Blog posts like this (Run Lab Rat Run Milestones) are just for my own tracking and, hopefully, to provide some insight to other authors starting the publishing journey. Given that Run Lab Rat Run is my first published book, there’s bound to be a lot of silly nonsense here.
- Milestones Reached
- Q4 2021
- 8/9 – Book Release (Kindle)
- 8/10 – Amazon Author Page
- 8/11 – Book Release (Paperback)
- 8/12 – Goodreads Book / Author Profile
- 8/10 – 1st Sale on Amazon
- 8/11 – 1st Review on Amazon (5*)
- 8/12 – 2nd Review on Amazon (5*)
- 8/12 – Fiverr Marketing on Instagram
- 8/13 – 1st Rating on Goodreads (2*)
- 8/13 – 2nd Fiverr Marketing Experiment
- 8/14 – 1st Bad Rating on Amazon (2*)
- 8/14 – Fiverr TikTok Test
- 8/16 – 3rd Review on Amazon (5*)
- 8/20 – Researching Amazon Kindle Unlimited Royalty Model
- 8/23 – Book Raid Email Marketing
- 8/23 – Setup & Launch 2x Amazon Ads
- 8/23 – 1st Review on Goodreads
- 8/23 – Goal: 50 Copies Sold
- 8/24 – Goals: 5 Amazon Reviews & 5 Five-Star Reviews
- 8/24 – Ad Campaigns on Amazon
- 8/25 – Bargain Booksy Promotion
- 8/26 – Various
- 8/27 – Updated and Added Amazon Ad Campaigns
- 8/29 – Various Minor
- 8/30 – Goal: 1st Review by Stranger on GR or Amazon
- 8/30 – Removed “Series” from RLRR on Amazon
- 8/31 – Running FREE Promotion by James Mayfield
- August Sales
- 9/1 – Amazon Review from Sandy @ Reading Cafe (4-Star)
- 9/1 – Sent Books to Laz
- 9/1 – Review Amazon Ads Spend & Results
- 9/1 – Goal: 7-10 Amazon Reviews 4+ Average
- 9/1 – Goal: 75 Copies Sold
- 9/1 – Found Profile on Fakespot
- 9/2 – Free Promo on Indie Unlimited
- 9/4 – Reading Cafe Interview / Review
- 9/6 – Profile Live on BookBub
- 9/7 – ReadingCafe Posts Review to BookBub
- 9/7 – Sent a Few Author Blurb Requests
- 9/7 – Started Entry on Internet SFDB
- 9/8 – FREE Promo #2 (BookDoggy)
- 9/8 – Some Marketing Reading
- 9/9 – Launched the RLRR Easter Egg Hunt
- 9/9 – Sent Blurb Query to Jeff VanderMeer
- 9/10 – Disabled Amazon Ads
- 9/10 – Updated Promo Plan
- 9/10 – Reloaded Books on Amazon to Correct 2-3 Typos
- 9/11 – Updated eBook Blurb & Dropped Price
- 9/11-14 – $0.99 Promotion
- 9/13 – $0.99 Promos Launched
- 9/14 – Various
- 9/15 – Moved Laz’ Foreword to End (Postface)
- 9/16 – First Unsolicited 5-Star Review
- 9/16 – Audited & Updated Book Categories on Amazon
- 9/16 – Sent Blurb Request to David Plotz
- 9/16 – Started Using Asana for Project Tracking
- 9/17 – Rejected by BookBub
- 9/22 – More Book Review Requests
- 9/26 – Eliot Peper Newsletter
- 9/26 – Goal: Reached 10 Ratings on Goodreads
- 9/26 – Beasts of Sonara Submitted for Pre-Sale
- 9/26 – Goal: 100 Copies Sold
- 9/27 – Book Sends Promo
- 9/29 – More Blogger EMs
- September Sales
- Q4 2021
- October Sales
- November Sales
- 2022+ Tracking
- Q4 2021
- Milestones Pending
- Other Stuff
This also includes marketing activities and other events.
8/9 – Book Release (Kindle)
This went up quickly, in less than 24 hours, much to my surprise. Pretty happy with Amazon responsiveness. And now…I’m a published author.
8/10 – Amazon Author Page
This went up almost the same time as the kindle edition was published.
8/11 – Book Release (Paperback)
This also went up quickly, probably around 24 hours.
