Back-to-Back Book Releases: Yay or Nay?

Launching a series all at once can be a daunting task. You have to plan the promotion campaign with tight deadlines. This release schedule was a new venture for me. With two backlist trilogies, it made sense to book the releases close together. This meant getting all the titles ready before the pre-order dates.

Once I’d completed my revisions, here is what came next:

  • Assign individual ISBN Numbers and add to Copyright pages (optional but recommended).
  • Mention this title was previously published by your former publisher if it’s a reissue.
  • Add new front and back material.
  • Complete formatting for each book.
  • Add updated book covers to website.
  • Convert book into digital and/or paperback formats.
  • Set release dates.
  • Add book to vendor sites and schedule as pre-order.
  • Create memes for series as a whole and for each individual book.
  • If running a sale, create memes for sale book(s).
  • Write tweets for each title and for overall series.
  • Schedule a newsletter.
  • Book ads if desired.
  • Write blogs for Cover Reveals and Reissue dates.
  • Add distributor links to scheduled blog posts and website.
  • If a reissue, decide if you want to link to earlier versions to retain reviews.
  • Claim your titles on BookBub, Goodreads and Amazon Author Central.

I decided to run a pre-order sale. With the titles respectively at $.99, $1.99 and $2.99, this would give readers a saving of $6.00 over the regular retail price of $3.99 each.

There appeared to be a spike in sales for each book on their release dates, presumably due to preorders. The first book in each series had the most sales. I’m experimenting with these books on Kindle Unlimited and will evaluate the results once the royalties start coming in.

Would I do this again? Not for original titles. You’d have to write all three of them first and then promote your books to the next millennia. It gets tiring fast. There’s a reason why publishers produce one book a year in a series. You need time to contact reviewers, plan a promotional campaign, schedule ads, write copy, and so much more. It’s easier for backlist titles when you already have reviews, but you still want to attract new readers with fresh covers and added bonus materials.

In conclusion, a back-to-back publication schedule may work for more energetic writers, but I wouldn’t do it for my original works. I need more time for advance planning. In this case, though, with all three books in each trilogy already written, it was easier to get them ready for a fast launch.

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Have you ever rapid-released several books in a row? How did that work for you?

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E-Books vs Print Books for Giveaways

As part of a book promotion campaign, many authors routinely offer giveaways or contests with books as prizes. Whether these are e-books or print copies depends upon author preference, publisher, supplies and cost factors.

Book Giveaways

Traditionally published authors may receive a carton of advance reading copies for reviewers or to use as giveaway prizes. They can easily supply print copies but may not have the option to give out digital editions. This factor might be curtailed now due to print run delays amid Covid-19 changes.

Suffice it to say that these authors can offer books as prizes in a format approved by their publisher. If they only have print copies available, they can opt to gift an e-book copy by purchasing it themselves. But considering the cost of e-books published by traditional houses, that’s no small sum. Some publishers may offer a digital format for reviewers or put it online at one of the known sites such as NetGalley. It’s up to each author to inquire as to what’s available. Or maybe the publisher is willing to mail out print books on behalf of the author.

On the other hand, self-published authors can make their own choices in this regard. They can order print proofs and send these out as advance reading copies. These books, usually trade paperbacks, cost more for the author as there are no free books from a publishing house. As an alternative, indie authors can offer digital review copies only or give the reviewer a choice.

As for contest prizes, indie authors can choose to give away either print or e-book copies. This is a personal preference, but again one must consider the cost. Print books are more expensive when you add in the shipping charges that can be considerable. This is before we spend on postage to send the print book to the reader.

Lately, I’ve been offering exclusively digital copies, not only for the cost issue, but also because I don’t care to stand in line at the post office during a pandemic. I have cartons full of first edition print copies of backlist titles I’d love to give away to readers, but they’ll have to wait until it’s safer out there.

Hopefully, you’ll be more understanding of why authors may offer one format or the other. It’s a personal choice dependent upon our publisher, formats available for our titles, how much we can afford, and how much we’re willing to risk our health during these uncertain times.

