Author Tips: Book Bombs, Release Days, & Other Good Free Marketing Tips

NYTdamagedarrange6I thought I’d share what a typical release day looks like. Some things have changed since I started in 2011, but most are still the same.

Each novel has a release date that is announced on the website, blog, and social media pages a few weeks prior to release. I tell ppl when I start a new book/ series and do a cover reveal, so by the time I announce the release, they have been looking for it.

For serials, I give the readers a rough idea of when the next one will come out so I give myself enough time to write it. The cover is posted a few days prior to the release of the serial so everyone can see it and get excited. Then as soon as I get it back from editing I publish it.

What the heck is a book bomb? Define: Book Bomb=bombarded in this case with the hope that using multiple marketing channels, simultaneously, the book will be more visible for a short window. During that window you will get a higher influx of readers. More visibility=more sales. Generally speaking, that’s true. People can’t buy the book if they don’t know its there. A book bomb makes it very clear its there and how to get it.

RELEASE DAY MARKETING:

1. Blog Post – include links to all retailers, description, trailer (if I have one), release date, and cover.
2. Update Blog Widgets – add cover image to blog sidebar with link to book in Kindle Store.
3. Update Goodreads – make sure release date is in bold and change it to TODAY and sale price.
4. Add book to author central.
5. Add bold text, reviews, and the about the author section via Author Central.
6. Create mass email to get sent out on release day with links to ppl on the newsletter list.
7. Create social media ad images to be used as teasers on release day & week (hot link to book).
8. Post reminders on Twitter and Facebook that the book comes out tomorrow. Link to 1st chapter on blog if I posted a teaser.
9. Add cover to Pintrest.
10. Add other images that pertain to story idea or creation to Pintrest.
11. Update link to book on website.
12. Dispense ARCs
13. Check in with Beta Readers (if used).
14. Post links to books on Twitter and FB.
15. Contact Book Reviewers that requested personal reminders on release days.
16. Go out and take the day off so I don’t watch the computer all day.

Most of this stuff is free. The only thing that I pay for is the email service so I can track stuff. It is time consuming, but its worked well for me. A good release day will bump one of my new books up into the top 3,000. A ho-hum day will be around 10,000. Holidays, school, weekends, etc all affect release days. I try to launch the book when people will be around. There is usually an uptick in sale the two weeks following launch day as reviews start to come in.

Recent changes:

In addition to the things above, I might take out a paid ad if it’s the first book in a series. I plan promotions to kick in when the anticipated sales slump starts. I was hospitalized during one of my novel releases (DAMAGED last April), and by the time I woke up, that novel was already in the top 100. A ho-hum release now will hit a rank of about 200 on release day. A highly anticipated book will hit the top 10. I have over 40 books, about 1/2 novels, 1/2 serials. Some are YA and some are NA.

THIS IS STILL THE SAME: The best piece of advice I can give someone trying to boost their sales is this: MAKE IT REALLY EASY TO BUY YOUR BOOK! Don’t make people go looking for it.

And if you are selling to women/ girls: MAKE IT PRETTY! I use picture links a lot too.

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This is a hype piece for a book that came out recently. I use it on facebook & twitter. Sometimes it’ll will appear on the blog as well.

The most sales I had in a single week was just over 100K copies, and the title came in #2 on NYT, WSJ, and USA Today. Dan Brown beat me. I beat Jame Patterson. That title hit #1 on Amazon and held for about 1/2 a week at $3.99. Not too shabby. One week in 2013 I had 4 titles on USA Today’s bestseller list. I think that’s a record for me. There might have been 5 a while back, but I was too busy writing to notice. I gotta dig back through and check.

I still do all this stuff. It works. Anything that makes your books easier for ppl to find and buy is a plus. That’s what all this marketing stuff is about at it’s core – making it easier for readers to find & buy your books.

If this seems overwhelming, just remember that marketing=making your book more visible and easy to purchase. Start there and it’s less head spinning. I started with 1 facebook fan, too. It’s one fan at a time, 1 foot in front of the other kind of brand building that grabs readers and helps them stick around. It didn’t happen over night. This way takes time, but it works.

Rock on, Indie Peeps!

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STRIPPED (Jon Ferro) ON SALE FOR 99¢ TODAY ONLY!!!

stripped newFERRO NOVEL FOR ONLY 99¢ 

TODAY ONLY FOR STRIPPED!!!

For a limited time you can get STRIPPED for 99¢! SAVE $5!!!

By New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author H.M. Ward

There are some relationships that destroy your faith in people. They make you jaded and hard, irrevocably changing you forever. I wish I could say that I hate her, I wish I could walk away and never look back, but I can’t…I have to save her.

