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[ecourse] bestseller book launch – day 8 of 8

launch your book to bestseller

– day 8 –

 

Launch Day (or how to drive over 10,000 downloads day one)

 

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Welcome back to “Launch Your Book to Bestseller.”

Congrats – you’ve made it all the way to Day 8 – LAUNCH DAY….

You know what that means, right?

No, it’s not time to break open the bottomless sangria just yet.

Today is the day you hit the Amazon bestseller list.

But it doesn’t mean you can sit back and do nothing…

This is where the rubber meets the road.

Everything up to this point has been preparing you for a successful launch day, but you still need to execute on some crucial activities to make the bestseller list.

This is your make or break moment.

So let’s make it a “make” moment, shall we?

Get your quad-shot espresso and whiskey ready and let’s get to it…

The Bestselling Book Launch Sequence

The bolded items are the ones we’ll cover today.

Step 1: Create a Book Launch Sequence Working Document

Step 2: Identify Key Players

Step 3: Set Your Launch Date

Step 4: Clarify Your Goal

Step 5: Centralize all Materials for Your Book

Step 6: Create an Early Notification List

Step 7: Create an Ambassador Group

Step 8: Develop Your Influencers Circle

Step 9: Identify Alternative Marketing Channels

Step 10: Build Your High-Converting Book Sales Page

Step 11: Get Your Book Ready for Distribution

Step 12: Notify Ambassadors and Influencers

Step 13: Final Prep and Pre-Launch Marketing

Step 14: Launch

Step 14: LAUNCH

Before I get into the details of launch day, it’s worth clarifying a couple things.

The objective of launch day is exposure (lots of eyeballs on your book), with the goal being whatever you decided on before you started this process (see step 4 in The Bestseller Book Launch Sequence above…the goal does not have to be “hit bestseller,” but because that’s a popular topic, I decided to focus this training on that goal…).

A successful launch, then, is one that gets widespread exposure…

But the MOST successful launches get widespread exposure to their target audience (refer back to lesson 2 on the Book Marketing Canvas for more information on target audience and early adopters).

Do you see the difference?

If we focus merely on exposure, we’ll spend hours (or weeks or months) plastering ads for our books on sidewalks, and restaurant walls, and [place name of irrelevant marketing channel here]….when all along we should have connected with coworking spaces (because we’re writing a book for startups), or organic grocery stores (because we’re writing a book about healthy living), or Game of Thrones fan sites and forums (because you’re writing an epic fantasy fiction novel..).

If there’s one lesson I hope I’ve imparted in you, it’s this:

The amateur thinks in binary – 1 or 0; black or white; exposure (any type) or none.

The professional (and you ought to consider yourself a professional if you’re reading this right now) thinks in open-loop systems – a impacts b, impacts c,d,e,f, and vice versa…

The professional thinks in color – red, blue, green, and a thousand shades in between…

The professional thinks in degrees – the right exposure is more important than any exposure (and much better than no exposure).

When we approach launch day (and book publishing in general), we need to discard the misguided beliefs of the amateur…

Instead, we should think like a pro and focus on the strategic vision – what we’ve already established with our Book Marketing Canvas, and that we’ve clarified as we’ve worked through The Bestseller Book Launch Sequence…

For launch day, that means focusing on execution and pushing the lever to full-throttle (which I’ll show you how to do in today’s lesson).

Myth Busting – How the Bestseller Ranks Work

Finally, I need to clarify several bits of common misinformation regarding how the bestseller rankings work in Amazon.

Myth #1. Reviews affect rank

No, they don’t. Not directly at least. It doesn’t matter if you have 200 5-star reviews, your book won’t rank any higher or lower.

That said, reviews impact the readers buying decision, so they do indirectly impact rank, but not directly (an important distinction).

Myth #2. Total sales determine rank

Wrong again.

