What is a Launch Team? People who have already agreed to read your book ahead of time. and provide reviews once the listing goes live. An effective Launch Team works best when you have built a relationship with your team over a period of time. So even if you’re not close to launch, you are going to want to start to assemble your team.
The Launch Team
Start building your relationships early
Don’t wait until the last minute to put together a team. You have months of outreaching and research to do. Asking people if they would help launch your book when it goes live. Generating interest by teasing people with snippets on social media. Sharing chapters with your list (finding them if you haven’t already) and sending that cover to people. Don’t forget all the promotional effort!
Get out there and share content, advertise the brand, tease the will-be-readers. Relentlessly talk about your writing with people in person and online channels. You’re wanting to create relationships with people that are genuine. This means making friends with people who read books in your niche who might just recommend your book to others.
Create your list of potential reviewers
Once you start getting a fan-base, ask people if they’d be interested in joining your launch team. If you have previous books published, check out the reviews and ask if anyone wants to review the new book.
Contact the people who are part of your launch team closer to the launch of your next book. Make sure they are still interested and to get them on board. Set up an excel spreadsheet and keep track of the names of people who sign up.
Contact people directly and invite them to the launch team. Keep track of early-bird reviewers’ email addresses in excel.
Set up an email template through your email server
If you have been following this blog, you’ll know I am referring to the autoresponder I talked about last week. But if you aren’t using an email server yet can check out Mailchimp, Convert Kit or Mailerlite. Make it easy as possible on yourself so you’re not wasting time.
Welcome your team in the first email, include details of the launch date and any expectations you have of them. Let them know when they can expect to receive your book and how you plan to send it. Let them know what format your book will be in but try having it in PDF and Mobi/epub form. Make it easy as possible to access it by using Dropbox or Google Drive or any cloud sharing space.
Import your list of emails onto an email server list.
Send out the Welcome email
Send your book out at least two weeks before the official launch date. You need to give people enough time to read it so they can give you a great review on the day it goes live. Since the book isn’t live yet, you will have to send an email out on launch date that you will put the book’s link in.
It is easier on your team if you give them as many formats as possible. To create a MOBI, PDF or EPUB file you can check out the Calibre ebook management software. If any top reviewers agreed to leave a review, you absolutely want to message them to follow up.
Make sure your book is in many different formats to support all of your reviewers.
Send out your ‘Take Action’ email on launch day
Once your book goes live, contact the team. Let them know that your book is live and it is time for people to step up. Contact the team on launch day as soon as the book is live. Include a link to the review page so that team members can go straight to the page with one click.
Once you have hit the ‘save and publish’ button, it should take 12-24 hours for Amazon to get it posted.
Day 3: Reminder email
Wait 3 days and send out a reminder email. In this email, thank everyone who has left a review and thank people in advance who are still working on the book and haven’t posted yet.
This is the last email you should send out. Similar to the previous email, reminding people the book is live and is ready for a review whenever you are. You can offer them a special on the book if they would like to share it with people. Also offer to keep them on file for any future launch teams or other events. Allow them to opt-out if they wish to do so.
Contact Your List
If you have a list separate from the launch team, use this for getting paid downloads and possible reviews. Send an email out to the list a week before launch letting them know when your book will go live. Have another sent a couple of days later reminding them of the date and again the day before launch day. After the launch, wait a couple days and send out another email. Ask them if they would be so kind to leave a review if they have read your book. Here is a sample pulled from the Internet.
It reads like this:
I have a quick favor to ask you…
Amazon uses reviews to rank books AND many readers evaluate the quality of a title based solely on this feedback from others.
To put it simply:
Reviews are very important to an author like me!
So, if you’ve enjoyed [Book title here], or even if you’re still working through it, could you take a minute or two to leave a review? Even a sentence or two about what you like really helps!
Here’s a link of where you can leave a review:
[My Book Title] Book Review
I really appreciate you taking the time to check out the book and I look forward to seeing any feedback you may have in the review section.