The woman who stole my heart and crushed it in her hand disappeared from my life 3 years ago. So when I see her at a bachelor party, half naked, rolling around on the floor with another stripper, I’m shocked. I have to know what cracked Cassle Hale’s picture perfect world that landed her in this hellhole, and I hope that I’m not so bitter that I can’t help her escape.

Genre: New Adult Novel

Paper Edition: 330 pages, book 1 of 2

GRAB STRIPPED TODAY FOR ONLY .99c TODAY

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What Readers Are Saying

“My Review in ONE Word…INTENSE! Ward takes her time describing everything from character personalities, locations and emotions.” -Melanie

“I loved this book brings together all of H.M. Ward’s other book characters!” -R.Meza

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I turned down over a million bucks in trad deals, plus other tips for Indies

trystan scott ominbus book coverSo, I ranted a little bit on KindleBoards and figured I should post it on my own blog at some point. So here we go…

I posted an announcement on my facebook page last night and had several ppl nudge me to post it over here. So here we go. Plus I’m adding more info, b/c info is king and it’s good to be king. bwuhahaha.

Over the past year I’ve been offered over 1.5 million bucks in advances offered by huge publishing houses. I told them to show me a marketing plan that knocks my socks off and I’d consider their offer. I had this notion that they knew what they were doing and could do it better than I could. They said they had all these ideas and they’re gonna blow my mind, which was a requirement for the deal, b/c the pay was too low.

About the money – if you have a book that hits #1-10 on the Kindle store, tons of people have the mistaken notion that it’s gonna blip and fall and you’re fun in the sun will end…unless a trad pub picks you up.

It’s math time! A book in the top ten sells around 5-10K copies per day. Let’s take the average and give the book some wiggle room and say it’s selling 7K copies a day @ $2.99. In 7 days you’ll have made (net, not gross) over $100,000. So BIG TRAD HOUSE offers you $200,000 for a three part series.

‘Sign here,’ they say. ‘Sign fast! You want to strike while the irons hot.’ ‘A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush.’ ‘It’s a sure thing and if you don’t sign, then you could loose everything.’ <–They actually said all the crap to me, and its crap. If the book nets $100K in a week, what will it do next week? What about next month? What about next year? Never mind those other 2 books. Bad deal.

The most recent offer was for a high six figure deal on my next novel, on spec, sight unseen from one of the big 5. I gave the same terms – show me a kick *ss marketing plan and I’ll consider it. They were excited and on it! They were going to wow me. Like I was gonna be so wowed that I’d die of the wowness. True story.

Dude, the marketing plan I got back was the equivalent of, ‘we’re gonna do stuff.’ Their email list – yeah, they don’t personally have one, but this archaic place does – had 2K people on it. That was the bulk of their plan.

My email list has over 30K ppl on it and I do a ton more stuff than they presented. There’s a post in here about my release day marketing plan, most of which is free and time consuming. I still do that. It’s listed in here with details.

THEY DON’T DO THAT MUCH.

I said no. And laughed. A lot. It was so weak.

My point – do NOT think that they have any clue what they are doing, because they do not. There is a marketing method that is called ‘see what sticks’ where you take a plate of spaghetti and toss it at the wall. There’s no planning, no nothing. Just take it and throw. That is what the big houses are doing. Every marketing plan had that element of ‘fate’ and hoped that I would be the lucky piece of pasta that stuck.

Screw that. I want someone who knows what they’re doing. Apparently, that’s me. I’m good at selling intangible goods. I know that, but I assumed there would be better things that I hadn’t thought of. I still consider myself ‘green.’ Yeah, it turns out that I’m not.

Everything you do should have a purpose. All ads should be directly targeting your demographic for your book. ‘Toss it at the wall’ is very costly and honestly, it gets you a very poor ROI (return on investment).

Here are some of the highlights of my Indie career since I started. March marks my 3 year Indie anniversary. I was not previously published. I started at zero. I was a photographer, with a theology degree that cost a frickin fortune.

•I sold 4 MILLION+ books since 2011.

•DAMAGED: THE FERRO FAMILY was the #1 bestselling Indie Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace title of 2013.

•DAMAGED: THE FERRO FAMILY was the #14 bestselling Kindle title on Amazon of 2013.

•In 2013 alone I had 11 different titles on the NEW YORK TIMES bestsellers list.

•I’m a NYT, WSJ, USAT bestselling author.