Be aware that even if you don’t own a dedicated e-reader device, you can download digital files onto your home computer or tablet. It’s great to get a signed print book as a contest prize, but please realize this is not always possible. At Booklover’s Bench, where we do monthly giveaways, you’ll see both e-books and print copies in the Prize Vault. Enter Here for a chance to win.

E-Books vs Print Books for Giveaways #amreading #giveaway Click To Tweet

Homework for Writers

What is homework for writers? It’s when you need to learn something new, and instead of going the easy route by asking writer friends for answers, you do the research yourself. It’s okay to ask for advice and input but don’t expect to learn everything there is to know.

Homework for Writers

Where Should You Start?
Listserves can be a great source of information. Join your professional writing organizations, set your posts for daily digests, and scan the topics. Any time something pops up that you might use one day, copy and paste the information into a file. Then when the time comes, you’ll have a rich source of data that you can mine.

Blogs, podcasts, and webinars are another great source. So are your group’s newsletters, writing workshops and conference classes. Collect all the data and file it for when you need it. I’ve done this with just about every marketing topic I’ve ever needed to address.

Launching a New Venture
So now you are ready to get started self-publishing or putting your indie book into print or applying for a BookBub deal or trying an Amazon ad. Scour through your information on the topic and eliminate any links or material that’s outdated. See what applies to your situation. Then organize your tasks step-by-step. This gives you control and is more manageable than facing the entire job, which can be overwhelming. Once you’re ready, you need to ignore the fear of failure that might be holding you back and take a leap into the unknown.

Examples
On the loops, I’ve been reading about authors who get wide distribution for their audiobooks via Findaway Voices. I have corresponded with a few of them regarding the switch from exclusive to non-exclusive on ACX. That’s the first step to do if you’ve paid up front. As instructed, I also downloaded the audio chapters for each of my four audiobooks.

Next, I went onto the Findaway site and wrote down their requirements. Figuring my books would work, I requested the change from ACX support and am waiting for this to go through. Then I’ll do the upload to Findaway. At that point, lots of new promotional opportunities will open. I have notes on these also. My goal is to gain new listeners and hopefully get into the library market with my audiobooks. It’s all a big gamble, but then, what isn’t in this business?

I am also approaching my first sale with trepidation. Now that all of my mystery backlist titles are on board, I can start doing price promotions. But the idea seems overwhelming. You have to set a date, book ads around that date, notify the vendors, create memes and ads. It’s a lot to do, not to mention social media blasts to get the word out.

The only way I can approach this adventure is to be supremely organized. Again, I’ve studied my files, reviewed blogs on the topic, asked other authors how they’ve done it, and then wrote a step-by-step guide on what to do. I rechecked links on ad sites that might have gone defunct since I started my files and picked the best places based on what other authors have mentioned.

And that’s how we take the next step forward. We listen. We research a topic. We verify links and search out new ones. And we move forward. There’s no magic bullet for what you want to do. You have to collect the data and organize it to suit your needs. It’s part of the business of being a writer. Do. Your. Homework.

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Share with us one of your goals that will be a new experience or that you’ve managed to accomplish on your own.

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Book Blog Tour for Easter Hair Hunt

March 10 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

March 10 – Carla Loves to Read – REVIEW

March 11 – 18, Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour 

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour

Join my virtual book tour to celebrate the release of Easter Hair Hunt, #16 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries. Reviews, Spotlights, Interviews, Guest Posts & Giveaway. Please leave comments at each site to support my hosts.

March 11 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 11 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 11 – This Is My Truth NowAUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 12 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

March 12 – Ascroft, eh?AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 12 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

March 12, Booklover’s Bench – “Spring has a Buzz” GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY

March 12 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

March 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 13 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

March 14 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 14 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

March 14 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

March 15 – Cozy Up With KathyRECIPE POST

March 15 – Hearts & ScribblesGUEST POST – “Honey is Healthy”

March 15 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

March 16 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

March 16 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT

March 17 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

March 17 – Jane ReadsGUEST POST – “Expensive Easter Eggs”

March 17 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE, & GIVEAWAY

March 18 – StoreyBook ReviewsGUEST POST – “Postage Stamps are History”

March 18 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 2, Dru’s Book Musings – “Get to Know You – Dalton Vail” CHARACTER INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY

April 4 – Kings River Life – REVIEW, RECIPE & GIVEAWAY

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Enter Here March 1 – 18 to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench

March 2020

Are Blog Tours Worthwhile?

