We've shared launch plans and discussed the debate on launching books wide versus going with KDP select ... so how does all of that really go when you release books?
Join Autumn and Jesper as they discuss the release of not one, but THREE new non-fiction books! Does the launch plan really work? What things should you keep in mind? We are so glad you asked ...
Help us celebrate Episode 100 of the podcast!
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Read the full transcript below. (Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
You're listening to the am. Writing fantasy podcast in today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need a literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing. Join two best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them now onto the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt, and Jesper Schmidt.
Hello, I am Jesper
and I'm autumn.
This is episode 89 of the am writing fantasy podcast. And as you probably know, if you've been listening to this podcast for a while, we recently released not one but three nonfiction guides for authors and we launched these books white. So today we were thinking that we were going to share a bit of our reflections on how it all went. And I guess what can be expected when launching nonfiction books? I think it's exciting.
Jesper (1m 5s):
I think my first comment would be three to three books at once then what was the deal with that? But I guess we can get, if we think it's a good idea to just throw it all together and have a really big party, but it was fun and I'm so happy. We finally have those out there, but for us, it's been a week. How are things over in Denmark? I heard that things actually COVID wise are kind of good over there. Yeah. It's going produce pretty good.
Jesper (1m 35s):
As I just said before we started recording the official count of people actually hospitalized at the moment for COVID-19 is 13 people. That's it? That Indian type thing, I can't even comprehend such Sloan number. That's pretty good. Yeah. So, because I was also over the weekend, I was out referring my first official tournament soccer match. So that was pretty cool after all the yeah, because after, you know, w with the COVID-19 again and all that, I've had a few practice matches here and there, but has been far between, because of all the lockdown.
Jesper (2m 13s):
So this was the first real one, if you can call it that fans and everything. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's really exciting. It's like normal. Yeah. I mean, there was not a lot of people that were, it might've been, I dunno, a hundred people watching or something, but, but it was good. It was great to start again. Although I have to say the, the stadium temperature said it red 33 degrees Celsius with just like a 91 Fahrenheit.
Jesper (2m 47s):
So you can imagine running around for 90 minutes. That was pretty damn warm. I would have collapsed after the first five minutes. That's not for me. Oh, it was more for, but, but actually you, you play us. Didn't, didn't slow down at all. You know, they went all in for 90 minutes and they were, well, we were all sweating like crazy afterwards, but
Autumn (3m 13s):
That's a good thing. It was good. Math soup was good too.
Jesper (3m 16s):
But then afterwards I was really tired. So I actually went home and watched something that I've started watching something new.
Autumn (3m 23s):
Oh, really? Which one would you pick up?
Jesper (3m 26s):
Yeah, because we recently got ourselves an Amazon prime subscription. Excellent. Yeah. And I've heard so many, so many times speak well of Battlestar Galactica and I've never watched it.
Autumn (3m 42s):
No, no, I don't think I might've picked up an episode here or there, but I've never really watched it to, to know what's going on or the characters or anything.
Jesper (3m 51s):
No. Okay. Because I what's the first two seasons by now and it is slightly dated, but it's still very good, you know, because I understand what all the hype was about around it's like, it's, it's basically just like we talk about in our book on plotting, you know, they focus a lot on the characters and the character arcs and the character developments and their interrelationships, you know, they have this entire collectic war going on against something called the silence.
Jesper (4m 24s):
So that does take up, it's a fair amount of air time, but they focus just as much on the characters and their personalities and relationships. I really liked that. And I think that's really what makes the show good or takes it like a notch up, you know, the, the war against the silence yet. That's pretty cool. It's very scifi is like what you would expect from the genre and that alone is it's okay. You know, but if that was the only thing they had in there, I think it would just be mediocre.
Jesper (4m 57s):
What makes it really good is because of all the character development that goes on in there. So it's just very, very much aligned with what we said in our plotting book.
Autumn (5m 7s):
That's well, that's a good sign. I guess one of us, either they or us, or both of us were on the right track. And I'll have to keep that on my, in mind because my husband's taking a bit of a trip out West and is actually gonna be away for about three weeks. And I don't want to continue to show time. It's a long time and I don't want to continue. The show is we usually watch one show at night. We're so like structured. And so we watch our only show and we've been watching certain series together, so I don't want to continue those. So I've, it's, I've been debating.
Autumn (5m 37s):
Do I go back and start season? What is supernatural, which will that'll keep me entertained for quite a while. Keep that in mind. So if I decided to try something new battle scars, Battlestar Galactica.
Jesper (5m 49s):
Yeah. If you want to, I don't know if you like scifi, but I quite enjoy both scifi and fantasy, to be honest. Yeah. It's, it's, it's pretty good. Excellent. Well, I'll keep that in mind. We go on the internet with the yam writing fantasy podcast. All right. So we talked about what to do for episode 100, a few times by now some of you also gave us some ideas, you posted them to us.