That is it! You’ve had hopefully a successful launch, and gotten a few sales in addition. Keep in mind that if you are hoping for a certain number of reviews, contact double that amount of people. There will always be a percentage of people who do not review your book.
- Didn’t like the book.
- Forgot to review altogether.
- Didn’t read the book.
- Couldn’t be bothered to review.
20 or more reviews within the first week is VERY good! It’s certainly enough for the Amazon algorithm to notice your book is doing well. Get creative in your launch teams, especially if you have launched a few books with the same people. You can score more members if current ones are enjoying the launch and/or your books.
Your Amazon author’s career will happen more smoothly if you take advantage of specific resources discovered and embraced by your predecessors. See which ones will enhance your marketing and promotion, formatting and function – or just plain enjoyment of your Amazon options.
Kindle Cloud Reader
If you don’t have your own Kindle device, install the free Kindle Cloud Reader.
And download it even if you do have a Kindle device. (You want to see what those who also use the Kindle Cloud Reader see, when they download your eBook.)
Says Amazon: “If you have a print version of your title and enroll the Kindle version in Kindle MatchBook you can earn a royalty from Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) based on the Promotional List Price (choose from $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free) for any Kindle MatchBook sale.”
Translated, that means anyone buying your book in hard copy is eligible to purchase the Kindle version at a reduced price. This gives you two sales for one. Be sure to let your audience know about Matchbook.
Goodreads is just one of the directories you should consider submitting your book to, when you publish it on Amazon – but it’s one of the most important. A quick run through Alexa.com shows this directory/social book site with a Global Rank of just 281 and its popularity has done nothing but soar over the last two years.
Check it out on Alexa yourself for some eye-opening data… such as the fact that its audience is predominantly female with some college education, no university; and that a majority of its upstream contacts come from Facebook and Amazon itself.
This freelance directory used to be more “miss” than “hit” – but freelance contractors have discovered it’s an easy way to introduce a taste of their services to marketers looking for outsourcing help.
On any given day on Fiverr you can usually find someone to help you by:
- Formatting your manuscript to Kindle
- Creating an eCover for your book
- Write a detailed, verified book review
And even animate your .PDF, (useful if you want to create a promotional video).
Blogs on Kindle
If you already have a blog containing relevant content, sell it on Amazon.
Not many people have discovered this yet – but there are actually people who will pay to have your blog delivered to their Kindle reader. You can sign up for this through Blogs on Kindle and submit your blog.
If you don’t already have a blog, create one and start writing posts relevant to your book.
For example, if you’ve written a romance novel, run a blog about writing romances, with tips, advice and resources. Once you’ve built up momentum and at least ten juicy posts, think about selling it on Amazon – but once you do that, you’re committed to maintaining it!
Want to do your own cover graphics? You’ll need more than a great, original photo.
You also have to:
- Insert your Title
- Add your Sub-title
- Include your by-line
Gimp offers free graphics editing, and if you’ve ever used Adobe Photoshop, you’ll be comfortable with it in no time.
It also provides excellent contextual help from right within the program, once you’ve installed it.
(If Gimp is not for you, you can also use Kindle’s own, free Cover Creator. Just make sure the finished result is top notch.)
Kindle Resource List
Want a Kindle Previewer? No problem.
Want a different type of formatter? No problem.
Just bookmark Kindle’s own resource list – and see which resources fit with your learning style and author needs.
Amazon Author Central
Join Amazon Author Central not only to create your Author page, but to help yourself to up-to-date sales data, contact support staff, get your questions answered and track your sales.
Offers Amazon: “Add your biography, photos, blog, video, and tour events to the Author Page, your homepage on Amazon.com.”
A great community where you can create presence within specific niches and narrow areas of interest. Get in the habit of following it daily. Not only should you ask questions – answer them.
Follow at least 3-5 threads and specialize in these. Pick ones that your ideal reader would be interested in; not just ones you think may be useful. Another great forum to check out as more of a resource for authors is Goodreads’ dedicated “How to Promote Your Book on Amazon”.
