A couple of weeks back, I told the world (or at least the dozen or so people who looked at my blog) about my plans for an upcoming promotion I'm doing for my books. In that blog post, I predicted that my April sales would suffer as a result of some of the steps I had to take in order to put my big plan into action. I'm happy to report that my prediction turned out to be correct. April was not one of my best months.
Okay, so that's not all that huge a deal. It's easy to predict failure when you intentionally shoot yourself in the foot. Predicting the success of an experimental marketing strategy is much tougher. But I'm going to attempt to do just that.
"Why bother?" you might ask. "Why set yourself up for embarrassment on top of disappointment?"
Those are good questions. I'd be lying if I said that one of the reasons isn't that I'm just really excited about the upcoming promotion, and I wanted to vent some of that excitement here onto my blog. But there's a bigger reason than that. In the off chance that this promotion lives up to (or, dare I say, exceeds) my expectations, I'd like it to be on record that the success was not just some blind stroke of luck, but rather the fruit of a premeditated and brilliantly executed plan.
And if it flops, no harm done. Nobody reads this shit anyway.
So here it is. My predictions for the big May promotion...
May 11th: Midnight
I set all of my books to begin their Kindle Countdown promotion on the midnight leading from the tenth to the eleventh, in order to maximize the length of the promotion. Hopefully there will be a few night owls scrounging for bargains in the fantasy genre around that time. When they check the Fantasy Countdown list, they should be bombarded with images of my books. High visibility is part of the strategy. Curious about this guy they've never heard of before, but who seems to be getting some very nice reviews, they'll click on the cover that first catches their eye. It's only a buck, so they'll take a chance.
By eight o'clock in the morning, I'm hoping to have several titles on the first page of Amazon's Comedy list, and (if I'm lucky) maybe a few titles creeping up the fantasy charts. Then at eight o'clock, I drop the hammer.
May 11th: 8:00 A.M.
For a couple of hundred bucks, I bought an advertisement from www.bookbub.com. At 8:00 A.M., on the morning of May eleventh, that advertisement will be emailed to over 400,000 subscribed fans of the fantasy genre.
Over the next couple of hours, Critical Failures should skyrocket to the top of Amazon's comedy list, and get up pretty high on the Sword and Sorcery Fantasy list.
This isn't really a blog-worthy prediction. Bookbub isn't any big secret, and combining a Bookbub ad to coincide with your Kindle Countdown promotion is only a logical decision for anyone who is aware of both. I'm sure lots of other self-published authors have used this combination very effectively. So what sets my promotion apart from theirs?
A few hours later. Chain reaction. All hell breaks loose.
What am I bringing to the table that all of the aforementioned other authors haven't? What's my secret weapon? It's the fifteen other titles that will be on the Countdown alongside Critical Failures. This could be the single biggest promotion in the admittedly brief history of the Kindle Countdown. I'm basing that speculation on absolutely no research whatsoever. I just like to think that I'm smarter than most people.
Here's what happens...
The first wave of Bookbubbers pick up Critical Failures. Let's be irresponsibly optimistic and call it a couple thousand. Now let's stretch probability a little further and say that a few hundred of those people get curious while reading the first couple of chapters. They look me up on Amazon, and discover that I've got a bunch of other titles that are also being discounted RIGHT NOW AND FOR A LIMITED TIME!!! And they'll go and buy all my shit right then and there.
A couple of hours after that, and all sixteen of my titles are rocking the Amazon bestseller lists in a few different categories and sub-categories. Everything up til now has been foreplay. This is when I reach my real audience.
Suddenly, people who have never heard of Bookbub or Kindle Countdown are seeing my titles bukakked all over their screen.
And that's what this promotion is all about. Sudden, widespread exposure. Thousands of people will see my name for the first time ever, all over the first page of their favorite bestseller lists, and say "Who the fuck is this guy?"
From there, who knows? I'm hoping that the momentum from this will continue rolling along well after the promotion ends, and I'll establish a nice little semi-permanent home for my books... at least until three months from now, when I can run another promotion.