Wayne Stinnett, Author

Wayne Stinnett, Author

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Launch

The launch of Fallen Angel went really well. But, it could and should have gone a whole lot better. Let me explain what I wanted to happen first and why.

The goal of launching a new book is to try to get it in front of new readers. I approach this the same way I do advertising. If you do a lot of big ads, like BookBub, you know that Amazon dampers the affect of the big spike on ranking. How or why is a mystery, but it happens. Fallen Angel sold nearly 1000 copies in the first 24 hours, yet it only reached #96. That wasn't supposed to happen.

My launch strategy was to try to line up what I have control over, with what I could intelligently predict would happen beyond my control. The two major things there being BookBub's and Amazon's notification to followers. I know I have a lot of Amazon followers, I could tell from my last release. I know on my BookBub dashboard, that I have 680 followers there. I also have over 2300 subscribers to my twice monthly newsletter. The beuty about this launch plan is that it will work for any number of followers and subscribers, just on a lower or higher scale.

From my last three launches, I know that Amazon has emailed me almost precisely 72 hours after clicking Publish on KDP, asking if I want them to inform my followers. Also, I know from past experience that those emails don't go to all followers at one time. It's spaced out over several days, beginning the day after I reply that yes, I'd like Amazon to let my followers know. Amazon knows about their own spike dampener.

So, to build a launch like a promotion, I wanted to slowly ramp sales up before the big push, Amazon informing my followers. This way, the Amazon spike wouldn't be as pronounced. To do this, I had to try to guess when BookBub would inform my followers there, then split my subscriber base into ever increasing numbers and email them in increments.

BookBub's deal is pretty new, they just started it after my last release, so I had to look beyond my own data to determine when this might happen. For most writers I talked to who had recent releases and good sized BookBub followers, it was three days after entering the new book on their BookBub dashboard.

So, knowing that the third day after publishing, BookBub would tell my 680 followers and the fourth day after publishing, Amazon would begin the heavy lifting, I needed to set up a ramp of sales from the moment of publishing to the morning of the third day after publishing. I decided to break my mailing list up into several parts.

Here's step-by-step what I planned to do:
1) Click Publish around noon Eastern time. Once it goes live, I'd have control..
2) Do nothing for quite a few hours, knowing that some people are gonna find it anyway. I did in fact get several sales early on, without mentioning it to a soul.
3) Very early on Day Two, and I'm talking paper-route way-before-the-sun early, send the newsletter about the release to the top 20 subscribers with the highest and earliest click rates. This takes some work in figuring out and needs to be done well ahead of time.
4) Send the same newsletter to the next 50 highest subscribers at noon on Day Two and post the link on my Facebook author page.
5) Send the same newsletter to the next 50 subscribers at 6pm and post the link on my personal Facebook page. My highest sales hours and page reads occur between 6pm and midnight.
6) Send the same newsletter to the next 200 subscribers about midnight on Day Two. There are some insomniacs in my group and sales would be good through the night.
7) Send the same newsletter to the next 500 subscribers at 6am on Day Three. By now, I've used up 820 of my 2300 subscribers, but all of them are 5 star subscribers with high open and click rates. These 500 are a bit less of the click-within-minutes subscribers like the earlier ones. Many of these buy, but usually hours after the email is sent.
8) Send the same newsletter to the next 700 subscribers at 6pm on Day Three. Now, I'm getting into the 4 star subscribers.
9) Send the same newsletter to the remaining 800+ subscribers at 9pm on Day Three. Many of these are new and untested, so there will be a good many quick buyers among the ones that buy more infrequently, or just plain don't use the links I provide.
10) BookBub takes over on the morning of Day Four.
11) Amazon takes over on the morning of Day Five.

My goal was to get a trickle of sales during the overnight hours after publishing and I did indeed get 12 sales before telling anyone. The top subscribers, the ones who click within minutes of getting the email regardless of time of day, get their email on their phones. So the newsletters sent out at four different times on Day Two, will be bought up within minutes. The emails on Day Three will become more sporadic, as I get down into the 3 and 2 star subscribers.This approach, in my mind, would produce steadily climbing sales numbers throughout the period before BookBub and Amazon start making spikes.

A well thought out plan? I thought so. But, just like a battle plan, which begins to devolve and fall apart upon first friction with the enemy. my launch plan was doomed from the start. First off, I usually launch at $.99 for my subscribers, then raise it to full price after a day. I messed up and clicked Publish with the price set at full price. Being in review, I couldn't do anything until morning. So, those 12 overnight sales were at full price.

