The Step-By-Step Guide to Launching an Amazon Bestseller
Have you ever wondered how authors end up with an “Amazon Bestseller” title, even if their book (let’s be honest) isn’t that great?
Well, the reality is that becoming an Amazon Bestseller has little to do with how good your book is. It’s all about marketing — and if you have the right strategy in place, you can grab the Amazon Bestseller title with almost every book you write.
Here at Leverage, we’ve honed our strategy for launching books on Amazon. We’ve successfully used this process with many of our clients, and in this case study, we’re going to give away all our secrets by revealing exactly how it works.
So buckle up, and get ready to launch your first (or next) Amazon Bestseller.
Step 1: The launch strategy
Hitting the Amazon Bestseller list all comes down to launch day. Specifically, you need to get as many people to buy, download, and review your book as possible within the first 24 hours.
But if you want to get the most out of your launch day, you need to start planning well in advance. We start our process at least four months before launching a book. Sometimes, this even starts while the book is still in the editing or design stages.
The first step is to identify influencers who can help promote your book. That means people in your space who have large followings, podcasts, article columns, YouTube channels, and other outlets for you to promote your book. Oftentimes, these are people you already have relationships with — but we’ll also find additional influencers to expand your reach.
Once we’ve identified influencers, we’ll reach out to them to schedule podcast interviews, guest posts, and more. We may also make a website for the book with opt-in offers so that we can develop an email list and sell pre-orders well before the book launches. This makes promotion a breeze as we can point everyone to the website leading up to the launch of the book.
Step 2: The media kit
Now that we’ve identified influencers, reached out to them, and started developing an email list, we need to make sure that everyone endorsing your book has access to the right information. That means creating a media kit.
A media kit contains all the information your influencers need to properly promote your book. Things like images, social media post copy, reusable captions, and CTAs. It allows influencers to promote your book with practically zero effort on their part, as they can just copy and paste a social media post and be done with it. This drastically increases the chance that people will actually follow through with their promotions.
During this time (we’re about three months out at this point) we’ll also start to plan out content for your email list and social media channels. This will involve some brainstorming depending on your individual situation, but usually, it means creating a campaign for the weeks or months leading up to your book launch where you start hinting to your fans that you’ve got a new book in the works, gradually giving them more and more information to pique their curiosity.
Step 3: The launch team
At this point, we’re about two months away from launch day. It’s time to create your launch team.
Your launch team is the group of people who will buy your book on launch day and leave a review. The more people you can get to buy the book and leave a review on DAY ONE the better, as this is what will catapult your book to the top ranks of your category.
To form the launch team, we’ll start by creating an online form to gather information. We’ll send this out to your audience, and anyone who is interested in supporting your book efforts can fill out the form to be added to the launch team. We may incentivize them with early access to the book, a free paperback, or something else entirely — but the goal is to make sure everyone on the launch team will buy your book on day one and leave a review.
About a month before launch day, we’ll set up a private Facebook group or a specific email list for your launch team. We’ll send an advanced copy of the book to everyone in this group so they can read it and write their review well in advance of launch day. We’ll also provide clear instructions on when and how to buy the book and leave a review.
Step 4: Tying up loose ends
With one month left to go, it’s time to take a step back and make sure our ducks are in a row. That means writing guest blog posts, finalizing podcast interview dates, and making sure everyone understands exactly what they should be doing.
This is also when we’ll start the process of getting your book on Amazon! There are a handful of minor details that need to be addressed before people can actually buy this thing — like writing the Amazon book description, setting up your author page on Amazon, adding a bio and headshot, and setting up your Amazon KDP account.
For the uninitiated, Amazon KDP stands for “Kindle Direct Publishing”, and it’s one of the easiest ways to publish a book. This is Amazon’s service that lets you publish books on their Kindle platform and print paperback books directly through Amazon. They actually use an on-demand printing system where books are automatically printed and shipped as orders come in — meaning you don’t have to sit on a massive stock of books to fulfill your orders.
Once we’re about two weeks out, we have a few decisions left to make — mainly, what Amazon categories will we go for and what price will we sell the book for?
Selecting the right book category comes down to what categories will be easiest to conquer. With hundreds of categories on Amazon, there are certain niches that have little to no competition. We’ll find the most applicable ones for your book and select a few that you can easily dominate.
The price, on the other hand, is mainly up to the author. Many authors use their books for lead generation and aren’t concerned with profit, so they’ll keep prices as low as possible to make the book easily accessible. Others are looking to recoup the cost of producing the book and will increase prices for a higher margin.
That being said, there is one thing we won’t budge on. You must release the Kindle version of your book for free on launch day! We’ll set up a promotion where the Kindle book is free for the first 24 hours after launch. This is critical for obtaining the bestseller ranking.
A free eBook means anyone can instantly download your book at the click of a button and leave a review. It removes any barriers for someone who is even remotely interested in your book, and it creates urgency as the offer is only available for that day!
At this point — still around two weeks out — we’ll actually upload the book to Amazon, it just won’t be visible to the public yet.
Step 5: Launch day!
The big day has finally arrived! With about four months of preparation, we’re ready to launch your book and watch it skyrocket to the bestseller rankings.
Before we get into the actual launch day, let’s recap what we’ve done so far:
- We’ve identified influencers and reached out to them to expand your reach.
- We’ve written guest posts and booked you on podcasts.
- We’ve created a media kit that anyone can use to quickly and easily promote your book.
- We’ve created a launch team that is ready to download and review your book on launch day.
- We’ve nurtured your audience with emails and hints about your upcoming book.
- We’ve prepared your Amazon book page and set up Amazon KDP for Kindle distribution and paperback printing.
Needless to say, all that hard work is about to pay off.
We’ve already scheduled promotions to go out from all of your marketing outlets, urging your audience to download the book today and take advantage of the free Kindle eBook. Your influencers will know to promote it as well, and all of this attention will combine with the efforts of your launch team to create a massive buzz around your book.
From there, there’s nothing left to do but sit back and watch your rankings go through the roof. Once your book hits #1, we’ll take a screenshot and you can pop a bottle of champagne because you’re now a bestselling author!
After launch day, the only thing left to do is thank everyone who helped you. We like to send gifts to your influencers and thank you notes to your launch team. After all, this is a massive team effort — and you would never have been able to get to the top without their help!
So… Are you ready to launch your Amazon Bestseller? The Leverage Team can help with all things books—from writing to editing to design, publishing, and hitting the bestseller list!
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