8/12 – Goodreads Book / Author Profile
Run Lab Rat Run didn’t appear at first. I think what happens is that you need to enter your author information first, then GR scrapes Amazon for books by that author. No point in entering the book before your author info is posted on GR. I had the order wrong here, but it fixed itself quickly enough.
8/10 – 1st Sale on Amazon
According to the KDP reports dashboard, this happened almost immediately after I posted the launch on FB. One of my friends, no doubt.
8/11 – 1st Review on Amazon (5*)
I couldn’t put this book down, great read! Posted by friend from the ARC program, very nice review.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I found myself really feeling for the main character, and cheering her on as she progressed throughout the story line. I could feel her aches and pains as she ran the race. The character building really helped keep you close to the heart of the story, a dystopian future where modified vs natural humans co-exist (not for long) and compete. I cannot wait for the next in the series so I can continue with Media on her journey. Shawn Butler has told an excellent story and I’m eager to see what is next.
8/12 – 2nd Review on Amazon (5*)
Excitement at Every Turn: Posted by a beta reader, very nice review:
Genetic manipulation and all it’s [sic] controversies is always interesting. I was not expecting to be pulled in to the world of marathon races as well. I was surprised at how compelling and exciting every minute was. At times I actually felt as if I were in the race with Media, willing her to keep pushing, not to give up, feeling exhausted and exhilarated right with her. The obstacles were thrilling, the race was grueling, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to keep up with every turn. I really enjoyed this book and am already looking forward to the next one. I want to know so much more!
8/12 – Fiverr Marketing on Instagram
This was Instagram posting done by SADesign4 on Fiverr, largely an experiment on my part. The post garnered several hundred likes, but hard to tell if there was any interaction beyond that.
8/13 – 1st Rating on Goodreads (2*)
My first rating on Goodreads was apparently some troll who just leaves 2-Star reviews on everything, often dozens a day. No idea what the point of that is. I assume this is just grist for the publishing mill.
8/13 – 2nd Fiverr Marketing Experiment
After seeing what happened with Instagram, I thought I’d check out the equivalent experiment on Twitter, Facebook, a blog and Pinterest (all one effort) by Melrock. Thus far, this has yielded little interaction and I’m not sure how much value there is to these cookie-cutter efforts (they’re cheap for a reason). But Melrock has plenty of followers and traffic, so it’s interesting to see how things work.
#SciFi #fantasy #extremesports #humansubjects #Genetic test subjects usually die by 30–they always die in pain. Given a chance to live, Media has to run in the deadliest race on earth If she makes it, she & her family will be safe. If she doesn't … https://t.co/Yss4INFDwq pic.twitter.com/EKzI5bd5DW
— Melanie Rockett (@rockett) August 13, 2021
I was off hiking when this posted, so didn’t catch a typo or two. If I were to do this again, I’d submit a custom text block, tweet, etc., rather than letting the marketer do them.
8/14 – 1st Bad Rating on Amazon (2*)
Another troll? Two-stars, no review, doubt they even read the book. Interesting. I wonder why people do this?
8/14 – Fiverr TikTok Test
Lol, well, I guess I got what I deserved there. Clearly…yeah.
8/16 – 3rd Review on Amazon (5*)
Fantastic Read! Another beta reader review. Very appreciated. Most ARC readers haven’t posted yet. Still working on how to do reminders there.
I’m not one for either genetic experimentation or extreme sports stories, but WOW. The race itself is interesting, Media is both hilarious and relatable, and my only complaint is that the second book isn’t already out. I loved every aspect of the world and the underlying forbidden romance. The character development is on-point, too, which is hard to find. I’m wildly excited to see what happens next!
8/20 – Researching Amazon Kindle Unlimited Royalty Model
The deals of the program are here. Less a milestone than needed step. I’ll wait for 30-60-90 days to try to calculate royalties in KU as compared to actual sales at $4.99 Kindle list price.
8/23 – Book Raid Email Marketing
This is my first CPC marketing effort, and just curious how it works. Cost is $0.60 per click, max of $60, with no guarantee of any conversion; however, it does appear to be pushing some Kindle sales.