Come morning on Day Two, I lowered the price and waited anxiously. Usually a price change takes a while to update on Amazon, so I panicked and merged the many groups, thinking I wouldn't be able to tell my subscribers until later in the day. However, the price change took affect within an hour. Then I screwed up again and sent the email to the whole 2300 subscribers.

The result was six sales on Day One, another six at full price overnight into Day Two, then a huge spike of nearly 1000 sales by the end of Day Two. I left the price at $.99 until noon on Day Three, but only garnered another 82 sales, some at the reduced price and some at full price. Big spike and deep trough. Just what I wanted to avoid. Still, I sold 992 copies in 24 hours,  with a 71% open rate and 53% click rate. My subscribers are engaged.

So, back to writing and sharpening up this launch plan for the next time. That'll be with the launch of Ruthless Charity, sometime in June or July.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fallen Angel is now available on Amazon! Volume 9 in the Jesse McDermitt Caribbean Adventure Series.

With our move to Beaufort and me probably spending too much time on the water, it's taken longer to get Fallen Angel to market than any of my other books. I apologize for that, but I am enjoying my time on the boat.

This book was so much fun to write. My other books are set in places where I once lived or visited, but with the exception of the Keys, it's been many years and my memories are worn. So, why not send Jesse up to Beaufort, South Carolina to solve a problem?

I was able to write things that are fresh in my mind with this one. And if I needed to see something closer, I didn't have to emply Google maps. Instead, I launched Pescador and went there to explore the scenery Jesse would be passing through, first hand.

Anyway, I hope you like the book. Both the Kindle and paperback versions are available, now. The price will be only $.99 for a very short time. The audiobook version was completed last night and should be available in a few days.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Buy One Action Novel, Get Two Free!

With the publication date of my latest novel, Fallen Angel, quickly approaching, Amazon is offering the box set of the first three ebooks for the price of just the first one. For THREE BUCKS you get Fallen Out, regularly $2.99, Fallen Palm, regularly $3.99, and Fallen Hunter, also $3.99. I'll do the math cor ya. If bought separately, the price would be $10.97, for a savings of almost $8 off regular price. As you can see, it's even more than half off the regular price of the box set. Click the link below, to take advantage of this three day only deal.

This is nothing but a blatant display of commercialism, y'all. I want you to read these three, so that by the time you finish the next five in the series, you'll be ready to buy the new book, when it comes out. Fallen Angel will premier on Amazon on April 29th, so get to reading.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Back on The Water Again.

April is here, spring has sprung, and I'm back to work. A whole lot has happened since publishing Fallen Tide, almost five months ago. I started writing two new books immediately after the release, but had to put everything on the back burner for a while. Thanksgiving and Christmas came, we got the go ahead to move into our new house before closing, we've been trying desperately to sell our old house, and I've been distracted by the water, spending a lot of time out on my new (to me) boat.

Most of that stress is gone now. We closed on the house last month, but still haven't sold the old one. But, I'm back to writing. The first draft of Fallen Angel, the ninth book in the Jesse McDermitt Caribbean Adventure Series, is now nearing completion. Later this month, iIt'll go through a week of beta reading, then a week of editing, before it goes to the final proofreader and formatter. I expect it to be published on May 9th.

Ruthless Charity is only about 30% complete, but while Fallen Angel is going through the editing process, I'll be working on Ruthless. I hope to have it published in early June.

When both are published, they'll be priced at $.99 for a little more than one day. The announcement will go out to my newsletter subscribers first. The following day, it will be announced on my Facebook Page and Twitter. To get the deal, you really want to subscribe to the newsletter. The release won't be announced publicly, here on my blog and through an Amazon email to my followers there, until the price goes up to $5.99.

I'm really getting a kick out of writing this book. It took a turn I hadn't expected in the very first chapters and I had to completely rewrite the plot. Jesse and a few of his cohorts are coming to Beaufort, my new hometown! Of course, with Parris Island and the Marine Corps Air Station right here, it's like coming home for Jesse, as well. Nearly all the places I've written about in my books, are places I've been to or have lived in. Except for the Keys, it's been many years ago when I was in some of these places. Now, I'm writing about waterways I'm on every weekend and am becoming very familiar with.

Next week, I'll be out and about aboard Pescador (I won my daughter over on the name), looking for just the right cover photo for this new book. Since it's primarily set here, the cover should reflect this. Oh, did I mention I've done a little work on Pescador? She now sports over $1600 in electronics, a brand new T-top, and she has her name on the side. If you live in the Beaufort area and see us out on the water, wave us down. I'd be glad to share some sea stories.