was a festive moment for the anthology.
BookBub featured Hugs, Kisses and Mistletoe Wishes in the US market on November 23, 2021.
This promotion boosted the anthology to the number one spot on Amazon in three categories (romance anthologies, clean and wholesome romance, and holiday romance) by 7:30 p.m. that day. The ebook also became a bestseller on Kobo and Barnes & Noble. An estimated 1,190,000 subscribers received the New Releases for Less feature, giving us 1,950 clicks. Sales from all retailers (Amazon, Apple Books, Google Play, Kobo, and Nook) have earned us over 2,000 sales, and the anthology has remained high in retailer rankings ever since.
Overall, several approaches furthered the anthology’s success, but the New Releases for Less feature facilitated the best results: sales and retailer rankings. It’s hard to say whether this encouraged noticeable crossover in our backlist titles, although I believe sales may well increase over time now that more readers are familiar with our names and our books. A takeaway for other authors: BookBub users will take a chance on new-to-them authors when presented with collected works set at a value-added price.
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