The Non-Promo Launch by Mark Chisnell
It was back in April that I wrote a blog post for Author’s Electric on the process of promotion that I undertook ahead of the publication of my new thriller Powder Burn. By September I had a new short story on the blocks and ready to go; called The Sniper, it’s a prequel about the antagonist in my Janac’s Games thrillers. I had a cover, blurb, and an edited and formatted manuscript. What I did not have was time to do any promotion. Since I could not see how things were going to improve any time soon, I was left with a choice of holding back the book indefinitely, or going ahead and publishing with essentially no promotion or marketing.
I chose the latter for three reasons:
1. I’m impatient.
2. I thought it would be interesting to see what happens when you just push a book out on the major ebook websites without any marketing support.
3. My eventual plan for the book is to drop the price to zero and run it as a loss-leader for the Janac’s Games series, and so I knew I would have a second chance at the marketing when the price goes to zero.
So by way of an experiment, I hit publish on the 25th September, sent out a few tweets announcing the book’s arrival, posted links to the various sales pages on Facebook and that was about it. I sat back and waited to see what happened. And now I can report the results of the experiment.
Nada. Nothing. Zippo. Zero and Zilch.
I think I have sold about ten copies in total across Amazon, and I doubt it's done much better at B&N, iBooks and all the rest, although I won't know for a while as their sales reporting is much slower. And this is for a series book whose other members have been downloaded or sold in the hundreds of thousands. It appears from this one example that I either play the promotion game, or remain unread. So I will be working much harder at the marketing when the price goes to zero in a few weeks time...
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I'm also thinking (on my own account) that this is a really difficult time to bring out anything that isn't mainstream and mega. People have been lovely about the Lion but essentially it's struggling in the wake of Super Thursday etc etc. I just didn't plan ahead sufficiently and you can't play catch up at this time of year -- not in the print market anyway. Am sure you'll cope Mark, you're so savvy and you've got a back-up plan. Good luck
Meanwhile, the situation at the UK iBookstore is also interesting where both the other series books are in the overall Thriller Top 200 (both short and long term at the time of writing) but this still doesn't appear to have helped me even GIVE AWAY The Sniper. Go figure. Or maybe I'm just being impatient again. :-)