Lordy y'all, I did a lot of testing various types of marketing with this last book. Awake At Last, the fifth and final book in my Alpha Compound series, released on March 8th, 2022. I knew I'd want to do a huge marketing push on not only this book, but book one to get people into the series. A series being complete is a great reason to do extra marketing, and I want to share what I tried and what went really well (and not).
If you're new to my blog, I always point out that I haven't been at this author gig very long. I published my first book in July 2021. What I share on the blog is what I've tried and what's worked/not worked for me. I don't purport to have all the answers or do everything right. But I do offer transparency about my experience in the hopes it's helpful to other authors!
What I did first is thought about what my goals were with the marketing push for book five. I sat down and took a look at all my stats so far. And what I knew is that because I can't do Amazon ads (that's a long story) and I'm still learning Facebook ads, my marketing is pretty limited in terms of reach. Whoever I can reach organically through social and my small hold on FB ads–that's what I'm working with.
I had two major goals - push book five hard to folks who are ready to read it (and have probably read the other books)....and get book one in front of as many new people as possible.
Ultimately, I decided to use my Amazon free days for book one the week or so before the release of book five. Here's what my marketing schedule looked like...
March 2-6 Book One Free
March 6-9 Huge Giveaway push online
March 8 Release Day
March 9 Giveaway ends
March 11 FB Party in one huge group
My first step was to create ads for both BookBub and Facebook that specifically pushed the fact that book one was free. I opted to spend about $150 in both places as far as budget. I didn't really have a reason to pick $150, I just figured I'd give it a whirl and kind of see what happened. I figured the likelihood of people converting from an ad for a free book is much higher than a paid book, so it makes sense to spend money on this. Especially because I also know 75% of people who read my first book go on to read the second. And my read through rate from book two to three and on is in the high 90s. So if someone reads book one, they're worth a certain amount of money to me because I know they're likely to go on and read my other books.
In order to push the free book I did the following:
$150 on Facebook ads (with over 1000 clicks in the five days I ran the ad)
$150 on BookBub ads (only about 250 clicks here but most of those people did buy)
I signed up with both Fussy Librarian and Freebooksy to send my book out in their promo newsletters (that cost a few hundred bucks)
Two of my ARC readers are bookstagrammers with huge followings, so they pushed for me as well
I created graphics and encouraged my ARC team to share
I posted all my graphics in my stories so it was easy for people to share on my behalf as well.
Ultimately, over the course of five days, I gave away just under 6600 copies of book one.
March 2nd my Fussy Librarian post ran, and March 3rd my Freebooksy post ran–so you can clearly see which of those was most effective. My ads ran all five days.
I also noticed a nice bump in organic sales of all my other books during this time, as well as a quick bump in preorders for book five as a result of this push. Additionally, all my books got a ton of chatter on Instagram as new readers found and started reading/posting about them.
SO–Part One of my plan was accomplished. I got a ton of people into the series. Now, free books don't always get read quickly, if ever. In fact, when I asked in a huge author group I'm part of, the generally accepted expectation is that 3-5% of people who download a free book read it. But in my case, that's 200-300 new people reading book one. 75% of those people will go on to read the rest of my series, which nets me about $12-$13 per person who reads all the way through my books. If only 75% of 200 people read through, I've earned $1800 at a minimum. I spent far less than that, and that's a low estimate in my opinion.
On to Part Two of this plan, which was to get a ton of people excited about book five.
I wanted to lead from the free book days right into a huge giveaway surrounding release day. I've been saving up swag for a couple of months and teasing it on Facebook and Instagram. Ultimately, the pic below is what I had to give away. I opted to open it internationally, knowing I'd reach more people but that shipping is gonna be nuts if an international person wins.
In order to get this giveaway in front of as many people as possible, I teased it for about a week while book one was free, and I offered to give away this same pack to both my biggest bookstagrammers' followers. So I'm giving away four sets of this same pic on the left. One to each bookstagrammer buddy and two to my own followers.
My bookstagrammer buddies shared gorgeous pics of all my books and the rules of the giveaway.
Within two days I had nearly fifty new followers, hundreds of likes and almost 100 comments on my post alone.
Additionally, I gave five extra entries to anyone who preordered book five and shared their receipt with me via DM. That alone generated 20-30 additional preorders just the first day.
What I particularly loved about this approach was that I asked people to not only comment but share my post, and I got tons of new bookstagrammer buddies as a result. A few have even asked to join my ARC team. And a couple have tagged realllllly big authors I've looked up to for a long time. So at the end of the day, my online network has expanded greatly as a result of this giveaway. That was something I couldn't really accomplish all on my own, so growing my network has been a big focus.
Ultimately, a lot of things worked well about this approach, and there's very little I would change in the future. The only thing I may reconsider are the BookBub ads. For $150 I probably got 200 people to download the free book. But my return was better on the promo newsletters, so I'd honestly probably pick another of those to do next time and do that instead.
As always, if you have questions please feel free to comment below or DM me!
Want to read fast burn, high heat omegaverse with a really unique take on the genre? Start with The Alpha Awakens, book one! It's available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and Paperback.