How I made over $1,000 the First Month of my Book Re-launch

The Star Guild Saga was my Science Fiction debut. It was a series that saw very few eyes and had even less people reading it. To say it was a disappointment is an understatement. It was a blow to my heart.

The month before my re-launch, that series brought in a whopping $89. It did even worse the month before.

I’m an Award Winning Author, so why didn’t it do well?

I had lousy covers — yeah, I made them. I wrote clunky blurbs — yeah, I spent two minutes writing them.

And, my titles were confusing.

My original titles were Star Guild Episode Zero, Star Guild Episodes 1–9, and Star Guild Episodes 10–18. The reason I did it that way was because I wanted to write these books as if they were a TV series. Episode Zero was the pilot, and once the pilot was picked up on my make believe network, the first season (Episodes 1–9) aired next on my make believe network, and then season two (Episodes 10–18) aired.

Crickets.

No one was watching. Or, rather, no one was reading my Sci-Fi trilogy.

Two years later, and after dismal sales, I found a Facebook group for authors — 20Booksto50K. I asked the group a million questions and I received even more answers. You see, this group has plenty of successful authors that have been through it all, from the down days of making very little money with their books to figuring out how to make a six figure income.

They helped me immensely.

Here is what I did to change my Star Guild Saga experience on Amazon:

  1. I changed the titles of my books.

*Now, one thing I may change is the Backlash title to match the “Veil” sequence in the series. Backlash, however, really resonates with that book’s story, so we’ll see if I ever change it.

2. I changed the covers. I went professional. I have three kids and I’m self employed with my sports therapy business, so I worked overtime to pay for my new covers. Why did I work overtime? So I didn’t starve my kids by paying for book covers instead of placing food on the table. Yes, the overtime was worth it. It fucking sucked — but worth it.

  • Take a look at the Veiled cover. You’ll see how great it is.
  • Take a look at The Veil Rising cover. Again, you’ll see why it is selling. It’s not ranked as high as it was during the re-launch, but I have no doubt that when I re-launch this series again (coming soon), it will do even better than this current re-launch.
  • Take a look at Backlash. Again, a good cover.

3. The original blurbs had to go. This time around, I spent days and days writing new blurbs. I asked the 20Booksto50K group to help me with the blurbs by posting them in the group and allowing everyone to pick it apart and give their ideas. It worked. Push your ego aside. Things work better when you do.

4. Really quickly — a few things you need to know about my re-launch.

  • My first book, Veiled, is a perma-free — something I did in the past, thinking it would bolster my sales. It didn’t. Although, it did bring in over 4,000 subscribers since December of 2016. I have been using it as my reader magnet on Instafreebie. So, go sign up and join Instafreebie. I think it’s worth it.
  • My second book, The Veil Rising, was at $0.99 when I first started the re-launch. It is now at $2.99. I raised the price a few days ago to see what would happen. I’m still seeing “what would happen”. I was expecting a drop in ranking, and that has happened.
  • My third book, Backlash, was at $3.99 during the launch. This book has made a good amount of money during the re-launch and I didn’t promote it at all. This is why long series are important, because read-throughs obviously generate an author more sales. The next time I re-launch this series, I’ll have added two more books.
  • During the first several days of my re-launch, I promoted the permafree book. I won’t ever be doing that again. I think I wasted good hard earned money, as you may see. I would have sold more books if I simply promoted The Veil Rising for the 15 days that I promoted this series.
  • As stated above, I’ll be writing a few more books in the series. The next books will have the $3.99 price tage. I’ll then do the re-launch, which I think will garner more book sales, thus equaling more money, thus equaling more income to live my passion and write more books.

5. I spent fifteen days promoting this series. I didn’t have much cash, so I did it as bare minimum as I could. There is a lot I would change for this launch, but it’s done and I can’t go back now.

