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text 2018-05-14 08:30
Free and Easy Book Launch Basics
Cold-Blooded - Rod Raglin

 What's more disappointing than launching a new book and getting no sales and no reviews?

 

Paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars for someone to launch your new book for you and getting no sales and no reviews.

 

Cold-Blooded, Book 2 in the Mattie Saunders series was launched with a pre-order on Smashwords on January 15, 2018.

 

The Mattie Saunders Series is what I now go back to when I'm between, or need a break from, the major novel I'm working on. Mattie is a modern young woman dealing with new adult issues of relationships, career and family as well as addressing the contemporary challenges confronting society.

 

I'm actually taking subjects right from the nightly newscast and examining them from a fictional perspective. Because my overriding concern is wild places, plants and animals there's also a subplot that examines this problem as well.

 

In Cold-Blooded Mattie deals with the opioid crisis, a crumbling relationship and the exploitation of reptiles by the exotic pet trade.

 

This series of novella's are fast paced, somewhat irreverent and short - about one hundred pages.

 

The book was published on February 23, 2018, as an e-book on Smashwords and Draft2Digital and as an e-book and paperback on Amazon.

 

At that time I sent out approximately two hundred and thirty-four emails to members of my Advanced Reading Team with a coupon code for a free download of Cold-Blooded from Smashwords. Follow up emails went out March 4th and 13th.

 

The launch continued with giveaways on BookLikes and LibraryThing beginning March 18. I use these two sites because they don't charge you to offer your book for free like Goodreads that now charges $119.

 

If I ever thought I'd have to pay to give my books away I may have reconsidered becoming an author.

 

I used Goodreads prior to them charging to list giveaways and despite having a far greater audience than these other two sites I never found it generated more reviews.

 

After a month, BookLikes had two people requesting Cold-Blooded and LibraryThing had twenty-six.

 

I use free coupon codes on Smashwords with both my ARCs and giveaways so I can see how many actually redeem the coupon. Totally coupons offered, 271. Totally coupons redeemed, 27.

 

To date, marketing for Cold-Blooded has generated two tepid reviews and no sales.

 

It is now May 13th and I've just generated a free coupon for The Rocker and the Bird Girl, Book 1 in the Mattie Saunders Series, on Smashwords. The strategy is by offering the first book in the series free, readers will purchase the second book. Here's the link if you're interested. It expires June 3, 2018.

 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/727720

 

I'm likely going to enroll The Rocker and the Bird Girl on KDP Select so I can take advantage of offering it free for five days over the course of the three month exclusive commitment to see it that will generate any interest in Cold-Blooded.

 

What's the take-away?

 

This is classic book launch marketing, something you can easily pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars for and I did it all free.

 

Okay, I got zero results, but if you're and Indie Author and considering investing in marketing your self-published book ask yourself, why should you expect a different outcome? Unless you've got a real good reason, consider going the free route as outlined here or you'll likely learn the hard way what's more disappointing than launching a new book and getting no sales and no reviews.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

Links associate with this blog:

Author Amazon site https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Link for free copy of The Rocker and the Bird Girl https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/727720

BookLikes http://booklikes.com/giveaways

LibraryThing https://www.librarything.com/more/freebooks

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway

Draft2Digiatl https://www.draft2digital.com/

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/

KindleDirect Publishing https://kdp.amazon.com/

Createspace https://www.createspace.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2017-12-09 07:20
Book launch case study results

 So what works when it comes to marketing your self-published book?

 

Nothing.

 

Well, maybe that's being overly cynical. You may find some things work infinitesimally, but let me assure you there is no book marketing "silver bullet". At least that's been my experience over the past seven years with my eight novels and two plays.

 

But, hey, I'm ever the optimistic (what's the alternative?) and so when I received a promotional email (no personalized salutation) from an indie author saying she noticed I’d reviewed a book similar to one she had just written and if she sent me a free e-pub edition would I be interested in reviewing hers, I was curious as to know how she culled my email address from the millions on Amazon.