Sales do affect rank, but total sales are generally irrelevant. You could sell 10,000 copies of your book and never hit bestseller…if those sales are over the course of 10 years and there are other books that sell more than you in a given period of time…

The Bestseller Rank Formula

It’s impossible to know the actual algorithm Amazon employs – it’s private and subject to change at any time – but here’s what I’ve discovered through multiple book launches and bestsellers.

Hitting the bestseller list is a function of sales over time in relation to other books in the Amazon book store (and within each category and subcategory as we start competing for those spots).

Ranking is like acceleration for a car (velocity over time); bestseller ranking is the same but also in relation to other cars…

In other words – bestseller ranking is like crossing the finish line in The Fast and the Furious – “It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile, winning’s winning.” ;D

Here’s generally how it works:

Rank = (Total sales / period of time)

Bestseller = (Total sales / period of time) – (top competitor total sales / same period of time)

If your number is positive in relation to another book, you’ll rank above them. If you top all books in your category, you will be a #1 bestseller. Obviously, the more general the category, the more competitive it becomes because you compete against more books.

Hitting the top 10 in Amazon, then, is more difficult than hitting #1 in a category like Crime, Mystery and Thriller, and MUCH more difficult than hitting #1 in the sub category of FBI thrillers.

There is also something predictive in the nature of Amazon bestseller rankings. What I mean is – it’s not only total sales over a period of time that dictates rank, but the trend in sales over time.

In other words, if you can generate 500 sales in an hour, and then 1,000 sales the next hour, and then 2,000 sales the next hour (for a total of 3,500 sales), Amazon will most likely predict a great amount of sales in the next hour, which could drive you ahead of current bestsellers without actually selling more books (but if you don’t end up selling more, the rank will slip away quickly).

Conversely, if you sold 2,000, 1,000, then 500 books over the course of three hours, Amazon would predict fewer sales in the next hour (which could set you behind another book selling equivalent copies steadily or with a growth chart that trends upward).

How Many Books do I Need to Sell to Be a Bestseller?

That’s the question, isn’t it?

Here’s the deal – there are multiple ways to be a bestseller.

#1. NYT and other “big” bestseller lists

There are bestsellers lists like Publishers Weekly and the New York Times that base their rankings on books sold through traditional distribution channels (and ultimately are subjective, at least according to the NYT themselves).

You can’t really tap into that without a traditional publisher, which is why I generally ignore these rankings (because they have nothing to do with the quality of the book, nor how many copies you can get into the hands of readers, nor how much money you make from your launch…).

#2. Amazon bestseller lists

Then there are Amazon’s bestseller lists (which we talked about above).

This one is based entirely on total books sold, which means it’s a metric that is easy to measure and objective (or as close to it as you can get, it seems).

When I talk about launching to bestseller, this is the list I want to hit (and the list I want you to hit…if you go the Amazon route).

But even within Amazon, there are levels to bestseller.

First and foremost, there are two bestseller lists – paid and free.

It’s pretty easy to hit bestseller with a free book (almost anyone will download a free book). It’s much more difficult to hit bestseller with a paid book.

In each of these lists, there are also multiple categories.

At the top is the Amazon top 100. To break into this list you need to sell several thousand copies of your book (physical print…and even more for digital). With Jeff Goins’ “The Art of Work” we managed to hit #7 overall in the Amazon store (paid), but that was from selling thousands of copies launch week (with a massive marketing push behind his book). These aren’t average results by any means.

Another, more attainable (while still very powerful) bestseller ranking is being a category bestseller.

Take a look at the image below. Notice the little orange bar that says “#1 Best Seller” next to the words “in Public Speaking”?

This is an example of hitting bestseller in a category.

do_you_talk_funny_#1_best_seller_in_public_speaking

Here’s how you figure out what you need to sell to hit bestseller in one of these categories:

  1. Go to the category you’re intending to compete in (Small Business, for example, or Startups, or Pubic Speaking, or FBI Thriller, etc.)
  2. Click on the top book in the category
  3. Look at this books rank in all of Amazon.com
  4. Divide 100,000 by this number (Total Sales are *about* = 100,000/(book sales rank in Amazon store)

There’s no way to know for sure how many books another author is selling, but this will give you an indication of how many you need to sell in a 24 hour period to hit Amazon bestseller in a particular category.

