What are launch teams?
Launch teams are used by the big 5 traditional publishing houses to get their authors pushed up the ranks in Amazon. People on this list will tell you that, as group owners, they are regularly approached to provide reviews for a book that is being traditionally published.
Now, if every group owner that runs a group for readers on FB were approached for 20 reviews, just think how many reviews they would get in a very short space of time. So, when you see books with close on 1000 reviews it not only causes buzz among readers, it also shows that someone is working very hard within a launch team to push it forward.
Forming your own launch team
So, how to do you form your own launch team? No different to the way they form theirs. However, you will be more open and transparent about it by forming a closed FB group and naming your launch team and then start inviting people you know who will be willing to be part of your team.
Be careful who you invite. Do not invite anyone living in the same household as yourself. If you share the same IP address your reviews will be removed by Amazon. Also, make sure that your Facebook pages are not linked to your Amazon author page or GoodReads accounts.
Now set up your account. Go to your main Facebook page. On the right, after the padlock icon, is an arrow. Click on this and you will see a drop-down menu. Find “Create Group” and click on this. Here you are asked to name your group and members. Just add your name and create the group.
Now you can either ask for members on this list for people to join your launch team or you can add people whom you know would like to be part of your launch team. You will need at least 50 -75 people. This is because 25 people will fall away, 25 will read your book in their own time and come back later than what you want the reviews (I am in this category – just too busy) and then you will get the 25 who will come through for you on the day.
On the day your book is released set it for FREE through KDPSelect. Sign up with Book Marketing Tools, BKNights through Fiverr and FreeBooksy for the day for your free promo and keep the book free for at least 3 days.
If you want to use all your days up you can, but I wouldn’t advise it. You may need these later during the 3 month period when you are in this program. Post your book on the 100 odd free FB promotional groups that you joined at least a month before as some of these group owners are slow to add new members. (Excel file of these groups can be found in the files tab above.)
Now get your launch team to head over to Amazon by giving them the CLEAN link via the share button on your sales page – NEVER use any other method to disseminate your book as all other URLS store a lot of information and can track your activities resulting in lost reviews – and ask them to download the free copy to their Kindles. This is important if you want verified purchase reviews.
For people who don’t own a Kindle – I am one of them – just below the price boxes on your sales page is where non-Kindle owners can download a free App onto the computer that allows you to download Kindle books, and it goes straight into the App without anything else from you. Once downloaded, get them to scroll all the way to the end of the file so that Amazon can see that the whole book has been read and then get them to post their review. The review will now be marked as a verified purchase. These have a better weighting than non-verified purchased reviews.You can also find it here.
Getting honest reviews
You want honest reviews and you need to make sure that your launch team knows this. If your book is awful – sorry! – you cannot expect people to give you 5 star reviews, and if they do your book will not survive the acid test of public readers once it is out there. They will eat you up and spit you out!
If your review team members privately message you, telling you that you need a lot of work on your book, listen to them. This is a safe group which is non-threatening and your soft-launch. Some people will not like your book, period. Perhaps the style of writing doesn’t suit or the genre was not what they were expecting. It happens.
Your launch team can also be asked to post a review on GoodReads. Get yourself an author account there and then they can go ahead and leave a review. Also ask them to share the book release on their Twitter accounts, FB groups/ pages and other social media platforms they work with.
Keep in contact with your team telling them about the progress of the book. After all, they are part of your success! Don’t forget to thank them for being a great team.
Launch teams for old titles
If you have an old book that is ailing, there is no reason why you cannot kick-start it with a launch team and getting yourself back into KDPSelect.
Remember, if you use KDPSelect you have to have your book with them for 90 days and it cannot be on any other sale platforms like Kobo, Smashwords etc. To cancel the program, do so before the 90 days are up, otherwise it will automatically roll-over for another 90 days. Good luck with your launch and let’s sell more books!
If you want to set up a launch team join our sister group One Stop Fiction Launch Teams.
See our blueprint for book marketing covering 2 months before your book launch.