Blog Tours can gain exposure for your new release on sites with a different readership than your own. If anything, readers might be prompted to go look up your book if the post piques their interest. Name recognition and exposure is the goal more so than selling books. You want to expose your work to new audiences. A blog tour can be an important tool in your marketing and book promotion arsenal.

Are Blog Tours Worthwhile

Another huge benefit is that you’ll gain reviews. The tour hosts, if this is what they offer, may post a review on their blog sites, Goodreads, Amazon, and in some cases on BookBub.

Decide if you want to book your own virtual blog tour or if you’re rather hire a tour organizer. You can also do both if you have a list of bloggers you can approach on your own. How do you find these people to start? Check out the blog tours of authors who write in the same genre. Go to each site and look for contact information and submission guidelines. Some will do reviews. Others will offer interviews or spotlights. Begin a list of possible sites with these details, including if there’s an online submission form. If you want to cast a wider net, consider a Bookstagram tour or look for YouTube  Book Vloggers or podcasters that will host you.

To arrange a virtual tour yourself, send a query to the host. Mention your book title and details, the release date, a short book description with buy links, and if you have digital or physical advance reading copies available. On your list, jot down the date when you sent this query. If you get no response and several weeks have passed, send out a reminder letter. Also note down when you get an answer and the date you send the ARC to the host. Keep meticulous records, because you’ll use the same people again for the next book if they follow through. When they do post a review or host an interview, write the date and add the link to your notes.

Once you’ve been accepted by the hosts, write your blogs. What do you write about? My advice is to scribble down topics as you are writing your work-in-progress. Subjects can relate to the research you had to do, to the writing process itself, or to the reason why you were inspired to write this book. Another popular item for a post is a character interview or a “day in the life” essay by your protagonist.

At the end of each post, put your book blurb and buy links; plus an author bio with links to your social media sites. Send an author photo and book cover along with your post to the host.

To attract readers, offer a grand prize drawing from all commenters during the tour and/or do a giveaway on each site.

Publish your tour schedule on your website and broadcast it on your social media. Create an eye-catching graphic and use it to make this an event. Post it as an event on your Facebook author page and with your Appearances on your website. Use these sites to create memes: BookBrush, https://bookbrush.com or Canva, http://www.canva.com

Be sure to show up the day of the posting on each site to answer comments. Thank the host for having you on her site.

If you’d rather hire a tour organizer, you’ll get the benefit of their network of hosts and their publicity on your behalf. You’ll also perhaps get a graphic you can use to publicize the event. Decide if you want to do guest blogs, interviews, spotlights, or reviews.

Here are some tour host companies:

Great Escapes – http://www.escapewithdollycas.com/great-escapes-virtual-book-tours/

Partners in Crime – http://www.partnersincrimetours.net/

Goddess Fish Promotions – http://www.goddessfish.com/

Bewitching Book Tours – http://bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com/

Xpresso Book Tours – http://xpressobooktours.com/

Historical Fiction – http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/

Enticing Journey – http://www.enticingjourneybookpromotions.com/p/welcome.html

Give Me Books – https://givemebooksblog.blogspot.com/

Audiobookworm Promotions – http://audiobookwormpromotions.com/tours/

To summarize, follow these steps:

  • Solicit Hosts or Hire a Tour Organizer
  • Decide Topics
  • Write Blogs
  • Send Posts to Hosts or Tour Organizer
  • Offer Prizes to Commenters or a Grand Prize for the Tour
  • Publicize Schedule
  • Thank the Hosts
  • Tally Results
Are Blog Tours Worthwhile? #blogging #bookpromotion Click To Tweet