Note: just to iterate again – this is just a best guess calculation and seems about right based on my experience…if you have a better way to calculate this, please share in the comments below.

Digital vs. Physical

Finally, in each of these categories, there are rankings for digital vs. physical books.

Meaning if you’re doing a hard push for  the kindle version of your book, it won’t directly affect your physical book rankings (indirectly, yes, because exposure from ranking high leads to more sales, digital and physical).

Bestseller Summary

There is more to Amazon ranking than what I’ve described here (and even what I’ve described is a best guess based on a half dozen bestsellers in the past year), but this gives you at least a general idea of how to think about it. This will allow us to focus on what’s important – driving sales rapidly.

Here’s how we do it…

Step 1: Notify Ambassadors

First thing you want to do is notify your ambassadors – the people who have volunteered to read, review, and share your book – to let them know the book is live and you need two things:

1. Leave a review on Amazon (if that’s the route you’re going)

2. Share on social media (provide ClicktoTweets and social media copy to make it easy for them to do this)

You can contact your ambassadors via your email list (if you’ve collected ambassador emails, which would be wise) as well as on the ambassador Facebook page you created for your book launch.

Here’s an example of how Dan catalyzed his ambassador list (first hitting up the FB group with explicit instructions, and then letting them know an email would be coming shortly):

The Stacking the Deck Strategy (or why you need to connect with ambassadors first)

So why should you connect with ambassadors first before anyone else?

The answer may seem obvious, but there are some not so obvious reasons that can decide the fate of a book early on…

#1. Ambassadors will be the most vocal and most energetic. This will drive early word-of-mouth virality and encourage people in their networks to check out your book. This will drive new sales, which will push your book up the charts, which will lead to more sales, and more chart movement. The results are cyclical (in a good way)

#2. Because you want to get as many positive reviews on your book in Amazon day one as possible. Ambassadors will provide the most compelling, positive reviews. This will drive more sales, indirectly raising book rank (adding to the cycle).

#3. Because you want your BEST reviews to be predominately displayed on Amazon. What do I mean by this? Amazon *ranks* reviews based on reader feedback of said reviews. For every review of a product in Amazon, a reader can click a button to say if it’s helpful or not. Those with the most helpful clicks rise to the top. Your goal is to get the most compelling review to get as many “Yes’s” as possible.

As an example, here’s the top review for Dan Norris’ The 7 Day Startup:

top_book_review_for_The_7_Day_Startup

Notice two things:

  1. At the top of the review it says “26 of 27 people found the following review helpful”
  2. At the bottom is the following question “Was this review helpful to you?” with the opportunity to click “Yes” or “No

On launch day, you want to encourage Ambassadors to not only REVIEW, but say YES to other reviews that are positive and helpful.

This is what we call the “Stacking the Deck” strategy, and savvy writers and publishers know that making sure helpful, positive reviews take up the first spot (or three) in the Amazon reviews section is one of the best ways to market and sell your book.

Step 2: Email Your Influencer Circle

Before you shoot off this email, remember : important people are busy.

If you contact influencers to get support for your book launch, make sure you keep it (1) painless and (2) fast.

How? Include a ClicktoTweet that has all your info pre-filled and formatted. This takes about 17 seconds to do on the part of the influencer, and only a few minutes on your end to properly set it up.

