Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Value of Planning a Book (Re)Launch #publishing #marketing

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. In May 2015 I relaunched my debut novel Keir after getting the rights back in 2014 when my publisher was bought out. At the start of 2015 I saw a workshop on book launches being run by the FFnP chapter of the RWA, and decided that maybe I should take it in the hope of getting some new ideas to give my book's rebirth a good push. I am not great at marketing, so I figured at the least I might pick up some useful tips. While some of the suggestions and projects were mostly outside my budget, let alone my abilities, I did learn a few things that helped me with my relaunch, and that I believe made it much more successful than my previous efforts, so I thought I'd share.

1. Scheduling. This was probably the most useful and important aspect of the whole workshop for me. I am not good at planning things out, but the workshop gave me a poke to do it. I used my often neglected Google calendar (mostly on my phone) and worked backwards from my release date scheduling in what things needed to be done when, such as requesting guest posts, submitting review requests, advertising, cover reveals etc. So reminders would popup on my phone to prod me to do things. I also found if I put set tasks on my calendar with a target date, I was much more motivated and likely to get it done (when my calendar is empty, I tend to procrastinate and wander off task). It also made the tasks ahead seem less stressful by breaking them up by days or weeks into individual tasks. I can't share the actual worksheet of tasks we were given in class, but simply make a list of all the things you think you need, give each a time scale, then plug them into your calendar.

2. One major task was to arrange reviews well in advance of release date (7th May, my third anniversary as a published author and what would have been Keir's third book birthday). I asked for willing reviewers among my friends and colleagues, collecting names and contacts into a list. I planned to ask for at least 25, and scheduled to send ARCs at least a month before release date in the hope that some would be ready to review on release day. (Unfortunately due to my own fault, I didn't have ARCs early enough. I didn't have them ready until 1week before). Fortunately for me this was a re-release and after contacting Amazon, the original 25 reviews I already had from the original release showed up. However, the handful of new reviews I did manage to get were a very welcome addition (I'd also copied the original reviews with the intention of asking the reviewers to repost, but thankfully didn't need to - a real time saver). Also, having joined Broad Universe (something on my list for over a year), I was able to put Keir into their NetGalley coop at the reduced cost of $25 for one month. This is planned for June, and I'm hoping any new reviews might boost sales as they tailed off at the end of May.

3. Budget. On the launch workshop, the organizer generously gave us a $1000 allowance. *Yoda laugh* Since I'm lucky if my budget for anything is even double digits, I used what I realistically had...which was considerably less than three figures. I don't believe in expensive advertising or massive giveaways - impractical for me, and in the case of giveaways I'm not convinced it gets people interested in my books (as an addition, little prizes themed to my books have worked better, but even those are a pressure on me financially). So I mostly look at free options. This often involves blogging, which takes time. Something you can do here is to write blog posts as you go while a topic is fresh in my mind, keep deleted scenes as bonus material for posts or newsletters, and keeping a list of inspirations such as music, film,books etc as you think of them. Saves you battling to recall them later. I often make up playlists for my stories on youtube, and have even included a link to these as part of my back matter. 

Some free options that I used:
Book Blast
SFR Quarterly release announcement and review request (they also offer reasonably priced ads and first chapter spots)
Cover Reveals spotlight (also offers cheaply priced extra services)

The Romance Reviews free banner headlines (you need to be a member of the site and display their banner to receive a free headline each month).
Goodreads Listopia (one of my readers found Keir the first time around via a list on Goodreads, and it costs nothing to add your book. Just be sure it's an appropriate list for your book. In my case, I went for lists focusing on beta heroes).

Lower priced options that I didn't use:
Check out Greta van der Rol's post on some email subscription services HERE. The prices vary, but several other authors pitched in with what did or didn't work for them in the comments as well. I've used some of those mentioned, but with no positive results.

3. Plan potential advertising. Adverts are something I don't consider a worthwhile ROI for me, so I stuck with the free options already mentioned in 2. I had planned to use the extras at Cover Reveals, but in the end I ran out of time - I didn't have sales links early enough to book it. My wonderful book cover designer and editor Danielle Fine did make some truly beautiful promo pieces for me to use, and I ran these as a daily countdown to release. I can and have done some of my own, but they're not as pretty. They're better than just text promos though.

4. Tour. I have had mixed feelings on the subject of tours. I didn't plan an official one as such, but approached a couple of big sites I'd been to before - mostly via my now ex-publisher - some familiar places, and a few new ones. These, in general, cost nothing but a little time and effort. For one, I had to provide a giveaway. Since I was self publishing, it cost me nothing to give away a digital format of my book. Here I fell down on one aspect of my relaunch by not sorting an overall giveaway - I'd had a poster of my book cover and bookmarks made, but I can always run these at a later date for another boost. I didn't do a huge number of guest spots, though,because of having mixed feelings about the value of blog tours. So I kept to posts I actually felt enthusiastic about and that I thought might be interesting. I also had the sequel listed on Goodreads and included a link to that. 

Did it work? Well, I had my best month's sales ever, all the more surprising to me with it being a re-release. Keir also had more pre-orders than any previous title I've released, AND it repeatedly hit the Amazon Top 100 books for Time Travel during its second week. I don't pretend to really understand marketing, and I'm still experimenting. Maybe I was just lucky. But I figure a well-planned launch has helped. It certainly made me feel less stressed to have targets on my schedule and to hit them, so it was worth it from that viewpoint alone. 

If you feel you have anything to add to the suggestions, or if there's something you've tried that has worked especially well or the opposite, please share!


After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 22 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade and Broad Universe, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include YA and adult stories crossing a multitude of subgenres from scifi to the paranormal, often with romance, and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), the 2015 EPIC eBook awards, the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place), and the RWA LERA 2015 Rebecca contest (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website, or at her blog, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

Blogs –
Spacefreighters Lounge - http://www.spacefreighters.blogspot.com

A Science Fiction Romance Novel
Goodreads | Available from...
Amazon | All Romance eBooks
Kobo | iTunes


A demon waiting to die...

An outcast reviled for his discolored skin and rumors of black magic, Keirlan de Corizi sees no hope for redemption. Imprisoned beneath the palace that was once his home, the legendary ‘Blue Demon of Adalucien’ waits for death to finally free him of his curse. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise.

A woman determined to save him.

Able to cross space and time with a wave of her hand, Tarquin Secker has spent eternity on a hopeless quest. Drawn by a compulsion she can’t explain, she risks her apparent immortality to save Keir, and offers him sanctuary on her home-world, Lyagnius. But Quin has secrets of her own.

When Keir mistakenly unleashes the dormant alien powers within him and earns exile from Lyagnius, Quin chooses to stand by him. Can he master his newfound abilities in time to save Quin from the darkness that seeks to possess her?

Book One of the Redemption series and part of the Travellers Universe. A science fiction romance novel previously released by Lyrical Press Inc. 7th May 2012, Keir is a Readers Favorite Contest Awards Finalist 2012​, HOD RWA Aspen Gold finalist (3rd place), The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards semi-finalist, and a 2012 SFR Galaxy Award Best May to December Romance winner.


  1. Good article, Pippa. I've shared this with a writers' community in G+. You might meet some new friends with questions.

    1. Thanks Marva! I hope they find it helpful.


We love to hear from you! Comments must pass moderation to be published. Spam will be deleted.

SFR Brigade Bases of Operation