•THE ARRANGEMENT series sold over 1 million copies in 2013. Dude, they’re serials. People hate short books. Riiiight. Wink

•I’ve been a top 100 Amazon author every month of 2013, often in the top 10.

•In 2013 I released a new title about every 2.5 weeks.

•My formal education is in theology.

•My titles tend to focus on elements of the human condition such as poverty, hope, grief, and loss.

•I had multiple titles hit #1 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other sites.

•DAMAGED: THE FERRO FAMILY was in the Amazon top 100 kindle titles for over 100 days in 2013.

•H.M. Ward owns H.M. Ward Press (formerly Laree Bailey Press). Other indies thought that I was trad b/c of my press. I’m not.

•Prior to this I was a nationally acclaimed professional photographer. I shot the covers for Demon Kissed 1-5 and Catalyst before I retired from photography in Fall 2012. Until then, I was a FT photog and a PT writer.

I started by using facebook and only facebook to connect to readers outside of my social circles. There are other ways to do that, but I’m a big believer in don’t wait for them to come to you.

My first book cost me $125 to produce. I was butt poor from a theology degree that cost well over six figures. I didn’t have extra money to mess around with.

I had a big NY agent for my 1st book and was looking at the traditional route. I told her to pull it–I wanted to publish it myself. (Many thanks to Joe Konrath and his awesome blog).

I work about 80 hours a week. I have two assistants that help me manage paperwork. I just hired them b/c I had been going nuts trying to do everything myself. Hubby helps me with all the numbers stuff and when I get sick (I’ve been fighting an illness for the past 3 years) that knocks me on my *ss periodically.

If you forget everything else in this post, remember this:

If you don’t have the gall to believe in yourself and your work, no one else will.

Bring it.

Own it.

And don’t worry about mistakes, because they’re the stepping stones to success. I notice I never say ‘I failed’ – I say ‘well, I jacket that up,’ and try to figure out where it went wrong so I can fix it. Failure is an excellent teacher. Learn from it and try again.

I feel like crap today, so forgive my typos and such. I wanted to take the time to share this b/c stuff like this helped me. I’d see ppl’s posts about how they were getting ahead, buying a laptop with their earnings, or read Joe’s blog and seeing his income, and it made me keep going. I’m glad I did.

Being an Indie completely and totally rocks.

–and this was a follow up–

Someone asked how I end up working 80 hours a week:

It’s more than 80 hours. I work at least 12 hours a day, 7 days a week when I’m home. The only way I stop working is for me to go on vacation. But anyone who has worked for themselves knows that. I try to stop at 5pm, but it never happens. I usually try to stop and 5 and it takes me until 9 to get stuff done.

3 hours or less are spent writing per day.

The rest gets eaten up by email, fb, twitter, fan interaction, vendor relations/ discussions, launches (on launch day all I do is the stuff on that page I wrote a while back. It takes ALL day. I can’t do anything else on those days.)

I think interaction is important. Ive always thought that. If they took the time to write me something, I want to write them back. Its time consuming.

The rest of the time is spent making covers, blurbs, marketing strategy, reworking sales copies if they flopped, analyzing stats and seeing what can be changed to function better. This year I added book fairs to my to do list, so I’ll be at BEA, RWA, London, and RT. Audiobooks, listening to narrators, making the covers for those, answering interview requests. Planning marketing and coordinating things between ads. Making social media pics and posting.

That’s the stuff that stands out. Hubby does stats on sales and prepares paperwork for the boring side of a business.

As in any other person who is self employed, I spend the least amount of time doing the fun part. In this case, writing. I like making covers too.

I work from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep. I did that when I had the photography studio too. Im not sure if Im a workaholic or if I work harder b/c I work for me.

I still spend a few hours every day playing with my kids and hubby. I eat meals with them, and work at home, so they can come talk to me when they need me. I don’t expect to maintain this pace forever, but I’ve been doing it so long I’d be lost working 40 hours a week.

Im hoping my assistants will take over the redundant work (eg cover made for ebook, paper, acx-the assistant makes the duplicates after I do the ebook design) and that will cut my workload by about 10 hours a week, which would be great. I’ll end up writing instead. hahaha.

Someone asked about paper only deals – NO ONE IS INTERESTED. I thought that was insane, but it’s not. It lines up with Hugh’s report. Paper is not where the money is at- ebooks are. I made the NYT list this week. Ebook only rank was #7 and Ebook and paper combined was #8. No preorder. Minimal paper sales – a few hundred. That also lines up with what Hugh’s report. Which makes me think, there isnt a lot of money in paper and the risk is greater than the reward. I am trying to do paper distribution myself. It’s too early to say what will happen. I’ll let you know, but I’m thinking there is a reason why the trad pubs are backing off of paper sales. It’s not arbitrary, despite their other actions I think they’re right about paper.