Jesper (6m 19s):
So, so thank you very much for the input and well, taking out the time to share your thoughts with us. We really appreciated that, but I think as well, we've made our bile mine now, haven't we?
Autumn (6m 32s):
Yeah. We debated our own ideas and talked about the suggestions that were given to us. And I think we came up with a pretty good plan. It didn't, it wasn't the first one we hit on, but once we hit on it, we just kept coming back to it. So I think that means,
Jesper (6m 49s):
Yeah. Yeah. I don't know if it's very original, but we had a lot of different things sort of juggling and we were debating back and forth and there was some really good ideas that some of you guys posted to us. So thank you for that. But some of them just, well, they required too much of, well, for example, reviewing, there was some very good ideas about what about reviewing some writing and stuff like that, but we didn't really feel comfortable with reviewing somebody's writing on air like this.
Jesper (7m 24s):
And I don't think many people were, feel comfortable getting their writing reviewed on air like this either. So, and besides we thought that, okay, but then we need quite a lot of different things to be able to feel 45 minutes of an episode. That is also interesting. So that didn't gel very well with us. So we sort of went away from that. And we went back to, I think some of, one of the first idea we had, but then we went away from it, but we then came back and that was basically that we want to try to run a Q and a session.
Jesper (7m 57s):
Yeah. But not just like a regular Q and a, but more like ask us anything kind of episode. You know,
Autumn (8m 5s):
I think it's, it'll be so much fun because yeah. It could be, you know, someone asking about our own writing, the crazy road trip I did with my husband and, you know, being a soccer coach or specifics about books and marketing and writing. So it's the whole gamut. Yeah.
Jesper (8m 25s):
Just, you know, ask us anything. It doesn't have to be with writing, marketing or publishing, but it could be anything you're just curious about. You want to hear about, I teased on a past episode that maybe you want to hear about the time I had to put my hands on a power cable to two and people were watching me to see if I was going to die before they decided if they were going to touch it. So maybe you want to hear that story, but whatever you want to know, you can ask it and we will, we'll try to, to get it answered in 100.
Jesper (8m 57s):
It is still a bit out in terms of timewise here. But I think we need to start talking about it now because we need, of course, to be able to have a full Q and a session, we need to have enough questions. So basically you should start sending them to us now. And we have included their link in the show notes to the contact form on our website. So you can just go there and type in your question if you want.
Jesper (9m 27s):
But there was something we would very much more love for you to do isn't that right? Autumn, rather than sending me text questions.
Autumn (9m 36s):
Yes. We have going to give a preference to anyone who sends us an audio or a video that we can pull the audio from of the question, because this is a podcast and we would love to have your voice on here asking the question. I think that'll just be so much fun.
Jesper (9m 55s):
Yeah, absolutely. And it doesn't have to be over complicated this stuff. Right. You know, just use your phone or whatever and just record. Yeah. Well, a video file where you were just posting your question, you don't have to film yourself if you don't want to just fill in the wall or something, because we were just going to strip the audio off so we can play it to you on the podcast and stuff. So yeah, we would love some audio questions rather than just text ones. But if you only want to send the text one, then please do that.
Jesper (10m 26s):
And we will shut up.
Autumn (10m 28s):
Yeah, go ahead. I was gonna say, if you want to do an audio, if it doesn't want to be your voice, if you're horribly shy, you can get someone asked else to ask your question for you. Be inventive. It'd be fine. As long as it's legible and we understand it and it's an English. We're good.
Jesper (10m 42s):
Yeah. English would be preferred at least if you want us to answer,
Autumn (10m 48s):
I guess it's someone else in data you can translate for us. But the, you know
Jesper (10m 52s):
Yeah, I guess so. Yes. It would be fine as well. But yeah, so that, that I I'm looking forward to episode 100. That should, that should be a lot of fun, but yeah, it goes without saying without enough questions, it's not going to be very much. Well, I guess you can always listen to us sitting here twiddling our thumbs for 45 minutes. If you want,
Autumn (11m 12s):
We could ask each other questions, but yeah, no, well, I think, I think we'll get enough. Just, just send in your questions. It'll be really fun. And I think it'll be a different episode, so it'll be a little bit, you know, we'll try something new for a change.
Jesper (11m 30s):
Narrator (11m 30s):
And on to, today's topic.
Jesper (11m 34s):
Okay. So we are talking about launching nonfiction books today and just for reference in case you're coming in on this episode, we are talking about the launch we did for our plot development book and the associate workbook, as well as the book, we entitled story ideas. So that last one is like a shorting quick to read companion book, but we lost all of those three books here recently, actually from just a couple of weeks back from recording this.
Jesper (12m 7s):
So, so yeah, just for context, that's what we're talking about when we are talking about three books that we recently launched. So that was just a service in full form new list.
Autumn (12m 19s):
Yeah. So we released them August 3rd, which when this is when this video or this podcast is released, that will be just over a month ago. And why again, did we do three books at once? I don't, I'm still don't know how that snuck up on us like that.