For more on how to create a compelling ClicktoTweet, check out the prior lesson: “Launch Prep”

Step 3: Promote On Every Platform

To drive as much initial momentum as possible within the first 24 hours, you need to make a concerted effort to post on as many platforms and mediums as possible:

  • Niche Facebook Pages (offering the book free makes it an easy share)
  • Niche forums (for example, if yours is a business book, Fizzle.co, or Trailblazer, or Growthhacker.tv are all incredibly powerful platforms…and if you’re concerned about spamming, make sure to share the experience of marketing the book makes this a education-first post that the forum will find helpful)
  • Share on listing sites and communities (like Producthunt.com, Reddit.com, etc.)
  • Share on any site you can think of: Digg / Stumbleupon / Medium (really, anywhere you can share your book, the better)

Case Study: Listing Sites and Community Outreach

For The 7 Day Startup, one unexpected surprise for us was the traction we got from listing sites and communities.

Dan posted a book launch thread in a forum where he is an active member, and we also posted the book on Bootstrapper.io. However, the real traction came after podcast host Jacques Van Heerden posted it on Product Hunt after he recorded a podcast interview with Dan on the day of the launch. The post got immediate traction on Product Hunt and shot to the front page where it stayed in the top 10 all day.

This was a huge surprise and generated the majority of traffic to Dan’s sales page during the first 2 days of the book being live on Amazon.com:

The bounce rate was pretty high, meaning many people came to look and subsequently left.

However, these were new audience members, meaning this exposure didn’t just give attention to the book, but to Dan’s business at WPCurve.com.

Because we weren’t converting people on the site (i.e. we were sending them to Amazon) it’s hard to tell how many books were actually sold from this traffic, but I suspect quite a few. The fact that the book resonated on ProductHunt.com (142 votes) tells me it was very interesting to that audience.

For your book there may be other sites like this that can help push thousands of new eyeballs your way. You just have to be creative and keep an eye out for where your target audience hangs out!

On Marketing, Promotion, and Leveraging Other Peoples Platforms

As a quick note about listing sites and various community-oriented sites where your book could get major traction: be conscious with the rules and don’t oversell on someone else’s platform. Always try to lead with something helpful before you pitch anything. It’s just never cool to spam or overdo self-promotion on other people’s platforms…

But…

On your OWN platform, don’t be afraid to blow your horn a LOT.

Many authors feel uncomfortable posting on social media multiple times in a week, let alone multiple times in a single day…but that’s exactly what you need to do for a book launch.

During the launch day and week is the time to post TOO much about your book.

Trust me from experience – you can share the same or similar message 10 times in a row over the course of a few days and that final message will be the bump someone needs to buy, review, and share. They would not have done so without that nudge.

Personally, I often feel like I’m promoting too much when I’m launching a new book…and then I’ll hear from readers thanking me for the 20th reminder, and that they just bought the book, reviewed, and shared it.

I would have missed those people if I had kept my launch promotion to a minimum…

Here’s the thing – there is only one time it’s ever really appropriate to toot your own horn, and that is during a product launch. Now is not the time to be humble or conservative, but to promote the heck out of your book so everyone and their mother know about it.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Case Study: The 7 Day Startup

Here are the results from The 7 Day Startup during the first couple hours of release.

Note: remember that Dan’s goal was reach. Because of that, we decided that an Amazon exclusive launch leveraging their KDP Select free book promotion would be the best way to go.

We launched the book for free for 5 days, then set the price around $3.99.

Here’s what happened:

And some stats from Amazon’s KDP site that show us how many downloads after a few hours of release:

By the end of the first day we ended up with:

  • 1,297 downloads
  • 35 reviews (34 5 star reviews, 1 4 star review)
  • Hundreds of sales page hits
  • Dozens of tweets and shares

Not bad, but day one is just the start.

After launch, Dan continued to activate and catalyze his ambassador group, his email newsletter (from wpcurve.com), and his Influencer Circle.

