When New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden released Touched by Ice, the fourth book in her self-published Ice Breakers Cold Case Romance series, she put together a launch strategy designed to raise awareness from her current fans and bring new readers to the series:
“When I release a new book, I have two main goals. First, I want to continue reaching my current readers so people who have enjoyed my books in the past keep reading the stories. In order for that to happen, those readers need to be aware of my new releases. They can’t read a book if they don’t know it’s available. My second goal is to reach new readers. When I am writing a series, I hope each book in the series will get more preorders and more sales than the last release — those increased numbers show me that I am building my reader base for my books.”
To reach these two key audiences, Cynthia leveraged her newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, and every single BookBub marketing tool — Preorder Alerts, New Releases for Less, a New Release Alert, BookBub Ads, and a Featured Deal! This cross-channel approach helped her meet her launch goals: She increased sales across the entire series and grew her newsletter audience.
Here are the strategies Cynthia used to promote her new release. We hope they inspire your own new release marketing!
1. Promoted the preorder in her newsletter
An email newsletter is one of the best ways for authors to stay connected with existing fans and let them know about new books. Cynthia’s newsletter is an important part of her launch plans, and she starts sharing information about new books early in the preorder period to start building awareness.
“I always want readers to sign up for my newsletter. A newsletter allows me to have a direct connection to the people who are most interested in my stories. Through my newsletter, I sent out early teasers from Touched By Ice to get my readers excited and interested (and to promote preorders).”
2. Shared teasers on Facebook and Instagram
In addition to sharing teasers in her newsletter, Cynthia also starts drumming up early excitement among her social followers. About a month before release, she started sharing quotes to give readers a feel for the new book.
Cynthia tailored her posts to each platform, often sharing longer text excerpts on Facebook and relying more heavily on images and video for Instagram posts. Here, she repurposed a collection of scene-setting photos in teaser posts on both platforms and in the background of a Reel on Instagram:
View this post on Instagram
She continued to share new excerpts and quotes from the book to grow excitement throughout February.
View this post on Instagram
3. Sent two BookBub Preorder Alerts
Authors with over 1,000 followers on BookBub can send up to two dedicated emails to those fans to let them know an upcoming release is available for preorder. Cynthia scheduled her first Preorder Alert for Touched by Ice on January 30, almost a month before the February 28 release day. She has 7,000 BookBub followers subscribed to receive these alerts, and 300 of them clicked on the first alert email. She sent the second alert on February 24, generating 250 additional clicks from her followers in the lead-up to the launch.
“I am a big fan of the Preorder Alerts. Each time that I send one out, I instantly see a rise in my sales numbers at retailers. I prefer to send out two Preorder Alerts. I think of my first alert as a heads-up note — a way for me to say, ‘Hey, this book is coming soon! Don’t miss it.’ I try to time the second alert closer to the actual release of my book. When the Preorder Alert is close, I feel it has more immediacy. Readers respond because the date is soon, and they (hopefully!) don’t want to miss the book.”
4. Ran BookBub Ads
BookBub Ads can be used to reach custom audiences of readers throughout a book launch. Cynthia ran ad campaigns during the preorder, to reach her existing audience of fans on BookBub, and after launch, to target the fans of other Romantic Suspense authors.
“About two weeks before my release, I like to start running targeted ads using my own name. I do this because while the Preorder Alerts let me reach people who “follow” me on BookBub, the ads targeted to my name allow me to reach all of the readers who have shown an “interest” in my books on BookBub. These two numbers are quite different, and if someone has been “interested” in my books before but didn’t take the step to actually follow me, then I want to snag that interest again. I want as many readers as possible to know I have a new release coming soon.”
Here are two of the ad images that performed best with Cynthia’s target audience, with CTRs around 1%. She used cost-per-click (CPC) bidding and ran the campaigns continuously with a $10 daily budget. Together, they generated over 800 clicks to retailers at an average cost-per-click of $0.70.
