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Stan the Plan

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by skip.knox, Jan 7, 2020.

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I really wanted to make Stan be an acronym but couldn't make it work. I'm starting this thread as the marketing parallel to the threads in the Writing forum. A couple other folks have talked about their own Adventures in Advertising, but I wanted to do my own.

    First the background. I have four books on Amazon available for purchase--three novels and one novelette--all set in Altearth but none a series. I have a handful of reviews (12 for one, 11 for another, and those are my leaders), generally good. I have a newsletter with about 70 subscribers, with maybe 70-80% being one-timers, but I don't really know. I have a website that looks good and contains a fair amount of content. Book sales are as anemic as you'd expect with these numbers. The books have come out roughly one a year.

    Nearly all advice on how-to-sell-books is about launching a new book or selling a series. There's next to nothing on how to promote books that are far down in the slush and three years old.

    Which is why I'm starting this thread. I'm going to promote my books this year, while I'm writing The Falconer. I'm going to post in this thread exactly what I do and what sort of metrics I get. I don't even know yet what metrics are available! I'll get more detailed in subsequent posts. Here's the overview.

    Take a two-month period to promote a specific book. Then do the next, and the next. No (planned) gaps in between; back to back. Start in February.

    Promotion will include ads on Amazon and Facebook, promos using services like Booksy and Book Barbarian and The Fussy Librarian. Promoting in my subscriber list. That's pretty much it. I've done a fair amount of research on all this, and it's all still fuzzy. It feels very much like how I felt at the front end of my first self-pub book. I've studied the maps, but I haven't actually walked the trail.

    Anyway, all this is by way of hoping others find something useful in the notes and rants to follow.
  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    First up: Into the Second World
    This one has more reviews (12) and is also my most recent book. I figure if I'm going to make some mistakes, this is a good one. Plus, the reviews give me some copy for the ads--not a small consideration.

    The Stan Plan as of today is this:
    Send my newsletter out in late January. Among the content will be an announcement that a sale is upcoming, so my subscribers are the first to know. I have to switch over to MailerLite from MailChimp, so this is the time to do that. I'll have a link to the actual sales dates and prices. MailerLite will let me track the number of people who actually click. This is Step One is figuring out who in those 70 subscribers are really fans and who just signed up for the free story and never unsubscribed.

    In February (specific dates are not yet set) run a Sponsored Ad on Amazon. Also run a Facebook Ad. Both will promote a Countdown Deal. In addition, book at least three promo services to promote the same.

    Adjust and repeat for the other books.

    Seems simple enough.


    Everything you read about Amazon ads suggest running the ad for at least a couple of months. Plenty of advice says run it permanently and just tweak it. Now waitaminit. I plan to run an ad to promote a sale. You don't keep running the ad after the sale is done. So, what? Is there some other sort of Amazon ad to run? Or do I just rely on the promotion inherent in the Countdown Deal itself? Then what the bloody what is the Sponsored Ad supposed to advertise?

    Facebook is even weirder. There's Boost This Post, but a post is a weak sort of way to advertise. There are other options, none of which seem quite the right sort of thing.

    The only part that's unambiguous is those Booksy et alia services. You pay a few bucks and your ad goes into their newsletter for one day. The only trick there is booking. You have to put your marker in for a particular day and hope against hope that all three or five services you go to all give you the same day. Because in a Countdown Deal, each day (or two) has a different price. Yeesh.

    If anyone knows of a resource that actually deals with these questions, I'd be glad to hear of it. Otherwise, I'm just going to journal my experiences and we can all assume they're completely typical and reproducible. Hah.
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    Of course, before I can do anything I have to get the next issue of Altearth Chronicle (my newsletter). This means not only do I have to write the copy--I put rather a lot into a newsletter--I also have to do it in MailerLite, which means learning the new interfaces, making lots of design choices, etc.

    Of course, that also means I need to create a new Welcome email sequence as well, which might mean creating a landing page or a form. More learning.

    Of course, I have to import the subscribers from MailChimp.

    Of course, I have to figure out how to change the signup link on my website so new subscribers to to MailerLite.

    Of course, I did watch Rain Man a few days ago.
  4. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Troubadour

    I'm definitely following this topic with interest.

    I think measuring everything to see what effect it has is the way forward. Try little things, learn a lot and try some more things. Some will work and others wont. And some things that worked for others won't work for you and vise versa. I recall reading somewhere (I think on lindsay buroker's blog, which has a lot of resources on self publishing) that the person used affiliate links to track the effect of marketing attempts. She used specific links for specific ads etc so she knew where buyers were coming from. So that might be something to look in to (and of course, just getting some extra moneys from Amazon is a nice bonus).

    I think for smaller authors there's very little difference between promoting a book that just launched and promoting an existing book. Books don't go bad (yes, writing styles and reading preferences change, but not that much in 2-5 years). And no one was waiting for the book launch or giving it much attention. The only difference is that you're not showing up anymore in the launched in the past 30 days filter on amazon. But since no one was looking for your book in the first place that matters little I feel. So you could just try marketing it as you would a new book.

    A few other thoughts:
    - If you're only on amazon at the moment, you could launch it as new everywhere else. If being Amazon exclusive is not getting you extra sales why not give it a try.
    - You could bundle a couple of books as a promotion. Yes, they're not a series, but they are all set in the same universe.
    - For ads, it can be worth checking out the "also bought" list for your books and see if targeting readers of those authors gives you effective promotions.

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