 

So I agreed to review her book on the condition she tell me how she got my email address and any other tips she might have on marketing. She responded favourably and was very forthcoming.

 

This all transpired in early October 2017  and I wrote a blog (see my previous blog entitled Book Launch Case Study) about what she had undertaken to produce and market her novel on October 18th.

 

As promised I read and reviewed her novel and rated it two stars. It was classically amateur. As well as posting the review I sent her a long, constructive (at least I thought it was) email with suggestions on improving the book and her overall writing.

 

She sent a terse reply saying I clearly did not enjoy the genre and her book obviously was not for me.

 

Fair enough.

 

So I thought I would wait and see if the money she spent on marketing would increase the popularity of what I considered a bad book.

 

Her book was published Sept. 27, 2017 and here's what she'd done and spent up to the point of sending it to me:

- To produce her book she hired two beta readers at $50 each and got a book cover artist from her writers’ group to design her cover for $65. No editor was needed she said as she just happened to be one herself.

- She purchased a Book Review Targeter app for $200 (that's how she got my email address).

- She uploaded the culled emails into Group Mailer and had "about forty-five people agree to read and review a free version of the book and an additional twenty who declined the free copy and purchased the book to review it.”

That's 65 people who agreed to review her book. Keep that number in mind.

In addition, she said she had another three or four lists (from additional similar books) she had yet process.

- At the end of October she was running a 99¢ campaign for the e-book edition for two days on Amazon and one-day free book promotions on Pretty-Hot Books and Discountbookman, spending ten dollars for a featured promotion on bookreadermagazine and running a giveaway on Goodreads.

- Let's not forget her friends, colleagues and clients whom she apparently had no problem asking to buy and review her book. She also asked writers in her writers’ groups to share information about her book on their Facebook pages and had started looking for blogs to ask bloggers to mention it.

 

All this cost her $375, and, I might think a bit of personal integrity and perhaps even a friend or two. But who isn't prepared to sacrifice their integrity, friends and even money if it means hitting the Amazon Best Seller list?

 

In the 71 days since her book was released she's had 7 customer reviews on Amazon with an average 4 star rating. Her book is currently ranked 3,359,000 on Amazon.

 

So what's the take away from this book launch case study?

 

  1. - Promises are not reviews or sales (remember those 65 people who promised to review her book, buy her book, or both) they're just promises.
  2. - Offering your book free or for 99¢ does not generate reviews or sales.
  3. - Since her family, friends, professional colleagues and clients didn't step up and review her book maybe you shouldn't go there. Relationships are more important than a book review and you really never know how much harm you're doing. Think of the friend who got involved in that multi-level marketing scheme - do you really want to be like him?

 

Am I happy she fell flat on her face? No. Am I vindicated that her efforts fell miles short of what I imagine her expectations were? No (well, maybe a little).

 

Mostly I hope she's gained some knowledge, maybe a bit of humility and carries on, but with emphasis on improving her craft rather than her marketing schemes. Maybe even get that email I sent out of the deleted file and take a look at what I suggested.

 

And always remember what Nietzsche said, "Art is the proper task in life."

 

And that would be whether it sells or not.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

 

 

30

 

Author Amazon Page  https:www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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text 2017-09-22 14:37
Book Launch: Antologia de Poesia Contemporânea "Entre o Sono e o Sonho", Vol. VIII by Gonçalo Martins

 

For the first time I see one of my poems chosen and published in the VIII Anthology of Contemporary Portuguese Poetry "Between Sleep and Dream". 

 

 

If you're into Poetry, read on.

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text 2016-12-06 07:10
# 7 The LOCAL RAG. Putting everything I know into a book launch and achieving nothing
The Local Rag - Rod Raglin

 

How I came to write my seventh novel, The LOCAL RAG.

Plus book launch advice - what doesn't work

 

The LOCAL RAG was my first go at fiction - a long, long time ago.