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Follow my Virtual Book Tour March 11 – 18 

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour

 

Booklover’s Bench Giveaway, Feb. 1 – 18

It’s our group’s anniversary at Booklover’s Bench and we’re celebrating by gifting six mysteries to one lucky winner! We founded our site in Feb. 2013, so we are seven years in the running and still going strong. You can rely on Booklover’s Bench for great reads and monthly giveaways. CLICK HERE TO ENTER

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7 Tips for Goodreads Authors

Goodreads is where readers go to share their reviews and to discover new books. As an author, you want readers to add your book to their TBR (to-be-read) shelf. Shelvings can lead to Sales that can lead to Reads and hopefully Reviews. Your goal is to raise awareness of your book and entice readers to buy it. Goodreads should be a part of your book promotion campaign.

Goodreads Authors

 

1. Sign in as a Goodreads Author or Librarian, so you can click the Edit Details button on your books and make changes. You can combine editions, choose a default edition, add a book cover, link your series books, or manually enter a new title if it’s available on Amazon. With an author page, you can list your books, link to your blog post feed, create events, and more.

2. Search for Goodreads author promotions so you can take advantage of them. Or run a Goodreads Giveaway. These cost money but can be effective to raise awareness of your upcoming release.

3. Followers, and not friends, get notified when you have a new book launch. So ask people to follow you on Goodreads. If you’re doing a Rafflecopter contest, add Follow Me on Goodreads as an option. Add this link to all your social media posts and sites.

4. Since Goodreads is primarily for readers, contribute reviews for each book you read so that other readers accept you as one of their own. It’ll also help get your name out there when it shows on your update feed.

5. Join special interest groups and participate in discussions, but be careful to promote your book only in the sections allowed. Read the guidelines before you post about your own books.

6. Utilize the Ask-the-Author feature. It allows readers to ask you questions in a Q&A format.

7. On the Home page, click on General Update and add your contest news, book release info, or anything else you wish to promote.

7 Tips for Goodreads Authors #bookmarketing #bookpromotion Click To Tweet

Goodreads is another site to have an author presence. Use your author dashboard and manage your book editions and author page. This site can be a valuable tool in your promotional arsenal.

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Follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/nancyjcohen

Tips for Query Letters

Do you want to send an agent a query letter but have no idea what it should include? Or perhaps you’ve sent out several queries and you keep getting rejections. What could you be doing wrong? Here are some steps you can take to put yourself on the path to success.

Query Letters

Check the guidelines for submissions on the agent’s website. This will tell you what genres the person represents and if they prefer email or snail mail submissions. The guidelines will also state if you should include any sample chapters.

Make sure the agent does not require an exclusive submission. If so, you’d lose months while waiting for a response. See if the agent mentions their expected response time.

Write a one-page snappy query letter introducing yourself, giving the word count and genre for your book, a catchy story blurb, and your writing credits. If possible, include a hot premise or marketing hook that makes your story stand out. This means using keywords such as “paranormal” or “dystopian” or “domestic suspense” or saying your story is “Indiana Jones meets Romancing the Stone.” If you can compare your style to similar published authors, do so without bragging about how your book is as wonderful as Ms. Bestselling Author.

Be careful not to sound as though your writing is all over the board in terms of genres. Be clear about your focus. For example, don’t give the genre as a suspense novel and then mention that it takes place on another planet and your next book will be a vampire story. You’ll want to build your author brand by focusing on one genre as you grow your readership.

Do not describe your life history or any personal details unless they relate directly to your book. Do include if you belong to a critique group, have won writing contests, or if you’ve attended writing workshops and conferences.

You can also mention why readers might want to read your book. What is the value in it for them? Again, don’t brag and say it’s the most exciting book they’ll ever read, or it’s a fast-paced thrill ride. This is for readers to determine. But if it helps them appreciate family values or learn about how you can rise above past mistakes, this could be useful to include as a theme.

