Continuing my Bookbub-inspired series of book marketing posts, I will now address the question of promoting a new book that’s part of a series.
Series novels let you reach new readers who still haven’t discovered your books yet. Hook readers on one book, and chances are they’ll be begging for more. But how do you find new readers in the first place?
Cheryl Bradshaw has the answer, courtesy of Bookbub.
One to Two Months Prior to Release
1. Redesign platform elements. A couple of months before your book release, kick things off by posting a new banner on your Facebook page, blog, and other relevant sites. It should include the book cover reveal, the release date (if known), and language such as “coming soon” so readers know to stay tuned.
2. Hint about the upcoming release. Whenever you can, sneak in comments on your blog and pages about the book and how the writing is coming along to build anticipation among fans.
3. Publish and distribute an excerpt. Post the first chapter of the book on your Facebook page/blog etc. This stirs up excitement for the rest of the story.
Two to Four Weeks Prior to Release
1. Publish teasers. A few weeks before your book launch, post teasers with quotes from various characters in the story. You can easily turn your quotes into vibrant images using free apps like Canva. Schedule these teasers to post a few times each week until release day.
2. Promote the pre-order. If you use the pre-order option, promote it at this time and be sure to include purchase links to all major retailers.
3. Distribute book to street teams. Send your friends ARCs of the manuscript. Though not a requirement, many are fantastic about posting an honest review for the book when they’ve finished it. Having reviews already in place on release day is pure gold.
4. Create Facebook ads. Create several inexpensive Facebook ads for the new book well before the release date in order to test a variety of creative and demographic targeting to see which one performs the best. Kill the ones that don’t work to save on your ad budget. Start small, usually $3.00 per day until you narrow the ads down to the one that performs the best. Then, increase the price.
1. Host a release party. You may host a release party on Facebook on release day and do hourly drawings for anyone who purchases the book that day. You can give away prizes every hour for 12 hours that relate to the book in some way, like keychains with the book cover, book earrings (miniature book earrings of your book covers), tote bags with the name of the series, mugs, notebooks, etc. Anyone who purchases the book that day is entered into the drawings. The earlier they purchase the book, the more chances they have to win.
Alternatively, you may preschedule a Facebook post and do a single drawing with a larger prize. If you try either of these, create a paid ad for the book if you want the post to be seen. Otherwise Facebook’s algorithm will bury your post. You may create an ad in Power Editor announcing the release party, and target only fans of your author page.
2. Update your online assets. Have a release-day checklist to ensure that you remember to update your product pages and all social media sites to reflect the new book, including widgets, cover photos, etc.
3. Announce the release on your website. Write a blog post and add the book to your website, with links to all retailers. Make all book covers clickable (leading to Amazon) and keep your links simple and easy for your readers to understand. Make sure all links require only one click to complete the purchase.
4. Promote on Twitter. Promote the release on Twitter following the 80/20 rule (80% of my usual posts have nothing to do with promoting my books). You want the book to stand out when you tweet about it, so don’e promote anything before the release date of a new book. On release day hit it hard, posting every 2–3 hours for three days. Remember to include an eye-catching photo of the book when you tweet.
5. Increase your Facebook budget. Raise the budget on your best performing Facebook ads to make sure they reach a wider audience. The best ads include links to the book on all the major retailers so readers can easily download the book, no matter which ereader they use.
6. Notify subscribers of your book release. Randomly segment your subscribers into three lists and send one newsletter to each list over the course of the first week post-release. This helps keep the book’s rank high for longer.
One to Two Months After Release
1. Run a BookBub Featured Deal. After the book has been released for a while, run ads on on various sites. Wait a couple of months to give the new book time to be reviewed by as many readers as possible before submitting it to BookBub. This helps drive a high volume of sales.
2. Coordinate Featured Deal date with other online advertising. As soon as you have a promotion date with BookBub, discount the new book so it’s ready for the promotion, and schedule all of the other paid ads, usually running around three each week for at least a month. Here is a full list of websites where you can advertise your ebook price promotion, courtesy of Cheryl Bradshaw.
The length of your price promotion depends on how many subsequent ads you’ve purchased. For new releases, it usually lasts for a week. On an older release, you may want to stretch out the promotion and breathe new life into it.
When to Make Your First Book Free:
Making your first book free as a way to sell the rest of your series is an excellent idea. However, when you’re running big ads for a subsequent novel in the series, don’t make your first book free during those promotions. Why? You’ll lose out on sales on that first book.
Most people want to start with book one in a series when they first discover you, especially if they’ve never heard of you before. The same can be said for Facebook ads. Let’s say you run a Facebook ad for book #3 in your series at full price, but the first book in your series is free. Which book do you think a reader just discovering you will download: the one with a bit of risk involved, or the one without any?
