Sales and Marketing - I screwed up

While the Runic series took off relatively quickly, garnering lots of readers and reviews in a matter of a couple of months, I haven't had nearly as much luck with Hunter of Legends. Hunter's first book has very few readers, and almost no one on Goodreads has picked it up.

I find myself wondering why.

I used the same marketing plan for each book, and have favorable reviews so far, over 4 stars on Amazon and Goodreads. The cover art was made by the same artist that made the covers for the Runic Series, and people generally like it when I ask them to critique it. When I went to the World Fantasy Conference earlier this month, everyone I pitched the book to seemed genuinely interested.

So why did the Runic Series do well while Hunter of Legends hasn't?

I have a few ideas. First, Hunter's book targets a different reader; while the Runic series was coming of age fantasy, Hunter's book is definitely adult fantasy, and the "adult content" flag will make the book invisible to younger readers searching for books on Amazon. However, I suspect most of my readers are 18 or older, so this might not be the cause.

I did spend much less on Google ads for Hunter's book, but found that they had no effect on sales when I used them for Hunter's book, despite using near identical ad creation. Again, I've found google ads to be, on the whole, expensive and generally ineffective...including for the Runic series. So this is probably not the issue.

One thing I did poorly initially was not including a call-to-action in the Runic series, and not cross-promoting my books. I've just fixed this by including links at the end of all my ebooks to my website, blog, twitter, facebook, and so forth...and by including a call-to-action for reviews at the end of each book. I've also included excerpts for all of my books - the first three chapters - on the home page of my web site.

In addition, I've placed the signup form for my newsletter at the top of my home page, whereas before it'd been on the bottom. This alone has dramatically increased subscribers...from a couple a month to a couple a day.

I wish I'd done these things when the Runic Series had first launched. I would have grabbed a much larger number of subscribers, and had the opportunity to give them Hunter's book for free, generating interest and more initial reviews. I lost that opportunity, and don't have a way to get it back.

This is not to say I'm defeated. Far from it! I think of these as important lessons that I can take with me in the future, making my next book launches more successful, reaching more readers. Failure is a marvelous, if painful, teacher. And while Hunter's series will likely never enjoy the readership of the Runic Series, future book series may, and perhaps readers will find Hunter's books by my future cross-promotion efforts.

Hopefully you authors starting out can avoid the mistakes I've made, and have more success with your book launches! Even a good book can flounder in obscurity if you don't market it well enough. I recommend Derek Murphy's youtube channel...he has a great deal of insight into book marketing for self-published authors.