We’re pleased to report that ‘Run Lab Rat Run (Modified Book 1)’ was successfully promoted today (August 23, 2021) for free in the BookRaid Newsletter! The effects of a promotion will usually last a couple days, but when the dust settles we’d love to hear how things went on your end. Did the promotion move the needle for your book in a big way? – Sincerely, the BookRaid Team
I think in retrospect I did this promo wrong. I should have used a KDP promo day to make the book truly free instead of only free using Kindle Unlimited. Would probably have gotten far more (non-KU) downloads and eventual reviews and stats, rather than 10 attributable Kindle sales from 500 clicks (which is FAR more than I expected). Glad about the purchases, but would have preferred more distribution and sales stats / ranking on Amazon. Still, a great deal either way from a marketing perspective. No way to see permalink for posting on their blog, but it’s under Aug 23 post for SF.
8/23 – Setup & Launch 2x Amazon Ads
Experiment with one ad focused on ultra running generally, and science fiction generally (many keywords), and another focused on the Barkley Marathons with different ad copy. This is purely for learning, and I doubt it will have much impact on sales. Campaigns run until 9/30.
8/23 – 1st Review on Goodreads
Lisa left a great four-star review from the ARC read:
A thriller that brings to the light the potential nuances of human genetic modification. While the naive among us may think of eliminating horrible genetic diseases such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis with genetic modification, let’s face it, in a world where we cannot agree providing adequate health care for poor people, the scenario presented here is completely believable. The rich elite get genetic modifications. Everyone else just suffers in a dystopian world.
Feisty Media is an employee/test subject for TTI Labs. She lives a limited, highly constrained life in the lab, in a time when wealthy people purchase genetic enhancements such as super-human strength, endurance, fighting ability and all-around insane mental abilities that are tested on our heroine. Despite being dealt this poor hand of cards in life, Media is a lively optimist determined to make the best of things. She is actually quite enjoyable to spend time with, even if she is fictional.
Through a series of events, Media is given a chance to run in a bonkers ultra-marathon-ish race. This is where the book gets fun, even for us non-modified, borderline couch potatoes. Lots of entertainment here: weirdly modified super animals, increasingly difficult obstacles to overcome, violent competitors, morally ambiguous villains/heroes, family loyalties, a forbidden romance and some possible internecine corporate strife.
I recommend this book to most. Haters of science fiction wouldn’t enjoy this, nor would those who profoundly dislike competitive sports. I’m not a big science fiction fan, but will read the odd dystopian novel, so this book worked quite well as viable entertainment for me.
I’m knocking off one star, for a 4/5 star review, as I would have liked greater background on how this dystopian society came to develop. I realize that many people enjoy a more streamlined thriller, but heck, I read Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies for fun, so it could just be my preference. At any rate, I recommend this book as quality escapist literature with the added brain candy of how genetic modification could play out in a dystopian, barely regulated society.
8/23 – Goal: 50 Copies Sold
Sixty-six (66) ebook and paperback units sold by 8/23, mostly paperbacks by my friends (thank you!), including 10 ebooks from the BookRaid promo. I have no idea how many KU units have been downloaded, and there doesn’t appear to be any reporting on this (?); you just see pages read, which is how you’re paid.
8/24 – Goals: 5 Amazon Reviews & 5 Five-Star Reviews
Both goals reached by today. Next goal is 10/10.
8/24 – Ad Campaigns on Amazon
No clicks or displays. I suspect bids are too low to match generic bids in same categories. Will let it run for a few more days before adjusting. So far, $0 spent, which is not good.
8/25 – Bargain Booksy Promotion
First newsletter type promotion to SF group for $40. We’ll see how it goes. Platform appears to be on brand of Written Word Media. Not sure I set this up right, so we’ll see how it goes. Oh, it worked. This is from the email that went out:
Since they offer no reporting on the promo, unlike BookRaid, there’s no way to know how many people clicked on the link. Which is weird. I think I can attribute two (2) Kindle ebook sales and some KU downloads to them, but that’s it and that’s being generous. Also noted that my book was last on the list in the email, which means more scrolling. I wonder how you get placed higher?
8/26 – Various
Try also promotion sites from this list and this one.
- Added Free Profile on AllAuthor. Not sure of value. Got a notice on 9/10 that it went live. Not sure why.
- Added Free Book Profile on Awesome Gang. Not sure of value.
8/27 – Updated and Added Amazon Ad Campaigns
I had impressions but no clicks, so tried adding (A) SF campaign (B) auto campaign and (C) campaign focused on products (similar books) rather than keywords.
