Phase Three: (A Soft) Launch

So this is it.  By the time you are reading this, my novel, The First Kingdom, will be available on Amazon.  I might even include the link.  There is one tiny issue, however.  I’m calling this a soft launch for a reason.

What’s the issue?  Why a “soft” launch?  There was a lot to learn over these past few months on what it took to self publish.  The best advice is obviously that which is repeated over and over again by multiple authors.  But when it comes right down to it, it’s all up to you.  Do what you want and how you want to do it.  Probability-wise, it’s best to follow that which is known to work, but there is always room for a fluke.

I didn’t read much about a soft launch, but for me, it seems the most practical.  Seeing as how I’ve never published before, I don’t have a following or anything really, I was convinced that I needed to advertise.  This was built into the budget.  It’s not a large budget, mind you, but it’s there.  It was while researching advertisers that the need for a soft launch became clear.

It was originally my plan to launch between May 15 and June 1.  Technically, I’m still doing that.  But for advertising, it seemed I was going to need to plan for ads weeks, if not months, in advance.  Well, in April, that just wasn’t possible.  My cover wasn’t done and my book wasn’t completely formatted.  But I would have had to put it up on Amazon just for the link to provide to advertisers upon submission.  That wasn’t going to happen any earlier than today.

When I realized I would have everything done by June, since that had been my original goal, July became the obvious target.  I floated with subsequent months, but as of now, July 1 is the actual (hard?) launch.  This is just the one that gets me the link I can give to advertisers.

Another reason for the soft launch?  Pricing.  Now, I have debated what price to launch at since I started researching it.  99 cents? $2.99?  Free?  After I decided to make it an Amazon exclusive, I also decided to launch at 99 cents.  But I wanted that to be the promotional price, not the actual price.  Fortunately, Amazon gives you the option for a sale period with their Countdown Deals.  Buuuuut you need to have been published for at least 30 days.  Well, there was another reason to delay the launch from June and have a soft launch.  If you look right now, the price should be $3.99 (unless you have Kindle Unlimited, in which case it’d be free).  $3.99 will be the normal price for the next year or so.  99 cents will be the actual launch price come the first week of July (and perhaps longer).

So there you have it.  My book is out there, but I’m not really publicizing it yet (except on here, naturally).  Will I do a soft launch for the sequel?  Can’t say yet.  Maybe a pre-order page would be more feasible.  It just didn’t make sense for the first book in a series from an author nobody’s heard of.  I can worry about that crap next year.

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