The 7 Day Startup Book Launch Results: Week 1

  • 10,000+ downloads
  • 74 reviews (72 5 star reviews, 2 4 star review)
  • 6,021 visits to the main landing page
  • 312 tweets linking to the landing page or the Amazon page
  • 463 Facebook shares linking to the landing pare or the Amazon page
  • #49 in ALL of Amazon (got as high as #30)

The 7 Day Startup Book Launch Results: First 6 Months

  • 20,000+ downloads
  • 200+ reviews (averaging 4.5 / 5 stars)
  • continues to sell 40 – 60 copies a day with minimal to no marketing or promotion
  • still hovering in the top 5 of the Small Business and Startup category

By the way, if anyone tells you launching book for free doesn’t work financially, they’re wrong.

But What About After Launch Week??

I hear you.

A big launch is important but it’s not everything.

The key is to maintain momentum by leveraging your early success into new and better promotion. For example:

  1. Leverage early success to get more podcast interviews
  2. Leverage bestseller status to get mainstream press
  3. Leverage early traction (thousands of downloads) to spread the word about your book through word-of-mouth marketing channels (as an example: ask everyone who read your book to leave a review on their PERSONAL blog, and then link to those articles when they go live from YOUR site)

Honestly, this is the only way to really get a book out there. There’s no magic button you can hit to have your book promoted for you…that’s on you (and your publisher, if you have a good one).

You need to continue to leverage ways to share your book with your own audience (as it is no doubt growing due to the success of your launch and there are certainly people who haven’t pulled the trigger and bought your book just yet), new podcasts, new blogs, new websites, and alternative marketing channels.

Automating Your Sales Funnel

One of the most effective ways I’ve seen (and experienced) to continue to generate new sales is to automate your sales process with an autoresponder sequence.

Here’s access to a free guide courtesy of Publishers’ Empire (where we have many, many more just like it…with more being created every day):

Free eBook: The Automated Book Sales Funnel >>

What if My Launch Falls Flat?

Well, I hope after going through this course that doesn’t happen.

But let’s say your outreach didn’t work. Influencers didn’t respond. Podcasts and bloggers ignored you…

There are still options for you (although I would seriously reevaluate how you are approaching these platforms and people if you had such a terrible reception….)

The Discount Book Relaunch Strategy

Sales die off after a few months? No problem – just use The Discount Relaunch Strategy.

The most effective way to do this is through Amazon’s KDP Select program, because it will reach a new audience (and if sales are slumping, that’s what you need).

Give yourself a few day window to discount your book to $1, then leverage the multitude of book discount sites online to get even more reach.

A few couple examples include Buckbooks.net and bookbub.com but there are many others.

Other Launch Strategies

The launch strategy we used for “The 7 Day Startup” is just one type of launch strategy. There are many more.

In Publishers Empire, I teach 7 of these strategies through a series of video training, templates, swipe files, book marketing and sales copy, checklists, cheatsheets, and more (with more strategies being added all the time).

Advanced Book Launch Strategies Inside Publishers’ Empire

The Gift-Launch (aka “The 7 Day Startup” Launch)

The Discount Re-Launch

The List-Builder Launch (aka “The Danny Iny” Launch)

The Book Bonus Blowout Launch (aka “The Jeff Goins” Launch)

The Crowdfunded Launch (aka “The Tom Morkes” Launch”

The Blitzkrieg Launch (aka “The 4-Hour Workweek” Launch)

The Upsell Launch (aka “The Jeff Walker” Launch)

If you’re interested in being a part of Publishers Empire, I’m opening up enrollment here soon and will let you know about it. Just make sure you are subscribed to this list to hear about it.

Wrapping Up (plus more training)

So that wraps up “Launch Your Book to Bestseller.”

The good news is – there is more training to come.

All you need to do is stay subscribed to the list (sign up here if you didn’t come here from an email from Tom Morkes!).

In the near future, I’ll be holding a live training event where I’ll pull back the curtains on the most recent launch I was a part of – “The Art of Work” by Jeff Goins. We ended up with over 14,000 sales on launch day….

But more importantly, I’ll outline the biggest takeaways for self-publishers and bootstrappers (how to launch on a budget and still generate thousands in sales, downloads, or revenue).

