Here is what I have learned writing and marketing and sinking into depression over Revenge-aroni.
The Writing Is the Easy Part – It takes forever, and you have to edit it a thousand times before you still don’t think it’s done, but at least you understand what the hell is going on.
Start Early or Finish Later – I think I’ve been in mañana-land too long. I waited until I had a final draft, then locked down a release date that left me, maybe, six weeks to promote and try to get early reviews. Don’t do that. Either give yourself a lot more time between finished product and release (assuming that’s your call, obviously), or start promoting while you’re writing it, I guess.
Probably Don’t Release Your Book On a Friday – And definitely not on April Fools’ Day. It will seem like a good idea, but it most certainly is not. For one thing, no one’s online on a Friday. For another, you’re never going to out-important whatever Google’s prank did or did not do.
Your Thunderclap Probably Won’t Work – No one knows what the fuck Thunderclap is, and everyone’s scared of giving it access to their social media. Your failure to get anywhere close to the minimum 100 users will leave you humiliated and frustrated. Maybe if you have a rabid and tech-savvy cult following it might work. Or I guess try HeadTalker – it’s basically the same thing, but the minimum user count is 25, which is a lot more doable.
Giveaways Are Your Friend – Advertise them early and often. There’s a whole community that does nothing but enter contests. Some of them even joined the Thunderclap. If I had started the giveaway earlier or ran it longer, maybe we would’ve gotten somewhere with the other stuff.
Ignore the Self-Doubt – If you’re anything like me, in the days following your publication, when no one seems as excited about your book as you are, you’re probably going to fall into the traditional Writer’s Pit of Self-Doubt. (Also known as the monthly My Book is Terrible and Stupid and I Should Give Up Writing Forever Spiral of Depression.) Just ignore that. People will buy it, people will review it, and people will enjoy it.
Be Honest – As much as I enjoy all the goofy ads I made with quotes from the book, they don’t actually translate into sales. Going over the analytics, the times I straight up asked for help were the ones that worked best. Not when I was clever, not when I was selling something, but when I was like, “Yo, please buy this because otherwise I will be sad.” or “Yo, please pledge your social media to this site you’ve never of heard of.”
I Still Don’t Know How to Get Book Reviews or Sales – All that said, I still have no idea if I’m doing any of this right. My sales for Revenge-aroni are better than High Voltage, but nowhere near Exponential Apocalypse. My success percentage for asking for reviews is in the single digits. (Super double thanks to everyone who said yes!) I’ve got no downloads at Story Cartel (where you can still grab a digital review copy for free). I’m assuming this is all par for the course for independent/small press authors, but I honestly do not know.
Ultimately, you’re going to want to take all of the above with a grain of salt. I don’t think there are actually any rules for this.
Revenge-aroni, the fourth book in the Exponential Apocalypse series, is now available! Check it out at any of the fine links below.