8/29 – Various Minor
- Added Universal Book Link. This is a service of Books2Read, affiliated with Drafts2Digital. Updated landing page link to include UBL.
- Submitted for New Releases promo (probably little value) on SFF Book Bonanza for $5. Will appear here. They have a number of other promos possibly worth looking at.
8/30 – Goal: 1st Review by Stranger on GR or Amazon
This is a review by someone I don’t know, not from ARC or beta program, and not a friend. Really looking forward to a truly unbiased review…or several. And…here’s the first one, on GR, technically from the ARC program on StoryOrigin (4-star):
Run Lab Rat was a great book, I would totally recommend.
Feisty Media is lively and interesting to read about, and the plot is great, I really enjoyed it. This dystopian society is interesting, and I found it very engrossing.
Which…sounds like they copied part of Lisa’s review. So, whatever. Not exactly great insight, but milestone reached. This may not appear for a day or two, as GR has some weird caching problems on different platforms.
8/30 – Removed “Series” from RLRR on Amazon
I hadn’t realized some people don’t like to buy books in a series until they’re all published. Not sure this matters, but no point in series until Book 2 is out anyway. This takes up to 72 hours to propagate.
8/31 – Running FREE Promotion by James Mayfield
Scheduled Kindle to be free for ONE DAY to test service. Should get samples of posts by email: Facebook Page; Facebook Group; Twitter; Tumblr; pending on Pinterest and others. Don’t see it shown here, where it’s supposed to be (maybe 1/2 day?).
#Free on August 31st. A #humorous #scifi #athleticism read.
To earn her freedom, she just has to survive the deadliest race on Earth.
– https://t.co/T6LbqEcMos pic.twitter.com/6IZPbwLXIS
— Mayfield Promotions (@JamesPromotions) August 31, 2021
By 9:30 am PT, 21 free ebook downloads were reported on the KDP dashboard (not fantastic, but not bad) which really makes me wonder how many I would’ve gotten with a BookRaid promo and a free book. Lessons learned.
By the end of this 24-hr promotion, 112 free books were downloaded and RLRR was momentarily a “best seller” in the “free” category for Extreme Sports (#1), Running (#1), Humorous SF (#4) and Genetic Engineering SF (#8). Not sure it means much, but I suppose I can now call it a bestseller :). Will update details page for book (slightly) based on this, but not sure how many of the 112 will read or review the book. Still not bad for $15 bucks.
So, not sure there’s much point in obsessively tracking this, but here goes. And yes, most of these sales are friends and family. So, thanks! 🙂 All figures shown are net sales after returns.
|Paper-Back||Kindle Paid||Total Paid||Free Kindle||Total Units||KENP Pages|
The KENP figure equates to roughly 10 full reads. To put this all in perspective:
The average U.S. book is now selling less than 200 copies per year and less than 1,000 copies over its lifetime. – Publisher’s Weekly via 10 Truths
I’m assuming this is sales vs. giveaways (freebies), so my numbers seem okay so far…if I can maintain sales after friends and family are done. Not exactly setting the world on fire, but okay for a start. Interested to see how the Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) works out, but glad people are actually reading the book.
9/1 – Amazon Review from Sandy @ Reading Cafe (4-Star)
Good little write-up. Wish it was five, but still good details and almost all of her reviews are four-stars, with some 3.5-3.75 and the occasional 4.5. Also appeared on Goodreads. I assume this is in anticipation of 9/4 interview (below). This brings me to nine (9) ratings on Amazon and four (4) on GR. From the review:
RUN LAB RAT RUN is a cautionary tale; a complex, thought-provoking and twisted story of specieism and discrimination, competition, power and control. My only complaint would be the lack of background information regarding the Chrome Wars, the environmental disasters, and the history as to how and why the world of enhanced human modifications came to be.
Which is great feedback. Due to this book coming out before events it depends on are published in other novels, I can totally see the point. This will be addressed in subsequent releases, which should organically fix the issue for those reading the series in chronological order (by date, not publication date).
9/1 – Sent Books to Laz
After surprise delivery of author copies yesterday, sent 2x copies to Laz. He confirmed receipt and will be using RLRR in the future… 🙂
9/1 – Review Amazon Ads Spend & Results
Was starting to get impressions after 8/29 changes, but no purchases. Now I have far more impressions, some clicks, and one sale. Let it run until Friday or so…then probably kill some campaigns and change bids. This is clearly not ROI positive.
