3 S.R. Johannes: How to choose the best Launch Date?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How to choose the best Launch Date?

I'll say up front that my post yesterday was too long. I'll try to keep them as short as I can but I also want to explain my marketing mindset and research as I move through my decision.

So - for those with a short attention span (like me) - here is the short version:
  • Thx for the support
  • My books is out Nov 29th (b/c I said so)
  • This is not my final cover
  • It's up on Goodreads if you would like to see what it's about or even add it to your "to read" list even if you change your mind after getting to know me. Also - friend me there too!
  • My widget is up and only cost 9$ - you can get them for free but I'm marketing spoiled so I wanted it personalized and where bloggers/you could embed it into your blog if you like (insert cheesy grin here and a shout out to my hubby for helping me pull it together)
  • And my book, Untraceable, is a contemporary wilderness thriller with a kickass heroine and 2 hot boys sweating in the woods. (need I say more? ;)
Now, for those who are serious or curious about the ebook process - here is the longer, intelligent version...

First - a shout out and sincere THANK YOU my lovely followers and supporters!!!!!!! (if you don't care, you can skip this and go straight for the launch 411 below.) 

Let me just say that after I stuck the post up yesterday, I had a major panic attack and had to be talked down by some supporters who (poor things) have been unknowingly assigned the task of Shelli's mental caretaker during this crazy and scary time. About 3o minutes after I posted - I questioned if I did the right thing for many different insecure reasons. 

1) I am very sensitive. 
2) It is so against my nature to promote anything I do - I'm hired and paid to promote others so it's uncomfortable being on this side.
3) I work hard and don't want to fail at something to do with publishing....again!
4) The very same day, I come clean, my previous agency announces they are starting their own ebook division, which kinda got me questioning all my decisions and steps all over again. (I mean Really? the same day?? Don' you think it's weird we announce on the SAME DAY??? (Who says God or a higher power does not play jokes - even if he/she is not too funny.)

Because I am known for my stupid analogies (which usually have to do with high school and boys) It was like I was finally stripping away my layers (and layers) of Spanx and standing butt naked in a field saying "Yo, look at this great post baby body." Were people going to throw tomatoes, toss towels/blankets, blindfolds, or yell "DUDE, cover up!" Maybe a couple of stray bullets or someone trying to push me back in the water....hoping to save another winter white, beached whale ---- ha! you get the point. 

So thank you for the love, the tweets, the emails, and the comments. I know I'm not the first person to put myself out there or the first person to blog about ebooking - there are many other brave souls. I hope I can offer a different perspective from a marketing eye as well as coming from starting out on the traditional side (although unpublished).

Launch Date and why?

So do you all see my little widget countdown above? Awesome right? Got it on Getwidget.com. I got the personal kind that you can each embed into your blog if you like. And since I promised, I would be totally honest on aspects of the process including cost, this little guy cost me 1$ for the stock photo and 4$ a month for the personalized widget. (so 8$ for 2 months). Currently I am up to a whopping 9$. :) Not too shabby.....

And if you are wondering, NO this is NOT my cover. It is my placeholder until my big reveal. I will say it gives you an idea of what I'm going for. But mine will be extra superduper special. I'll talk more about the cover next week and answer the question: will I use stock or will I get an original???

Okay so for the launch....it was a strategic decision.

It does not fit into my PTA schedule or my brownie troop schedule. It is not on a night where I don't tape a show. It was specially chosen - just for me :)

So my launch date: Tuesday, November 29th, 2011.

First, I happen to know from marketing in the traditional publishing that Tuesdays are big book release days (BTW Thursdays are big movie release days b/c of the weekend.) WHY? For one, the NY Times runs their bestselling list from Tues to Tues (so you know I have to keep my schedule clear in case I get a call! ;) Plus, you never want to release a book close to a weekend or holiday  b/c you lose momentum and people forget you after they've been partying and sleeping.

