Launching as a First Time / Debut Author by Chloe Adler
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Chloe Adler as she shares with us “Launching as a First Time / Debut Author.” Enjoy! Post your questions or comments below. I’m sure Chloe would love to hear from you! You can congratulate her on her debut release or say other nice things!
A Debut Author Confesses…
First, write the book.
My process was that I got hung up on learning about marketing about 8 months before I launched. I had four books in the series, planning to release 1 per month.
I use an editor and a cover designer, so I had to book these people before the books were finished. Book 1 took me a year to write and edit, though it’s the fourth book I’ve written. Thankfully, Book 2 was quicker at three months. Book 3 was even quicker at two months.
I’m in the middle of book 4 now. I can write a book in 22 days, and if I push myself I can edit each draft in 1-2 weeks. I’m much slower at editing.
I started gathering Twitter followers and hit over 1K after four months. This particular strategy has not led to any sales or even ARC readers, though I tweet daily, interact, and engage with people.
A Debut Author Learns…
During the time I spent learning/obsessing about marketing I joined several fantastic Facebook groups and read voraciously through every post every day.
I found another debut author and followed her story. Pretty much everyone, including Chris Fox in his Launch to Market book, says similar things. I did most of them.
Here’s some of their debut author advice.
It’s best to have a reader magnet (free short or long book) up on Instafreebie (IF) to get newsletter subscribers. If you haven’t released yet, do that first. I did not. I am still writing mine, but it’s on the back burner so I can get the four in series out once a month.
One thing that was recommended that I did not do because I couldn’t get it done in time is to launch your hardcover first so that people are able to leave reviews immediately.
I put my book up for pre-order instead, which is not recommended by some authors. I did it anyway because no one knows who I am and I wanted to have a page to refer them to even though they couldn’t leave a review before launch.
Cross-Promotions Work for Debut Authors
By word of mouth and my writing groups (which I’ve been involved in since 2011), I’ve met other authors in my genre and I reached out to them as well.
Three of these wonderful people (from both groups) put me in their newsletters saying I was looking for ARC readers with a link to my IF.
By the end of the two-week run, I had almost 200 sign ups, both organically from being on IF and from the readers of these other amazing authors.
One week prior to launch, I sent an email (using MailerLite (ML) ) reminding everyone on the IF list that the book was launching in a week and I would greatly appreciate an honest review. The day of launch I sent another reminder ML email. In my emails, I make sure to credit and thank the readers. As of this writing, I have 22 reviews.
Another two authors sent their newsletters saying my book had launched.
I also scheduled quite a few promos for the first month, and those I had to schedule 1-3 months in advance as they book up quickly.
The first promo I paid $300 for (before I knew better) and it did not yield good results.
The next two promos that have run were $5 each and one was on the same day as a newsletter swap, which is what I attribute my sales on that day to, not the promo. I am tracking every day in a spreadsheet.
I launched at .99 cents though I’ve read not to do that. I will raise the price to $3.99 when book 2 comes out (June 1st), and I now have book 2 on pre-order, and people are buying it.
There are newsletter swap groups on FB and I joined the ones in my genre and have done 3 newsletter swaps so far.
Being in KU I can only offer 10% of the book, but that’s the first two chapters. I added a link in the front and back to purchase the book with a message saying, “This is a 10% taste and if you like the book please consider purchasing it for .99 on Amazon.” These have worked extremely well for me, plus they’re FREE; plus you get to reciprocate and help others! A triple win.
I answer reader emails quickly and graciously.
What didn’t work as a debut author
Sending my book to friends and family who really wanted to read it. Only two, out of 30+ did. (Plus I got butt-hurt over it.) One friend who read it, loved it and was very encouraging but he was unable to leave a review.
Amazon wouldn’t let him because he’s my friend. He did, however, text me that he stayed up all night to finish it which was the encouragement I needed when no one else was reading it, and I was sure it was crap and I should throw in the towel. Today another friend told me she read and loved it <3
The process of sending my book to those 30 people, however, wasted two hours of my time: creating a special newsletter form in ML for them, importing their addresses one by one, signing up to and putting my book on bookfunnel (which I do love).
The reason I did this was because these people said they wanted to read my book, and they were going to buy it, but I didn’t want them to affect my “also-boughts.” I’ve have heard over and over not to have your friends and family buy your book for this reason. It bit me in the butt anyway. They downloaded the free copy AND they bought it AND they never read it.
This is a longer post, but I heard recently on a blogging podcast that audiences now prefer longer blog posts. 🙂 Anyway, I hope this helps some of you out there. Now finish that book so you can publish it!
Congratulations Chloe on your launch! You’re no longer a debut author!
Readers, post your questions or comments below. I’m sure Chloe would love to hear from you! You can congratulate her on her debut release or say other nice things!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
For the past undisclosed amount of years, Chloe Adler has thoroughly bucked the system. She lives in foggy Northern California with her dead fish Larry and a bouncy bunny rabbit named Fred. After selling her rock collection, she amassed enough money to buy and move into a small motor home where she developed a strange fondness for striped socks.
Prior to her infamous writing career, Chloe was an overachiever, amassing a slew of unimpressive letters after her name. The trouble is that the five people who know what the letters mean, don’t really care.
When she’s not writing, she can be found picking trash up off the beaches, offering rides to the homeless, and roasting her own coffee beans.
Chloe is nearing completion of her first paranormal romance series, Distant Edge, which is a genre mishmash guaranteed to rotate heads. If you sign up for her newsletter, not only will you find out when they are released, you’ll also make her jump up and down with joy for at least 3.5 seconds. Wouldn’t that be nice?