When I went into my book tour extravaganza, I had high hopes–of course I did. I was investing a lot of time, money, and effort into making my book launch as successful as possible. I like to think I gave it my all, although I made some mistakes. Before I go into the successes and failures of my promotional efforts at the end of day 1, I want to talk about the things I didn't get right:
Mistake 1: Scheduling and Proofing
Book blog tours require 4-8 weeks of advance scheduling. At that stage of the production process, while one editor had gone over the novel, the other two had not. The excerpts, as a result, were not the same as in the live book. Undoubtedly there were a few proofing errors that aren't present in the official novel.
What I'll never learn is whether or not the proofing errors or scheduling foopahs kicked my sales rate.
Mistake 2: Advanced buy links
Because I'm not an established, high-selling author, amazon doesn't allow preorders. As a result, the story was on sale for two weeks prior to the official launch.
It is possible, if all of the sales I had with the initial burst of people noticing it was available to buy were to have bought it yesterday, I could have ranked far better than I did. That ranking could have let me get on a bestseller list for a competitive category.
But the sales were scattered, so I didn't do better than 13,800 ranking… which is small fries in the category Inquisitor belongs to.
Mistake 3: What's in a day?
Publishing houses release novels on Tuesday as a general rule. Mine released on a Friday. It was also my birthday, and my mother is due today for a visit from the US.
My attention was divided, unfortunately. While I did my best to make it fun and interesting, I don't think I did enough.
There were other mistakes, but I'm not going to mention them–yet. They might not even be real mistakes. We'll find out soon enough.
All Books on May 16, 2014: 38 bought units, 2 borrowed units. This is approximately $75 in royalties.
I spent a little over $500 on all of the promotional aspects of the launch day, including giveaway prizes and extras.
I had wanted $250.00 in royalties from Inquisitor alone. I didn't come anywhere close to my baseline goal. Before I show the breakdown by book, I want to make a very important observation:
While I didn't come close to my goal, I connected with new readers. That's actually an accomplishment in and of itself. The promotion very likely helped boost the sales of my other two novels as well, which were available as countdown deal promotions.
I really have nothing to be disappointed about. I knew I was at a high risk of losing money when I went in. My backup goal (because I did anticipate a loss) is to make $250 in royalties within a week after the promotion went live. This is accounting for the fact that there is more value to running a promotion than just sales. Some people can't afford to buy a book on the day it is promoted. In a few months — or even a year from now, they might remember my name the next time they see one of my books. This, in theory, could be a tipping point in whether or not they invest in a copy of one of my novels.
Which leads me to a very important point: I'm building an audience.
Let's face it–most indie writers, like me, generally do not have that much extra cash to throw around willy-nilly. These people are my most common companions and associates. What we earn, we typically invest right back into our writing businesses. It's a necessity. I am in a better position than many starting indie authors. I have an editorial job I can use to pay for all of my expenses–barely.
Back to the numbers:
On May 16:
Storm Without End sold 14 copies, for an estimated royalty of $14.
The Eye of God sold 10 copies with 1 borrowed unit, for an estimated royalty of $9.
Inquisitor sold 14 copies, with 1 borrowed unit, for an estimated royalty of $52.
Today is a new day. Tomorrow, too, will be a new day. Will I do another launch day extravaganza?
Will I use certain services for launch day boosts? Definitely.
That's a post for another day… once I see how the next week pans out. There's a lot of data to chase after, right along with the dream of magically becoming a runaway bestseller.