If you’ve got a massive author platform to tap into, it’s not hard to rocket your books up Amazon’s charts and move some serious units right from the get-go. But what if you’ve got less to work with? I’ve been at this for a while, and even with six books out (and more on the way), I’m still developing and expanding my platform to where I want it to be. That hasn’t stopped me from finding success, and it shouldn’t stop you.
My self-publishing manifesto, Write Short Kindle Books, launched just two months ago and quickly became an #1 Kindle best seller in several categories. It’s done really well, though my platform, mailing list, and social reach is a lot smaller than a lot of authors and writers out there. I just launched the follow-up book, Indie Author Success Strategies: 19 Tips to Boost Your Kindle Book Business, and I’m back to square one with building momentum for this new book. Seems an appropriate time, I think, to talk about book launches!
The Importance of Launch Week
When you put a book out on Amazon’s Kindle store, the clock starts ticking. You have only a month of prime-time exposure when your book counts as “new” and is eligible to appear in the Hot New Releases tabs in its categories. After that, you get bumped out of those particular charts and lose a bit of that precious momentum and the extra visibility that can give you.
Your book’s visibility on the best seller charts in its categories during launch week and beyond will have a huge impact on sales and its overall success during this critical time. If you can hit number one in your categories (or even the top 10) and then stay there consistently, it’ll give you a big boost in sales.
It’s important to capitalize on this by having a book marketing battleplan setup ahead of time, and then committing to working at it before, during, and after your book launch.
For me, book marketing is a 100 percent DIY/grassroots thing. I don’t spend money on marketing for book launches or promos — at least if I don’t have to — because I take the time to do a lot of the legwork myself. While that can be draining some days, it’s worth it.
So yes, even with a small platform, a meager (or nonexistent) mailing list, limited social reach, and a lot of hustle, you can have a great book launch.
NOTE: A well-targeted book idea, killer cover, and thoughtful title all have a big impact too, but I’ll leave that for another post.
The Realities of Launching a Book DIY: Slow and Steady
With just an hour of hustling every day during launch week, you can do a lot to get your book’s sales rolling. Personally, I’ve found that successful book launches on Kindle are less about getting huge day-one sales and more about ramping up your momentum with consistent daily sales during your first week and beyond.
I admit: the opposite will be true for many authors, though if you don’t have a mailing list of thousands and a huge reach, the slow, steady, and consistent route can work for you.
By the way, if you want to join my Indie Author Success list, I give out freebies and discounts on future books and other self-publishing resources.
With Write Short Kindle Books, I did a brief free launch for a few days. I hit #1 on a few Free charts, but when it switched back to paid after a three days and 650+ free downloads later? Crickets. So I temporarily set the price at $0.99 — a smart idea if you want to get quick traction — and rebooted my launch cycle.
For the first week, I averaged about a dozen paid sales a day, which doesn’t sound like much, but I was able to get in the top 100 bestseller charts in my respective categories. That visibility helped, as did the steady sales. After a week or so I hit #1 in one subcategory, then in another, then my book started ranking higher in bigger categories.
Getting in any of the top three bestseller spots in your categories will have your book featured in Amazon’s Best Sellers tab. And if you have a high review score average, you can also hit the Top Rated tab as well. That’s in addition to the Hot New Releases Tab and any other special categories Amazon may list your book in while it’s moving units.
That should be your target for week 1. (That’s what I’m shooting for with my own launch this week).
Getting to that point requires a solid number of sales over a consistent period of time. Amazon’s algorithms are a bit of a mystery, but any huge short term spikes in sales tend to fall back down just as quickly. However, getting steady sales every day makes the algorithm beast happy, at least for now, and it’ll make your books stickier on the charts.
So you need consistent daily sales and positive reviews STAT — and getting as many of those key ingredients as you can, and as early as possible, in your launch cycle is CRITICAL.
I’ll talk more about that and offer some specific things that I do with my own launches in the next blog post in this series, but if you’d like to help me make my latest book launch a success, please consider grabbing my new book, Indie Author Success Strategies: 19 Tips to Boost Your Kindle Book Business, which is on sale for only $0.99 this week!
Thanks a bunch, and keep the words flowing!
Check out the latest book in my new self-publishing series! Indie Author Success Strategies: 19 Tips to Boost Your Kindle Book Business
[Kindle Edition Only $0.99 – Launch SALE! ]
Give your Kindle books a MEGA BOOST and self-publish the smart way!
Does it feel like you’re pouring your time, energy, and passion into your books, only to spin your tires with mediocre sales and minimal reader reviews? Don’t give up!
Building on the self-publishing manifesto laid down in Write Short Kindle Books, this second book in the Indie Author Success Series delivers 19 core success strategies (and 70+ action tips) that will help you re-think your approach, write better (and better targeted) books, get more reviews, avoid wasting your time and money, build and expand your platform, and empower you to push upwards to achieve your goals of becoming a bestselling author.
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