If Indies stopped chasing paper, if they stopped thinking that paper would be the difference, well, that would be major.

There’s one other huge thing that I wanted to mention, and that’s the fans. Being indie means I can release faster and for less. Can you imagine a trad pub trying to release a book every other week? Or even once a month? The fans LOVE having so much to read and not waiting very long. Plus I have the option to put anything I want on sale, whenever I want. These aren’t minor facets of the big picture, they’re huge. I’ve also dabbled with fans actually influencing the story line. That has been amazing. They got to chose major things – did this person sleep with this person, is this person gay, should the dark nature of a character be toned down, etc.

An offer has to be really attractive to risk my fans, and it is a risk. The publisher could totally derail things and p*ss off my fan base. For me, that’s a huge risk and it’s just not worth it. Notice I said risk several times. You’re risking everything you’ve made when you hand your stuff over to someone else.

A couple of you guys said you’ll be at RT and BEA. Totally come say hi!!!

Related Posts on Self Publishing and Indie Marketing

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Cover Reveal for Arrangement 14

Look what comes out late on Sunday night! THE ARRANGEMENT 14. Ooooh! Can’t wait to share it with you!!!!

AR14medThis series is very different from anything else out there because it’s fan driven. It does not have a finite number of books. When the fans ask for more, I write more. The fans have also influenced the story line, which is amazing! For more info on this series, check out this post.

 

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New Release: THE SECRET LIFE OF TRYSTAN SCOTT COLLECTION (Omnibus Vol. 1-5)

New Today! The Secret Life of Trystan Scott (The Complete Collection Vol. 1-5)

You guys asked for it and you got it! All FIVE Trystan Scott Volumes in one place. If purchased separately, they retail for $14.95. For a limited time you can grab the entire collection for only $9.99. Wahoo!

And yes, this is the same Trystan Scott that you see in the Ferro books. This is his juicy back story.

Description:

Volumes 1-5 in the New York Times Bestselling The Secret Life of Trystan Scott Serials

Fame has a price and Trystan doesn’t want to pay. Everything he worked so hard to hide is about to be revealed. Nothing he can do will stop it. Within a few short hours everyone will know about his father and the sordid details of his past. There are four words Trystan’s father said that haunt him–four words that he ignored–never fall in love. But it’s too late. This is the complete collection of the prequel series to BROKEN PROMISES (A Trystan Scott novel).

  • Genre: YA/ New Adult Romance
  • The paperback is 682 pages.
  • All five volumes from The Secret Life are in this collection
  • Related Works: BROKEN PROMISES (which will be released later this year)

~The Secret Life of Trystan Scott Collection (Volume 1-5) are on sale now.~

amazon   bn   kobobutton   iTunesbutton

What readers are saying:

“There is yet to be a H.M. Ward book that I do not just LOVE! Trystan Scott series is no exception. I will continue to buy until Mrs. Ward does not want to write anymore :) “ -Amazon Customer.

“I love this series of books, and if you love HM Ward’s writing style you won’t be disappointed.” -CCozby

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STRIPPED by H.M. Ward Gets A New Cover!

Tah dah! The old STRIPPED cover wasn’t calling to me. I know, I’m mental. But this one scream Jon and Cassie so much better. When I saw that pic, I knew it was them. I had to use it.

STRIPPED 2 will release in March. Exact date TBA. This is the final part of his series – novel 2 of 2.

Thank you to everyone for reading! You guys are amazing!!!

Related works: The Arrangement, The Proposition, and Damaged.

 

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4 Million Reasons To Self-Publish Online Author Workshop by H.M. Ward

2Welcome

Get ready! It’s finally here! H.M. Ward’s online author workshop!

DATE: March 22nd, 2014

TIME: 2pm EST – 3pm EST

LOCATION: Online – this is a webinar/ online workshop

COST: $49 (100% of your payment for this workshop is being donated to NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP, an early infancy non-profit organization that helps grieving families with infant loss). I’m paying the payment processing fees, webinar costs, and anything else that comes up myself.

I’ve been asked to speak all over the place this year, and decided this is an easy and inexpensive way to hold a world-wide workshop for authors without ever leaving your living room.