As part of the live training, I’ll also host a Q and A…

Which is why today’s homework is simple – what QUESTIONS do you have about book publishing, book launches, generating an income from writing or publishing, etc.?

Thanks in advance for your questions and thanks for being a part of this course! Hope you got some value out of it (and like I said – more to follow!!!).

 

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32 comments

  • Great strategies for launching Tom. Thanks. For those of us without a list or any ambassadors or j.v.partners yet – it’s freebies with the added intent to build a list. I plan a series that will ideally build me up into expert category from the mass of books published.

    • Bingo.

      That’s the key…there’s a reason people with big platforms can have successful launches…it’s because they have big platforms (lots of people paying attention, lots of email subscribers, etc.).

      For those of us WITHOUT a big platform, we need to start building a small but passionate one.

      100 passionate fans are all you need to make a big dent in your book launch – focus on getting these people on board first and the rest will be much smoother.

  • I’m still at a loss over where to find ambassadors and influencers because I’ve already tapped out my network for a grand total of 5 people on my list.

    When I read through some of your recommendations, I wonder if I just don’t have it in me to organize a successful launch. I can’t help but treat people like I want to be treated, but from everything I read, that’s not how successful marketers treat people. Like the multiple tweets on launch day. I’ve unfollowed people that provided value simply because I they tweeted/posted/emailed with a frequency that I found annoying.
    Case in point, I recently received an offer to buy a writing course. I wasn’t interested but continued to get roughly 20 additional emails for the course from three different lists over the next 2 weeks. Apparently, that’s the way its done, because that’s the way that maximizes purchases. But all it did was annoy me and bring me unsubscribe from all three lists.

    • You find influencers by connecting with people, like a human being. Specifically, be generous. Offer value. Give gifts (see: human being above).

      You build ambassadors by building an early notification list first…then asking if they’d be interested in [place description of incentive here] in exchange for helping to promote your book.

      If you don’t have the time and energy to figure out what people want and then to give it to them, then no, this strategy probably won’t work.

      If you’ve unfollowed people who – and this is to QUOTE you – “provided value simply because they tweeted/posted/emailed with a frequency that [you] found annoying.”…I can’t help but think those people weren’t too upset by you leaving their platform.

      They are, after all, providing you value – for free – most likely over weeks or months of time (I assume you are an astute person, so would not sign up for a list that provided anything less)…yet them sharing something that would cost money, well that’s too much to stomach.

      I do believe you should do unto others as you’d have done unto you…but perhaps you should reflect on what exactly it is that people are doing to you that seems so offensive to begin with (you might find you’re your own worst enemy when it comes to creating, sharing, and providing value to the people who matter…i.e. book publishing)

    • I can relate to your comments. I also feel I’ve tapped out my five best friends and I get really annoyed with pop-up opt ins. LOL Reaching out is really difficult. No matter how many marketing gurus tell me building an email list is the key to sales, I resist. Could the reason we resist boils down to not believing in ourselves and the books we’ve created?

      • I think that’s exactly it…

        If you REALLY have a great book, why WOULDNT you share it?

        Also, a platform / list is everything. Before the internet this was true as well, but it came in different form (ever wonder why so many famous authors were university instructors or otherwise well known in their niche or industry?).

