There is a simple formula out there that people pay thousands for that I will share here for free in getting your book visible. However, if there is no spirit in helping others, it won’t work! Plain and simple.
- Write your book. Ha! Ha! There’s a good start!
- Self-edit it. Painful, but necessary.
- Have it professionally edited and formatted.
- Have a great cover. People do judge a book by its cover!
- Get your IBSN number if you want your book in paperback. KDP will assign an ASIN number to your e-book free of charge.
- Start promoting the book before it is published on social media and through your websites.
- Set up a system whereby you can advertise your book before the launch and gather emails from subscribers who would be interested in reading a free chapter or getting something else for free from your site. This is list building – a whole different topic, but these will be the people that you can contact when future books are about to be released.
- Send out copies to review websites months before the publishing date as they are often inundated with requests and your book may take a while before it is reviewed.
- Get yourself a launch team. The bigger the better. But you need at least 50-75 in this team. This is because a third will drop out, another third will want to read your book but won’t have the time and, if you are lucky, the balance will do you a favour and download your book and write a review.
Your Launch Team – The Linchpin to Success
Why do you need a launch team? You need a launch team to propel your book up through the ranks in Amazon. Verified reviews are an important signal to Amazon that people like your book. By having a launch team, your reviewers will download your book from Amazon during the free period (more of that later) which is now helping with ‘sales’, followed by verified reviews. Are you following me?
Enrolling in KDP Select
Upload your book to KDP first, and enrol in the KDP Select feature, setting your book at the paperback price. Kindle will put a strike through on this, and people will feel that they are getting a good bargain. You will adjust the price before the promo is over.
Yes, you are bound to be in KDP Select for 3 months, no you cannot put your books on other platforms in the interim HOWEVER, there is a huge advantage for you here. You have between 1 and 5 days to offer the book for FREE. This can create a HUGE buzz, and if used in conjunction with a few paid promotions like Book Marketing Tools, BKNights on Fiverr.com and FreeBooksy (All of which I can recommend with great ROI), you could shift well over 2000 books during those 5 days, if not more, depending on the genre.
If you haven’t hit the top 100 pages for your genre, don’t stop the promo. Let it run its course for the full 5 days. You can rinse and repeat this process every 3 months.
What does that do for you? It pushes you through the ranks in Amazon, and you could well reach best seller status during those 5 days. For a brief time Amazon loves you. It is a bit like a one-night stand for many as after that, if you don’t continue to market your book, it will drop like a stone. However, it does give you the chance of being visible for a while, and being noticed.
Stopping the Promotion
The day before your promo, adjust the price on your book. I say this, because, when I did this with my own book I forgot. Oops! And so for a few heart-stopping, palm-sweating hours my Kindle book that should have been priced at $2.99 was sitting at $9.99 until Amazon finally woke up to the fact that I had changed the price, and so I probably lost a few sales as a result.
Some people advocate setting the book at 99c after a free promo. There are some merits in doing this for a promo. People who see a free promo, finding it has ended and seeing that the price at 99c, will feel more inclined to purchase it rather than if it is priced at $2.99 or higher. Also, there are a plethora of sites out there who will promote your book for you only if it is at 99c. However, I am not very techno, savvy, okay it is an age thing (I come from an era where our telephone was heavy, black, had a cradle and a dial on the front) and so I ended up setting the price at $2.99. However, I don’t regret it, and will do this again, but you can start at 99c and then slowly raise the price over time and test the waters.
Managing your Review Team during the Free Download Period
Before you have uploaded your book, you can send it to your review team to read via .pdf etc. Some whom you trust you can send the whole book, others whom you don’t know very well, you can send sample chapters. This is an important consideration if you are sending your files to other people outside this group whom you haven’t connected with before because plagiarism is alive and well. These whom you send sample chapters to can read the whole book afterwards while it is free, and then write a review.
Once the book is up, contact your review team and tell them that the book is up. They now head over to Amazon and download the book to their kindles. By the way, you do not need a Kindle to read Kindle books off Amazon. You will see near the purchase button the option to download a free app from the site that allows you to read Kindle books from your computer. This is very useful for this purpose.
Once they have downloaded the book, tell them that even if they have read the book, they will need to scroll through to the very end of the story. This so you get pages read acknowledged by Amazon, I think too it helps with the $15K pot that gets distributed afterwards every month among the authors, (don’t get too excited it works out at about 0.00411c per page read!), and it guarantees that the purchase is verified, as will then be the review.
I mentioned this in the sign-up document for reviewing books. Be true to yourself, and give an honest review. Give a 5 star to the book if it deserves it. But don’t feel obligated. If you cannot give a 3 star review or higher, write to the author privately and withdraw from the process. We all have different tastes in our reading material and this just may not be the book for you, not that it is badly written. Try too to use pertinent keywords in the title of your review, and sprinkle them throughout the review. Remember, Amazon is a search engine. So keywords are important. There also seems to be a magical number for Amazon of 50 reviews. Once you have this many reviews, things start to happen and Amazon loves you again. What can I say? Other than Amazon is fickle and we take it when we can!
GoodReads is owned by Amazon. This is an important signal to Amazon off-platform that the book has been well-received. Start the ball rolling by creating an author page on your Amazon account and a GoodReads author account. Upload your book, and then ask your review team to rate and review your book on both accounts. Also ask them to promote the book on Twitter, Facebook, groups that they are a member of etc.
You have to market your own book. Sorry to disappoint, but Amazon doesn’t love you as much as you think. Even people who have publishers still find themselves having to push their own books. And just remind me why they have a publisher again?
This is why we are here in this group. If you are not prepared to help other authors in promoting their work, then perhaps you had better withdraw gracefully, because I want this group to be a working group of people willing to spend some time away from their writing to help other authors. Because, you know what, you will want help when it is your turn. But, if you don’t help others …. As they say in Wigan, it is karma! And this system works. I know, because I have seen the results for my own book and I have seen it work time and time again for others, first hand.
Many of us here are on the wrong side of 50. But, collectively we have hundreds of years of experience! Knowledge is power! Let’s share our low points and high points so that we can grow as a group and become not only better writers, but also better promoters of our work and that of others.
For a detailed set up of how to launch your book, get our blueprint that spans two months of preparation work before you launch.