Every self-publishing author needs a solid book launch plan. Writing a book takes planning, time, diligence and then, some tech know-how. You spend months [or years] crafting your novel, you’ve spent a small fortune on a cover, editing, proofreading, formatting, and various other expenses on your writing journey. The worst of the storm is behind you.
You’ve made it.
You’re now ready to hit publish.
Do you have a book launch plan for your book? Is your launch team standing by ready to review the book when it hits the digital waves? Will you be using paid promo sites to boost your sales and garner potentially thousands of downloads during your launch window? Are you set up to promote your book in various channels and using the top social media sites available?
I know, launching a book is a big deal. All the work that you’ve put in up to now will fall short of nothing if you launch badly. So, in this post, we will show you how to launch your book on Amazon like a pro.
In this post you’ll figure out how to:
- Price your book during launch
- Set up your complete launch strategy during soft launch
- Collect reviews from your launch team
- Set your book up with the best promo sites for both paid and free
- Stick to a minimalist launch plan
Before we even get into launching your book, we need to take a look at the pre-launch checklist and make sure everything is ready to go. There is nothing worse than a few days into launch and you realize you’ve missed an important piece of the puzzle.
The Pre- Book Launch Final Checklist
Here is a short checklist to make sure that you have taken care of these things before launch. These steps don’t have to be perfect and can be changed or tweaked later as needed.
- Book Description — Create your book description using the Book Description Generator at Kindlepreneur.com
- Keywords — Select 7 keywords for your book. I use KDP Rocket and Kindlespy. There is also Merchant Words and Google Adwords
- Choose 2 main categories for your book in the KDP dashboard. Once your book is live you can email Amazon and request to have your book put into eight additional categories.
- Create a landing page for your book. This can be used to collect email addresses and give away a chapter of your book before its release. [optional]
- Upload your manuscript to KDP. Proofread your book using the KDP online previewer.
- Upload your Kindle cover to KDP.
- Set your launch price at 0.99.
- Insert a lead magnet into your book, both at the front and back. Connect this with your email server such as Mailchimp or ConvertKit.
- Get your audiobook created. Set up to release with your book through Audible or ACX. [Optional]
- Paperback version created. You can set up your paperback here at Createspace. Optional: Your paperback can be launched after the Kindle release.
- Emails written for pre-release during launch week to send to launch team.
- Goodreads account created and author profile setup.
- Launch Plan Model: Map out the specific action steps you are taking for each day of your launch. I have provided a model for this further down the post.
First of all, there are many different launch strategies and actions to take leading up to a book launch. For this launch strategy I am teaching you here, we are keeping things simple. This will be for a twelve day launch including 3 days free promo through Amazon where readers can download your book for free.
You can also check out Steve Scott’s 5-Day Launch Plan That Works post here to see how he effectively launched his [and co-author Barrie Davenport’s] bestselling book 10-Minute Digital Declutter. Nick Loper of Side Hustle Nation had a successful launch when he published his bestselling book Buy Buttons with 2600+ copies sold. Another great launch was for Rob Cubbon’s latest book The New Freedom and his detailed launch plan is right here.
Looking at the different strategies that are out there, it is easy to see that launching a book requires a strategic plan. But it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Your launch plan will depend largely on: 1. Your objectives and purpose; 2. Your platform. The bigger your platform and access to influencers, the bigger [and complicated] your launch is.
In this post I’ll provide you with a simple, step-by-step process for setting up your book launch, including your free promo, and the corresponding promo sites to use that can increase your category rankings and generate potentially thousands of downloads.
If everything is ready, it’s time to hit publish on your book. But first, a few things you need to know about Amazon’s algorithm and overall product launch strategy. Remember, Amazon wants you to succeed. If you make money, Amazon makes money: it’s a win-win!
The Amazon Algorithm: A Few Basics
Amazon uses an algorithm to measure and track book sales [and everything else]. Knowing a few basics of how this works to your advantage can better help you to have a greater launch and, to sustain the life of your book for months [and years] after the launch buzz wears off. Basically, your book starts ranking as soon as browsers make a purchase.
Every purchase of your book pushes the ranking of your book up the ladder. As a book moves up, it jumps ahead of the other books in your selected category. The rankings are based on recent sales and Amazon favors a book that is getting consistent, ongoing sales.
A book that runs a promo and gets 200 sales in one day, but then nothing else for the week, will not perform as well as a book that gets the same amount of downloads over the course of a ten day period. Slow, steady traffic and a long-term plan is the way to succeed with your author business. Steady, organic growth will always outperform a sudden burst of downloads.