This site is where you can buy your ISBN numbers, if you decide to be your own publisher. There are ways to get ISBNs for free, but avoid them: With free offers, the company that issued the ISBN is often listed as the publisher – not you. This is guaranteed to cause trouble if you try to move your book to another publishing company, or a print publisher wants to pick up your eBook rights.
Your resource directory wouldn’t be complete if you’re not introduced to Kindle Gen. This command-line tool is for the tech-savvy who are comfortable in HTML, XHTML or ePUB. If you want to include advanced formatting, this is definitely preferable to Kindle’s basic book-building options.
And you’ll also find a handy list of links versions for formatting tools for specific purposes, such as creating comics or graphic novels. (Use Kindle Format 8 or Comic Creator, if your eBook is heavy on graphics.)
Kindle Publishing Programs is where you need to go to find an online previewer . Scroll down to the middle of the page until you find the heading “Download Kindle Previewer 2.94”. Then press the download button.
Bonus Resource List:
Finally, ever have trouble finding the right category for your eBook? Amazon has them hidden away in its Help section.
If you find the perfect category in these lists, and can’t find it when you go to upload your Kindle, pick the nearest available category and upload it anyway. Then contact the Support Team and ask them to manually put your book into your category of choice. (They will.)
Amazon says: “For a title to appear in the sub-categories below, the title’s search keywords must include at least one of the keywords or phrases listed next to the sub-category. These categories and subcategories are specific to books listed for sale on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. Other marketplaces may not support these keywords. .”
Take a look at the categorizes below to see the keywords you should use to place your book in a sub-category. You may discover some sub-categories you didn’t know was there.
Here we go…
- Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Teen & Young Adult
- Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense
- Comics & Graphic Novels
So you’re ready to get started in your Amazon career as an author. You can add more resources to this list as technology changes or you discover new gems. Here’s hoping this Resource Directory makes your Amazon publishing life much easier – and gets you closer to Best Seller status.
Some final tips
Here are some final tips when publishing that you should keep in mind.
People DO Judge a Book by the Cover.
What draws you to a book in the first place? If you’re not looking for a certain book or author, it is more likely what is on the cover. Keep it light and clean. Don’t focus on depicting a scene from your book as potential readers will not know that is what it is.
Professional-Looking Layout Matters.
What looks wonderful in print layout often than not will look horrible in Kindle layout. If you plan to offer both formats of your book, keep this in mind.
Bad Formatting Causes Negative Reviews.
Make sure your books formatting on Kindle looks professional. The Kindle Preview may not show you where there are problems or show ones that do not exist. Use Kindle Apps and if you have to, get your own Kindle. It’s a business expense.
There’s Power in Having Your Own Publishing Company.
Not talking about going out and spending big money, just using your own ISBN numbers on your book.
Don’t Rush It.
You’re excited, but don’t rush through and try to do things quickly. You’ll make mistakes and your profits will suffer from it.
Do Keyword Researches.
Use Google’s free keyword tool and play around with keywords and phrases that people might use to look up books like yours. Also check Google’s search trends option to see what topics are trending as related to your niche.
Plan Things Out.
Everything you’ll do will take time. Try not to have other events happening at the same time. Do not divide your attention as something is going to suffer.
Link Your Books.
Make sure your Kindle edition and Paper edition are linked as the same book on Amazon. It’s hard to promote your book when you have two different links. Most importantly Amazon will not know that the two are one book. This will greatly effect ratings! Make sure you go into the DTP dashboard area. There is a place you can request that the books get linked.
Ask for Help
We all need help from time to time. This whole process can be stressful and there may be times when things just do not seem to work properly. People may not be responding to your launch team requests. No one is signing up to know more about your book. It never hurts to ask friends and family to do a little plug. Keep in mind that they are your worse critics… As in they won’t tell you the truth about your book.
That will be it for this week! What do you believe makes you want to purchase a book from an author for the first time? What other tips or tricks can you share? Drop it in the comments!