 

At the time I was full of hubris and upon completion quickly sent it to a local publisher. I don't even remember revising it.

 

It just so happened it landed on the desk of an editor who recognized my name as the publisher and editor of five community newspapers and an aspiring politico. Rather than shred it she took the time to line edit the first chapter. Suffice to say there was so much "blue pencil" it obscured the original manuscript.

 

I quickly hid this embarrassment in the back of my filing cabinet and would have forgot about it except for her comment that "there's a good story in here somewhere". I thought so too, all I needed to do was learn how to write it.

 

With the demise of so many reputable media outlets and the rise of just as many disreputable ones I had been thinking about writing a novel with a media theme. I wanted to investigate "citizen journalism", the influence of social media, and digital technology on my profession. Why not have a protagonist, a publisher and a journalist, who is struggling to keep his professional integrity while confronted with technological and financial challenges.

 

Hey, that's what The LOCAL RAG is about, and maybe I now know enough about the craft that I can write it.

 

I dug it out, sucked it up, and read it.

 

Wow, was it bad. But, as the editor had said, there indeed was a story in there and it was the one I wanted to tell.

 

It's quite interesting that as you become a better writer you write simpler. New writers and bad writers use way too many words. I cut about forty percent of the novel and then set about layering in characterization, motivation and honing the plot line. I also needed to bring it up to date technologically and to do that researched successful online newspaper models.

 

It was fun, it was exciting and a side benefit was that I learned how to put the last of the community newspapers I still publish online.

 

Here's the gist of it:

 

Do you believe everything you read in the newspapers?

 

Jim Mitchell doesn't.

 

He's a journalist and the publisher and editor of a community newspaper, The Sentinel.

 

He gave up a career with big media because he couldn't justify their choice of what to cover, couldn't tolerate the way they edited his stories and would not be implicit in misleading the public to benefit some hidden corporate agenda.

 

When he bought The Sentinel he thought all that would end. Being owner of "the local rag" he could select the stories, edit the copy and make sure the interests of the community were served.

 

He would print the truth - no slant, no bias, no spin, and he'd make a living doing it.

 

He was wrong.

 

Right from the beginning Jim's brand of reportage rankles some powerful people, people who pay his bills. Then there's the new competitor, a multinational media conglomerate that's expanding its generic community newspaper format into The Sentinel's market area.

 

Soon it's a struggle for The Sentinel to make a profit and for Jim to keep true to his uncompromising ethic.

 

When his best friend, Anthony Bravaro decides to run for mayor Jim's hopeful he'll be an honest politician.

 

Hope turns to dismay as Jim watches the quest for power turn a good man bad. Tony's campaign tests Jim's professional objectivity and personal integrity.

 

When Jim confronts his friend with damaging information that could end his run for public office he finds out how far Tony's prepared to go to win the mayor's seat - farther than he could ever have imagined.

 

 

This being my seventh novel I tried everything the so-called experts insist makes for a successful book launch.

 

Beginning in October, The LOCAL RAG was available for pre-order and entered in KindleScout, where readers could nominate it. I did a direct mail campaign with a free e-book advanced reading copy attached to over two hundred people who had expressed interest in my work. I ran giveaways on Goodreads, BookLikes and LibraryThing and enrolled in Amazon's KindleSelect so I could take advantage of their five days where The LOCAL RAG is available free.

 

I promoted all this on Twitter and Facebook and sent two follow-up messages to my email list.

 

So far I've given away about four hundred e-book editions and the net result has been one sale - I think ( I find Amazon's royalty reports are challenging to understand) and four reviews - all flattering mind you, but disappointing just the same.

 

I'm here to tell you despite what the book marketing, book launch scammers tell you none of their sure-fire techniques and gimmicks has worked (yet) - at least for me. The only up side, if you can call it that, is I've been able to do all this marketing on my own so it hasn't cost me anything.