  • Day One: I promoted Veiled with Bknights on Fiver. It cost me $6. Don’t let Fiver fool you. It’s never $5. They have fees. Veiled shot up to 333 over all on Amazon free ebooks. I also let 3,000 of my subscribers know about my re-launch, showing them all three new book covers and prices. I won’t ever email my subscriber list this early in a launch or re-launch again. Use Chris Fox’s method here. Anyway, I told my subscribers that if they want to tell me they purchased The Veil Rising, which is $0.99, then I will enter them into a contest of a signed paperback of that book. I only sold 40 books of the The Veil Rising on day one. According to my stats, 383 of those subscribers went to my free book in the relaunch — Veiled. 120 went to Book One, The Veil Rising, which like I said, was $0.99. 26 went to Book Two, Backlash, which was $3.99. That day, The Veil Rising reached 9,646 in the overall store. Backlash rose to 46,678. Before that, The Veil Rising — previously known as Star Guild Episodes 1–9 — was between 300,000 and 400,000 in overall Amazon ranking. Backlash was even worse.
  • Day Two: I did nothing. Why? I was turned down by Read Cheaply. I was surprised and had them dubbed in for day two, but it was a no go. Regardless, Veiled was pretty high on Amazon, ranking at 592 overall. The Veil Rising sold 22 books and dropped in ranking to 12,590. I don’t know why I didn’t write the stats of Backlash other than the ranking, but the ranking improved to 41,000. From this point forward, don’t expect any stats for Backlash other than Amazon ranking. I apologize about that.
  • Day Three: Kindle Nation Daily. It cost me $29. 396 free books were downloaded for Veiled, making it 362 overall. I Sold 17 units of The Veil Rising and ranking at 14,006. Backlash dropped to 83,133 ranking. Still, this is better than a month prior. Heck, it is better than two years prior.
  • Day Four: I used Free Book Fridays for Veiled. It didn’t do much and cost $9.95. Veiled dropped to 542 overall in the free store. I sold 9 books of The Veil Rising and its ranking dropped to 15,196. Backlash jumped to 80,905.
  • Day Five: I didn’t promote anything. I sold 11 books for The Veil Rising, ranking it at 20,011. I didn’t sell anything for Backlash. That was a bummer. I had 38 free units downloaded for Veiled. What was interesting is that my page reads suddenly skyrocketed on this day and still does well to this day. Oh, did I mentioned that my books were/are also enrolled in KU? That was important for this re-launch.
  • Day Six: I promoted my free book, Veiled, at Priced Dropped Books for $18. Again, if I could go back and do this over, I wouldn’t have used my money to promote Veiled — a permafree book. Nonetheless, Price Dropped Books has a cool feature that allows you to see how many people clicked on the link to download your book. It, however, didn’t garner me very many downloads. Only 16 people downloaded Veiled. All in all, Veiled had 44 downloads for that day, plummeting to 1,294 in overall ranking. The Veil Rising had 13 purchases and plenty of page reads, pushing it up from to 17,218 in overall ranking. Backlash was at 90,995.
  • Day Seven: I promoted The Veil Rising at Sweet Free Books, using their discounted book promotion. I paid $7. I also used Reading Deals for The Veil Rising and that cost me $29. I sold 45 books for The Veil Rising. I had an overall ranking at 5,580. Backlash picked up the pace and ranked at 38,902. I also had 95 free downloads for Veiled on that day, pushing Veiled’s ranking to 872 overall.
  • Day Eight: I promoted The Veil Rising on BookSends and I sent another email to my subscribers about the contest I’m running. On that day, The Veil Rising sold 56 books. I know that’s not astounding to you best sellers out there, but for someone who has struggled for so long, this was wonderful. My page reads also skyrocketed even more. The Veil Rising hit at 3,817 over all and Backlash plummeted a bit to 59,231. Veiled slipped with only 37 free units downloaded and was at 1,436 overall.
  • Day Nine: from this day forward, I was very busy with my other job — sports therapy — so I didn’t have the energy to record the exact happenings and goings for my book. However, I was able to keep The Veil Rising between 4,000 and 10,000 ranking, until I recently changed the price from $0.99 to $2.99. I’m receiving a lot of page reads, but not many downloads, so during the last few days The Veil Rising has gone down to a ranking between 30,000 and 40,000. Backlash is up and down, usually hitting between 30,000 and 50,000 in ranking.
  • Back to Day Nine: I promoted my books with Book Runes. It cost me $25. I sold 31 books of The Veil Rising. Again, I won’t be posting anything about Veiled or Backlash anymore, as I was exhausted with my work schedule.
  • Day Ten: I promoted with Genre Pulse for $12. I sold 14 units of The Veil Rising.
  • Day Eleven: EbookHounds for $20. I sold 29 units of The Veil Rising.
  • Day Twelve: Manybooks for $24. I sold 30 units of The Veil Rising.
  • Day Thirteen: Bargain Booksy for $35. I sold 30 units of The Veil Rising.
  • Day Fourteen: Genrecrave’s Mini Spotlight for $50 and ENT (Ereader News Today) for $30. I sold 50 units of The Veil Rising.
  • Day Fifteen: Fussy Librarian for $18 and I sold 17 units of The Veil Rising.