It’s also worth noting that reviews and the price of your book do not affect the sales rank, but, the more quality reviews you have, the stronger your book’s credibility will be viewed by readers. This does affect the decision-making power of browsers, which funnels into more downloads. Focus on getting as many reviews as you can during this launch phase.
Setting Up Your Amazon Bestseller
The 0.99 Launch Strategy:
What? Launch my book at just 0.99? But that’s like giving it away for free, and it’s worth more than that? Yes, I know how you feel, but trust me, there is a reason for launching it at this price that we will get into shortly. Remember: think long-term. You are selling it at a super-low point now, but the rewards are coming later. So, if you haven’t already, go into the KDP dashboard and under the section on pricing, set your book at 0.99. With the exception of the free promo period, your book will be at 0.99 for the duration of the launch.
The Free book launch Strategy:
Setting up your free launch is easy. If you plan to run a free promo for your book, you can set this up as soon as your book is live on Amazon. To run a free promotion, your book has to be enrolled in the KDP Select program for 90 days. A book that is listed for free will be ranked in the free store and books set at a price are ranked in the paid store.
If you are debating on doing a free promo, I would suggest you do if you don’t have a following [email list] or you are just getting started. The free promo will get your book into more hands [that will hopefully read it] and increase the visibility across more platforms.
Book Promotion Sites: Free and Paid
Book promotion sites can be very powerful when launching your book. You can take full advantage of these sites for both your paid and free launch. I’ll show you a generic scenario for batching these sites together to give your book that boost it may need. If you have a healthy email list, then you won’t have to rely on these sites as much as authors that are just starting out and don’t have a strong platform yet.
Keep in mind that results vary for and that your performance for each site will depend largely on the quality of your book. You still need the essentials: a great cover, compelling book description, and a title that catches the browser’s attention.
Below is a list of my personal favorites that I have used, in combination with an email list, to launch multiple bestsellers. Also, you can check out Dave Chesson’s blog on this as he covers the best sites to use for both free and paid.
The price for each promo site varies depending on the niche and category.
Top Recommended Promo Sites
- Buckbooks. If you can get onto any of these promo sites, Buckbooks is the one you want to try to get into. You need 10 reviews before they’ll schedule you. Note: You can promote a 2nd book on the same day for only 25% of the price. Great deal. But you can only promote once every 6 months for each book. If you use their Archangel Ink book production services you’ll get a guaranteed placement.
- Robin Reads — [need 10 reviews and a 4.9 rating] Takes a couple days to get approved [$55]. Great results. I usually get anywhere from 60-100 downloads with this one. https://robinreads.com/author-signup/ Note: They have a calendar that is usually booked out weeks in advance. In this case consider using Robin Reads for future promos of existing books already launched.
- BookSends — $40. If you can match this up with Robin Reads or Bucks on the same day it’s a great little boost. http://booksends.com/
- BKnights [Fiverr] You can’t go wrong for $5. I would also take the extra gig for $5 and get in on their daily newsletter. Downloads average 12-30 depending on the book.
- eReader News — Great gig but hard to get approved at times. takes several days for a response. Various prices. http://ereadernewstoday.com/
- Booksbutterfly. You are basically paying for downloads, one of the few [if only] site that does that. They have various packages for everything. I recommend the Silver Eagle [$90] that gets you 50+ downloads + KU borrows. [https://www.booksbutterfly.com/bookpromo…/paidbookpromotion/]
- The Fussy Librarian [http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/]. Great promo but very hard to book in advance. They are usually booked out 2-3 weeks ahead. Need 10 reviews to get accepted. Various price ranges. Strong results.
- Bargain Booksy. I love this one, no reviews needed and you can sign up right away and get approved. $25 for nonfiction. Lots of categories and good results. https://www.bargainbooksy.com/sell-more-books/
- eBooks Habit. Great little promo, I recommend the guaranteed placement for $10. http://ebookshabit.com/for-authors/
- Awesome Gang. This one is great for the price, $10. They have a free option but go with the paid. http://awesomegang.com/submit-your-book/
- Many Books. Great little gig, average returns, $29. You can also sign up to become a featured author. http://manybooks.net/promote
- Digital Book Today [$40]. Good gig, average returns and works better with fiction than non fiction. http://digitalbooktoday.com/
- eBook Stage. Another great little promo site, reasonably priced. $10. https://ebookstage.com/
- Book Runes [http://bookrunes.com/]. Global reach with over 50k mailing list, $25. Average to very good results.