Basic Structure

First Paragraph – State your book’s title, genre and word count. Here you can put if you’re a published author seeking representation or a new author seeking an agent for your first book.

Second Paragraph – This is your catchy book blurb. Write it like a log line for a TV show or like the back cover copy of your book. You’ll want to engage the reader’s interest. 

Third Paragraph – Here offer your biography as it applies to your writing, including works you’ve published, memberships in professional writing organizations, writing workshops you’ve attended, critique group participation. Mention any expertise or work credentials that apply to your book. You can also make marketing suggestions or mention your proposed target audience. Mention if your story is book one of a series.

Last Remarks – Thank the agent for their consideration and offer to send the completed manuscript upon request. Do mention if this is a multiple submission.

Signature Line – Here is where you can add your social media links. Doubtless the agent, if interested, will look you up to see if you have an online platform.

If you hear nothing back from the agent for a couple of months, send a follow-up email to ask if she’s received your query. Be courteous and respectful of the agent’s time. Be aware that some agents won’t respond at all, and this can be taken as a rejection. But follow through at least once to make sure your email was received. As an alternative, you can request a return receipt for when the agent opens the message.

If you receive a rejection letter with detailed suggestions for your work, write a thank you note. Remember, an author-agent relationship is a two-way street. Just as you want to hire the ideal agent, the agent wants to land the ideal client. Be courteous, professional, and savvy about the industry. Also respect that while the agent might offer suggestions for improvements, this is not an invitation to resubmit your work unless the agent says so in her response.

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After Your Book Launch

What should you be doing in the days following your new book release? Promotion doesn’t end when your book launch is over. You’ve tossed the ball into the court. Now you need to keep it rolling. Let’s say you have sent advance reading copies to reviewers and are participating in a blog tour or doing guest posts along the way.
Book Launch
What else can you do? Here are some suggestions:

  • Start a file for Amazon reviews and copy down each review as it’s posted, along with the date and reviewer. Do the same for Goodreads. Repeat for bloggers and other review sites. If you start getting tons of reviews, skip this step and go to item two.
  • Check these names against your personal reviewer list and mark each one as done. Then you’ll know which reviewers followed through so you can approach them with your next release.
  • Send a thank you email to the reviewers on your personal list who have posted.
  • Send a reminder to the reviewers who have not yet posted.
  • You should have already written a page of tweets and posts for your new book. For each reviewer, note their Twitter and Facebook handles. Now pull relevant quotes from these reviews and add them to your Tweet page. Remember to tag the reviewer.
  • Also write a tweet or post for each stop on your blog tour. Tag your hosts and add a link to their site.
  • Set your Twitter posts to rotate automatically at a site like SocialJukebox.com or schedule them ahead of time at Hootsuite. Space out your Facebook posts between your own pages and your groups.
  • Add quotes from reviews to your website.
  • Check your Amazon book’s page. If you don’t see reviews posted by your reviewers, you can add them as quotes via Amazon Author Central.
  • If you are doing a blog tour, return daily to each site and respond to comments. Leave your own comment thanking the host for having you there.
  • Get the specific URL for each post about your book and update it on your Appearances page. Shorten the link for tweets.
  • If you’re running a contest, don’t forget to mention this to your followers.
  • Remember to promote your friends’ books and retweet their posts so it’s not all about you.
  • If you’re doing concurrent sales on your other books, you’ll need to advertise these as well.
  • Gauge the effectiveness of the newsletter you sent out the day of your book release. Update your mailing list by removing bounces and unsubscribes.
  • If you boosted your Facebook post, was it effective? How many engagements and clicks did you get?
  • Keep meticulous records so that when you have another release, you can contact the reviewers who posted about your book and drop the people who got an advance copy but never responded. Then you can seek new readers to fill in the gaps.

I’m sure you can think of many more activities you’re doing in the couple of weeks following your book release. It’s a busy time when the pace seems relentless, but it will ease off. You’ll have to keep the promotional ball rolling, but at least it’ll be more of a steady pace than a race. What would you add to this list?

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