Continuing my Bookbub-inspired series of book marketing posts, I will now address the question of promoting a new book that’s part of a series.
Series novels let you reach new readers who still haven’t discovered your books yet. Hook readers on one book, and chances are they’ll be begging for more. But how do you find new readers in the first place?
Cheryl Bradshaw has the answer, courtesy of Bookbub.
One to Two Months Prior to Release
1. Redesign platform elements. A couple of months before your book release, kick things off by posting a new banner on your Facebook page, blog, and other relevant sites. It should include the book cover reveal, the release date (if known), and language such as “coming soon” so readers know to stay tuned.
2. Hint about the upcoming release. Whenever you can, sneak in comments on your blog and pages about the book and how the writing is coming along to build anticipation among fans.
3. Publish and distribute an excerpt. Post the first chapter of the book on your Facebook page/blog etc. This stirs up excitement for the rest of the story.
Two to Four Weeks Prior to Release
1. Publish teasers. A few weeks before your book launch, post teasers with quotes from various characters in the story. You can easily turn your quotes into vibrant images using free apps like Canva. Schedule these teasers to post a few times each week until release day.
2. Promote the pre-order. If you use the pre-order option, promote it at this time and be sure to include purchase links to all major retailers.
3. Distribute book to street teams. Send your friends ARCs of the manuscript. Though not a requirement, many are fantastic about posting an honest review for the book when they’ve finished it. Having reviews already in place on release day is pure gold.
4. Create Facebook ads. Create several inexpensive Facebook ads for the new book well before the release date in order to test a variety of creative and demographic targeting to see which one performs the best. Kill the ones that don’t work to save on your ad budget. Start small, usually $3.00 per day until you narrow the ads down to the one that performs the best. Then, increase the price.
1. Host a release party. You may host a release party on Facebook on release day and do hourly drawings for anyone who purchases the book that day. You can give away prizes every hour for 12 hours that relate to the book in some way, like keychains with the book cover, book earrings (miniature book earrings of your book covers), tote bags with the name of the series, mugs, notebooks, etc. Anyone who purchases the book that day is entered into the drawings. The earlier they purchase the book, the more chances they have to win.
Alternatively, you may preschedule a Facebook post and do a single drawing with a larger prize. If you try either of these, create a paid ad for the book if you want the post to be seen. Otherwise Facebook’s algorithm will bury your post. You may create an ad in Power Editor announcing the release party, and target only fans of your author page.
2. Update your online assets. Have a release-day checklist to ensure that you remember to update your product pages and all social media sites to reflect the new book, including widgets, cover photos, etc.
3. Announce the release on your website. Write a blog post and add the book to your website, with links to all retailers. Make all book covers clickable (leading to Amazon) and keep your links simple and easy for your readers to understand. Make sure all links require only one click to complete the purchase.
4. Promote on Twitter. Promote the release on Twitter following the 80/20 rule (80% of my usual posts have nothing to do with promoting my books). You want the book to stand out when you tweet about it, so don’e promote anything before the release date of a new book. On release day hit it hard, posting every 2–3 hours for three days. Remember to include an eye-catching photo of the book when you tweet.
5. Increase your Facebook budget. Raise the budget on your best performing Facebook ads to make sure they reach a wider audience. The best ads include links to the book on all the major retailers so readers can easily download the book, no matter which ereader they use.
6. Notify subscribers of your book release. Randomly segment your subscribers into three lists and send one newsletter to each list over the course of the first week post-release. This helps keep the book’s rank high for longer.
One to Two Months After Release
1. Run a BookBub Featured Deal. After the book has been released for a while, run ads on on various sites. Wait a couple of months to give the new book time to be reviewed by as many readers as possible before submitting it to BookBub. This helps drive a high volume of sales.
2. Coordinate Featured Deal date with other online advertising. As soon as you have a promotion date with BookBub, discount the new book so it’s ready for the promotion, and schedule all of the other paid ads, usually running around three each week for at least a month. Here is a full list of websites where you can advertise your ebook price promotion, courtesy of Cheryl Bradshaw.
The length of your price promotion depends on how many subsequent ads you’ve purchased. For new releases, it usually lasts for a week. On an older release, you may want to stretch out the promotion and breathe new life into it.
When to Make Your First Book Free:
Making your first book free as a way to sell the rest of your series is an excellent idea. However, when you’re running big ads for a subsequent novel in the series, don’t make your first book free during those promotions. Why? You’ll lose out on sales on that first book.
Most people want to start with book one in a series when they first discover you, especially if they’ve never heard of you before. The same can be said for Facebook ads. Let’s say you run a Facebook ad for book #3 in your series at full price, but the first book in your series is free. Which book do you think a reader just discovering you will download: the one with a bit of risk involved, or the one without any?
When to Release a Boxed Set:
If you’ve just finished, for example, book 3 in your series and you want to release both book 3 and a boxed set with books 1–3, wait a couple months before releasing the set. Give your new book the chance to sell on its own before you throw it into a set at a discount. If you bundle your books too soon, it almost always affects the sale of your newest book. You worked hard on that book, and it deserves its moment to shine before it’s swallowed up at a discount.
Last in the series: Bookbub Insights: Get More Reviews
All this marketing stuff does your head in? Relax with my award-winning children’s book, Runaway Smile for free!