The impending launch of Brother, Frankenstein is getting a lot of attention. Pennsylvania, the novel I launched exactly a year earlier did so very well for an Indie title, that there are high expectations for Brother, Frank. And if the early reviews and comments mean anything, the expectations are crazy high…
And almost every review says, “Bunker’s best book yet!” I know… a line like that can cut both ways, but with Pennsylvania having done so well… it’s kind of scary to read this and get emails that say, “The buzz is so good, this book better be great!” YIKES.
Well, I’ve been accused of over-sharing, and I like to tell everyone… other authors, readers, fans, etc. what I’m doing and why. So here goes…
My Big Plan
I am doing a lot of things that the common wisdom in Indie marketing says I shouldn’t do. First, I offered my book for free to anyone on my email list who wants to read it early and give an honest review. Not just a few people. I offered it to everyone on my email list… for free. The next thing is that I’m not running a big sale on the book for launch day. I think that the book is relatively cheap, even at it’s launch price of just $4.99, so I won’t be doing a .99 sale for launch. That means that I don’t have access to a lot of free promo sites and email blasts. And I’m not staying exclusive to Amazon for launch. Brother, Frankenstein is available in ALL the venues and stores and formats on launch day. This means that I won’t get any special Amazon love on launch day.
That’s a lot of obstacles.
But my plan is NOT to get into the top #100 on launch day. That’ll come later. For now I just want to get the book some notice and keep a good solid ranking for a long time. This launch is called a “soft launch,” and I think it works better in the long run than a big hard push blitz at a buck for a day. The book I’m putting out there is solid, has an awesome professional cover (more on that in a moment,) great editing and formatting, and has awesome word of mouth potential. Part of successfully launching a new book is establishing the value of the work, and giving readers MORE than they expected.
SO, HOW TO GET NOTICED?
A huge part of my plan was to write a great book (that should go without mention, I suppose) and then put the best cover on it money can buy. I did that. And let me tell you, this cover by Ben Adams is almost universally being called “one of the best Scifi covers to come along in a very long time.” So how does a great cover work with a good launch plan? Well, the job is to get the book solidly into some of the lists in all the biggest e-book stores. If we can get it ranked in several categories, get it on the Hot New Releases list in Sci-fi, etc., we can get eyeballs on the book. And believe me, this cover will sell it…
I mean, you want to buy it right now, even if you’ve already bought it… am I right? Of course I am. That’s the first big step AFTER writing a great book and getting it professionally edited and presented.
Next, we get it noticed. And that’s the trick. Without all of the usual gimmicks (selling it for a buck, using all the big promotion engines, etc.) how do we sell enough books on launch day to get it to do solidly on that day? That’s where an awesome reader platform comes in. I’ve spent most of the last few years doing my best to build a solid platform of people who love my books and who want more. I’ve built a good email list, and I reward people on my email list by giving them free stuff all the time. EVEN MY BOOKS… FOR FREE… BEFORE THEY ARE RELEASED. But how does it help to sell books if everyone (or a bunch of folks) on my email list already have the book for free? Well, that’s the gamble. My theory is “give the book to your friends and sell it to strangers.” There are a lot more strangers than there are friends, and that’ll always be true. There are only a few thousand people on my email list but there are like 7 Billion strangers out there. Many of those strangers could buy my book, and would if they knew it existed.
My gamble is that my friends will love the book… they’ll even buy it even though they got it for free, and they’ll tell everyone they know about it. And if only 100 of those friends love it and what I’m trying to do enough, they’ll buy 5 copies to give away. In print or in e-book. That’s right. Wouldn’t you spend $25 on something you believe in? Well, for just $25 a reader who loves the book and loves the goal might buy 5 copies to make sure their friends get to love the book too.
Gifting books is easy. When launch day comes, there will be a beautiful little button right under the BUY button that says “Give as Gift.” That button makes giving easy. All you need is the email address of someone you love and care about. The trick is, the gifter has to alert the recipient that they need to download the book in order for it to count. But once they do, BAM, free book for them, and they’ll love you for it.
And that’s the thing. If only 100 people would give the book to 5 more people, then some magical things happen. First, the book gets a huge boost in the ratings. Not like the 1k to 3k that could sell with a big .99 sale with a promo on Bookbub, but enough to get the book on the lists where people can see the awesome cover and the crazy good reviews. Second, that’s five more people who will have the book to read. Word of mouth works from there.
But not everyone can buy 5 books to give away. I understand that. But everyone can tell everyone they know about it. Everyone can provide everyone they know with the links to the book in all their favorite stores. And that’s how we’re going to do it. Give people more than they ask for… be generous, and they’ll want to help you succeed.
Pre-Order is a mixed bag. There are benefits and negatives. Some of my author friends say “don’t do pre-order. It kills your ranking on launch day.” And in some ways they are right. Pre-ordered books count toward the ranking today, not on launch day. So that is the negative thing. The positive is that pre-order gets the book up in the rankings today. So we can build a solid track record over the next few weeks. In the Amazon algorithms that means the book will stay higher longer after launch day. That part is a big plus. I do want people to pre-order the book. They can still gift the book on launch day, and heck, if they want the book to read right now they can pre-order it and join my email list. They’ll get another copy for free and they can read it now! I’ll be sending out instructions to my email list tomorrow (4/16/2015) that’ll tell everyone who hasn’t already gotten one, how to get Brother, Frankenstein for free immediately.
And that’s my plan. That’s what we’re going to be doing from now through launch day on April 29th. It’s not complicated, but I need your help.
2. Will you pre-order a copy now if you haven’t already done so?
3. Will you read the book and give a review BEFORE launch day April 29th?
4. Will you share THIS LINK with your friends?
5. Will you think about anyone you know who can do a blog post, podcast, or other boost for Brother, Frankenstein between now and launch day?
So, that’s my big plan. I’m not expecting a #1 bestseller on launch day. I’m not even expecting to get into the top 100 or the top 1,000. That’d be great, but that’s not what I’m looking for… yet. Maybe my plan works? Maybe not. We’ll see. I have high hopes, and I know that it’s the best I can do. Make sure to stay tuned and help out all you can.
Also, in case you missed all the opportunities, click the button below to sign up for my email list. Thursday (tomorrow) will be the last opportunity to get an ARC copy for free in exchange for a review. Get signed up now!