SFFMP 158: Making the Best Use of Promo Sites with Will from Book Barbarian

This week, we were joined by Will Turnage, the founder of the discount book promotion site, Book Barbarian (in addition, he runs Red Roses Romance and Book Adrenaline for mysteries and thrillers). He’s also the author of three science fiction and fantasy novels, and is a fan of the genre. We asked him about some best practices for authors using promotional sites.

Here are a few of the specifics that we covered:

  • What it’s like writing and running a business from Cartegena, Colombia.
  • How Will turned from author to founder of a book promotion site, one of the first devoted to scifi and fantasy.
  • The challenges of building up a subscriber base and keeping new people coming in (yes, these guys have some of the same challenges that we have as authors!).
  • Some trends that Will has seen — what sub-genres of SF&F tend to be most popular and what types of covers work well.
  • How many reviews you should have before submitting your book to a site like Book Barbarian.
  • Whether it’s necessary to have a high normal price and deeply discount to appeal to readers.
  • Best practices when it comes to free books.
  • Ad stacking across multiple book promo sites to sell/give away more books and in the hope that your book might stick on the store sites for longer.
  • How often one should submit books to promo sites and when one might experience diminishing returns.

You can submit your science fiction and fantasy titles on Book Barbarian or sign up as a subscriber. You can also check out Will’s novels, Rise of the Jinn, Extermination Day, and NanoSwarm on Amazon under William Turnage.

 

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SFFMP 157: Advanced Newsletter Tactics, Set-It-and-Forget It Automation, and Cultivating a Relationship with Your Readers with Andrea Pearson

We had a very informative show tonight when non-fiction and fantasy author Andrea Pearson joined us to chat about one of her passions: newsletters! (Jo, Jeff, and Lindsay don’t share this passion, so it was great to get answers from a pro.) Andrea has written more than thirty novels across three pen names and also has a series of books for authors called Self-Publish Strong.

Here are some of the details of what we covered:

  • Doing a big promotional push at launch or waiting until your book has a good number of reviews?
  • Where to get reviews when you’re a newer author (These all cost money, but Andrea mentioned Booksprout, Jim Kukral’s Review Grabber Tool, and Book Rank’s review service.)
  • Whether to do a big promo push all at once or spread things out over weeks.
  • How to get noticed on other sites if you leave KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited and go wide.
  • If it makes sense putting together big boxed sets or exclusive content for any particular sites.
  • Launch strategies for a spinoff series or novel set in a world some of your readers are already familiar with.
  • Why Andrea published her YA fantasy series from scratch with new ASINs when she relaunched the series.
  • Being aware of “black hole” ages for characters if you’re writing middle grade or YA fiction (and also that the heroes should be older than the readers they’re aimed at).
  • What newsletter service Andrea recommends for authors (MailChimp) and why.
  • The seven-email autoresponder series she has set up (when a new subscriber signs up, he/she gets the first welcome email, and then more letters in a series spread out over the next several weeks).
  • Whether she does a different sequence or has different lists depending on where subscribers come from (i.e. free group promo or back-of-the-book signup)?
  • The importance of emailing subscribers regularly to keep sales flowing — Andrea lists her books in the post script of all her emails.
  • Zapier.com, a service she uses to help automate and deliver her bonuses for subscribers.
  • What aspects of newsletter delivery shouldn’t be automated?
  • Using exclusive content to get people to sign up (this works better for Andrea than giving away Book 2, something readers could simply buy, for free).
  • Andrea recommended the Dave Ramsey EntreLeadership podcast.
  • What to do to hopefully keep newsletters from getting stuck over in people’s Gmail promotions tab.
  • Giving away bonuses from other authors as part of an incentive to get readers to buy new releases.

Find Andrea online at her website, or check out her Facebook group for authors: Bookbub Promotions and More. Andrea also has a series of books under the Self-Publish Strong title. The most recent one isĀ How to Grow a Rock-Solid Newsletter List: Newsletter Marketing for Authors.

 

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SFFMP 156: Finding Success with a Cross-Genre Book Launch with Chris Fox

One of our favorite guests, Chris Fox, returns this week so we can grill him about the success he had with his space-fantasy launch, Tech Mage.

Here’s some of what we covered:

  • What made Chris, the Write to Market guy, decide to take on a new cross-genre series that he wasn’t positive would sell well.
  • How you choose what to emphasize on the cover when your novel crosses multiple genres and could fit in a number of categories.
  • How Chris quietly put up a pre-order without mentioning it to fans, then used Facebook ads to see which ads and tag lines on the product page resulted in the highest conversion.
  • Choosing different audiences to target (via Facebook ads) for subsequent launches in a cross-genre series.
  • Whether anything different needs to be done with a launch for a book that spans multiple genres and isn’t necessarily written to market.
  • Advice for newer authors who don’t have a list already built that they can rely upon for early sales.
  • Keeping cover design simple, and whether it matters if you have a specific scene from the book illustrated for it.
  • For the first time, Chris registered a domain name and put up a lot of bonus content for his new series: https://www.magitechchronicles.com/
  • Why Chris plans to write ten books in this series rather than sticking to trilogies or smaller series as he’s often done in the past.
  • Who should consider relaunching a series.
  • Why Chris likes omnibuses as a way to kickstart a flagging series without redoing covers on all the original books.

You can buy or borrow Tech Mage on Amazon, or check out Chris’s Relaunch Your Novel for some tips on breathing life into a series that you felt underperformed initially.

Chris also has some great videos for writers on his YouTube channel. Of course, he’s on the web too at Chris Fox Writes.

Also, if you haven’t listened to them, check out the other episodes where Chris was a guest:

 

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