What I Learned from my Erotica Book Launch

The book has been out for a month and two days. Here are some specs on how the book did….

These were the best rankings I was able to screenshot (this is during the free book period):

#659 in the world… pretty neat, huh? And here are the rankings now (ranking as a paid book):

So it dropped a lot, but that’s what 700 free downloads in a few days can get you! I’ll take #206 in Fantasy Erotica for now! It gives me something to work on.

What I Learned

Social Media Marketing Works… to a Point. At the time of my book release, I had 2000+ newsletter subscribers and over 24,000 Twitter followers (most of them were writers across various genres). By aggressively marketing my book before and during and after my launch, I ended up with 700+ free downloads and over $100 in extra sales. Which sounds great, until we look back at the word “aggressively.” Turns out that my newsletter and Twitter posts really didn’t generate all that many purchases, even of the freebie. Probably half of the people I messaged directly did download the freebie, but that took hours and hours and hours… and I doubt most of them would have actually paid for the book. This experience contributed to my stepping back from social media; it just isn’t an effective marketing strategy for the time investment. I’m now working toward a newsletter list that’s geared more specifically toward my genre readership, and nixing my marketing from social media altogether.

Book Launches Waste Money. I spent over $300 on book swag and prizes and countless hours on games and promotion for my book launch, and about three people came who weren’t my close friends. I even had a straight-up “just be here, do some activities, and I’ll mail you a prize” game, and it didn’t get anyone to show. So yeah, not doing that again.

I Should Have Advertised. By that I mean paid advertising, through BookBub (or Facebook or Amazon, if you’re not writing erotica). There are many other newsletters and services I could have paid for to generate downloads on my free week, but I spent so much effort on my social media and newsletter marketing and book launch that I didn’t have the mental space for all that. Well, turns out I should have spent those countless book-launch and Twitter-posting hours learning to advertise instead. Word to the wise.

Erotica Has Advertising Limitations. You can’t advertise erotica on Facebook or Amazon, which limits you to BookBub as far as the “big three” advertising options go. This was a big slap in the face for me, since I spent a year writing this series just assuming erotica could be advertised. Welp, you know what they say about assuming. I was crushed. The good news is that BookBub is simple and fun to play with, once you figure it out a bit. I’m only three days into trying it, but it seems to have boosted my page reads back to post-release levels even with less than ten click-throughs. And once I get the hang of it, I bet those rates will improve.

What’s Next

Why, more books, of course! My goal is to write one erotic fantasy novella and one erotic short story per month (on my newsletter), and to publish one novella per month (starting in May) and a story collection at year’s end. This will build up my backlist. I have about 7 novellas planned and a sequel series of 7 books. After that, I’ll either give up or keep going. I’ll have to have a good idea of the success of the venture once I’ve got 21 books out! (And then I might venture out into a new world, once my ideas for Sense have been depleted.)

Newsletter building. I’ll also be working to build the newsletter, but I’m far less excited about that one! First off is a free reader magnet, and then I need to research newsletter swaps and so on. I’m giving StoryOrigin a try (it has some cool features for building newsletter lists, and it’s free, but it’s pretty un-intuitive right now).

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