On the launch of our 2nd book Chris McVeigh, founder of Fahrenheit takes stock and talks about how things have gone and our future plans.
So, we've only gone and done it. We've actually built ourselves a proper honest to goodness publishing house. Our second book hits the shelves today.
And maaaan so far it's been a blast. I'm having an absolute ball and by the looks of things a whole load of you are too.
When we set out on this adventure I promised you all transparency so here we go...
So how are we doing? Well yeah, we're doing okay. Boringly we're pretty much right on schedule.Our launch title (A Slow Death by James Craig) has been on sale now for 7 weeks and we've managed to establish almost exactly the sales footprint we sketched out in our original marketing plan. I'd say we're probably running about a week or so behind where I wanted to be - mainly because I'm holding back our main sales push so that we don't get swallowed up in Amazon's Autumn Sale. We plan for all our titles to hit their sales peak around Weeks 8-10 after launch and it looks like A Slow Death is on course to doing that around Week 10-12 instead. So on balance I'm pretty pleased that the real numbers haven't drifted too much from our projections.
We deliberately stagger our promotions for each title because we know that regular, measured sales growth on Amazon is the the way to maximise sales of each title over the long term. We could easily fly in, carpet bomb promo and marketing all over the shop and drive a title flying up the Amazon rankings but you can be damn sure that it'll almost certainly fall straight back down the rankings just as quickly. Not our game. We're aiming for predictable sales and sustainable income over the long term for us and our authors.
That's not to say we haven't had fun with our promotions.
We hit Twitter hard right from the start and we've gone from zero to almost 1700 followers in a little over 2 months. People really seem to be enjoying our 'unique' approach to customer engagement. Hell we even ended up with a catchphrase - "BUY THE DAMN BOOK" ended up being the driver behind securing A Slow Death the highest number of pre-orders for an eBook that I've ever seen (that's 100% true btw, never seen anything like it).
The pre-orders for A Slow Death was always gonna be a tough act to follow so we knew we had to come up with something different to launch our second book. Inspiration struck (as it so often does)on Twitter. The delightful Tara Benson (@tarabluesky) bet us that the only real test of our marketing skillz would be to try and sell something without telling people what they were buying.We LOVED that idea and started trying to figure out how we could make that happen. The SECRET book campaign was born. You can read more about it here and here and here...
Amazon had never let anyone list a book with no title, no author, no cover and no blurb - to be honest we thought they'd tell us to sling our hook but bless them they played along and we made some great friends in their KDP dept in the process.
The best bit was that on every measure the campaign worked, loads of coverage, loads of engagement and EXACTLY 200 people pre-ordered the book. (actually 199, but last night I begged on Twitter and some kind soul bought a copy and rounded it up to 200 and I avoided an OCD meltdown).
We've also been helped along in the publicity stakes by the good people at BookBot™ and for that we are very very grateful.
We've got another wheeze up our sleeve for #LobsterBoy but if I told you about it now it'd ruin the surprise. Rest assured though NO PUBLISHER has ever done this before so it's gonna be ANOTHER WORLD'S FIRST for Fahrenheit.
Our list is dividing up nicely into traditional hard boiled crime and a sprinkling of more quirky stuff. We set out to build Fahrenheit like we'd build a record label and when I look at our roster of authors that's really begining to happen. They're a super cool bunch - all quite different but there isn't a single one of them I wouldn't get drunk or have sex with.
One thing that's taken me a bit by suprise is the way my unconscious bias towards the outsider has crept quietly to the surface. When I look at the cast of characters from the books across the list I see a wide range of gender, sexual orientation and social class. (or "Poofs, Trannies, Freaks & Posh Birds" as one of our more eloquent authors put it). We didn't set out to do that but i'm quietly chuffed that we have. Fahrenheit Press is definitely developing her own character and I bloody love that.
And what's next? Well more of the same really. We've got two more releases planned for November, another two in December and then a full schedule of releases all the way through till the end of 2016. We'll be announcing more details of the forthcoming books in the next couple of weeks.
I'm especially delighted to be publishing a first-time author in November who sent us a manuscript on-spec back in the summer - just shows you what can happen if you get your hustle on. I'm also jumping up and down with excitement about our December author - again I cant say too much yet except to say that I've been trying to publish this woman for 20 years - as I said to her over YET ANOTHER glass of prosecco, "if I chased you any harder i'd have to marry you..."
So two months and two books in, all is dandy in the Fahrenheit Press garden. Thank you ALL for your support so far - you've bought into our schizzle and made it fun for us and for that i'll always be grateful.
I hope you've all enjoyed the ride so far. I know we have.
Oh and if you haven't already...
BUY THE DAMN BOOKS...