I’m sure you all saw my post last weekend about the release of my first novel, The Blood Moon. It was my first release ever and I was excited to see how it would finally do. Put some numbers with the advice I’ve been doling out here for over a year now.
The thing with release days is that they’re a little different for each other. Hell, even for each book. Seeing how this was my first book, I didn’t really know what to expect. Still, I freed up the day just in case something popped up.
So how did my first day go?
Well, not too bad considering. I had gotten up to 10 preorders in the three months before release (in hindsight three months might be too long but it’s good to refer people to a buy link as soon as you can—I will look at this in a later post). I hadn’t done too much promoting before the release date and admittedly I probably should’ve paid for at least one or two small ads, but I couldn’t justify spending money on advertising for only one book. With more books, you’re really trying to hook readers. If you have ten books, you’re going to pay the same to advertise a book as someone with only one book out, but by hooking a reader, you might be making ten sales as opposed to one.
Anyway, so I did almost everything free. I had a few books out to reviewers (who didn’t quite come through for me by release date, but I never really expected that to begin with) and someone had already left a 5-star review. That made my book look more attractive because it had been out for a short time and they wrote that they “couldn’t put it down!”
To sum it up, I didn’t have a lot of promotions scheduled. That was my bad. I don’t know if I’m going to for the second book either, though. Probably by the third book I will because three tells readers it’s a series, not a book with a sequel.
My biggest thing last week was my personal social media. I had been pretty quiet about my writing and intention to publish for a while. Partly to make a big announcement and partly because I write for me and talking about my books or my intention to publish feels weird for me. It feels like I’m asking for praise, but that’s exactly what you need to do to promote. I’m going to have to get over it.
Anyway, I announced my book first thing in the morning on my personal Facebook page and included a link to buy the book. I got a ton of likes and comments (mostly congratulations, but some people said they would buy it—my sales report says otherwise) but basically, my friends and family only resulted in a few sales, nothing too big. I did get a lot of shares as well and my brother emailed everyone at his job about my book, so if nothing else, my book won’t get lost in obscurity. Still, the point is to sell books to make a living off of it.
So what did I do on my release day? Well, I obviously posted here, my website, my author social media pages (largely made up by my family still, so that was kind of a moot point), and KBoards (the post was still going by Tuesday, so that was nice).
Besides these minor promos and excessively checking my sales numbers, I mostly wrote. I worked on the third book in the series (book two had just gotten back from the editor). They say the best way to increase sales is to write the next book, so I made sure to keep writing.
I also ended up on ACX to start my audiobook. I will post later about my experience with that, but here’s a preview: it was very simple! I put together my profile in about 15-20 minutes, listened to a few narrators, and by that night I was sending the full text to my narrator to record the first 15 minutes. Easy as that!
So my first release day wasn’t a huge runaway success, but I’m still very happy with it. This month I plan on contacting my local media and playing the local author angle. I also plan on contacting local indie bookstores to see if they’d be willing to shelve my book on consignment. We’ll see if these result in any sales. It may just be more work than it’s worth, but you never know. Besides, how cool would it be to see your book in the local paper?