Jesper (12m 35s):
Well, it was like, eh, yeah, the initial idea was only two of course write the plotting book. But then when I started writing it, one of the first thing I came to was like, okay, but if we have to start talking about how to plot a novel, obviously there needs to be like a story idea. And then I started debating with myself. Should it just make like the intro chapters about developing story ideas, but then I feel like, nah, yeah. But there is some other stuff I want to say about, you know, getting inspiration and stuff like that.
Jesper (13m 6s):
And I didn't feel like that that fitted in very well with the rest of the book, so, Oh no. Okay. Fine. And so I think I said to you let's do a short story idea on the side and you said, yeah. Okay, fine. And then I wrote a bit more and then I felt
Autumn (13m 21s):
Well, there's actually, a lot of
Jesper (13m 23s):
Exercise is one could do for each of these chapters. I wonder maybe we should make a book. And then I came back to you again, see, we do like a third book as well.
Autumn (13m 35s):
And so I think the plotting book and the workbook do make sense together, but I have to say looking back my first advice to anyone doing this, try to release one book at once I think, or at least give your spells selves a little bit more time. Because I think on my end, because I handled the editing and the typo slang with the feedback from our type of slayers, which we'll get to in a few minutes and then the formatting and crunching that all in with three books at once in a deadline, because we already had the preorder up was like, Whoa.
Autumn (14m 9s):
So, but we will get into some of that. And some of it's good and some of it was just like, wow, that was, it was a lot of steps in there, but we should back up and start with the beginning, which you already kind of handled. We handled the, where these ideas came from. So I think the next part is, okay, so we had the manuscripts and we're launching nonfiction books. How did we go about a bit, what was our first step that we did when we had the manuscripts in hand after editing?
Autumn (14m 39s):
Jesper (14m 41s):
Yeah, of course we could. We could mention here as well that we did share our entire launch process in episode 72 and all the different steps that we take. So I don't think we're going to go over all the different steps here all over again. So check out episode 72, if you're interested in learning all the different book, launch steps that we usually take, but I think what is worth mentioning here is something around expectations, because I think that's a good thing to discuss when we're discussing book launches in general, because you know, when you get, it goes without saying, obviously everybody wants to run as optimal, a book launch as possible with and getting the best results possible, obviously that it goes without saying, right?
Jesper (15m 35s):
Absolutely. Yeah. But the other one is, but the other part of this is to sort of, yeah, I don't, I don't know how to say it, but like you can come into the book launch thinking, Oh yeah, I'm going to launch these books and I'm going to earn a gazillion dollars and it's going to be great. And I have a lot of expectations. Right. But I think one of the things we did at least going into this, even actually before we started writing these books, was that we did a bit of market research about how much books on plodding selling in general, you know, is it like a, it's a something that you sell a lot of books from whatnot.
Jesper (16m 14s):
And what, and we even before we started writing, going in, we already knew that this is not the type of books where you usually sell a ton of books or a ton of copies. It's you, you can earn some money from this topic and these kinds of guidebooks on plotting, but it's not like a, like a hot topic. You know, it's not something like you're going to sell a ton of books for. So that that's important going in that you sort of know what I'm, what am I going to because otherwise you're going to get disappointed.
Autumn (16m 49s):
Absolutely. I think that's, I mean, everyone wants their book to do well and they would love a runaway bestseller. And there's always, maybe that secret hope line there, but these were books 17, 18 and 19 in my catalog with my name on them. And I'm just not at that point where it's like, I know it's, it's not a sprint. It is a marathon. So what I want is that to write something that is quality will last a long time and will be valuable and loved by other people, you know, whether it's a fiction or nonfiction.
Autumn (17m 21s):
So I always look at it. It's not what happens the first day, the first week or the first month. So I, Oh, I think I go into every book launching, yay, they're alive. You can go get them. And absolutely adoring. What really blew me away with these three books is some of the comments from the typo slayers that helped with editing and the proofreading, and then went in and did with the reviews. And they were just phenomenal feedback. People love them. Authors said this, you know, this restored, my passion, this helped me find something, you know, I've been missing for ages or that I overlooked.
Autumn (17m 56s):
And you sit in a way that I, it never clicked before that made it more worthwhile than the little orange tags that did show up. I have to admit that was so exciting. Did show up on all three books that we hit, number one, new releases. So that was fantastic. But yeah, I didn't go in thinking we're going to hit number one in Amazon, and we're going to make a thousand dollars in one day on these books. That's not what I was going in and looking for. I was going in saying, Hey, at the time it was like, Oh my gosh, authors really love this.
