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Do you want more book sales on Amazon? Are you having issues getting any traction for your self-published book? Then, check this out!
I launched two different books. One book sold 170 copies on launch day. The other book sold no copies on launch day.
For a few months before the launch of Amazon Keywords for Books, I orchestrated a systematic process that gets me a surefire hit every time. For How to Write a Book in 48 Hours, I ignored my system in favor of publishing and praying for the best.
The good news is the book has been selling ever since I made a few minor efforts to promote the book. This includes an interview, Amazon Ads, a few mentions in my videos, and passive marketing within each of my email newsletters.
Could the book be selling more if I lead with the same effort as my more successful books? Absolutely! Is it the end of the world that my latest release isn’t performing as well? No, I can course correct now and always remind myself of one thing:
The process isn’t easy, but the results are worthwhile.
I’ll summarize every step and also toss in a few extra tips that’ll level up your book launch and marketing efforts.
Table of Contents
#1 Build an ARC Team
Also known as an ARC team, an advanced reader copy team is a group of readers who receive pre-publication copies of a book to provide early feedback, post reviews, and spread awareness.
Reviews are important for books upon launch because they help generate buzz, influence sales, and contribute to the overall success and visibility of the book. The Amazon Advertising Certification Courses state that 91% of customers look through reviews before buying a product. Furthermore, Amazon shared that in order to be retail-ready, a product should have at least fifteen reviews with an average rating of 3.5 stars or greater.
How the heck do you get reviews then if you haven’t published the book? With the ARC team!
Gather an ARC team at least forty-five to sixty days before launch, depending largely on how long your book is. If it’s a short 10,000 word or less manuscript, then one month might work. If it’s an epic novel, give ARC readers at least two months to read it.
For distributing ARC copies to readers, I recommend using services like StoryOrigin or BookFunnel. You could distribute copies yourself, but it adds way more work than you need for a book launch.
You can get readers through a variety of places, including social media, your email newsletter, your website, and more. Work with other authors in your niche to collaborate on email newsletter swaps—where they’ll mention your book to their audience, and you return the favor.
If you have a deeper budget, consider premium ARC sites like NetGalley, BookSirens, Hidden Gems Books, BookSprout, AuthorsXP, Book Award Pro and more. Visit DaleLinks.com/Reviews for a full list of sites.
I can also tap into my new preferred marketing tool, Storiad, to find all the right reviewers based on a variety of sites and services. Just pop into the Contacts Database, type “review”, then I sift through a list of potential reviewers. Once I find a good match, I add it to a list where I can contact them through the Email Outbox.
#2 Set KDP Pre-Order
Set up a pre-order for your ebook at least 30 days before the official launch. Get your metadata in order including your title, description, keywords, and categories. Don’t take the keywords and categories lightly because they aid in better discoverability.
I highly recommend uploading the finished manuscript, not a work-in-progress or placeholder. Many account holders have had the misfortune of forgetting to upload the final manuscript and having the placeholder or incomplete manuscript published. It’s a disaster and an enormous hassle.
For pricing, there are two thought processes:
- Set pre-orders at a deep discount.
- Or set pre-orders at the normal price.
Setting your pre-order at the normal price gives browsing customers little incentive to part ways with their money. Give your potential readers a reward for buying your pre-order at a lower price point. Having that discount in place helps you communicate a sense of scarcity. If readers don’t buy your pre-order now, then they stand the risk of buying at a significantly higher premium later.
Should you not want to drop the price for the pre-order, be prepared for fewer orders. The point of dropping the price is to encourage more sales, then drive up relevance in Amazon’s algorithms. The more relevance your pre-order has, the more Amazon will recommend your book to customers.
Schedule your print book for release about two weeks before the official launch date associated with your ebook. You get two benefits for scheduling your print book for sales before the ebook:
- Ordering author copies before the product page launches.
- Getting reviews on your product page to drive more pre-orders.
Can you launch your print book on the same day as the ebook? Absolutely! The reason I launch the print books early is to get more reviews on the product page, then drive more sales to build relevance and get recommended to more customers.