9/1 – Goal: 7-10 Amazon Reviews 4+ Average
Done. Made this goal with 8+ reviews, 4.4 average, but didn’t hit the 10-review mark. Several outstanding reviews in the works…
For a minimum, you should try to get 20 reviews within the first two months after your book release date. That shows your book has traction with real readers. At around 50 reviews, you are probably good to go. Around that point, you have solidified the book as reputable and should continue to generate reviews. – Scribe
Probably need to ping some friends about reviews?
9/1 – Goal: 75 Copies Sold
With at least two paperback and two paid ebook sales today, total paid sales are at 77 and goal is met.
9/1 – Found Profile on Fakespot
Apparently, they review products to see if their reviews are authentic are not. Mine are graded A, as in very authentic. Not sure if that translates to less risk of Amazon take-downs, but it’s a positive sign. Discovered via Reddit post.
Fakespot analyzes the reviews authenticity and not the product quality using AI. We look for real reviews that mention product issues such as counterfeits, defects, and bad return policies that fake reviews try to hide from consumers. We give an A-F letter for trustworthiness of reviews. A = very trustworthy reviews, F = highly untrustworthy reviews. We also provide seller ratings to warn you if the seller can be trusted or not.
9/2 – Free Promo on Indie Unlimited
Trying free Thrifty Thursday newsletter / blog promo. Unlikely to do much, but completely free, and appreciated support for community. Should I reach out to other bloggers?
9/4 – Reading Cafe Interview / Review
This is my first book blogger interview and review. Looking forward to it. See review links on 9/1 (above).
9/6 – Profile Live on BookBub
Not really a thing, but needed to do promo later. ReadingCafe will post review here, I think.
9/7 – ReadingCafe Posts Review to BookBub
Appreciated this followup.
9/7 – Sent a Few Author Blurb Requests
I’m not sure if this is going to bear any fruit (probably not), but…what the heck. Some of my favorite authors might be interested in RLRR. Sending today to some of the following. It would be an honor if any of them even read it…
- (Maybe) David Brin, author of The Postman and Uplift series. Also looks eerily like my friend Allen. Responded quickly and offered to possibly look at my book if sent to him, which is the most I could expect. Sent 9/13 with fingers crossed.
- (Pending) Andrew Niccol, Writer/Director of Gattaca, but can’t find info. Silly famous people.
- (Pending) Stephen King, but no easy way to contact w/o being in spam folder. Probably need to focus on much less famous people :).
- (Pending) Vernor Vinge (see singularity essay), can’t find contact info. Same for Larry Niven, etc. No doubt enjoying their retirement.
- (Yes) Fellow IR/PS alum Eliot Peper. He responded with a “maybe” and offered to put me in his next newsletter. Seems like really nice guy. Appreciated.
- (Rejected) Andy Weir, author of The Martian and Hail Mary. Rejected almost immediately with personal email.
- (Rejected) John Scalzi, author of Red Shirts and Old Man’s War. Rejected almost immediately with personal email.
- (Rejected, but Book Sent) Peter Watts author of Blindsight.
Also sent book review request to Silk Screen Reviews, which is Soo on Goodreads.
9/7 – Started Entry on Internet SFDB
Not sure worth the effort, but like supporting the cause. Should have the same thing done on Wikipedia.
9/8 – FREE Promo #2 (BookDoggy)
Scheduled and verified ($18). TBD on stats and downstream value. Starting to wonder if these promos (free) should only be run once you have more than one book so that potential buyers have something paid to choose from. Nearly 150 downloads by 8 am PT, and 409 total free downloads for the promotion, so good response. Have to see if it helps with purchase / review “drought” over the last few days.
This article on BookBub claims free giveaways are great, but they’re hardly unbiased. And even here, the emphasis is on how freebies increase sales in a series, which I don’t have yet.
9/8 – Some Marketing Reading
Spending some time figuring out how to do this better. Derek Murphy’s PDF on book marketing included this model for launch week (costing around $2,000):
9/9 – Launched the RLRR Easter Egg Hunt
Not sure this is a good idea? Might be great. Might suck. Spaghetti thrown at wall. Shotgun fired. Next!