Autumn (18m 27s):
And they're very appreciative. We wrote these books and that was the icing on my cake. And that we'd been talking about getting them done for like a year, just getting them out the door made me very, very happy. This is our year of getting things out the door that have been sitting at the threshold for a little too long. So I'm very,
Jesper (18m 45s):
Yeah, no, that's true. But, and I think the other part of this is that essentially we did write these books probably more for ourselves, meaning that we are heading into writing fiction jointly as well. So because of that, we needed to have a solid process in place between us on how, how are we gonna figure out what the stories are that we're going to write together? And we, and especially once you co-writing, it, it needs to be pretty damn clear from the beginning, where are we going to go with the story and what's going to happen?
Jesper (19m 21s):
What are the character arcs and all of that stuff. So we needed a guide ourselves. And that, I think that was basically the main driver for writing the, these books in the first place, more so than it was, you know, how much money are we going to earn from it? That that was secondary, to be honest. Yes. It's not to say that we don't want to sell copies of obviously of course we do want, but that was not the main driver.
Autumn (19m 46s):
No, we didn't do the market research to find that one niche where we thought we'd make, you know, six figures and yeah, there are ways of doing that. And there's other, I think, topics in podcasts of trying to narrow it down and write a book to basically get an instant bestseller. We did focus on a process for ourselves and a process that is solid, that will help other authors. And that's really kind of why they came about. And I definitely think that was, that helps color our view. And of course it was also really good to get, to run through our launch sequence and see how everything worked and successfully, obviously we did a very good job.
Autumn (20m 24s):
You, you were in charge of the keywords and selecting the categories and you did an excellent job because all three books did hit number one, new release. So that was wonderful moment. We, I was actually disappointed that, you know, those number one new release tags that don't like somehow get archived on your book page I, anything, come on, design something kits, number one, you should have like some lingering trace of it just to make the author happy.
Jesper (20m 50s):
No, what I would really like, if, if whenever you get one of those orange tacks, I would love if Amazon would just set up the system so that they automatically send you a screenshot of it or something, Oh, that'd be so sweet because it's so annoying. You have to sit there yourself and you have to watch it and you have to see the ranking climbing. And then when it gets high enough and you get the tag, then you have to screenshot it. If you do miss it, it's just gone. It's just like, it's annoying. Just email used to say, Hey, congratulations, you became number one in this category.
Jesper (21m 22s):
And then just sent you a, some sort of either, you know, screenshot or just a batch or whatever. I don't care. But there's something so that you don't have to watch it manually. That is, it feels so eighties. Yeah. Why do I have to sit there? And what's the screen and refresh. I mean, it makes no sense, but that's okay.
Autumn (21m 42s):
It is. Yeah. I had always envisioned that they would, you know, automatically just send you a little badge. You could put on your cover or at least, you know, stick something on your own book page, but unless it's not true. Yeah.
Jesper (21m 56s):
But basically, yeah, it was a lot
Autumn (21m 58s):
Out of picking. Well,
Jesper (22m 2s):
It was down to picking the right categories, of course. And we're going to talk much more about this in, in our brand new course called self pop success. Once we released later this year, there, we're going to talk much more about selecting these categories and whatnot, because to be honest, becoming the best, getting that Bessel attack on Amazon, if you just know a bit about what you're doing there, it's not difficult. It's not like we signed a ton of books to get that. If you pick the right categories, it's, it's not that hot.
Jesper (22m 32s):
So you just need to be well aware of what you're doing there. And the other thing is which again, we're going to talk a lot more about that in so Pepsi, two sets cause as well, but basically all of this came from just us leveraging our email list. We didn't really do anything else in terms of advertising. I mean, we did not run any ads, paid ads to, to these books at all. We had, we didn't even have any Amazon ads running during the preorder phase or anything.
Jesper (23m 4s):
It was purely from the email list at the pump them up to best-sellers all three of them. So, so that was of course. Great.
Autumn (23m 13s):
Do you think it is easier to get a number one, like new release on a nonfiction versus like a fantasy where there are some sub genres, but they seem to be pretty full. It's really hard to find a sub genre of fantasy that is empty enough where you think you're going to hit it with just, I mean, I don't know how many sales, but you know, a hundred sales or something like that. It's at least it felt easier on the nonfiction and every time I release something in fantasy, I just kind of already have that kind of hopeless feeling of, yeah.
Autumn (23m 45s):
I either have to really lie about what kind of story this is just so I can get that number one, new release tag, or I'm just going to say, it's, I'd rather have it in the right category and just heck with all the best selling stuff as much fun as it is.
Jesper (23m 60s):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, if you're right, if you're talking about an Epic fantasy novel, then indeed. Yeah, of course it's much easier with these. Oh, somebody is driving behind past my window. I hope it doesn't make too much background noise. Sorry for that. But you can also do it the fiction. I think it depends on what kind of fiction is that you write and what categories that would fit into. But if, if it is indeed Epic fantasy, then, and you stick it in an Epic fantasy, then of course it's very, very difficult to get a bestseller tag in that category and nonfiction.