If you’re feeling extra ambitious, schedule a pre-order for your audiobook through Findaway Voices. The product won’t appear on Amazon or Audible till launch day, but can prove worth it for your avid listeners. At this time, ACX doesn’t offer pre-orders as an option. In fact, you can upload your book and hit publish, but that audiobook will show up whenever ACX gets to it. That could be right away or much later than your launch day.
That’s why I stick with Findaway Voices. I set the pre-order with them and then I know it’ll launch when it’s supposed to.
#3 Promote Discounted Pre-Order Deal
Promoting a pre-order can be challenging since most customers know they won’t get your ebook till launch day. When you’re promoting a discounted pre-order deal, you increase the likelihood of a sale.
Hit up your email list and ramp up your efforts the closer it gets to launch day. Keep your communication consistent and only say something if you mean it. For instance, if you set your pre-order at $0.99 and plan to launch at $4.99, then stick to it. That way, when your email subscribers know you mean what you say.
Also, collaborate with other authors in your niche through newsletter swaps. If you plan this book launch right, you should have a newsletter swap for every day two weeks before and after a launch. That means you’re going to have to make some friends and network with authors well in advance. If you get thirty separate newsletter swaps, you’ll be set. Should you not get that many collaborations set in advance, you’ll at least have something to lean on.
Schedule social media posts for the month before and after the book launch. Use clips from reviews that are coming in, create visually engaging graphics, and even shoot some videos talking about your book. Heck, if you’re feeling bold, create a thirty- to sixty-second book trailer or teaser.
Next, I can tap into the Contacts Database through Storiad for:
- Promo sites for discounted ebooks.
- Social media like YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Book awards – set these up before your launch so you have something to boast on release day!
With over 43,845 contacts, I have more than your share of promotional opportunities. Just like in the earlier steps, I can save any contacts to a list, then email them from within my Storiad dashboard.
#4 Run Amazon Ads
To be clear, this step isn’t for everyone. If you’re a bit more cash-strapped, I totally understand why you’d avoid this step. Once the pre-order is live, start an ad campaign right away. Only invest what you can stand to lose. You have two objectives with an ad campaign:
- Build awareness.
- Sell some pre-orders.
Yes, we all want to convert sales every time a customer clicks on our ad, but again, pre-orders are typically a little harder to sell. In fact, you might find higher sales conversions once you launch the print book a couple weeks before the ebook launch. Add to it, your ARC readers should be posting reviews, so that should help increase your sales conversion for each ad.
I recommend beginners start with a Sponsored Product Ad. Set it as a Standard ad, then select your ebook pre-order. Choose automatic targeting and put your cost per click around $0.35 or more. If you want to go lower than that, you might not get many impressions. If your impressions are low, increase your cost per click.
With no impressions, you’re not building awareness. Only increase the cost per click a cent or two at a time. I’ll usually monitor ads at least once per week to no more than once per weekday.
Set your campaign bidding strategy to Fixed or Dynamic bids – down only. Be warned, the other option tends to drive up ad spend.
You’ll need to check your Search Terms report weekly to daily. Identify any targets that are irrelevant or non-converting, then put those targets in the Negative Targeting at the campaign level.
Lastly, set your daily budget at $1 to $10 per day. Again, if you’re new to ads, you shouldn’t be spending much. However, if you’re experienced at Amazon Ads, all bets are off. I recommend setting up a manual targeting campaign with an aggressive bidding strategy if you have the budget.
Contact podcasts, YouTube channels, and blogs for interviews and collaboration opportunities. Make this part of your daily action plan indefinitely. I’ve landed quite a few interviews on podcasts through the free service with PodcastGuests.com. Every week, the site sends out two email newsletters of podcasts looking for guests. You’ll need to do some sifting, but you will find a few good ones. In fact, I recommend starting this process pretty early on, so it gives the podcast hosts enough lead time to produce the episode and publish it in time for your launch.
Reach out to other authors in your niche and offer to write a guest blog post for them. Come with an idea of what you’ll produce, so they have no other choice but to say “yes” to your proposition.