About me:

  • H.M. Ward is an Indie author (self-published).
  • H.M. Ward has sold 4 MILLION books since her debut novel released in 2011.
  • Her novel DAMAGED: THE FERRO FAMILY was the #1 bestselling Indie Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace title of 2013.
  • DAMAGED: THE FERRO FAMILY was the #14 bestselling title on Amazon of 2013.
  • In 2013 alone Ward had 11 different titles on the NEW YORK TIMES bestsellers list.
  • She is a NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, & USA TODAY bestselling author.
  • Her readership has grown to a social reach of over 20 million people.
  • H.M. Ward became a full time writer less than a year after her first novel appeared on the market.
  • THE ARRANGEMENT is her bestselling series of new adult romance serials about the eldest Ferro brother, Sean.
  • H.M. Ward has been a top 100 Amazon author every month of 2013.
  • On average in 2013 she released a new title every 2.5 weeks.
  • H.M. Ward owns H.M. Ward Press.

Series: Ferro Family, including: Damaged, The Arrangement, The Proposition, & Stripped. More romance series include Scandalous, Secrets, and The Secret Life of Trystan Scott. Paranormal Romance Series: Demon Kissed, Vampire Apocalypse.

If you haven’t attended an online workshop before, it has audio – you’ll hear me speaking, and you can see my computer screen. If you want to ask questions, there’s a place to type them in. It works really well.

The content of this workshop will be based on the feedback given by the registrants. From speaking with many people, it sounds like we’ll be talking about how to increase readership and marketing techniques. During the first part of the workshop I’ll talk and address the info you sent in prior to the workshop, then we’ll switch to a Q&A format. I think that will be the most productive way to do things. It should give you information that you can run out and use right away, which is a big deal.

You are welcome to attend whether you have published or are getting ready to publish your first book. :) I’m obviously happy about self-publishing, so everything will have that slant. Yeah Indie writers!

Before the workshop, you will get log in information so you can attend this event online. Have I mentioned this event is online? :)

Click the button below to register. Please note that seats are non-refundable. There are a VERY limited number of slots. In the event of a cancellation on my part, you will be refunded in full.

Please respect that THIS EVENT IS FOR AUTHORS ONLY.

Last time I hosted this workshop it sold out in 2 hours, so grab a seat now if you want to attend.

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The Secret Life of Trystan Scott Omnibus is Coming!

THE SECRET LIFE OF TRYSTAN SCOTT will be available in an omnibus edition for a limited time starting on Feb. 17th! Here’s a sneak peek at the jacket! It’s sooooo pretty! (This is books 1-5 in one collection).

trystanscottomnibusjacketmedThe paperback is 682 pages. It’s a big fat book! The omnibus will be available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. I’ll post when it goes live.

Thank you to all the fans who love Trystan!

FYI, this is the prequel to BROKEN PROMISES which will appear later this year. As many of you already noticed, Trystan appears in STRIPPED, THE PROPOSITION, and THE ARRANGEMENT. It’s three years after The Secret Life series has ended when he appears in those books. BROKEN PROMISES runs concurrently with the Ferro books/ timeline.

More info on Trystan and BROKEN PROMISES coming soon!

 

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New Release! THE ARRANGEMENT VOL. 13 IS OUT!

AR13BN

THE ARRANGEMENT VOL. 13 was released today!

Description:

THE SERIES WITH OVER A MILLION COPIES SOLD
Volume 13 in the New York Times Bestselling Arrangement Serials

***Warning Sexual Content***
Dark. Sexy. Epic. ‘I can’t lose her.’ Those are the words that haunt me, the phrase that repeats in an endless loop in my mind. Images from my past collide with the present until I can no longer tell them apart. I try to hold onto what’s real–hold onto her–Avery, but death is looming and it seems that no matter what I do, I can’t save her.

Get a glimpse into Sean Ferro’s mind in this volume. The first two chapters are told from his point-of-view.

Genre: New Adult Romance
This story unfolds over multiple volumes approx. 125 pages each.
~The Arrangement Vol 1-13 are on sale now.~

 GET THE ARRANGEMENT 13 NOW AT THESE RETAILERS:

amazon   kobobutton   bn

(itunes and paperback will appear shortly)

“The Arrangement 13 is beyond brilliant. It will feed your inner-Ferro addict and leave you jonesing for more, more, more.” -Colette R.

“Dark, Dangerous, and Delicious! This is by far the darkest, most dangerous, and deliciously sexy book of the series! I can’t even begin to describe the many twists and turns this book takes! I was literally on the edge of my seat the entire book! The ending will leave you shocked, angry, confused, and gasping for breath! I absolutely LOVED every second of this thrilling ride!” -Debbie M.

Why are these books short and fast? They’re supposed to be. Click here for more info.

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