Jesper (24m 34s):
You have, you have more leeway of course. And also some of these categories, there's not a lot of competition in them. So that makes it by default fairly easy. I mean, if you can sell, I don't know, let's say 40, 50 copies in a date and you're probably going to be bestseller right now. And if you have enough on the email list, that's not difficult at all. Basically it's, it's fairly easy. Right. So, so that, yeah, that's just, it's just a matter of knowing what you're doing there and doing a bit of research on these categories.
Jesper (25m 7s):
And we're going to explain all of that in the, in the self published S course. So yeah. Talking about email list, by the way, if you want to be one of the first people to know when this course is available, then just head on over to am writing fantasy.com. We have some different signup forms on different pages or whatever, but just grab whichever one appeals to most of you and then sign up there. But then you will get onto our email list and we will make sure to let you know, as soon as this free courses is out later this year.
Autumn (25m 38s):
Yeah. Maybe since I'm, I am in charge of the website, I could maybe go in there and I'll do a blog post or something like saying, Hey, if you want to know about this course, you know, sign up here. And that way we can get some people on a waiting list. So you're not struggling to try to figure out where could I go if I want to hear about this, because he's two, actually we're gonna have three courses. So we did just three books. Then we're gonna have three courses coming out this fall. We're like in sets of threes at the moment. I wonder what the next thing is because there's three last, my mom likes to say, you know, things come in third.
Autumn (26m 12s):
So we have three set. We'll have three sets of three. Is it an, I don't know what the third set of threes is going to be, but apparently there'll be something.
Jesper (26m 19s):
Yeah. Yeah. But actually I was wondering, I had a question for you here because I was wondering when we were heading into the release of these three books, we also were also in the middle of the pandemic, as we all know. Yes. Did you have any initial thoughts heading into it about how, and maybe, maybe not it would affect book sales in the pandemic or did you not really think about that heading in?
Autumn (26m 51s):
I think I've been thinking about book sales in may because with a pandemic hit, I saw book sales go up because so many people were home when they were picking up new books and with the preorder, we actually had the price drops. So I made sure that I was letting people know saying, you know, if you're interested in these books, we have this preorder sale. Once they're released, the prices are going to go up. So now is the time to get them. And I was thinking that, you know, this is probably if people right now have more time, a lot of them are, I know it's a quick side story.
Autumn (27m 25s):
A one time since I worked for the government, we were on furlough. So 16 days without pay sent home because the government was shut down. So I had two weeks off. Didn't know if I get paid again. And it was an amazing experience in its own way, because it was just like, Hey, this is what it's like to do. What I want to do in my own time. I worked on my own business. I worked on my writing. I worked on, I was building a house at the time and I went back to work afterwards saying, crap, this want to go do that some more.
Autumn (27m 56s):
I was fine. And I've been thinking throughout this entire pandemic that a lot of people have been sent home. They know what it's like to be working for someone else. And then they get this eye opening experience. And so many people have taken the time to take extra lessons, to build new experience, beef up things that they want to do. And I've always wanted to try because they had the time and they, they might have lost their job or they're at home because you know, their businesses closed down. And so I was thinking, there's going to be some people who have always wanted to write a book who are now trying to write struggling.
Autumn (28m 30s):
And a book on plot development might be right up their alley. Especially if the, you know, the people picked up our podcasts, they picked up other stuff that we've been doing. And so they're going to be like, yeah, Hey, I'm going to go ahead and get this. So I thought this was actually going to be a good thing. Is this to me in the pandemic has been great for people who want to try something new and are really reaching out unless, and in the other way, it's the other half of the equation. It's been horrible for people who have suffered from depression and anxiety. That's, it's a schism between the two. So I try to stay on the happy side, but definitely I thought they had a pretty good chance of actually helping the books release.
Jesper (29m 8s):
Autumn (29m 10s):
No. What did you think, were you thinking it would be, or are you thinking? No,
Jesper (29m 16s):
I think probably very similar. I mean, what we have seen afterwards as well is that there is an uptake in online book sales during the coronavirus actually quite significantly uptake because people are staying at home. So they're reading more. So I wasn't really concerned about that going in either where I do think in hindsight here that we might have made a mistake was that we, we released these books in the middle of the summer holidays. Then I guess the devil's advocate here could say that summer holidays doesn't matter.
Jesper (29m 51s):
We were, everybody was home anyway, but I don't know, but still it feels to me like that timing was a bit off there.
Autumn (30m 0s):
I could see that. And especially in the state, so it was early August when we released them. And the way the mental attitude in the United States has been is by this point, you know, they're pushing to reopen a lot of the States, whether or not we were safe or ready to. And I think people are just kind of even talking to my parents who have been incredibly good at staying in quarantine and self isolating. They're just done with it. They're true. They're so ready to be done with it. So I think there is a mental exhaustion with the pandemic and staying home and reading another book.
Autumn (30m 33s):
So, and the fact that things were open, the beaches were open. We were in the middle of summer. So I do think that me, you know, it's one of those years, I mean, you could, we scheduled it over a month and a half out w with the preorder. And we picked the date. It was like June, end of made you. And we're like, it's going to be August 3rd. You don't know what's going to happen. And you know, an asteroid could have hit the planet. By that point. We just did not know. And you never do with preorders and you do have the opportunity to push them further back because you don't know you, you know, some dire event could literally happen a few days.
