For those of you taking an interest in the makings of a newsletter, this blog post is for you. For the past 8 weeks, I have been experimenting with DIY indie marketing thanks to Mailchimp and Kingsumo. I began with giveaways. I launched a series of 7 giveaways to lead up to the launch of THE MASTERPIECERS.
WHAT DID I LEARN?
- Certain prizes attract more contestants, but those prizes won’t keep them interested in your blog. The person who won the kindle unsubscribed as soon as the giveaway was over.
- Some contestants never claim their prize. Are their spam-filters to blame, or are some of these subscribers robots?
- It’s a wonderful way to meet new people. I’ve had a great time communicating with winners who then came to share pictures of themselves and their prize.
- If you’re an author, give books away. It doesn’t have to be only your books, but by gifting books, you ensure that the people who end up on your mailing list actually like to read.
- Make sure that whatever your prize, it has a picture of your book embedded in it so that when it is shared 700+ times, a lot of people will see your book cover.
A consumer needs to be exposed to a product 7 times before buying it.
Thus the 7 giveaways. Actually, that number was a coincidence. Perhaps a subliminal one.
HERE ARE THE STATS ON THE GIVEAWAYS
I started with a mailing list of 250 people, half of them friends, and the other half readers and reviewers of my first novel, GHOSTBOY, CHAMELEON & THE DUKE OF GRAFFITI. I sent an email announcing that, to celebrate the upcoming launch of my book, I was going to host a series of giveaways. Out of the initial 250, 10 unsubscribed.
- Giveaway #1—10 winners. The prize: A mystery novel of their choosing from a list of 10.
I had 54 contestants.
25 new sign-ups.
8 winners claimed their prizes.
- Giveaway #2—2 winners. The prize: A Kindle Fire with an advanced copy of my book.
I had 1,177 contestants.
1,128 new sign-ups.
1 winner claimed his prize.
- Giveaway #3—5 winners. The prize: A $10 gift card.
I had 1,005 contestants.
769 new sign-ups.
1 winner claimed his prize.
I now had over 2,000 subscribers, which meant I had to start paying to use Mailchimp. If those subscribers stuck around and helped boost sales of The Masterpiecers, then it would be worth it. If they didn’t, then I was stuck with a hefty monthly fee. I had a pretty good plan to test this out right away: I was going to run a price promotion on my first book and send an email out to inform my subscribers. But during giveaway #4.
- Giveaway #4—4 winners. The prize: A custom-made mug with a quote from the book.
I had 132 contestants.
A handful of new sign-ups.
3 winners claimed their prize.
I sent the 4th one to someone who expressed a genuine appreciation for the mug at the start of the giveaway.
And I had one made for myself.
During Giveaway #4, I ran a price promotion on my first novel through ENT. I sold 50 books and had a few thousand Kindle Pages read. I sent out a newsletter the day after ENT so I could measure ENT sales and newsletter sales. 40 of the books were sold through ENT. The rest, through my newsletter.
- Giveaway #5—20 winners. The prize: Advanced paperback copies of The Masterpiecers.
I had 103 contestants.
A handful of new sign-ups & unsubscribers.
16 winners claimed their prize.
My list went down to 1998 subscribers, which was maddening because I was paying a Mailchimp monthly rate for a 2000+ list. So now, my goal was to make the $30/month I was shelling out worth it, i.e. lift my list back up.
- Giveaway #6—2 winners. The prize: 2 pairs of Acuitis sunglasses.
I had 729 contestants.
522 new sign-ups.
2 winners claimed their prize.
At this point, I sent out a newsletter about a fairy anthology, Enchanted: The Fairy Revels Collection, for which I wrote a mystery novella. Since I am not the one who controls the sales of the book, I wasn’t able to see how much this newsletter affected them, however, that day, our anthology rose from #14 in our Kindle category to #7, which is a nice leap, and which I’d like to think I contributed to.
For giveaway #7, I wanted to try something different: I wanted to create a giveaway that would benefit other indie authors to create ties with these authors. Some of them I knew already, and some I came to know. All are outstanding and generous people who helped promote the giveaway. A big thanks if you are reading this blog post.
- Giveaway #7—12 winners. The prize: A bundle of YA E-books.
I had 246 contestants.
10 winners claimed their prize.
D-DAY: I sent out a newsletter to announce that my book was available and organized a blitz with YA Bound Book Tours. That day, The Masterpiecers was added to 500 bookshelves on Goodreads. It was now on 800+ people’s to-read list.
Thank you to all who have played along. It was great getting to know you. For those of you reading my book, I hope you enjoy it for The Masterminds, its sequel will be coming your way mid-October. Add it to your to-read list today to be informed of its launch, or stick around because I’m planning a fun launch for that one too.