I just did this:
And I’m nail-gnawingly nervous about it. I love this book. It was just so much fun to write. Although I’m proud of my first couple of books, thinking about them brings up a lot of stressful memories of battling endless problems and an overwhelming sense that I was out of my depth. But this one was different. Writing this one, I finally felt like I was doing okay.
Of course, even writing that, I’m thinking “I’ll look like a real idiot for having said that if this one falls on its face.” And that’s what I’m worried about, really. I thought my second book was better than the first, and it made, uh… *furious calculator work*… 7% of the money the first one did.
Aside: AHAHAHA I actually didn’t realise it was that bad until just now, oh no
And I think this one is even better. So, extrapolating from previous results, I can probably expect my total takings from this one to be, like, 1p and a small collection of lint. And that would make me really sad.
Still, I think I’ve dodged most of the things that may or may not have tanked the last launch, so there’s that. And now, with our expectations suitably lowered, I guess I should tell you about what I’ve been doing to try for a better launch this time.
The free novella
People in the indie writer communities I follow have been raving about Instafreebie and BookFunnel for some time. There are differences between them that I won’t go into right now, but basically they’re both places where authors/publishers can offer an ebook for free, and readers have to sign up to their mailing list to get it. A lot of authors also offer something similar on their own websites.
Personally, I don’t love the idea of giving away entire novels for free, at least not until I have more books for people to potentially buy if they loved the freebie. I mean, apart from the cost of my time, I spend money getting my books edited, and I need to make that back. But I thought it might be fun to try this technique with a novella. So, when I was done writing Rescuing the Prince, I went on to write By Royal Appointment. Here’s the cover and blurb:
It’s the party of the year…
This could be event planner Sophie’s big break: the chance to plan a birthday party for a high society client. The catch? She’ll have to work with Prince Evariste, former heir to the throne of Seingalt. Evar is handsome, charming, funny—the perfect prince. He’s also Sophie’s ex-boyfriend.
Evar has never loved anyone but Sophie. When she walks back into his life, he can’t believe his luck—and, this time, he’s determined not to let her go. But love is complicated, especially for the royals. Can Evar win back his princess? Or will they break each other’s hearts again?
By Royal Appointment is a sweet contemporary romance novella for fans of fairytales, tiaras and happy endings.
If you’re on my mailing list, you’ll already have had a chance to download it. If not, you can join on this snazzy landing page and get your copy 🙂
By Royal Appointment is 27,000 words long – compared to Rescuing the Prince, which is 85,000. So it was quicker to write and cheaper to edit. So far, offering it on Bookfunnel and Instafreebie has netted me around 500 mailing list subscribers over the last couple of weeks. (For comparison, a link in the back of my first book that just said “join my mailing list to hear about new releases” got me about 20, in a year.)
Of course, I won’t know if doing this was worthwhile until I find out whether any of those subscribers are going to be interested in buying a book. There are legends told of freebie-seekers who just fill up their Kindles with free books and never even read most of them, never mind buying other books from the authors. I don’t know how pervasive this is, but I guess I’ll find out!
99c launch price
I’ve been pretty consistent about pricing my books at US$3.99, apart from the sale I ran on the first one a couple of months ago. At that price, I get a 70% royalty for every sale, less a small delivery charge, which comes to $2.74. At 99c, I get 35%, so 35c. That’s quite a difference, and it’s really not economical to price at 99c unless you’ve got lots of other books that readers will hopefully be tempted to buy.
However, as I mentioned in the post-mortem for my second book, one of the biggest factors in a book’s success is the Amazon ranking it gets early on. If I can tempt a lot of people (some of my 500 new subscribers, for example) to grab it at 99c over the first couple of days, that might set it up to do a bit better even at full price. Or not. Help.
I sent out two or three advance review copies for my first two books. This time, I’ve sent out 50. The reviews are trickling in – three so far, which is nice because Book 2 still only has two and it’s been out for six months. At the moment, they’re looking good, but that hasn’t stopped me from nervously refreshing the page with increasing frequency, waiting for the remaining 47 reviewers to storm in like “THIS IS THE WORST BOOK EVER WRITTEN AND HERE IS A DETAILED LIST OF ITS FLAWS”.
Assuming that doesn’t happen (oh, please don’t let that happen), having a few more reviews will hopefully convince more people to buy.
So, that’s what I’m trying this time. I genuinely have no idea what to expect this time. I mean, Book 1 did better than I expected and Book 2 did worse, so this time I’m just a human shrug emoji. 🤷
Anyway, that’s all from me, for now. I’ll be back once the book’s gone through the publishing process to… well, gently implore you to buy it, if I’m honest. Bye for now!