Autumn (31m 8s):
There are people who released books on September 11th because they did not know what was going to happen in the world that day. It's always, there's always a chance. So I I'm glad we stuck with it. There's always a chance we could have pushed it, you know, said we needed another week. There was times when it was formatting going, Oh my goodness. If I get another email about, you know, we had so many types of slayers sending us emails, some of them sent in pages of comments and, you know, change this, or one thing off here, I was shocked.
Autumn (31m 41s):
Usually, you know, you get back from your fantasy books. And usually I want to hear from my beta readers or alpha Rita's or arc readers, they're like, Oh, you know, there's like, you know, if some of them has 10 comments to change, that was a lot. But we had some incredibly skilled, detailed readers that picked up on stuff that our two editors missed. And I think one of them, when I copied it out of the email and stuck it into pages, just so I could save it and like delete them as I went through it, it was over 10 pages of comments.
Autumn (32m 14s):
So there was enough of those that I was like, there was a few times I was like, I can't do this. I, I got, there was enough that I wasn't even sure if I had already checked them. So I had to check all of them every single time. And I usually have a very good like memory that way of being able to say no,
Jesper (32m 31s):
That one, I did that when I did that, I couldn't do that
Autumn (32m 34s):
Time. So that would be one of my comments is that three books at once with the incredibly amazing, powerful type of slayers that we had that were just, I cannot believe the level of picking up things that they had. If, if everyone read this well, they could hire this team for like publishing companies. They were amazing. But there were times I was thinking, there's no way I'm going to get this done so that we can, I can get them to you while you were actually on vacation, you had to take off of your vacation, open up your laptop and upload the final books once I got them to you.
Autumn (33m 8s):
So, you know, the timing wise, we were juggling your vacation deadlines, lots of comments and feedback. And there was a few times I was like, can we do August like 20 something of August 3rd? But I do think it's important if you're going to announce something like a deadline, and this is when we're going to do it, it's very important professionally, you know, to stick to it and your readers are anticipating it, our readers were anticipating it. And so I thought it was very important that we get it done.
Autumn (33m 39s):
Whether I met a few extra days, sleepless nights, whatever it got done. And you took time off, you took like a solid, like eight or nine hour day, I think off of the occasion to get all this done. That's what we do because we have to make sure we do it.
Jesper (33m 56s):
Yeah, yeah, no, I agree. But, but, but I think that's also the lesson learned here about, you know, when we planted, initially we should have thought about early August might not be the best time either do it earlier or do it later. But I think timing wise, that was a bit of a blunder on our side, but yeah, you live in, you learn, right?
Autumn (34m 21s):
Oh yeah. I think, I mean, I kind of know that I'm may, June is a very big book release month is like everyone is posting new releases and I can see probably September is a good tip. Yeah. October is probably a good book release time. I honestly think,
Jesper (34m 38s):
I think anyone to be honest, but, but just in the middle, it's just, it's like, if you decide to release a book on the 25th of December, you know, that's not pretty smart, right. So it's, it's, it's just like you have a few times a year or the 1st of January, that might be a bit stupid as well. There's a few times a year where you definitely want to avoid those. But other than that, I don't think it matters if you pick April or may or September, October, but it doesn't matter. As long as you just at least stay clear of those.
Jesper (35m 7s):
Like maybe handful of times a year where you just know that this is bad timing. Right. And the middle of the summer holidays is probably one of those stag tries to stay clear of that. But on the other hand, of course, if you want to get the bestseller tag in a category, that's pretty damn easy though, during those times. So to do something while they're off,
Autumn (35m 31s):
Yes, that would be the key. And I do say, I know every time I look at my sales and they seem a little flatter than I do remember there was a study that said any holiday, be U S or worldwide, you have to be careful because sometimes, you know, different countries will have a different impact, but family holiday. So anytime we're going to be spending time with family, you are just horrible about books sell weekends. So things were like Memorial day in the United States where you're having picnics Thanksgiving, stuff like that. They're usually horrible book sale days.
Autumn (36m 2s):
So those are, those are times to definitely think about avoiding or if no one is going to be selling any books and you can actually get your list to go by. Maybe you'll do really well.
Jesper (36m 12s):
Indeed, indeed. Yeah. I wanted to return back to, well, just sales and expectations in a minute here. But, but before going there, I was just thinking maybe we should just talk a minute about launching wide and why we are launching wide instead of exclusive. So I don't know. Do you want to say a bit about that?
Autumn (36m 34s):
Well, I know you and I have both always had our books wide. I think I did put one series once in KDP select for a little while just to see if it would do better there. And it didn't. I went back to why a lot of my readers are already there, but for us, I think it's both a philosophy that to have all of your eggs in one basket to have everything on Amazon and dependent on Amazon sells selling and to be exclusive, they're just kind of curtails what you can do as an author.
