Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Multiple Book Releases

What happens when you have more than one book to promote at the same time? Do you annoy readers with announcements about the new releases, blog tours, and contests? Which book do you choose to emphasize in your online blasts?

In this digital age, we can publish as fast as we can write. But at what point are we diluting our own sales? And how will our digital releases affect our print books with their higher price point?

I’ve reached this quandary in April through no planning of my own. Wild Rose Press gave me April 26 as the official release date for Warrior Rogue, #2 in my paranormal Drift Lords series. But then they decided to enter it into the Kindle Select program, meaning the ebook came out in December and my five free days were in February. I did a big push over Valentine’s Day weekend with announcements and contests.

I’d planned another promotional campaign for April 26 to celebrate the print release and the book’s availability for Nook and other formats. I set my newsletter to go out on that date, a Rafflecopter contest to start then, and a blog tour shortly thereafter. (If you want to sign up for my newsletter, visit http://nancyjcohen.com and fill in the form on the left sidebar).

But the best laid plans go awry. Two things happened to impact my campaign. Warrior Rogue showed up in print about two weeks early. And Shear Murder, Bad Hair Day Mystery #10, came out in ebook for $3.19!

I’d been panting with anticipation for the digital release of Shear Murder, but Five Star wouldn’t give me a specific date. This title had only been available as an expensive hardcover for over a year. And finally it shows up in the same month as my promoted new release. What to do?

Since I’d already set up my contest and newsletter and blog tour for Warrior Rogue, I’m going ahead with those plans for April 26. That date seems like a moot point now, since the title is already available in various formats. The irony is that Warrior Rogue, initially $2.99, price jumped to $5.99. So now that ebook costs more than Shear Murder at $3.19.

I don’t want to bombard my fans with notices and confuse them with my two different genres, but I really want to get word out about Shear Murder. It’s easier to keep new releases apart when they aren’t the same month!

And hereafter, I won’t treat release dates as absolute. There’s no point in planning a big hoopla around a certain date when the book shows up weeks earlier. Is this a result of the digital age?

Those of you who are hybrid authors, both traditionally and indie published, can at least space out your own uploads so as not to compete with your publisher’s plans. But if you’re writing two or more books per year for different publishers, how do you alternate your online promotions? And as a reader, how much news from an author is too much?

15 comments:

  1. I found this a really interesting post thanks. This is the sort of situation that many authors who are starting out would dream of (Two books published!) but it sounds like a bit of a headache. While reading I had a couple of ideas that might help. I have no idea if these would work, but it might be worth a try.

    1. Maybe write a short article/blogpost about writing in different genres, the challenges and benefits it creates, which would allow you to promote both books at the same time.
    2. What about adding a note at the bottom of your promotional emails, something like "Feel like reading something a bit different? Why not try this authors paranormal series?"

    All the Best,

    Matthew.

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    1. Those are both great ideas, Matthew. Thanks!

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    2. Happy to help.

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  2. No useful comments on the multi-genre conundrum...well, one: use a pseudonym for at least one of the genres? (That only helps in the future, of course.)
    I have enough problems with my single genre, sci-fi thrillers. I had to make a choice between my eleven books, which range from more thriller than sci-fi to more sci-fi than thriller, when I placed some targeted ads recently in promotional material for the Montclair Film Festival. I went with my most recent release, but I just know that some people in that audience would be more interested in one of my other books. Since I write on a shoestring budget, I couldn't place ads for all the books! The best I can do is include in each book something like "The reader might enjoy reading..." and list my entire opus.
    BTW, this same problem applies to book reviews. I don't have enough of them, so I ask for them on ALL books, even though reviewers (myself included) usually prefer the most recent.
    r/Steve

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    1. Usually I promote the most recent title, and I've had no trouble separating out my mysteries from the romances, but this month both hit at the same time. It's more confusing for me than anyone.

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  3. I have the same problem, but mine is with the same publisher. My e-book came out in last week and a different book came out in paperback today. I hope some of your readers' comments might help my situation too.

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  4. Ah, the joys of having a backlist to sell and promote - good on you! Sar

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  5. Yes, backlist and frontlist. With today's publishing opportunities, we have so much more to offer.

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  6. Well...you could always do like the stores do when they have their "Grand-Opening" celebrations. By the time they celebrate their "Grand Opening" day, they've usually already been operating with customers for several weeks to a month. The Grand Opening is merely an attention getting big "To-Do" thingie that they can focus marketing eyes on.

    Whilst your 'Shear Murder' did come out at the same time, you can still schedule a 'New Release' blitz any time you want that will draw attention to the title.

    I basically have a 'New Release' type celebration ever quarter by giving each title away as a Kindle Select Freebie for a few days every few months. And every time I do, regardless of how often it has been given in the past, whatever title I am promo-ing jets up to #1 in genre for those free days, and draws attention to my other titles.

    So don't sweat it M'Lady, all will work out well.

    speaking of Freebies... the Kindle eBook version my latest novel 'MIDNIGHT SUN' is free Wednesday and Thursday this week, and again on Sunday...pick it up and make me not a liar by pushing it to #1 in freebies again...its sitting at #2 as I type this.

    ALSO....just cuz I like TKZ and its minions...uh...I mean...Loyal Readers...

    Anyone TKZers who want the audiobook version for free can contact me at basil (at) basilsands (dot) com and ask nicely between now (Wednesday night 4/24/13 and Friday 4/25/13) and I will send you a link to download the MP3 audiobook version of MIDNIGHT SUN for free...just cuz I really like TKZ. Have a great rest of the night folks.

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    1. Basil, what great advice. You're talking about "soft" openings of stores and attractions before the true Grand Opening Event. And creating Events is what it's all about. Thanks for this clarification! Oh, and I've already downloaded your free book. One just hopes readers won't get tired of these constant promotions.

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    2. That's the rub isn't it, knowing when to stop promoting. As a chronic gabber that is something I need to watch.

      Even though the promos are only once every quarter, with so many books out there its more like there is something going on almost every week.

      That being said, how long of a period of silence should a body give between promos?

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  7. Oops...forgot to link to the free eBook...

    MIDNIGHT SUN Free eBook

    TKZ Rocks!!

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  8. I think that the days of traditional publishers with print books, where sales had to be made right at/immediately after release in order to make best-seller lists, aren't the case with small press and indie publishing. E-books are "forever" (unlike books like category romance, which, according to Debbie Macomber, have the shelf-life of cottage cheese). I think you can concentrate on one book at a time, because sales can come well after the book's release and still give you good rankings. It's no longer having to sell the book the week it releases to get it on the best-seller lists. I'd suggest pushing one, then concentrating on the other.

    That 'release date' isn't a narrow window anymore.

    Terry
    Terry's Place


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    1. Yes, that's so true, Terry. As Basil said, it's all about creating Events. My launch is scheduled for April 26 and I'll continue as planned for Warrior Rogue.

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  9. I hope that this is not too far off subject, however is there any market in e- book short stories?
    Could it perhaps aid in a fan following by getting ones foot in the door, before a novel is complete.
    Of course, it could render a broken foot as well.

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