During the next fifteen days, I didn’t promote a thing. Instead, I let Amazon do the selling. I was up and down, selling 8 or 10 copies here and then 40 or 50 copies there. I don’t know the rhyme or reason why some days were better than others. Like I mentioned before, I was able to keep my ranking between 4,000 to 10,000, usually sticking in the 5,000 range. When I changed the price of The Veil Rising I noticed that I had a lot — and I mean a lot — fewer buys and my ranking plummeted between 30,000 and 40,000 for that book, though my page reads are still high.

I spent $313 for the promotion and I made just over $1,000 in 30 days. KU (Kindle Unlimited) had a great deal to do with the amount of money I made and I suspect that a lot of people who saw my promotion on the promotion sites, and on the promotion newsletters, grabbed my book from KU.

What I will do differently next time:

  • I won’t promote a free book again.
  • Next time I release a new series, I will finish at least three books before I launch it. I will then launch each book in a span of one or two weeks, using pre-launches as a strategy.
  • I’ll create a street team in order to get as many reviews as I can on launch day and during the launch.
  • I will use Facebook and Amazon ads — so I need to start figuring them out as best I can. Michael Cooper has a great post on Facebook Ads here. He’s an expert.
  • I’m going to spend a little more money on ads, so I can go after the ad sites that get even more great readers, such as Genrecrave’s Book Blast, Newinbooks, and if BookBub will ever take me, I’m all theirs. I will do anything they ask. I mean, anything. I’ll streak naked at the Superbowl. I’ll try out for the Portland Trailblazers dance team and I can’t even dance. Plus, I’d probably the only guy at the audition. Dammit, Bookbub, just let me in!
  • I’ll stagger my emails to my newsletter subscribers, letting them know a week after the launch that my new book is out or that my re-launch has begun.
  • I’ll start with a pre-order for Book One of any given series that I’m newly putting out to the world.
  • For a new book launch or a re-launch — like I will be doing again in the future — I’ll promote slowly, building up the re-launch promo by staggering days. Meaning, I’ll promote a mild amount on Day One, then a little amount on Day Two, then a moderate amount on Day Three, then a mild amount on Day Four, then a better than a moderate amount on Day Five, and then a moderate amount on Day Six. I’ll promote to my subscribers list on Day Seven. Day Eight will be my big promotion sites, pumping my book to their subscribers. And, so on and so forth. I think you get my drift. In this way, I’m copying Chris Fox’s method when dealing with Amazon’s algorithms in order to allow Amazon to promote your book for you. Don’t quote me that this is exactly what Chris Fox does. It’s just a little bit of what I’ve taken away from Chris’s interviews, Youtube channel, and books. Trust me, I’m not stalking the awesome dude.

So, there you have it. I wrote this as quickly as I could because a lot of people were asking for it. I apologize for any misspellings or grammar related issues as I won’t have time, nor want, to go through this with a fine toothed comb and edit it.

Take from this article what you wish. I hope it has helped you in some way.

Also, heart, heart, heart this. It helps with getting this article to more and more readers.

Much Love to you,

Brandon Ellis
www.brandon-ellis.com