Autumn (37m 7s):
We, by not being wide, we can sell right off of our website, which we do do. And as a fantastic opportunity to have those extra sales. And plus there are authors who want to be able to get this book on their Cobos, their nooks. So we're wide so that we can deliver to those as well. And I know that's part definitely part of why it is. It's sort of a, it's a business perspective because we don't want to be just if Amazon, for some reason, if the United States government does manage to do what they want to do and break it apart, it's going to be total chaos.
Autumn (37m 40s):
And I don't want to be just relying on Amazon to be my only source of book related income. Not when I can put it on my own platform this way.
Jesper (37m 49s):
No, indeed. Yeah. And it's not that there's anything wrong with the Ken little limited. I mean, we might very well decide once we will release some of our joint fiction. We might very well decide to put some of that in Kindle unlimited, but I think that the point is more, if you have everything only on Amazon, then you are, whether that is then Kindle unlimited or not, it doesn't really matter in this context, but it's more like if you're a hundred percent dependent on Amazon and what Amazon decides to do well, that's a very big risk to take with your author business.
Jesper (38m 22s):
So certainly don't want to do that. And I also think on top of that, when we're looking at nonfiction titles like this, they wouldn't perform very well in cannot limit anyway. So it just makes sense to put them wide.
Autumn (38m 37s):
Yeah. I don't think there would have been any advantage to being on Kindle unlimited for nonfiction, for books like this. I do see it maybe for a new fantasy series. Sometimes it's not a bad thing, but I would probably only do the, the one is a three month sign up and then pull them and go wide. But that's also because you and I have a platform that is wide. If I was a brand new author, maybe I would do six months or a year on Kendall unlimited. Cause it's a, they have some stuff that really helps new and upcoming authors and that might help as an advantage if it was our first books out there.
Jesper (39m 14s):
Yeah. And as, as I've said before, as well, the algorithm on Amazon, it does give you a bit of an upside. If you're in Kentland limited, it does favor you. So, so that is nice. But yeah, I am not to turn this into a Kindle unlimited conversation as such, but it, I think it's also important to point out that it's a per book decision. It's not like you have to decide either or either all your books has to be wide or either your books have to be in con kinda limited.
Jesper (39m 44s):
You know, it's a popup decision. You're going to have some books wide, other ones in Caitlin limited for a short duration of time, a longer duration of time. I think perhaps, well, we'll need to find out what we do with our joint fiction once we got that far, but it could be that we stick them in Kindle unlimited and see how, how it goes. If it goes really well, maybe they'll stay there for a good while. Maybe we pull them out after three months because we want to put them wide. But yeah, this is of course a whole different conversation. But I guess what I could say is that as well, in our case, he, even though we published wide, 90% of our sales came from Amazon.
Jesper (40m 23s):
And that's basically also what I expected, to be honest. I, I do wish that the competitors would grab a bigger market share in the future because competition. Yeah. I mean like real competition for Amazon will actually serve us. Authors will, but yeah, there's just no way around it for the time being, at least Amazon is just the big boy in the school yard and they scoop up most of it. So that's just the way it is.
Jesper (40m 54s):
We did get some sale from the other stores, but it's not worth mentioning really compared to Amazon.
Autumn (41m 1s):
Yeah. A, this is the sad truth, but if we don't keep supporting those other platforms, they'll never grow big enough to give a little bit of competition to Amazon. So that's why like, you know, being wide and supporting them. But yeah, it's definitely a pro book decision. It's sort of like whether if you could be a hybrid author, some of your books might be with a publisher. Some of them might be independent published. That is the fight. It just makes you stronger and maybe a little more diverse and dynamic as an author.
Jesper (41m 31s):
Yeah. I think overall I'm actually pretty happy with the launch. It went according to expectations. It did not sell more or less than sort of what I expected. Of course, it's always nice to have even more sales, I guess you could say that, but, but given how we've run no paid advertising during the launch at all. And we only write on the email list. I think it was a unacceptable result.
Autumn (41m 58s):
I'm thrilled with it. I think it was great. And like I said, to me, it was the comments from the type of slayers and then seeing the reviews as they got posted. And again, even for us, the reviews were, we gave the type of Slayer quite a lot of time because they were not small books while at least the plotting book was not a small book. And
Jesper (42m 16s):
What is it like 90 words or something 90,000 words, I think
Autumn (42m 20s):
There was nonfiction. So this is not something you get caught up in and getting to the climax. I mean, this is like a lot of them said, yeah, I was reading it. And then I started working on my book and then I'm like, okay, I have to finish this. And I have to, now I'm going to go back and do all the exercises. So it was, it was said that we gave them a lot of time. And I do think that was an advantage because some of them signed up for all three books, but because we gave them some time and it was the summer holidays. A few people have been really who had said that, Hey, yes. Yeah, of course. I want to sign up. I want to read this early.