Here was my mindset on the MONTH:

Okay - and maybe - I looked at my horoscope, saw my psychic, mapped out the moon/star alignment, and chose one of my predicted lucky days of the year. Kidding.....
  • Sept - not unless I'm crazy out of my mind. Can you have a baby in 2 weeks - I think not!
  • Oct - um....still way too soon.
  • November - well, it is NanoWriMo and since my goal is to tap into the power of my awesome blogger community - that month - everyone will be writing and I cant do this without my bloggers buddies behind me. Oh yeah and its Thanksgiving.
  • December - After doing some research - I found out ebook sales go up almost 3% in December and the two biggest ebook sales days for 2010 were Dec 25 and 26th. Last year it rose over 300%.
  • Jan - too many big releases in the beginning of Jan, you miss the biggest giving holiday, and to be honest, I'm really not that patient.
Okay , so now for the magical DAY.
  • At first I was shooting for Dec 6th. 
  • Then - I looked up on yalit.com to see all the book releases. 
  • On Tuesday, Dec 6th - there were about 10 books being released by the big 6 publishing houses. So I assume they will be crowding the blogsphere that week. Lord knows, I can't/won't compete with Cassandra Clare. Yikes.
  • Dec 13th and later was not an option- I don't like the 13th plus its too close to when my kids get out for Xmas break and then everyone goes on vacation the following week. So the attention to ebooks may not be high. Plus I miss 2 weeks of Dec sales.
  • So now I am backing into the last Tuesday of November, the 29th. There is only one major release (at least that I know about) and it's completely different book than mine. (And I love Legend by Marie Lu - just finished it! :)
So that's it. My magic formula.

What do you guys think? Any thoughts? Questions? Comments? Talk to me...this will really boring 2 months if you don't.

Tomorrow, I will talk about what format and where the ebook will be available and of course -why and for how much!


Anonymous said...

I have to say, I am absolutely fascinated by your process! Thanks for laying out every step and reason--it is giving me so much food for thought, not to mention getting me REALLY excited for Nov. 29th.

Keep the updates coming--and goooood luck!! :D

Melissa Sarno said...

I'm learning so much already. Nov. 29th sounds like a great day, for all the reasons you listed. Yay!

Catherine Denton said...

Shelley, it's been too long since I've visited. I'm excited to hear about your ebook and the journey of it. Can't wait to read all the details. :D
My Blog

Unknown said...

Interesting that e-book sales go up on Christmas day and the day after...I bet because so many people get e-readers for Christmas and can't wait to try them out, LOL! :)


Elizabeth said...

You were smart to look at the competition before setting a date! Also, you're welcome to borrow my blog if you want to do a guest post, etc, that week.

DL Hammons said...

As far as your buck naked analogy goes, I'm the guy who pulls out a lawn chair and a pair of binoculars...because I'm a dude. :) You'll never catch me snickering.

This whole process is fascinating and I already intend on bookmarking the first post for use when I decide to go this route!

Kelly Polark said...

Nov 29 sounds like a perfect launch date!
Thanks again for sharing all of this fabulous info!

Corey Schwartz said...

Yay! Shelley, I missed the last post so this is the first I am hearing of your plan, and I am so excited!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow. I love being part of your thought process--so cool. I think the 29th makes perfect sense after learning the rationale. :-)

Janet Johnson said...

Nov. 29th is my Anniversary. Great day!

And congratulations! What a difficult decision, but I say "Go You!"

Jemi Fraser said...

Good thinking! I knew somewhere in the back of my brain Tuesday was a good day - I'll have to remember that!

And I'm SO glad I'm not the only one who has mental health caretakers/crit buddies. They're the absolute best!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing how you came up with your date. Sounds lie you really thought it out.

Kate said...

I love reading this, it is exactly what has been going through my mind.

Initially I thought and thought and thought... I wanted to get it out before Christmas, early enough that it could gain some sort of presence on Amazon before the big day (for all those lucky bunnies who receive a kindle in their stocking). At the same time I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time beforehand to make sure that I'm not rushing.

In the end I settled on December first as a place holder, although it is highly likely that the book will be ready for release much earlier than that and if it is I will adjust it accordingly. I know there are other books being released around that time, but to be honest I'm not looking to compete with them. This is my first book, I'm an unknown author and I don't have an unlimited budget or thousands of blog followers. In my mind, as important as this book is to me, I won't be looking at huge marketing pushes until I have at least three or four books available, but that's not to say I won't be marketing. This is the same reason I haven't chosen to release on a Tuesday, as much as I hope it does well I don't think that I have any chance of making enough sales that I would be anywhere near the list.

Anyway, I've rambled enough. Love your blogs, can't wait for more.


ali cross said...

Happy for you! Can't wait to read your book :D

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