Earning 6-figures on a backlist book…
A year ago, I published a passion project called The Ghostwriter. It was a story that was begging to be told, but one I didn't think would appeal to my followers.
My audience had been built on sexy romance novels, and I didn't think ANY of them would be interested in a trigger-loaded, emotional suspense about a terminally ill author hiding a secret. The book was void of romance, didn't have an ounce of sex, and was safe enough for me to send to my grandma, so I assumed that sales for it would absolutely tank. Thank goodness, they didn't! The book released in early October 2017, and had a pleasant release, selling only slightly less than my normal romances. But it was after that that things started to get interesting...
The chart on the left shows the sales since release for the Ghostwriter. Those continued sales levels are INSANE. My normal novels have 70% of their lifetime sales in the first month of release, then taper down, like the chart on the right.
As I am writing this email, The Ghostwriter out-earns my next backlist title by 1,000% every month. This is a novel which has never been on sale, is a standalone title, and is thirteen months old!
So, what caused The Ghostwriter’s continued success?
A highly effective Facebook Ad campaign.
Because I didn’t think that The Ghostwriter would appeal to my normal readers, I ran a fairly large ad campaign at release. I focused on Facebook Ads targeted to the audiences of traditional authors who write women’s fiction. In preparation for release, I took a class on Facebook Ads and applied my new knowledge on adjusting my audiences, and tweaking my copy and targeting until I had lowered my cost per click to below 8¢.
The results have been impressive. With a daily budget of $100, those Facebook ads have generated over 673,000 CLICKS from readers.
That’s over half a million readers who have now seen my cover, name, and read some (at least the book’s description) of my words.
Takeaways from this novel:
If you are going to jump genres, you need a way to reach those readers. Paid advertising is the easiest way to do that.
Backlist novels CAN continue to perform, but they won’t do it on their own. You have to keep pushing them in front of readers, and paid advertising is the least timing-consuming way to do that.
Your time is best spent writing. Don’t waste hundreds of hours pulling out your hair over ads. Learn how to properly create, tweak and run Facebook ads, and then let them do the marketing for you. If you need a place to start, this is the best course out there, and it is specifically designed for authors.
My to-do list for the next month? Work on small ad campaigns for every one of my backlist titles, and see which ones perform best!
I’d love to hear some of your own Facebook Ads successes (and failures!). Please share them below in the comments section.
Also, we’ve got beginner and advanced Facebook Ads classes at this year’s INKERS CON in Dallas! Grab your seat, or reserve a spot to the digital viewing, by clicking here.