Autumn (42m 51s):
And then I'm going to do a review for you guys have not posted the reviews. And again, it's summer, it's back to school, it's a pandemic. And they also had probably three, four weeks before, you know, they wrote a review or they put it on good reads or they sent us an email saying how much they liked it. And then the actual release, you know, there's a, you lose a little bit of steam. And so that's a, that's a difficult one to feel out. It's much easier to release one book, a fiction book that people are really excited about. And you can kind of shorten up that timeline and get all that excitement or crunch time together, where with nonfiction and throw so many books, we had a lot more space.
Autumn (43m 28s):
And I think we, might've lost a little bit of that real excitement to get things posted what happens that you can't post the reviews yeah. Until the release. So those are things to consider. We did what we did and I'm still very happy.
Jesper (43m 45s):
Yeah. I think it was fine as well. We have now, now we are, well, some at the point of this recording, we are some weeks past a release. So we've now turned on some, some test apps on Amazon, which well, it's basically more, eh, to collect data, to see what kind of keywords people are clicking on so that we can use that data to dial on the ads a bit later on. So you can definitely tell as well that the sales and the ranking on Amazon is dwindling now, which is also makes sense.
Jesper (44m 20s):
Of course, you know, the email list already got the emails about the release. They already bought what they wanted to buy now. So now we are into the Amazon market space, meaning that it's up to try to find people on Amazon who would like this kind of book. And yeah, as we said before, in 2020, it is extremely difficult to get visibility for your books unless you use paid advertising. And at that desk, just the name of the game and that's okay. So we're currently collecting some data and then we can dial on the ads as we get a bit further along, but we end this for the longterm.
Jesper (44m 58s):
So it doesn't matter, you know, w we'll probably spend the next four weeks or so slowly Gator gathering the data we need to, to use for future ads. And then over time we will get the access to, to work and focus on the ones that converts well, and then we'll, we'll get there. So I think overall, autumn, if we are to reach any sort of conclusion here, I think that the best lesson probably to draw from all of this is to one go into the launch with realistic expectations.
Jesper (45m 34s):
We talked about that
Autumn (45m 36s):
I can concur with that.
Jesper (45m 37s):
Yeah. And also, and perhaps even more importantly, I think you set this first and then I just mentioned it a minute ago as well, but think longterm, rather than focusing on getting bogged down or even very, very frustrated with how many or how few sales you made on a very short term notice because that's, I see that quite a lot, you know, people are getting really hung up about whether did I sell 15 copies or 25 copies yesterday and well, yeah, it's nice.
Jesper (46m 7s):
Of course, if you sell a lot every day, but try to distance yourself a bit from that stressful environment there and a look at it longterm instead, I think that's much better.
Autumn (46m 21s):
I think so. I think every time I see someone being negative, or even if I'm like, Oh, I want to sell more books. Well then think of ways of doing that and make actionable steps, wishing for it is not going to make it happen. So think longterm say, okay, well, Hey, I need to try some new strategies. Cause my books fail her dwindling. Or, you know, I should do AMS ads or I should check my keywords or I should do some more promos. If you're feeling frustrated about your book sales, take that energy or frustration and put it into something more creative.
Autumn (46m 52s):
Like how can you market better? Go watch a video on it, go listen to a podcast like ours and get some inspiration and ideas on how to market it. Don't just sit there and get frustrated, but definitely going in with those realistic expectations and then having realistic expectations on book sales and considering it as a longterm plan. And I would definitely, I would add to that, that unless you have even, I mean, we're a team. So we have, you know, people around us, we had other types of slayers. So we had a huge network helping us out to produce these books, which was fantastic.
Autumn (47m 26s):
It was still overwhelming with three books. So make sure you have a bite size chunk. That's my third takeaway is you can be ambitious, but make sure you don't burn yourself out and need your own vacation. After release books. I can have something against my strategy of releasing several books at the time. At least it was nonfiction. I can say definitely. If you're writing a series, I can see the advantage of releasing book one book to book three, but I think like a month in between, so you can celebrate each one and catch your breath and then go for the next one.
Autumn (48m 5s):
But you know, if we do it again, I, if I get overwhelmed, I'll just go hire a format. I actually probably never would it be like I gotta format more, but it'll be all right. And next time, maybe next time we should find out to write for nonfiction books and then release those, ah, ha what's sad is I'm already working on our next nonfiction one. So now we've talked about breaking it up into two. So we'll have to see how this goes. We'll see, learn from my mistakes.
Autumn (48m 37s):
So next Monday we'll discuss not only how to find, but also how to work with a graphical designer. Sodas that
Narrator (48m 44s):
Interesting. If you like what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to support the am writing fantasy podcast. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join autumn and Yesper on patrion.com/am. Writing fantasy for as little as a dollar a month, you'll get awesome rewards and keep the M writing fantasy podcast going, stay safe out there and see you next Monday.