Future history textbooks will no doubt have massive smudge marks for the years between 2017 and 2020 from what their publishers will look at the ground as they insist was a "printing accident", and those who survived to remember will gladly leave it at that. But for me, 2017 shall be a year in which I'll look back on fondly as the year when the gloves came off.
This year will not only see the release of the fifth book in the Caverns & Creatures series, as well as some new short stories, but will hit the ground running with the audio release of the long-anticipated Critical Failures IV.
New releases are part of any year (This one should still be exceptional because of a secret weapon I'll blog about at some point in the future.), so what else am I doing that's making this one so special? I'm upping my marketing game.
I took some baby steps to this end in 2016. I began taking my newsletter more seriously, writing a magnet book, Multiple Orc Chasms, to get new subscribers and draw new readers into the wonderful world of Caverns & Creatures. But beyond sharing a link to the FREE story on my Facebook page (where most folks are already fans and have therefore likely already read my books), I didn't have much of a means of getting the word out to the uninitiated.
So I've been listening to podcasts and browsing posts in Facebook writers' groups, and I see that everyone is losing their collective shit about something called InstaFreebie, evangelizing about how they've been picking up hundreds and thousands of quality newsletter subscribers.
Naturally, I got to wondering. What the fuck is InstaFreebie? So I put on my detective hat.
To begin my investigation, I went to the InstaFreebie website. What can I say? I'm a pro.
But I've never claimed to be a technical wizard. I looked up a few of the authors who had been singing the praises of InstaFreebie and found that many of them were more successful than I am. Also, InstaFreebie offers a free one-month trial. Fuck it. I decided to give it a shot.
I registered an account, uploaded Multiple Orc Chasms, and sat back to let the sweet spray of fresh email addresses wash over my naked body.
I clicked the refresh button after thirty minutes to see how many people had claimed my book, and found it was zero. A little on the light side, if I'm being honest. I tried again after an hour, then a day, then a few days. Each time the result was the same. Sweet fuck all.
Asking myself may have been part of the problem, as I clearly didn't know jack shit.
I took my question to the source, emailing InstaFreebie directly via the address on their contact page. Shortly thereafter, I heard back from Director of Business Director, Ashley Durrer, whom I had seen before in an interview. She explained to me that "InstaFreebie is a community whereas Bookfunnel is a utility," which kind of sounded like horseshit.
But I had a while left in my free trial, so I looked further into this 'community' thing. Asking around on one of the aforementioned Facebook writers' groups I'd recently joined, I learned that the cool kids were engaging in cross-promotions, combining the power of their individual newsletters to drive readers to a promotion featuring the free books each of them had available.
Would any of these communities accept a small fish like me? In order to generate effective leads, I wanted to cross-promote with authors as close to my genre as possible. But I didn't feel I had enough to offer. All I could bring to the table was a relatively puny mailing list of 1,100 subscribers and my own raw sex appeal.
Fortunately, I was invited to participate with a small group of authors who had similarly sized lists. One of us, Ryan Drake, set up this landing page for the promotion. Then we each sent out an email to our own subscribers, combining our forces to make one super hunter of new leads. Perhaps that is better explained with a visual aid.
In a single day, I've gained about 400 new subscribers to my newsletter, bringing me to over 1,500. I'm still a small fish compared to many authors I've been seeking advice from, but I'm nearly 40% bigger than I was yesterday.
I have yet to test the worth of my new leads with a follow-up email. I'll be doing that soon with Phases 2 and 3 of my Kindle Countdown strategy very soon.
I'll be hanging on to my BookFunnel account, because it barely costs anything, and it may yet come in handy. But otherwise, consider me converted. I'm looking forward to participating in more of these cross-promotions, and to rocking the shit out of 2017.