Today, fellow fantasy author Kelly St. Clare, author of the Tainted Accords series, and I are doing post swaps. I’m doing a post on podcasting for her site, and she’s writing about her recent experience with Thunderclap for the recent release of her third novel, Fantasy of Fire. Given that we both did Thunderclaps around the same time, I was excited to know what Kelly’s experience was like. Thanks, Kelly, for sharing your thoughts! Those of you considering doing Thunderclaps in the future will definitely find her insights helpful.
Thunderclap was founded in 2009 and has gained popularity in the last two years. The site claims to help “Generate major awareness for event announcements.” In a nutshell, anyone can start a campaign by creating a message for their event; a concert, book launch. Object of the game: To collect at least 100 supporters over Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr so your message is sent once via your supporter’s social media.
Setting up your Thunderclap
The process to create your own campaign is straight forward. You head to https://www.thunderclap.it and click ‘Start a Thunderclap’ – It requires you to create an account (free) and you have the option to make a profile. You will also need a Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr account.
After this you need to create a message. Luckily, this is easy as well, with the examples provided by other authors and artists.
Once completed, you will be given an option to select whether your campaign is small, medium, or large. Respectively, you will need to get 100, 250, or 500 supporters. Depending on your audience, select the appropriate size. Remember, it’s hard to get followers to actively support a link! As a guide, I have 350+ subscribers, 800+ facebook likes, and 2500 twitter followers, and I selected the small campaign (100 supporters). Because herein lies the catch. If you do not get your pre-selected amount of supporters, your message will not be sent out. In other terms: If only 99 people support you, no thunderclap.
Tip: Include a couple of hastags in your message.
Promoting your Thunderclap
You have your campaign. Now you need to gain supporters. Below is a list of what worked well for me with my young adult fantasy readers.
- Lengthy messages to explain what a Thunderclap were less effective than posts with short messages. My most effective post message was “I need more clicks. Time is running out!”
- I got a higher rate of supporters from my viewers sharing posts (i.e. A viewer shared my post and their friends then supported my campaign).
- My posts were more successful when I specified supporting was free.
- Making Thunderclap support a condition of entry into a small giveaway gave me 1/5 of my campaign goal (I offered an e-book).
It is HARD to get people to do more than a simple ‘Like’ or ‘Retweet.’ Remember, you are competing against everyone else who needs support; the marathon runners, those with sickness, and charities. These are worthwhile campaigns! And it means your followers are probably overwhelmed with requests to help on a day-to-day basis.
But with any self-made luck you will get there. Once you have achieved the minimum amount of supporters, Thunderclap will send you a message saying your campaign is 100% successful. Celebrate when this happens, because you will be one hundred percent over Thunderclap by this point.
Tip: If you are struggling for numbers, check out the facebook and goodreads groups dedicated to supporting thunderclaps.
Did My Thunderclap Campaign Help My Event?
I managed to convince 104 people to support me. This gave me a ‘Social Reach’ of 133,995 across Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
My message was sent out and…
Top rankings: 662 paid listing (#3 Bestseller in Dark Fantasy, #11 Bestseller in Adventure)
Which is great! But the total clicks from my Thunderclap Campaign…
Total clicks: 242
Now, this is where Thunderclap tells you to upgrade in order to get your campaign analyzed. It was $45 to do so – needless to say for 242 clicks I chose not to. Without the analysis, all you will get is number of supporters, social reach, and total clicks.
What does 242 Total Clicks translate to?
Best case scenario for my Thunderclap campaign: 242 downloads (DL) of my new release.
Let’s compare this to other campaigns I have done for nearly zero effort or a small fee.
– Amazon Free promotion day: 4700 DL, with increased sales for 2 weeks afterward.
– Book Promotion Sites (Awesomegang, bookbub, kboard) priced between $10-$30. Result: 300-1000+ discounted DLs.
242 clicks. Better than nothing! But was it worth the effort of promoting and – although not spending actual money – spending the time to generate supporters? Time which could be spent writing and…well, earning money!
But who cares? Because when I was promoting my Thunderclap I was still promoting my book! Right? To test this theory I analyzed my facebook statistics.
THUNDERCLAP PROMOTION POSTS: 32-44 reader views.
NORMAL PROMOTION POST (with review excerpt and buy link): 177-200 reader views.
(NB: A small giveaway increased numbers of both THUNDERCLAP and NORMAL posts)
Looking at the above, Thunderclap campaign posts were seen by less than a third of readers than my usual posts.
There is no doubt that 242 clicks to my Amazon page would have helped my rankings there. And these clicks may have resulted in sales. However, I feel this effect would be negligible when compared to my pre-order numbers and other release day promotions.
The real question is: Do I think my Thunderclap campaign was worth it? Or, better yet, would I do it again?
No to both.
Perhaps results vary between different professions. Perhaps a change of message would result in more clicks. Or maybe if it was sent at a different time of day and time. Maybe a different picture. Maybe if the first in a series were promoted (I did my third book) then the results would be better. Seeing as I made no mention of the series placement in my message, I doubt this. However, these are all variables which could potentially increase the Total Clicks.
The Total Click yielded was pitifully small considering the Social Reach. And the work I did to generate support was not as effective as my normal posts which contained direct buy links.
You now have the details of my experience with Thunderclap, so the decision is yours. Will you be Thunderclapping your next release?
If you enjoyed this post, then please check out my other Dear Aspiring Author blogs.
Thank You to Joshua Blum for having me!
Kelly St. Clare
When Kelly St Clare is not reading or writing, she is lost in her latest reverie. She can, quite literally, drift past a car accident while in the midst of her day dreams, despite the various police sirens and chaos.
Books have always been magical and mysterious to her. One day she decided to start unravelling this mystery and began writing. Her aim: To write stories she would want to read. As it turns out, this failed miserably. Do you know what it is like to read something you’ve written? Impossible. Not to mention, the ending is ruined before you’ve begun. Never-the-less, Kelly loves it and wishes she had more time to squeeze it in between her day job as a physiotherapist.
Fantasy of Frost, the first title in The Tainted Accords, is her debut novel. Two of the three sequels, Fantasy of Flight and Fantasy of Fire, are now available.
A New Zealander in origin and in heart, Kelly currently resides in Australia with her soon-to-be husband, a great group of friends, and some huntsman spiders who love to come inside when it rains. Their love is not returned.
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