- BookBub. This is by far the biggest and the best promo site. Very tough to get accepted and it is expensive, but worth every dime. At the very least you should set up an Author profile on Bookbub and start to get people to follow you. They have a great blog too that gives powerful tips on how to get a BookBub feature. https://insights.bookbub.com
- Email your list [if you have one]. if you don’t, BUILD one. This is by far better than all of the promo sites combined. If you don’t have a list yet, start building one with Mailchimp, Mailerlite or Convertkit.
The Book Launch Sequence and Set-Up
To make this simple, I’m giving you a sample of a book launch that covers 12 days. This is similar to the launch that I did for my book Relaunch Your Life, except that I didn’t run a free promo this time around. Here we will look at the plan to include the free promo as well. Your launch will look and perform differently than this. You can use this as a model and tweak if needed. This launch is if you are launching your book at 0.99 with a free promo set up through KDP for 2-3 days.
What is the difference between a soft launch and the actual launch?
Your soft launch begins the moment you hit publish. If you plan on launching your book on a Sunday, I would recommend hitting the publish button at least 24 hours early. It takes Amazon about 24 hours to set up your book. It could take less or more time. In this launch model we will use 3 days for our soft launch window, and then begin the actual launch on day 4.
The 12-Day Book Launch Model
Day 1: First day soft launch.
The first day of your soft launch is critical. This is the day when you are going to set up your book to have a successful launch for the next 10 or 11 days. The price point is set at 0.99.
Here is a brief checklist of what to do on day 1 of the soft launch:
- Create your Amazon Author Page. Set up your bio and upload an author pic.
- Claim your book by hitting the ‘add more books’ tab. This will appear on your author page within 24 hours.
- Email your launch team. Let them know the book is ready for verified reviews.
- Email Amazon customer support. Request that your book is placed in additional categories.
- Set up a few promo sites for days 2 or 3 while your book is at 0.99. This starts to build momentum. Recommended Awesome Gang, Bknights, and Booksbutterfly.
- As soon as you have ten reviews, set up the rest of your promo sites for the week. Not all of these promo sites require a set number of reviews. Check the list for links to the sites and submission requirements.
- Set up your Free promo in the KDP dashboard. Your free promo will be 2-3 days. This would start on day 4 [or however long you decide to run your soft launch]. If you do a 5-day soft launch your free would start on day 6. Set up several paid promo sites to advertise your book for free. Although your book is free, the promos will cost you.
For your free promo on days 4-5 contact:
James H Mayfield [Note: his calendar is very busy. You might not get on for the days you want with short notice. Consider using your remaining free days at a later date and arrange to have James promo your book.]
Bknights [free promo]
Combine these promo sites with the organic traffic from Amazon and you should do very well for free downloads.
- Email your list [if you have one].
Day 2-3 Soft launch [Note: You can extend this to 5 days, it’s up to you]
- Social media burst to your FB page, mastermind groups, and other sources to spread the word.
Day 4-6: FREE Promo. Scheduled promo sites on day 1 to advertise your book. Send an email to your team to notify your book is now free. Promote to social media.
Day 7-10: Run paid promo sites recommended from the list above. You can cluster these a day apart or combine 2-3 promos a day.
Day 11-12: Launch is winding down. If you followed the plan you should have had a considerable number of downloads for both free and paid. Remember: numbers vary depending on your platform, book quality, niche, and sometimes, luck. Email your list and remind them the book will be 0.99 for only one more day. Contact your launch team and thank them for reviews and their support. Last call for reviews and downloads.
Day 13: Increase the price to $2.99. Leave it there for one week and raise it to $3.99. You can test the pricing by going up to $4.99 and watching the action. Monitor the sales and adjust to however you feel comfortable.
I spend around $300-$400 per launch minimum on promo sites but how much you spend is up to you. Stagger them out over the course of 10-12 days.
Beyond the Book Launch
One of the biggest challenges authors have is, where to go with the book after the initial launch is over. How do you promote, market and keep bringing in traffic so that your book you have worked hard for doesn’t just drop off into oblivion. There are three things you can focus on.
- Write another book. Multiple books create momentum. Do you have a series of books you could write? Writing a series is a great way to build your brand, a list, and keep traffic growing with increased interest in your books.
- Build your business on the back End. Create a business around your book with coaching, a course, or an automated email course that gets readers engaged after they are finished your book. They want to know more about you and so, if you have a business set up to kick in for subscribers, this is the start of what could be a great author business.
Launching a book is combination of strategy, imagination, and hard work. If you have a great book to promote and a team of people [a small team will do] backing you up, you can have a great launch. With every book launch there is more to learn. If you keep launching, you’ll get better at it. Eventually you’ll turn your launch into a massive movement with thousands of fans standing behind you pushing your book towards New York Times Bestseller status. Imagine that.