My girl S. Usher Evans has a new release coming out THIS MONTH, so she’s on my blog today discussing preorder strategies for the curious mind. Like me, February marks the month for demons — only Evans’ characters are fighting/wrangling them, not ahem fornicating with them.
As a self-publisher, there’s always decisions to be weighed. Do I spend the money on a great cover? (Yes) Do I really need a fifth coffee cup with my company’s logo on it? (Probably) Can I really manage to write five thousand words and come up with a winning promo strategy today? (Answer hazy, ask again later).
One of the big questions I do ask myself is how and when to release books. As a general rule, I don’t like to sit on products that could be making me money. However, when it comes to books—especially first books in new series—sometimes being patient is a good idea. Especially if it means you can have your cake and eat it too, by way of a special preorder promotion.
Running a Promo
For my latest series Demon Spring (preorder now), I wanted to write all three books ahead of time so I knew what I was doing, and could tweak as I wrote later books. Having all three books finished before the first book went on sale also meant I could offer my “insiders” the chance to buy all three books about a year before anyone else.
Why? Well, they’d get books early, I get money now, it was a win-win. To sweeten the deal, I created some custom trading cards and buttons that I offered as an additional swag pack.
What I Did
I spent about six months prior to building my newsletter list and working on growing interest in my series through social media posts, photos, and discussions in my street team. My goal was to leverage the fans I’d acquired from my other four series and perhaps pick up a few new ones. I gave myself a month (November) to promote and gather sales.
All-in-all, I raised around $800—not bad for a series nobody had read yet. Most of the folks took advantage of the series-option, and a few took advantage of the swag pack. The best part: That was all money that came directly to me versus being eaten by Amazon or CreateSpace. Not only that, but those that bought the books are posting photos, reviews, and more. So they will help me build my buzz prior to the actual release day in February.
What I’d Do Differently
One of the biggest womp-womp moments was when I realized I’d been pinning my hopes that an eBook crowd would buy paperbacks. What I mean by that is I’d spent about six months growing a newsletter list via Instafreebie, and assumed they would be down for buying paperbacks. They did not, but I still had them on the hook when the eBook went up for preorder, so it wasn’t so bad.
I also grossly overestimated how many people were interested in an additional swag pack. In the future, I might price the books higher and include the swag pack. I also offered affiliate coupons to my street team, but they weren’t really taken advantage of this round. In the future, I might wait until I have orders in before spending money on swag, no matter how much on sale it may be.
There’s always pros and cons to every decision you make. When it comes to wondering if you should run a preorder campaign or just put the book on sale, I always err on the side of preorders. You’ll give yourself enough time to grow buzz, and also allow for any hiccups with book production. But if you’ve got the books available, offering early sales to a select group of folks is a great way to get people excited about your upcoming release.
About the Book
Demon hunter Jack Grenard’s life changed three years ago when his wife was brutally murdered by the very demons he’d been hunting. At the urging of his partner Cam Macarro, he’s starting a new life in Atlanta, hoping he’ll find the man he used to be. But on a routine hunt, they come across a new type of demon–one that saves instead of kills.
Meanwhile, demons across Atlanta are preparing for the quadrennial uprising of their Underworld brethren. Worse yet, there’s a rumor the so-called king of the demons, Bael, will appear for the first time in over a century. Jack and Cam must uncover the truth about the mystery woman before all hell–literally–breaks loose.
Resurgence is the first in a new Urban Fantasy trilogy from S. Usher Evans, author of the Madion War Trilogy, Razia, and Lexie Carrigan Chronicles. It is available for eBook exclusively in Kindle Unlimited, and in paperback and hardcover.