Tao’s marketing assistant, Steph, here!

Ever wonder what goes into our book launches?

Town Under, the first in a co-written System Apocalypse project with K.T. Hanna, released 2 1/2 months ago. On release day, it hit #291 in the entire Kindle US store (woo!). It’s slowly dropped to the #5,000s since then, following a similar pattern as a previous co-author project, System Apocalypse: Relentless (which peaked at #668 in the Kindle Store and hovered in a #5,000s two months post-release).

So what did we do to promote this new project?

First off, a little background. We launched the preorder for Town Under on October 15, a little more than 2 weeks out from release date. While we had the cover in advance, Tao decided on a short preorder period in order to concentrate sales on and after release day. Likewise, the majority of our marketing efforts focused on first week sales rather than preorders.


A KingSumo giveaway served as the entirety of our preorder campaign. Between October 18 and November 1, the campaign attracted 205 contestants with 1,340 entries. Contestants received entries for subscribing to our email (mandatory for all contestants), following our social platforms, and sharing a link to the contest on social media.

Out of those 205 contestants, a quarter followed Starlit Publishing’s Facebook and Twitter account. Though tracking shares on social media is more difficult, probably around 10% went on to share the contest on their own profiles.

While we included a link to the Amazon store on the giveaway page, we only received 9 clicks in total. But overall, the giveaway’s purpose was less about pushing preorders and more about notifying fans of the new book’s release.


Town Under featured in 3 of our newsletters.

In mid-October, after the preorder launch, the cover and a short synopsis occupied a small space in the “Other News” section of Starlit Publishing’s newsletter. It received 10% of clicks. More focus was directed toward the giveaway, displayed more prominently with a banner. The giveaway received 15% of clicks.

During the first week of November (aka release week), Tao’s personal newsletter went out on release day with Town Under as the main feature. Town Under received 30% of clicks. Another 30% went to the giveaway, which occupied a smaller space under the book’s cover and synopsis.

A few days later, Starlit Publishing released a newsletter featuring Town Under and the book received 15% of clicks.

Social Media

Prior to release day, we remained relatively quiet about Town Under’s release. We posted the giveaway details on our socials three times (once at the start, once halfway, and once at the end). The first post received double the link clicks than the second and third posts. We also shared it in 7 Facebook groups. It received the most likes and shares in niche LitRPG groups than general fantasy or author promo groups.

Starlit Publishing’s Facebook and Twitter accounts shared System Apocalypse memes in the week leading up to the book’s release. However, these posts did not include links to the book as their purpose was more to hype up our audience.

On release day, we hit all of Tao’s socials (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). Facebook received 67 clicks and Twitter received 10 clicks. While we can’t as clearly track Instagram clicks, that post received the least interaction in terms of likes.

The largest social media interaction resulted from posts in Facebook groups, with over 170 clicks gained on the first day in the four groups we posted in. Of the four groups, two were LitRPG specific and generated the most interaction.

Over the release week, we continued posting in LitRPG and author promo groups. To date, those links have resulted in over 500 clicks.

Ads (Amazon & Facebook)

As Town Under is the first of a new series, we spent little on advertising. A week before release, we started a $5 a day ad on Amazon in the US Store. While the ad didn’t spend much, it’s resulted in an advertising cost of sales of 8%.

Starting the day after release day, we boosted Tao’s Facebook post announcement about the book to fans of the page and their friends. It ran for a week at $5 a day and resulted in 4,748 impressions.


Amazon sends out preorder emails to an author’s followers a week before release. For Town Under, a majority of these emails went out on October 23. Out of all activities listed in this post, Amazon’s email had the most noticeable impact. The book jumped from #77,759 to #3,227 in the US store that day.

Like Amazon, BookBub also sends out an email to followers, this one occurring on release day. It is hard to tell the impact since no click data is available on BookBub’s dashboard, but if your readers are on BookBub, it’s worth building up your numbers there for this free email feature.


Every launch is a bit different, but our three key marketing areas are always newsletters, social media, and paid advertising. That’s where we get the best results. While testing out a contest resulted in a bump in followers, it’s hard to tell the impact our time and money had on sales.

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