Speaking of an offer you can’t refuse, AppSumo is running a limited time deal for lifetime access of Storiad for $59. You’ve seen quite a bit of what Storiad can do in action, but I didn’t even touch on the other key features of Storiad.
For instance, if you’re overwhelmed or lost about book marketing, the Marketing Wizard has you covered. Fill out your author profile, upload details about your book, then select Marketing Wizard.
Choose your book in the dropdown menu, then hit “Get Started”.
- Identify your target audience.
- Choose fiction or nonfiction.
- Select the genres your book belongs.
- Choose how much time you have per week for marketing.
- Choose how many weeks you have to promote.
- Pick your target market.
The Marketing Plan Wizard will present you with three specific tabs for Networking, Research, and Marketing & Publicity. Then, let Storiad get to work on the best recommendations for your needs. Watch the full demonstration here.
Storiad’s Marketing Wizard will provide a detailed plan for what you should do and how long it’ll take. Each tab will present you with more than enough actionable steps for marketing your book. These also serve as a great checklist.
Under the “What’s Next” tab, Storiad gives you more suggestions to use within their site.
Should the results come back not to your liking, hit Reset and start from scratch. The Marketing Wizard is like a choose-your-own-adventure book, so go buck wild here.
The Contacts Database, Author Profile, My Books section, and Marketing Wizard aren’t the only tools you have with Storiad. They also provide a fully customizable WordPress-hosted website using Elementor. Also, you can track expenses and earnings from all your books in the Profit & Loss Calculator and get an estimated value of your book in the Book Worth Calculator.
Normally, Storiad costs $29 per month or $280 for lifetime access. For a limited time, get lifetime access to Storiad for only $59, exclusively on AppSumo, when you visit my affiliate link at DaleLinks.com/Storiad. The AppSumo deal is about the same cost as two months with Storiad and 79% less than Storiad’s lifetime deal. Come mid-January 2024, the deal is gone, so don’t wait.
#6 Request Reviews from ARC Team
Once the paperback is live, send your advanced readers to the Amazon sales page for the print book. For services like StoryOrigin or BookFunnel, you just provide the link, and they alert all your ARC readers to post a review. If you’re managing the whole ARC process, then notify your readers on the day of and one to two weeks after. Follow-up once and be done with it.
Nobody likes a nag, so don’t pester readers who aren’t living up to their end of the deal. Just make a note about that reader’s inactivity and avoid having them on future book launches. It’s no hard feelings. It’s just business.
#7 Ramp Up Amazon Ads
This step is for none but the brave and those with a deeper budget. Since I run my ads on the pre-orders a month before launch, I should have enough data to start new Sponsored Product ads with manual targeting. I’ll bid aggressively and set my bidding strategy at Fixed Bids, so Amazon knows I want what I want, with no exception.
I’ll build off new automated targeting ad groups in my original campaign, while running a manual targeting campaign that focuses on keywords, products, and categories. I’ll even break up the keywords into different strategies for broad, phrase, and exact matches.
Scrape any negative targeting used in the initial campaign for the manual targeting campaigns. This will reduce unnecessary expenses and allow you to target specific customers for your Amazon ads. Again, insert the irrelevant and poor-converting targets in the Negative Targeting at the campaign level.
#8 Increase eBook Pricing
It would be nice if KDP offered the option to schedule pricing changes, but sadly, we don’t have that. On launch day, increase your ebook pricing. Don’t give anyone a second chance. Just go into your dashboard, skip to the last step of your book, adjust the pricing, then hit publish.
It should take KDP about a day or less to update the new pricing.
#9 Promote, Promote, Promote Some More
Promote, promote, and promote some more.
I just shared part of my Best Seller Book Launch checklist, a step-by-step system to publishing a book that drives more sales. Get access to the unabridged checklist when you subscribe to my email newsletter at DaleLinks.com/Checklist.
Wanna see how to get more reviews of your book without all the hassle? Then, check out this post where I showed exactly what you should do and what to expect when gathering reviews.