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How I became a best-selling author on Amazon: My book launch story

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Last Friday night I launched my first self-published Amazon Kindle book, Email Marketing that Sells: Your Guide to building a fired up email list. On Saturday morning I was at #1 best-seller for two categories, Business Writing and Ecommerce. In just five days over 2000 people have already downloaded the book.

Email Marketing that Sells book cover

Before I get into the nitty gritty, I firstly want to sincerely thank everyone who has downloaded the book and supported me through the launch.  This was a mass-scale effort and there was no way I could have come close to achieving my goal if I didn’t have the help of my E-Web Marketing colleagues and the “book launch team” (more about the “book launch team later).

You’re probably wondering, how can a regular Aussie bloke take an idea in his head and turn it into an international best-seller? Great question.  Luckily I’ve documented my progress and turned the book launch into a project template that can be used again and again.

How long did it take?
On August 1st I set myself a goal of being a best-selling author by the end of November. I procrastinated for three weeks, then I thought I should do something about this goal if I’m going to achieve it! I procrastinated for another few weeks and only got serious about putting together the book outline in mid-September.  From then I went into over-drive, and I wrote the book, had it edited, formatted and published on Amazon in two months.

How did I promote the book?
I did heaps of stuff to promote the book. The main recipes for success was the two weeks of hype and build up before the launch, multiple promotions to our list, the Facebook ads, and the loyal launch team members who promoted the book to their networks. What also worked quite well was a Facebook “offer” that over 150 people claimed, and it went virally into their news feed.

What’s the “book launch team”?
One of the key reasons for my success was developing a “book launch” team.  I learned this idea from Michael Hyatt, author of “The Platform.” You ask people if they’d like to read a “pre-launch” copy of your book, in return for writing a review and promoting the book launch to their friends.  This was a great idea, although you can’t count on every person on your launch team to be as excited about your book as you are.  In my case, I had over 100 people who said they wanted to be on my launch team, but only 10 people actually ended up contributing.  And I don’t blame them for not taking action, they’ve probably got higher priorities than promoting my book, but it was a massive learning for me that you can’t take your launch team for granted.  For my next book, I’ll have a smaller launch team, but I’ll work a lot closer with chosen few to make my next book launch an even bigger success!

What went wrong?
At 5pm on Friday (2 hours before launch) I realised we were in the wrong Amazon Kindle categories. Sigh. All of this time and effort we put into choosing the right categories would be wasted if it wasn’t fixed. So I had to quickly change the categories and hold my breath while Amazon implemented the changes on their end. To say I was nervous was an understatement, especially when the message said it would take up to 12 hours to update!  Thankfully they updated the changes almost immediately and the launch went off without a hitch. Be careful when you choose your categories, because the physical book categories don’t match up to the Kindle book categories……

I also felt our launch day execution could have been better co-ordinated to get more downloads in a shorter period of time. Again, this is a learning for me and an area I can improve next time.  Getting to best-selling author means you need a 24-hour hard slog of promotion, because you want everyone to download the book on the same day.  My downloads were spread out relatively evenly over 5 days.  Although I still achieved my goal of getting to best-selling author, I’ll certainly be a lot more organised next time, and I’ll have closer relationships with my launch team to co-ordinate promoting to their audiences at the same time.

What if you want to become a best-selling author?  
I can’t proclaim that I have a perfect system that always works in every situation, because I’ve only done it once for myself! But I can definitely show you in more detail what I did, what worked and didn’t work, and what I would do differently next time.  Leave a comment below if you want more detail.

Good luck with your book launch!

About

Robert Coorey is a Best-Selling Author and Director of Global Business at E-Web Marketing. Robert has worked across 11 different industries, and has valuable insights into how the top companies around the world market their services. Robert has a reputation for innovation and unusual marketing tactics. Robert has a MBA from Macquarie Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Computer Science from Macquarie University. You can download Rob's best-selling book, Email Marketing that Sells, from the link below: http://www.amazon.com/Email-Marketing-That-Sells-ebook/dp/B00AB68NDE

3 Comments

  1. Luke Manion Reply

    Can you outline more what you did to promote the book? Other than just pushing to your subscriber list (which most people don’t have!).

    I was one of the people that downloaded the book (for free) when you posted it out to your list, but I must admit I didn’t realise that you wanted a review in return.

    Did you pushing this version out for free assist in getting your to be the best-selling author part, even though it was free? Are you aiming to be number one in that category on the day to be the “best-selling” part?

    • Robert Coorey Reply

      Hey Luke,

      Thanks for your question. To answer your questions fully will take way longer than a simple return comment. If it helps, I’m happy to have a more in-depth chat offline and show you our complete in-detailed book launch project plan. Although, I just saw Tim Ferris’ latest book launch project plan and ours was only a small fraction of his. At a high level, I would say 20% of my downloads came from my list and the lists of by “book launch team”, 30% came from Facebook ads and a Facebook “claim offer” and the other 50% was the Amazon.com cross-selling Marketing Machine taking over and suggesting for people to get my book. I tried a lot of other marketing initiatives, but none were as powerful as these ones above.

      I should have made it clearer that the free download offer was designed to attract reviews, my bad :-( There’s still time to review the book if you thought it helped you!

      The free promotional period was an essential element in the whole launch process. Unless you’re already a famous author, it’s hard to get good traction without the free period. Yes, number one in the category is the goal!

    • Robert Coorey Reply

      Hey Luke,

      Thanks for your question. To answer your questions fully will take
      way longer than a simple return comment. If it helps, I’m happy to have a
      more in-depth chat offline and show you our complete in-detailed book
      launch project plan. Although, I just saw Tim Ferris’ latest book
      launch project plan and ours was only a small fraction of his. At a
      high level, I would say 20% of my downloads came from my list and the
      lists of by “book launch team”, 30% came from Facebook ads and a
      Facebook “claim offer” and the other 50% was the Amazon.com
      cross-selling Marketing Machine taking over and suggesting for people to
      get my book. I tried a lot of other marketing initiatives, but none
      were as powerful as these ones above.

      I should have made it clearer that the free download offer was designed to attract reviews, my bad There’s still time to review the book if you thought it helped you!

      The free promotional period was an essential element in the whole
      launch process. Unless you’re already a famous author, it’s hard to get
      good traction without the free period. Yes, number one in the category
      is the goal!

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