        Don’t stress if you start small…but DO start, even if you’re small ;D

  • I have had the good fortune to wander into a couple of organizations with an online presence and subscribers who are involved in discussing and advocating for the Christian worldview. I always check out links in blogs that have anything relevant, and every once in a while they pay off. I plan to join, get acquainted, and be alert to contacts who are serious about living the Christian worldview. I have also been writing down names of people I know who could be influencers, ambassadors, or both. Sometimes names come to mind when I am washing dishes or polishing furniture. I have to keep my list handy. I have written to a few of them even though the book isn’t finished. I simply asked them to consider helping me spread the word.
    I actually have three small manuscripts that are much closer to readiness for publication than my work in progress, and I am trying to figure out if I should use them in some way , maybe “If you liked ‘Thrive!’ you might also like ‘Pray!'” Does it make sense to get them ready for release, too, as I try to finish this book, or do I stay focused and get this book done, with them in the wings for a subsequent release in months 1, 2, and 3 after “Thrive!”? These books provide meditation guides that build on the principles in Thrive! I was led to envision Thrive! as I was finishing them, so I left them behind and went to work on this project. Now I see that they are naturally related, but I’m dizzy with the issues of priority and timing.
    Also, I picked a release date in 2016, but the more I work on this project, the more I want it done a lot sooner. It would be hard, but I would like to do it in September. At the moment, the book is approximately 50,000 words or about 200 pages. The substantive chapters are done, and now I am adding the helps–meditation guides, resources for study, and so forth. I think it will be 250 pages by the end. After that I must self-edit, hire a professional editor and work those edits, and then format for publication. While I am doing these things, I need to do all the wonderful things you are teaching us. Can I get the work done that fast? Can I possibly release this book on September 20, 2015?

    • I think your timeline is possible for September. If you’re confident you can product that amount of work in that timeframe, that’s all that matters.

      re: alternative books…

      YES – you should DEFINITELY tie them in with your book launch.

      It’s not mandatory, but this will generate a lot more sales (I cover how to handle this effectively in “Upsells” and “Cross Promotion” lessons in Publishers’ Empire)

    • The interesting thing about launches is that not everyone who wants what you’re launching (book, product or otherwise) will buy on day one or week one. The relaunch leverages discount platforms to spread the word to new audiences, generating new traffic and new customers.

  • Hi Tom. Thank you for opening my eyes to a successful book launch. Could you explain how you use Crowdfunding and Relaunching? If a book has been out for two years, could it be relaunched? Is Crowdfunding the same as Crowdsourcing? Thank you again for a fab training course.

  • Loved all the information in this lesson and you answered a lot of questions. Even though I have NOT sold thousands of books I do see that a couple of my books keep making it to the top 100. I have a question. How long does a book need to be in the top 100 before you can claim to be a best seller? I see this all the time and wonder what constitutes being able to call your book one.

    I’m also glad to know a book which has been out there can be relaunched.

    • The bestseller thing is a bit ambiguous. There’s no real standard for it. I suppose if you hit the top 100 even once you could call yourself a bestseller.

      I only reference bestseller if Amazon gives it a yellow tag for its category indicating #1 in a category.

      So the answer is….it depends. And there is a lot of room for interpretation (for better or worse)…

      Really glad you liked the training!

    • If you hit bestseller for 1 day in Amazon you can probably call yourself a bestseller…or make it onto any major list for one week and same. Yes, this can be abused 🙂

  • Hello Tom,
    It’s Friday evening in the UK but I’ll be devoting a considerable amount of time in the next few days to studying your excellent, signposted route through the publishing minefield. Thank you for the info.
    However, as I have already embarked upon a crazy enterprise (which is bringing me real joy) I should be very glad for a quick word of advice from you even if it is to sling my hook.
    I have some short-story ebooks on Amazon which have given me experience and insight but are not really commercial and I understand that. I also have a blog on Blog.Spot which has given me experience and confidence ( I am non tech) but no email list (long story).
    But, my good news is, that since March I am writing comedy-thrillers. I have begun my second book in a series (Russell Blake is my hero) but, unlike Russell Blake, I am a little old lady and, talk about amateur, don’t even know if there is a market for what I am so joyfully churning out.
    Is my best option to give away, as a loss leader, a free say, 20,000 word ebook to identify my market and perhaps gather in emails (if I can get help with a WP site)?
    I have a few other disadvantages but hey, it’s Friday and I don’t want to spoil your weekend.
    Any thoughts would be gratefully received.
    Kindest regards,
    Zara.