Also noticed a slight uptick in “to-read” additions on Goodreads, probably from the BookDoggy promo, but if I look at those users’ lists, there are thousands of books on them. So…yeah.
9/9 – Sent Blurb Query to Jeff VanderMeer
Which would be awesome, as Borne and Annihilation are both referenced in the book. Also looked at Blake Crouch (no EM), Adrian Tchaikovsky (Rejected Personally), A.G. Riddle (Rejected Personally, Matt Ridley (NonFic, Sent) and Kathryn Paige Harden (No EM), Philip Ball (NonFic, Sent) and Dr. Paul Knoepfler (NonFic, Sent).
Need to look at more authors under genetics, designer babies and CRISPR.
9/10 – Disabled Amazon Ads
I was getting impressions (almost 100k total), very few clicks (around 60) and zero (0) orders / sales except when it was free, which shouldn’t really count. This includes KENP pages counts (also zero). Need to rework blurb / details page?
9/10 – Updated Promo Plan
Note: Read this marketing plan / review
Think I need to schedule multiple overlapping promotions based on dropping price to $0.99 rather than free. Given limitations under KU, I have to do this well in advance but schedule now so it’s clearly a drop from the promo provider’s perspective. I’ll need to update blurb at the same time, and ideally A+ content would be live (still pending). Still undecided on waiting for there to be 10+ reviews on profile. Promos to run on (not all the same day):
Drop price 9/10 so ready for 9/13 promo (after 9/11!), run on selected sites, then restore price to $4.99 on 9/17 to reset discount-from level by 9/20.
Once there are 10+ reviews on Amazon, schedule big promo, drop price, and let her rip…
- BookBub (price varies); registered, profile stuck, must drop to $0.99. I am concerned about rejection by them if not enough reviews.
We’ll see how this works in practice.
9/10 – Reloaded Books on Amazon to Correct 2-3 Typos
Shouldn’t impact anything. Also, updated blurb to be more catchy, hopefully, and improved overall formatting. And added review request and Easter egg link at end of Kindle version.
9/11 – Updated eBook Blurb & Dropped Price
This should be in effect by tomorrow, with different blurb for ebook than paperback, and new $0.99 price point for M/T promotion. The new price and edited blurb were live within a few hours. All set for Monday.
Crazy to think 9/11 was twenty years today. A lifetime ago. Good to remember my boss Danny Lewin who died that day…
9/11-14 – $0.99 Promotion
Running on these sites as part of new Phase I marketing test / plan. Meant for this to be 9/13-14, but there’s no way to predict timing on KDP updates.
- Genre Pulse ($17); starts at 6 pm Monday (tracking)
- JustKindleBooks ($39), scheduled for Monday (confirmed)
9/13 – $0.99 Promos Launched
Trying not to be too OCD about this, but eager to see some sales again. Sigh. The grind is grindy. Screenshot from BookSliced, partner site of JustKindleBooks:
Pretty sure these site display portions of promos are borderline worthless, but hopefully the newsletter reach is better. And dig all the romance and erotica. It’s a plague. Conclusion: A total of two (2) attributable ebook sales and maybe one KU download. So, complete waste of time and money. I would not use GenrePulse or JustKindleBooks again unless I knew what happened and how to fix it.
9/14 – Various
After abysmal results on yesterday’s promo, trying one more on Book Cave before pausing and then hoping for BookBub. Hopeful that results might be better given more vetting of books and online comments. Promo would run on 9/17 ($26).
Raised price back to $4.99. When this displays, apply for Promo at $0.99 on BookSends and ManyBooks (Must be free for “best price”, hmm) (per Scribe article). The purpose of these would be to drive enough added sales to get reviews to make BookBub submission more likely to be accepted.
Based on feedback on FB (by request), I’ve updated details on books (again) to (a) reduce running-related references and (b) remove categories related to running. Park of the concern is that it might look like a non-fiction books and thus NOT CONVERT if you’re looking for non-fiction. Updates done on site (inc. this one).
9/15 – Moved Laz’ Foreword to End (Postface)
As per suggestion on FB. Bummer, but if you looked at front matter on Amazon preview, the first thing you saw was the foreword and no way to fix that w/o moving. I’ll move back to foreword once sales are higher and more established.
Also, restarted Amazon ad campaign w/limited campaigns and targeting to see if that makes any difference. And started first Facebook ads, which…I have no way of attributing other than guesswork.