 

I have two more Amazon free days left and am currently in the process of sending out e-books and two paperbacks to winners of my giveaways so there still could be a review or two trickle in from that - not like it will make a difference.

 

Even for a guy who loves to write this is getting a bit (?) frustrating.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

 

30

 

Reviews for The LOCAL RAG can be read at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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text 2016-11-02 04:03
The launch of The Local Rag
The Local Rag - Rod Raglin

This is my seventh novel, you'd think I should know something about launching one by now. Right?

 

Because I write this blog and facilitate creative writing circles I continue to read books and participate in webinars on book marketing hoping there'll be something new I can pass on.

 

There isn't.

 

There's stats, graphs, media mixes and the occasional ridiculous suggestions like:

- include the title of all your books in the header photo of your various social media sites, and

- post photos of five covers of your books on your Facebook opening page - bottom left column below your intro.

As if this preaching to the converted (since they're already on your site) will make a difference.

 

Currently, the Holy Grail of social media marketeers is "the e-mail list".

 

Building the email list should be the primary objective of authors and this is done through giveaways, signups for your newsletter and any other way you can get a person to divulge their email address.

 

Then, if done right - right timing, content and frequency, these lists can apparently be mined for gold.

 

Without exception these social media marketeers, authors and webinar presenters all have their own marketing company and will be happy to further enlighten you with an online course or program (for a fee).

 

Armed with the experience of six previous launches and now buoyed with all this new(?) marketing information I set forth on October 1, 2016 to launch my seventh novel, The LOCAL RAG.

 

The first thing I did was to enroll my book in Kindle Scout, Amazon's "reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing."

 

https://kindlescout.amazon.com

 

There's a forty-five day exclusive agreement stating you're not selling your book while it's part of the contest.

 

In essence this is an electronic slush pile, but it's free and easy though it provides little indication if your book is popular since, like most internet polls, it can be easily skewed by nominees who rabidly recruit votes from everyone they've ever come in contact with.

Then I sent an email with a free Advance Reading Copy e-book.

 

For the first time I used MailChimp. They offer a free service for lists less than two thousand subscribers. I have two hundred and thirty-five emails from people who at one time or another expressed and interest in my writing. MailChimp is worth investigating and certainly beats sending individual emails.

 

https://www.mailchimp.com

 

I enrolled the e-book edition of The LOCAL RAG in Kindle Select. For a ninety day exclusive Kindle Select offers me greater royalties, wider distribution, participation in Kindle Owner's Lending Library and the opportunity to offer my book free on Amazon for five days during that period. I chose five individual free days more or less spaced equally apart.

I've used this program for some launches and not for others. The results have been the same - zero.

 

https://kdp.amazon.com/select?ref_=kdp_BS_TN_se

 

By the end of the month I had sent out two follow-up emails urging people to vote for The LOCAL RAG on Kindle Scout and read and review my book.

 

Once the Kindle Scout promotion had expired (results pending but not holding my breath) I scheduled a giveaway from November 7th to December 4th on Goodreads for two paperback books, and here and LibraryThing for the same duration for one hundred ebooks each.

 

https://www.goodreads.com/

https://www.librarything.com/

 

I set up a pre-order on Smashwords for January 7, 2017, ninety days out and once my commitment to Kindle Select is over. I'll likely offer it for free for a couple of weeks just for exposure. Smashwords is another non-starter, but what the hell.

 

https://www.smashwords.com/

 

I've joined four Goodreads groups and will endeavor to engage in meaningful and civil discussions during the next three months as well. Social media gurus insist joining and participating in online groups will increase sales - at least indirectly. This by far is the most difficult and time consuming part of the launch.

 

My goal is to get at least ten reviews and sell at least fifty books within six months of the launch.

 

With about one month down I've so far received three reviews (all five stars) and no sales.

 

I'll keep you posted.

 

Stay calm, be brave watch for the signs.

 

30

 

 

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books

https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

 

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

 

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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