Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Live Undead - Marketing Draculas

I wrote a horror novel with Blake Crouch, Jeff Strand, and F. Paul Wilson called Draculas.

You can buy it for $2.99 on Kindle here.

For the reasons why we decided to release this as a Kindle ebook, you're welcome to read my Huffington Post blog.

If you'd like to know what Draculas is about, visit the website at

This blog entry isn't about why we wrote it, how we wrote it, or what kind of story it is. So what am I blogging about?


Draculas went live on Amazon yesterday. Since then we've gotten 120 reviews, and are currently number 76 on the Paid Kindle Bestseller list.

Here's how we did it.

When we'd only written 10k words of the book, back in August, we began to plan our marketing strategy. Based on the Afraid Blog Tour I did in '09, I learned about the power of bloggers and reviewers, and how they could raise an Amazon ranking. So we knew we wanted to get on as many blogs, and get as many reviews, as possible.

We contacted reviewers by approaching those who had reviewed Afraid and Serial in the past, and also by calling out for reviewers on this blog. We also emailed my Goodreads friends and asked if they would do a review in exchange for a free ebook. Here's the letter we used:

If you haven't been on my blog for the last few days, I've got a new ebook experiment going on.

Earlier this year, I asked three fellow writers if they wanted to collaborate on a horror novel. I've worked with each of them before (F. Paul Wilson, Jeff Strand, and Blake Crouch) and they're all consummate professionals.

The result of our efforts, DRACULAS - A Novel of Terror, will be released on Kindle, October 19 (but available to any ereader through Calibre).

Now we're attempting to generate some buzz prior to the launch, by treating this like a traditional release rather than an indie release. That means we're looking for a few good reviewers.

Do you want a free advance reading copy of DRACULAS?

Here’s what you do…

Send an email to and confirm that:

1. You will post a review of DRACULAS by October 18 on Goodreads, your blog or website (if you have one), along with a link to Amazon’s pre-order page (which will be provided to you along with the book and press release.)

2. You will post that same review to Amazon’s DRACULAS page when the book is officially launched on October 19.

3. Make sure to include your name and the web-address of your website or blog (if any), which may be linked to from my blog when the book goes live in the Kindle store.

Your email address will of course be kept confidential, and anyone who writes a review, good or bad, will be thanked in the acknowledgments of a future edition of DRACULAS.

We anticipate having a final manuscript of the book ready to email on or before October 1.


No problem. We're going to have a dedicated DRACULAS website page. Write a review, email it to , and we'll post it there. Then you can link to your review via Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook, if you use them.

Please make sure to email, under the subject heading “GOODREADS REQUEST.” Do NOT email me directly - we want to make sure your email is read, not lost in my huge stack of unanswered emails.

Thanks in advance for helping us to spread the word!

Many of these folks also got a copy of the PRESS RELEASE FOR DRACULAS.

Two hundred and sixty people requested the ebook. Those that did, got this email:

Dear Friends:

Here are links to the finished manuscript of DRACULAS, including all of its extensive bonus content. Just click on whichever format you need and the download will start automatically:

Here are the download links.

The first link contains the pdf of Draculas. It requires Adobe Reader to read, which most computers have. You can download Reader for free at Once you click on this link, you must then save the file to your computer using FILE, SAVE PAGE AS, in the upper right hand corner of the document. It can then be read on your screen, or printed.


Second link: If you have a Kindle, Sony Reader, Nook, Kobo, or other ereader, you can download the prc file (Kindle) and the epub files here:


This is a zip file, and requires a program to open it, which most computers have. If you can't open it, you can get Freezip for free here:,6383-order,1/description.html

Please link your review to the Draculas Amazon page here:

Don't forget to post your review there as well. If you'd like to add the cover art to your review, it is here:

If you don't have a Kindle, remember that you can download the free Kindle application for a variety of devices.

If you have any questions or issues with any of the file attachments, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via

For those of you who have expressed concern that Draculas is only available as a Kindle ebook, remember that it is DRM free. That means, once bought from Amazon, it can be easily transferred to any other ereading device (Nook, Kobo, Sony, etc.) Visit for instructions. Draculas will also soon be available in print.

If you could publish your review of DRACULAS on October 18th, (and link to and post the same review to the Amazon review page) that would be ideal. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY THE BOOK TO POST A REVIEW ON AMAZON, you just need an Amazon account. Of course, we’re eternally grateful for whenever you’re able to publish your review.

When your review is up, please send an email to, under the heading “REVIEW LINK” and drop us the link to your blog(s)/website review of the book. We’re going to feature a link to all reviews on Konrath’s blog on 10/19, as well as the dedicated DRACULAS website.

We seriously couldn’t do this without you, and your willingness to help us spread the word about DRACULAS means the world to us.

As a show of appreciation, we sent these reviewers an ebook copy of Shaken. If any of them review Shaken, they'll get another free ebook in return. We also thanked them in the Draculas acknowledgments.

The reviews were our main goal. But we wanted to treat this like an official book release, so we did some other standard things prior to the book launch.

Blake's web person built a website,

We sent our newsletters to over 20,000 fans on our mailing lists.

We blogged, Tweeted, and mentioned Draculas on Facebook.

We got a few interviews, and I wrote the aforementioned HuffPo article.

We bought ads on Kindleboards and I started a thread in the Book Forum.

We bought adspace on Kindle Nation and offered Stephen Windwalker's readers half the ebook for free.

We worked with Amazon to create a free teaser chapter download page, which got over 1500 downloads.

We worked with Amazon to create a pre-order page, which resulted in over 300 sales prior to the launch date.

So far, total, we're over 800 ebook sales for Draculas. I expect to hit 1000 sales by tomorrow.

Total costs to us, including formatting, cover art, interior art (the Amazon ebook has four original drawings by Carl Graves that weren't in the ARCs), the website, and the ads, is at about $1300. So we're already in the black, and will be in the black for the rest of our lives.

If Draculas sells as well as my other Kilborn ebooks, we can plan on at least 1000 sales per month, which is $24k per year. But I expect it to do better than that.

Not bad for eight weeks of part-time work.

This is a partial list of Draculas links. We've stopped trying to accrue them all, because there are so many.





Link to Amazon DRACULAS reviews

Link to Goodreads DRACULAS reviews

Link to Library Thing DRACULAS reviews

Link to Shelfari DRACULAS reviews


I'm pretty sure no one else has self-pubbed an ebook at $2.99 and hit the Top 100 on the first day. This is a nice, solid launch to a title that should sell perennially. Both the writing, and the promo work, was done quickly and efficiently, and even at this early stage I'd call this ebook experiment a success. Not only can four writers put a novel together with eight weeks, but they can also do enough promotion to get it noticed.

Time will tell how Draculas does in the long run. But one thing I'm certain of. Other authors will follow in our footsteps.

Perhaps you'll be one of them.