And…submitted to BookBub. Nervous about that. It’s the promo tool I want…
9/16 – First Unsolicited 5-Star Review
This was a first on Amazon, not long but unexpected and awesome, from Silvia:
The development of the characters and plots kept me up longer than I should’ve been. Enjoyed reading it very much. Can’t wait for the next part.
Also go rejection on blurb from A.G. Riddle. Might change to only requesting if I see the author doing blurbs elsewhere.
9/16 – Audited & Updated Book Categories on Amazon
I wanted to make sure all changes had taken effect, so asked for audit summary of categories and got the following, which was surprising. I guess they’d put RLRR into three kindle fantasy categories and missed several paperback categories (subjects). Though they did pull it out of all running categories.
Below are the categories for the kindle version of book ""Run Lab Rat Run": /Kindle Store/Categories/Kindle eBooks/Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy/General /Kindle Store/Categories/Kindle eBooks/Science Fiction & Fantasy/Science Fiction/General /Kindle Store/Categories/Kindle eBooks/Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy/Action & Adventure /Kindle Store/Categories/Kindle eBooks/Science Fiction & Fantasy/Science Fiction/Dystopian /Kindle Store/Categories/Kindle eBooks/Science Fiction & Fantasy/Science Fiction/Humorous /Kindle Store/Categories/Kindle eBooks/Science Fiction & Fantasy/Science Fiction/Adventure /Kindle Store/Categories/Kindle eBooks/Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy/Humorous /Kindle Store/Categories/Kindle eBooks/Science Fiction & Fantasy/Science Fiction/Genetic Engineering /Kindle Store/Categories/Kindle eBooks/Literature & Fiction/Absurdist Below are the categories for the paperback version of book ""Run Lab Rat Run": /Books/Subjects/Literature & Fiction/Genre Fiction/Absurdist /Books/Subjects/Literature & Fiction/Action & Adventure /Books/Subjects/Science Fiction & Fantasy/Science Fiction/General /Books/Subjects/Science Fiction & Fantasy/Science Fiction/Genetic Engineering
Updates were requested in both cases. Pending update.
9/16 – Sent Blurb Request to David Plotz
Not sure why this didn’t occur to me sooner. He wrote the book on my grandfather’s idiotic sperm bank and should be sympathetic to issues of eugenics. The first email bounced (from link above), so resent via Twitter.
Also sent notes to Edwin Black, Adam Cohen and Dr. Minna Stern (positive response/w purchase & read) (writers of books on eugenics). I’d keep trying this, as there is an obvious value to helping each other. Also try the page on Wikipedia. So odd I didn’t do this earlier.
9/16 – Started Using Asana for Project Tracking
Will restrict items here to things of more substance.
9/17 – Rejected by BookBub
Sad. No information on why, but lots of possibilities. Think I can reapply on 10/13 or so.
9/22 – More Book Review Requests
Sent to a few on this list, and a few from Reedsy as well. Got one response from Bookish Beyond, who said they’d be interested in reviewing. Book sent. We’ll see in four weeks or so…
9/26 – Eliot Peper Newsletter
Eliot was kind enough to mention RLRR in his monthly newsletter:
Not one, but two subscribers to this humble newsletter released their debut science-fiction novels this month. J.W. Galliger’s The Terminal Code is a murder mystery set in a future where the world has largely migrated to virtual reality, and Shawn C. Butler’s Run Lab Rat Run is a techno-thriller exploring the implications of genetic engineering. I’m so excited for and inspired by J.W. and Shawn.
The link here appears to have led to a few immediate ebook sales, which is great if hard to confirm. Thanks, Eliot! Someday, hope to make this list.
Also, changed price of ebook back to $0.99 in prep for Book Sends promo (tomorrow).
9/26 – Goal: Reached 10 Ratings on Goodreads
Also K.A. Fox was kind enough to read and review RLRR on GR, Bookbub and Amazon (TBD), which was great. And had first completely unsolicited, stranger five–star review on Amazon. So, cool.
9/26 – Beasts of Sonara Submitted for Pre-Sale
This is the pre-prequel for RLRR. Woot!
9/26 – Goal: 100 Copies Sold
9/27 – Book Sends Promo
Went out for $0.99 deal. Cost was $40 leading to 23 sales, so definitely okay (even if losing money) and hopefully driving future reviews.