“One of the things I like most about BookBub Ads is the ability to target by retailer. The majority of my books aren’t in Kindle Unlimited, so I want to be able to reach readers at Nook, Kobo, Apple Books, and Google Play in addition to readers at Amazon. I can make specific ads for each retailer, and in real time, I can see if these ads are working by the number of preorders that I receive. If an ad isn’t working for me, I can quickly and easily adjust.”
5. Counted down to launch day on social media
In addition to the teasers Cynthia shared on Facebook and Instagram, she also posted countdown posts on both channels to explicitly encourage preorders and let readers know the new book was coming soon.
6. Submitted for a BookBub New Releases for Less feature
New books priced below $7 can be submitted for a feature in BookBub’s weekly New Releases for Less newsletter to expand their reach to an entire category of subscribed readers. It’s a great option for increasing visibility beyond an author’s existing fan base on BookBub, which was one of Cynthia’s goals for this launch: “The New Release for Less promotion allows me to reach individuals who have not already read my work, and, again, since I’m always trying to build my readership, it’s a good option for me.”
The New Releases for Less feature for Touched by Ice was scheduled for launch day, February 28. 675 BookBub members interested in Romantic Suspense clicked on the promotion.
7. Posted on social media throughout release day
Cynthia posted a variety of content on her social platforms throughout release day to make sure readers didn’t miss the launch! First she shared an image that highlighted romance tropes and story details.
On Instagram, Cynthia also shared a Reel with quotes from a conversation between the main characters.
View this post on Instagram
One Facebook post included a roundup of links to other books releasing on the same day, which is a great way to lift up other authors and mix up the release-day content!
People will check social media at different times of the day, so to make sure she reached her fans no matter when they logged on, Cynthia shared this post in the evening:
8. Sent a (free!) New Release Alert to BookBub followers
For every eligible new release, BookBub automatically sends an email alert to the author’s followers as close to launch day as possible. Even after receiving two Preorder Alert emails, 350 of Cynthia’s followers clicked on the New Release Alert email on February 28.
9. Maintained momentum with a free deal on book one
To bring in new readers to the series, Cynthia submitted the first book, Frozen in Ice, for a BookBub Featured Deal. She planned to drop the price from $4.99 to free.
“Touched by Ice is the fourth book in my series, and when I start to get later into a series, I love offering the first book as a free read. I think that a free read draws in new readers and gets people excited about the stories.”
Her Featured Deal was sent to Romantic Suspense subscribers on March 25, nearly one month after the launch of book four. 27,900 readers clicked on the deal in their BookBub emails.
She also promoted the free deal to her Facebook and Instagram followers.
“I immediately saw an increase in sales for the other books in the series. The Featured Deal promotion pushed sales across all retailers, and the push was sustained because as more people finished reading Frozen In Ice, they went on to read the second book.”
In addition to boosting sales across the entire series, the Featured Deal helped achieve Cynthia’s goal of growing her audience by increasing her newsletter subscribers: “I saw a direct correlation between the individuals who got a copy of Frozen in Ice through the BookBub Featured Deal promotion and the rise of my newsletter subscribers. People learned about the promotion through BookBub, they read the book, they liked it—and they signed up to my newsletter.”
Cynthia was happy with this launch and felt like she successfully achieved her goals of reaching current readers and bringing new readers to the series. For future releases, she plans to use a similar strategy: “I definitely plan to use Preorder Alerts, Featured Deals, and the New Release for Less promotions again. I’ve found these to all be effective, and I think they are great for reaching readers.”
Cynthia’s advice for other authors is to think well beyond launch day — start promoting the new book early to build awareness and excitement and continue promotions after the release to keep expanding the audience.
“When planning for a book launch, you can’t wait and do things at the last minute. I think it’s important to build up interest with readers — put teasers on social media, email the first chapter to your newsletter list, create fun Reels to attract attention. Keep building with targeted ads and even once the book is released, don’t just stop. Continue the promotions. I feel like some people think advertising is only important as you build up to release day, but I like to keep my promotions going beyond the first week of launch. There are plenty of readers out there — we just have to reach them.”
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