I’m certainly not all-in on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, but for my Young Adult Urban Fantasy series, Waters Dark and Deep, I’ve decided to go Select and keep it there for awhile.
A few reasons:
- The genre is suited for it
- The books themselves are shorter (between 50,000 and 75,000 words)
- There are 25 books in the series, plus lots of spinoffs in the world
- I’m likely going to need the help of Amazon ads and Kindle Countdown Deals, which are exclusive to the KDP Select program
- I’m releasing a new book in the series every few weeks, which makes Amazon happy, so I may as well double down on strategies that milk their algorithm juice
The downsides of this approach are:
- I have to be exclusive with Amazon and cannot publish to other platforms
- I therefore can’t go after any bestseller lists with this series, at least not until it’s out of KDP Select
I mention KDP Select because there is some synchronicity with my Prose on Fire series for writers, which are also in KDP Select and have been so since their launch. The great things about this are:
- I already have a build-in audience of Kindle Unlimited readers. Granted, they aren’t exactly primed for a YA series, but it’s definitely better than nothing, and I have a few ideas for encouraging/incentivizing them to grab and read the books
- Both series are going to be under my name, Monica Leonelle. This means that all the books will share a thing called Author Rank. And this could be very, very good for milking algorithm juice…
For those who don’t know, Amazon’s algorithm doesn’t just rank book sales so it can calculate current bestsellers and bestseller lists. It also ranks the authors and how well their catalogs of books are doing as a whole.
What this means is that if I focus on boosting my Author Rank, I may gain additional exposure and juice for both my fiction and non-fiction books, in a 2+2 = 5 type of scenario.
So here’s what I’m doing to try to capitalize on this:
- From October 19th – 25th, I’m dropping all four Growth Hacking For Storytellers books to $0.99 to boost their individual rankings. To be honest, these have fallen quite a bit in the algorithms, I’m assuming because I haven’t released a new book in over a year. In my next post, I’ll share what I’m doing to share this promo and get new readers into the series.
- Sometime between October 24th and October 31st, I’m hitting publish on the first three books of the Waters Dark and Deep series. I’ll likely just put each one up when it’s finalized, so they’ll trickle out every few days. Why no firm dates? Mainly because it doesn’t matter—it’s a new series, no one is waiting on it, no one necessarily cares about the date!
- Two new Growth Hacking for Storytellers books, Prosperous Creation and Accelerated Author, drop on November 2nd.
- After that, for the rest of the year, I basically have a book coming out every week (hopefully). So each Wednesday, there will be either a new book in the Waters Dark and Deep series or a new book in the Growth Hacking for Storytellers series.
The rapid releases, plus the pushes to both audiences, plus the extra stuff we’re doing for all these launches to build our lists, should create a nice boost to Author Rank for me under Monica Leonelle. This gives me more exposure on Amazon across multiple categories, through their Author Bestseller lists, and on their New Release lists. Furthermore, there will be a surge in reviews coming in on my books, which (from my casual observance) often gets Amazon’s emailing system kicking in to not only sell my books, but also request more reviews. And lastly, the boosted rankings (both Author Rank and Sales Rank) may make it easier to get ad placement on certain sites.
All of this sounds awesome, but of course there’s a lot of work to do (and a lot of risk to manage) to make it happen:
- We have to boost the 4 older books first, but let’s face it—they basically just turned 40 and their metabolisms are plummeting. (No offense to anyone who is over 40!) You guys know what I mean, right? Each release is more than a year old, and they’ve been in dozens of promos, discount dates, and podcast interview features over the last year. It’s hard to take last year’s news and make it fresh again. We gave them new covers, and we’re throwing a bunch of marketing at them now to get them back up in the rankings, but it will be a slow and steady process that may or may not pick up momentum before Christmas.
- We need to make the upcoming Growth Hacking for Storytellers launches a success. This is harder than it sounds! Yes, we have an audience, and yes we have a network, but each book that we have coming out is about a new topic that we are not particularly known for at the moment. We are primarily known for writing productivity; these first two books we’re putting out are heavy on mindset, and then the next two are all about plotting and are follow-ups to Nail Your Story (those books are called Nail Your Beats and Supercharge Your Story). There’s really no telling what will happen! I’m treating these launches as brand new series, even though they go with our current books, and pulling out all the stops to the best of my ability instead of just relying on my email list!
- We need to launch Waters Dark and Deep to both our current audience AND to its proper audience. I have honestly never done a fiction launch in the current indie author environment, so… yikes. It makes me incredibly nervous, especially because if it fails, it makes me look pretty bad. The good news is I’ve tested the story (having launched it twice previously, sadly!) and I’m pretty confident that it has an audience. However, I don’t know how big that audience is or how quickly I can reach them. I’ve had successful fiction launches in the past, but there’s a ton of “write-to-market” in the industry now that wasn’t necessarily there a few years ago… and I can’t say I’ve followed all the steps to a ‘T’ in that department. I have no desire to pivot on the story itself, so we will basically see what happens!
The two biggest risk factors for me in all of this are:
- Detaching from expectations and making that perfectly clear to you guys too. This is an experiment, and I have no clue what the results will be. It could be successful, or it could flop! I not only have to be fine with either, but I have to get you guys fine with either too. There is no silver bullet to this launch stuff, so let’s talk ideas and action, then be open to whatever results come in from it.
- There’s a lot of stuff to actually do. Yes, this schedule creates a lot of momentum (potentially), but it also means doing a ton of stuff at once and having competing priorities. I am lucky to have a team to help me, and some financial resources to make some of the pricier stuff here happen, but neither of those resources even comes close to covering all the things I “should” be doing. So I’m definitely going to have to make up ground just on my own and with my own energy and efforts, and I’ll also have to get scrappy… which of course, should make the whole thing more fun and exciting, and whatever success lies on the other side that much sweeter 🙂
In the next post, I’ll talk about everything we’re doing to boost our immediate promo, which is the first four books of the Growth Hacking for Storytellers series at $0.99 for one week on a Kindle Countdown Deal.
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