9/29 – More Blogger EMs
And my first foreign review, from Germany: “Alles gut.” You’re damn right, alles gut! So there was that. Need to work on both traffic and conversion on Amazon.
All figures shown are net sales after returns.
|Mo||Paper-back||Kindle Paid||Total Paid||Free Kindle||Total Units||KENP Pages|
Sales have definitely slowed to a trickle. Facebook ads the only ongoing promotional effort, and those have not converted well. TBD on what’s next…
10/7 – Peak Endurance Podcast Interview
Nice interview with Isobel came out. I’m not sure it will generated much buzz for a number of reasons, but very pleased to have it out there. And it was fun to catch up with her.
10/9 – Goal: 20 Amazon Reviews 4+ Average
I doubt I’ll make this goal, as I’m at 19 on 10/8, but I’ve also stopped pushing this so hard. I realize that (a) I don’t want to be the guy pushing friends and colleagues for reviews (b) people have lives and (c) hopefully I can drive organic reviews by increasing readership (somehow). But still, 19 is pretty close to 20 reviews in two months (since release), so not too shabby.
10 / 20 – $0.99 Promo with
Promo with Book Cave (first). Sold 18 copies. Maybe some bump on KU. Not sure…
10 / 21 – 2nd BookRaid Promo @ $0.99
Didn’t really work. Three sales. Hmm. Maybe b/c repeat with same list?
10 / 28 – Remembered RLRR was in CLC Book Fair
This is a free promotion w/limited probable value, but still appreciated and shared.
Things definitely slowing down, except for paid promos and KU sales. Not sure what’s driving KU at all (all ads have stopped), but at least half of paid ebook sales are from promos.
|Mo||Paper-back||Kindle Paid||Total Paid||Free Kindle||Total Units||KENP Pages|
11/4 – Promotion (0.99) on Fussy Librarian
We’ll see. Most of their promos are free. Interested to see how to build newsletter with them, too.
11/4 – Goal: 25 Reviews on Amazon
Barkley ScRitch pushed me over the line. Thanks!
11/12 – Launch Beasts of Sonara on Amazon
This is a pre-prequel to RLRR. Hopefully by this point I’ll know more about how to get this launch process right.
11/19 – Blurb from David Brin
Pretty stoked about this. Woohoo!
11/24 – David Brin Plug on His Site 🙂
Unexpected and very nice recommendation.
More slowdown. Still…
|Mo||Paper-back||Kindle Paid||Total Paid||Free Kindle||Total Units||KENP Pages|
12 / 5 – Promo on ENT
Worked well with 40 kindle editions sold at $0.99 and 600+ KENP pages attributed. Should do for Beasts ASAP.
Dec 9 – Updated Keywords on Amazon
Using Publisher Rocket. Despite the fact that RLRR was the highest ranking organic search result for CRISPR (which is kinda cool, but probably not helpful).
12/28+ – Do 2nd Book Sends Promo
Might try every 90 days…if they accept it.
12/31 – Goal: 50 Amazon Reviews 4+ Average
LOL, not even close. I think I was at 33 or so on NYE. Whatever.
Some pickup due to Beasts promotions and launch. Probably not going to track after this (individually). Good things: more than 200 books sold in far less than a year, which beats (alleged) industry average; signs of pickup on launch of new book; new promo sites are better; no reason to do free promo anymore unless I can figure out how to make it drive sales; etc. Bad things: definitely a long road to sustainability; need constant new releases more on-market; at some point will need to go wide (off Amazon) and sacrifice KENP revenues.
|Mo||Paper-back||Kindle Paid||Total Paid||Free Kindle||Total Units||KENP Pages|
Probably not. Will consolidate at some point, or put only major events here. See promo tracking.
Coming soon, I hope.
Book Sold Every Day for 30 Days
Top #10 Ranking in any Amazon Category
Reached in Free categories on 8/31/2021, but waiting for non-free ranking.
Top #1 Ranking in any Amazon Category
Reached in Free categories on 8/31/2021, but waiting for non-free ranking.
Run Promos on these Sites
These are for free only:
- FreeBooksy ($50 – $100); NA until value of free seen
- BookZio ($25);
These have other requirements:
- RobinReads ($60 for SF); booked out months (good sign?)
Stuff for Readers
Stuff for Authors
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