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Soft launch time

Strategies for launching a book series

What’s a soft launch, you ask?

“Soft launch” is another way to say, “I’m not going to spend buckets of cash on promoting the middle book in my series.” Sure, I’ve done some marketing and promotion around the launch of Mira’s Way, and I’ll continue to do so until book 3 is launched in 2019. But I’m not obsessing about it. I’m not pushing for a gazillion sales. So far I’ve only spent about $100 lining up promotions for Mira’s Way. I have spent lots of time networking with fellow authors about promoting it in their newsletters and blogs, plus developing my “street team” (otherwise known as my Advance Reader Team). But overall, I’m pretty under the radar about it. This is because I have a plan: I’m saving the big promotional bucks until all the books in the series are out in the world.

Why not make a big deal out of book #2? When you publish a series, your goal is to attract readers who can’t get enough of your story and want to read each book in the series. Mira’s Way isn’t meant to be a standalone. I did make sure there’s enough backstory so new readers aren’t completely lost. But if you haven’t read The Girl from Oto you probably won’t appreciate Mira’s Way as much as someone who has. So that’s one reason for my soft launch: spending a lot of money on promoting Mira’s Way doesn’t make as much sense as spending it on promoting book 1 in the series.

Sell-through potential

The other reason for my soft launch is simple economics. When you have a full series you have more sell-through potential for your books. When I complete book 3 in The Miramonde Series, I’ll start trying for a BookBub, the Holy Grail of book advertising. BookBub has a monster list of readers and books advertised there are typically downloaded thousands of times, plus sell-through for subsequent books by authors who advertise there gets a huge boost. Unlike all the other paid promotion sites I’ve used, BookBub costs a small fortune. It will take nearly $1,000 for me to participate in this tantalizing gold rush situation, so I want to make sure the sell-through potential is as high as possible.

What about The Promise?

Some people have asked me why The Promise, a 20,000-word prequel novella to the series, isn’t listed as “Book 1”. Here is the strategy behind that: The Promise—the story of an adventurous year in the life of mountain woman Elena de Arazas, a Renaissance-era healer and midwife—is what’s known in the indie author world as a “reader magnet.” This means I give away the book for free to people who sign up to my readers group. It’s also for sale on Amazon at $2.99 for people who don’t want to sign up for my readers group (you can unsubscribe at any time). I don’t have a paperback version yet, although I will eventually.

Spoiler alert: The Promise ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. It concludes with a sneak peek into The Girl from Oto, which picks up where The Promise leaves offIf the thought of this irks you, don’t read it. (Some people, I’ve learned, are incensed by cliffhangers.) Wondering what a novella is? A novella is longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. And now back to the main topic of this blog post…the soft launch.

Write, publish, repeat

Even though I planned this soft launch, I’m a little bit deflated after all the months of work leading up to it. After all, I busted my butt to get Mira’s Way published on multiple online platforms and two paperback platforms by my self-imposed deadline. It wasn’t easy. There were many unforeseen complications. I could have pushed the launch date back to save myself some stress and anxiety. But I forced myself to get it done. Because I’m an indie author, my work is done in isolation. I have built an amazing team of professionals, most of whom live thousands of miles away, who help me with editing, cover design, graphics, and formatting. But as far as publishing goes, I’m it. So in my team meetings with myself, I laid down the law. 

And now it’s time to get back to the manuscript of Book 3. The quicker I write it, the quicker I can get in line for a BookBub.

You can find Mira’s Way on Amazon (both the kindle and paperback versions), iBooks, Nook, and Kobo. If you prefer shopping in your local bookstore, you can order Mira’s Way from your neighborhood bookseller. (Several independent bookstores already carry The Girl from Oto and if you live near them, please ask for Mira’s Way in these fantastic stores: Broadway Books in Portland, Oregon; Book Passage in Corte Madera, California; and the Doylestown Bookshop in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.) And if you prefer reading library books, just ask your local library to order Mira’s Way and they’ll be happy to do so.

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