Before I released Warwolfe, the prequel to my bestselling series de Wolfe Pack, I knew I wanted to aggressively promote this book because my readers had been waiting for it for years. As someone who releases a new full-length book about every seven weeks, I have an entire pre- and post-launch strategy I go through every time.
In this post, I’ll explain why I do certain marketing activities during the preorder period, what works for me, and what doesn’t. Thanks to this preorder marketing strategy, Warwolfe hit the USA Today list at #110 on release week, and I was absolutely thrilled.
1. Building up to the release, I ran a three-month preorder
My #1 tip for a successful launch is to make the book available for preorder at least three months out to start building those sales numbers. If you put it up for preorder earlier than that, the book becomes old news by the time it launches. I put each book up for preorder on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.
This book was priced at $0.99 throughout the entire preorder period. Since I write medieval romance, a less popular romance subgenre, I have to make the price extremely attractive to draw in those “iffy” readers and gain wide visibility. At $0.99 these readers will take a chance on me, so this price sets me up for great preorder numbers in general. Once the book releases, I bump it up to my regular price point of either $2.99 or $3.99. My genre generally doesn’t support $4.99 or higher, and I try to be kind to readers with my pricing so my books are easier to afford.
2. Let fans know about preorder availability on social media
Since my readers want instant gratification, I let them know the preorder was available (along with a link to purchase), but without fanfare — meaning, I don’t host events dedicated to cover reveals. From past experience, I know these kinds of teasers don’t seem to please readers, and it’s all about pleasing them.
3. Ran a BookBub Preorder Alert
I run a BookBub Preorder Alert for each book about six weeks out — not too far in advance, and not too close to the launch date. In my experience, scheduling these right in the middle of a preorder gets the best response. When I sent a Preorder Alert for Warwolfe, I had about 2,000 followers at the time, and I saw a bump in sales for the following week by a few hundred, spread out over several days.
4. Blogged about the upcoming release
I have a blog and I publish posts sparingly. I’m finding that readers subscribe to so many newsletters from other authors that they can get burned out really quickly with “one more newsletter.” So instead of sending newsletters, I publish blog posts and email each one to my subscribers. I publish posts about once every week or every 10 days, and they are always book-related. I blogged about Warwolfe once a month for the first two months of the preorder period, and then once per week over the last couple of weeks, trying to prompt the readers who hadn’t preordered yet to finally make their move.
5. Ran giveaways and takeovers
Like most human beings, I respond well to prizes and gifts, so during the weeks prior to Warwolfe’s release, I ran a lot of giveaways with my readers. I made each giveaway less about “buying my book” and more about “I have a great book coming out and in celebration, you can win a prize simply by referring your friends!” In these referral contests, I awarded signed de Wolfe Pack novels to the winner AND the person referring the winner. Giving things away, no matter how small or large, can really engage readers. If you talk about your preorder enough — by posting excerpts, mostly — you can generate a lot of interest. Giving away other books in the series also helps readers naturally want to purchase the preorder.
I also ran giveaways offering a $250 Amazon gift card, a Kindle, and other prizes on my author page on Facebook, where I have 19k followers. This is key: Entry was not based on providing proof of preordering the book. It was simply a random drawing — no purchase necessary — and for such big prizes, readers were more than willing to share it with their friends. This definitely helped create buzz for the preorder!
6. Ran a BookBub Ads campaign
I run a ton of ads. My book advertising budget is usually around $1k, and that includes BookBub Ads. Ads have absolutely the best ROI for preorders and sales, so that’s where I continue to spend my money.
A big part of my strategy is running BookBub Ads with a higher cost per click (I usually run a max CPM bid anywhere from $10 to $20, which leads to a higher CPC) to gain higher visibility as the ad runs. I ran BookBub Ads campaigns every couple of weeks, regularly changing the wording on each ad to keep it fresh. It is costly — but I feel the visibility more than pays for itself in the long run because I saw an influx of sales while the ads ran.
7. Ran a Facebook Ads campaign
I’m a big believer in Facebook ads. I ran at least four of them during the preorder period with a budget of about $150 for each ad variation. I have my audiences narrowed down and I know my market (I run a lot of Facebook ads), so by targeting specific interest groups and ages, I’m able to reach a wider audience. I usually only run the ads in the US and not internationally because I haven’t seen a big bump in my international campaigns — at least, not enough to justify the spend.
I also boosted my Facebook post announcing the new release with a small $10 spend, simply to keep up the momentum. I do short bursts like this just to keep the book in front of readers on their newsfeed. These run in conjunction with the higher-dollar ads for double exposure.
Remember on Facebook ads not to throw out a huge net — the more refined you can make your audience, the better results you’ll see.
8. Outsourced marketing activities
I have a virtual assistant and marketing person, and we frequently share posts on Facebook and with my street team during the preorder period. For the Warwolfe launch, I also hired the marketing company LitRing to run a feature on the book on their website, in a dedicated newsletter, and in their private VIP reader group on Facebook on the day of the release. This was the first time I tried this, and it cost me about $1,000, but it was well worth the cost.
What I don’t do anymore
I’ve tried these marketing activities in the past, and found that they aren’t as effective anymore:
- Facebook parties – They have run their course and you’ll find people who have already bought your book to be the ones in attendance.
- Blog tours – I’ve never seen a serious ROI on a blog tour.
Bottom line: Advertising dollars are dollars well spent when it comes to a preorder and new release. Don’t waste your time on small blog tours or Facebook parties. Spend your money where it will do the most good — on ad sites like BookBub. It works!
The views and opinions expressed in this guest post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of BookBub.
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