This is an extremely simple strategy that I’ve actually used to help other authors hit 6-figures. It involves using my two levers: launching/promo and backlist ads to push a lot of volume and then sustain momentum in non-launch months. Then, with the larger number of organic subscribers, we launch higher with the next book, building our career brick-by-brick.
The beauty of this strategy is that it’s low-maintenance: most of the effort is concentrated over a 5 – 7 period (during the launches/promos), and then the backlist ads, once dialed in, demand very little tweaking. This frees up time to write, test things in the non-launch months, or simply work less, should that be your goal. It is easily adaptable to multiple release schedules; the minimum I would do this with is 4 books a year, but you can adjust it to work with 6 – 12, too.
It should be noted that marketing is just a catalyst for the underlying product, which is a great, commercial book with great branding (title/cover/blurb). Without these solidly in place, any marketing efforts will be futile.
There are just two main components to this strategy:
- LAUNCHES: Big launches with a Kindle Countdown Deal on Books 1/2/3 (or 1 – 5) of the series. New book launches at a slight discount.
- NON-LAUNCH MONTHS: Then the month(s) between releases: submit continually to BookBub. Keep ads going at $50 – $100/day (split between Facebook and Amazon Ads). Refine ads. Test other things – newsletter swaps, giveaways, etc.
Other administrative pieces:
- Make sure your newsletter is set up so that the fanbase is building continually in the background. (links to sign-up in front/back matter of your books; you can enter things like cross promos or giveaways to build the list, but that’s not something I really do)
- Track numbers (organic subscribers, sales, reads) weekly and/or monthly.
- Very little social media (basically none).
That’s it. The core principle, again, is to hit hard and high with the promos/launches, leverage Amazon’s algorithms to their fullest extent, and then ride this momentum with ads until the next book comes out. The core principle driving this strategy is simple: momentum is easier to sustain than to build. An annual release schedule with four books a year can look like this:
- Jan: Release + KCD
- Feb: $50/day
- Mar: $50/day
- Apr: Release + KCD
- May: $50/day
- Jun: $50/day
- July: Release + KCD
- Aug: $100/day
- Sept: Release + KCD + BookBub Featured Deal
- Oct: $100/day
- Nov: $150/day
- Dec: $150/day
As we progress with our skills, test things with the ads, and reinvest our profits, it might be possible to scale beyond $50/day. Thus, by the end of the year, our backlist ads might be profitably spending $150/day instead of $50. And, if possible, we want to stack up maximum firepower around our launches: so if we can get a BookBub, then it makes sense to either move a release date earlier and really push to get the book done. Strategically consolidating resources and maximizing useful opportunities allows us to hit higher, push more volume, and build our career faster.
There are plenty of other approaches. This one is simple and low-maintenance. Starting from scratch and writing four books a year in a commercial, well-received series, you could hit six figures within three years with this plan. There are no guarantees, but it’s certainly doable. Which makes this the coda to our 3 x 3 plan: if we work hard, keep publishing, and keep showing up, good things can happen. We just need to keep putting in the time.