When to Release a Boxed Set:
If you’ve just finished, for example, book 3 in your series and you want to release both book 3 and a boxed set with books 1–3, wait a couple months before releasing the set. Give your new book the chance to sell on its own before you throw it into a set at a discount. If you bundle your books too soon, it almost always affects the sale of your newest book. You worked hard on that book, and it deserves its moment to shine before it’s swallowed up at a discount.
Read the full post on Bookbub.
Last in the series: Bookbub Insights: Get More Reviews
All this marketing stuff does your head in? Relax with my award-winning children’s book, Runaway Smile for free!
Terrific advice, Nicholas. I will mention here for the benefit of anyone interested that I use the website CANVA which is very easy to use and allows me to create headers and Facebook/Twitter ads at zero cost 🙂
That’s a great resource; thank you so much for sharing 🙂
Excellent tips 😀
Glad you found them useful 🙂
Reblogged this on Books and More.
Reblogged this on cicampbellblog and commented:
Such a helpful post from Nicholas Rossis….again.
I’ve left it a bit late with some of the things I should have been doing to let folks know that the second book in my Reluctant Detective Series is about to be launched, but perhaps I can do a bit of catchup.
I’ll start right now by telling you that Traces of Red is about to be released. So look out for some of the things mentioned in this post to start happenings!
This is so helpful to those of us who love to write and are less clued in about the whole promotion and marketing business.
Thank you once again, Nicholas, for bringing this information to us.
Great suggestions. I put together a 30 day marketing plan once I posted my book on Kindle Scout. I’m pretty good at sticking to it, but life gets in the way!
That is so cool; thank you for sharing the link! I’ll add your link to the main post, as a great example of marketing schedule 🙂
Love the blog. I am done with Fb ads though I haveen’t tried them lately.
Tried FB in 2013 and it did not work for me, mainly because FB always wanted me change something about my ads. They told me I had too many words on the cover and what have you. Has this happened to any of you?
Oh, absolutely. There’s this strange rule they have, that an image should have text on under 20% of its surface (or something similar). People started making diagrams with ideal text placement on images designed for FB ads. It’s all somewhat ridiculous, if you ask me. I’m paying for that ad, so I should be allowed to put anything I wish in there, right?
Reblogged this on TheKingsKidChronicles and commented:
Current trend in bookmarketing by Nicholas Rossi.
Excellent advice. Thanks for the step by step. And if Bookbub doesn’t accept you, use one of the other ad venues and keep the above format.
Absolutely. As I point out in my call-to-arms survey, you can have just as good results without Bookbub. Still, if Bookbub does accept you, it’s easier 😉
Phew. Lots of great info, Nicholas. Thanks for pulling all this together. I’m saving all these posts for future reference since my brain is full and I can only remember advice for 10 minutes. 😀
Lol – fair enough. Same here, to be honest 😀
I’ve incorporated tons of your recommendations into my book matter, blog, and website over the past year! All to good effect 🙂 Thanks!
Thank you for making my day 😀
I need to write a series!
Yep! You’re so good at writing lists, so that shouldn’t be a problem, right? 😉
Hmmmm there must be a compliment in there somewhere (scratches blonde head)
Not to mention unwavering faith in you 🙂
Reblogged this on Legends of Windemere.
Yet more good advice, Nicholas. It sounds like BookBub is a very slick operation, ideal for those ready to publish, with some ideas from useful sites like yours!
Best wishes, Pete.
Oh, absolutely – and thanks. The problem with Bookbub is how selective they are.
Reblogged this on Barrow Blogs: and commented:
I worked my way through your list with my latest book.Onto the last stretch now Thank you, Nicholas
This is all great advice but I take exception to one point:
Run a BookBub ad.
If only it was that easy! It is notoriously difficult to get your book accepted by BookBub (as I know from personal experience). For the majority of writers, while it’s always worth submitting to BookBub, they might want to substitute BookBub for one of the many other promotional options (ENT, Fussy Librarian, Booksends etc.).
True. That’s why I also direct people to alternatives. They can use my Call to Arms survey to find the best solution for them 🙂
Just bookmarked this for when I’m ready
So glad you found it useful 🙂
When the time comes, just let me know what I can do to help!
Thanks so much for this breakdown. I’m thinking about self-publishing a short story (yes, I want to try my feet at it 🙂 ) and I really think I’ll follow all the parts I can of your advice 🙂
Yay you! Let me know if I can somehow help 🙂
I’m glad you’re saying that, becuase I will certainly reach out for you.
I’ve been thinking for a while about self-publishing a short story, but really, everything is new to me and there are so many things I don’t know.
I’m thrilled and scared at the same time…
A great to place to be, right? 😀