    • I would challenge the notion that you have to write 20,000 word ebook to collect email addresses. You can collect emails addresses with much less than that. I would consider attempting different optin strategies before writing a book to give away (there is no correlation between amount of effort that goes into an optin bribe and its results, trust me).

      Hope that helps Zara!

  • Hello Tom,
    Thanks for reading and your helpful advice.
    I guess I didn’t phrase myself clearly enough. What I meant was, – as I have a basic dilemma that I don’t know where or who my market is (yes, I’m that basic) I would put out a free 20,000 words novella to identify said market. In that novella would be a referral to a landing page with an offer for a cheat-sheet or free story in exchange for email address.
    I am in the cheap and cheerful market, hoping to bring a little sunshine, excitement and entertainment to whoever needs that.
    Kindest regards and a good weekend.
    Zara.

    • To clarify, I believe writing a 20,000 word ebook is a waste of time and energy as a way to figure out your target customer. I think there are better, faster, and more enjoyable ways (just think – what if the 20k word ebook gets zero interest? then where are you?).

      I would recommend thinking about similar books in the genre you’re writing and examining how those authors reach their readers. That’s the best place to start.

      This is a much broader question than can be answered in a comment, but I hope it gives you some direction.

      • Very kind of you to reply.

        Obviously, I have much homework to do and much to investigate.

        Thank you, Tom, and please accept my kind regards.

  • Just wanted to say thank you. You provide more in your free info than most people provide for paid info. I’m in the writing stages and this has been an invaluable education.

  • Tom, just wanted to say thanks again for the free course. Really great content.

    Feel free to contact me if you need any more ambassadors for any other product launches you have coming up. I’d love to help.

    Thanks again.

  • Thanks for the information and for your enthusiasm for the topic. Your energy gave me a shot in the arm to get going again on selling books. I would think the New Year would be an excellent time to sell ebooks since people will find readers and new technology under their Christmas trees and will need a great ebook to add to them.

  • Thank you very much, Tom, for this interesting course and for sharing your knowledge, strategies and experience. Very valuable for me. I loved the way you build it up and I also loved the comments and the interaction.

    I’ll have to translate your insights to the Dutch market. My book is about writing clear texts in Dutch and my target audience readers are Dutch civil servants with a technical or specialist background. They often find it difficult to explain their advice in a language that laymen can understand – be they governors and councillors or civilians. I help them writing clearer and better texts in less time.

    That brings me also to my question – how useful would joining your Publishers’ Empire be for someone who is only targeting the Dutch market?

    Thank you again and kind regards from Jet.

    • I would say it’s like targeting any other market. Dutch people might respond different to different types of messages, but the fundamentals of sales is universal. We all want certain things and fear certain things. So yes – PublishersEmpire.com would help a lot.

  • Which is why today’s homework is simple – what QUESTIONS do you have about book publishing, book launches, generating an income from writing or publishing, etc.?

    You seem so successful that you must have a bandwidth problem if your practice is helping self publishers navigate the launch. Do you recommend consultants to help follow and execute your great process?

  • Trying to sort out my timeline. Once my book is finalized, I have an email set to recruit Ambassadors (many I have spoken to over the past few weeks and are already on board.)

    Pre official launch, I load my book on Amazon to make sure there are no SNAFUS.

    2 days later is an unofficial launch where the book is a free download (I let my Ambassadors know as well as the websites that promote free books.)

    I let this promo run 2-3 days before making the book $.99 on the official launch date (a Tuesday). The book remains at this price for a week and goes up $1 each week until hitting my real price.

    Question: Other than the Ambassadors and Free Book Websites, do I post anything else about the free book or wait for the $.99 on launch day (twitter, Facebook, linkedin, etc.)?

  • When you said that the Amazon algorithm seems to favour trending books sales going up over time, I was thinking that having a good and well planned out strategy over the first week to keep boosting sales must be a good thing. And not just pushing every promotion planned out on day one?

    Q: Do Amazon favour/dis-favour having an ebook version of the same book out at the same time?

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