SPQ 046: $0.99 Book Launch: How Long Does it Take for Amazon to Drive Organic Sales?

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The Question

Derek Doepker of ExcuseProof.com wants to know how long you should keep a book at 99 cents and promote to your list before you let Amazon take over and start driving organic sales.

Biggest Takeaway

The Answer

Derek Doepker is a very successful Kindle author and marketer in his own right. His product, “Hooks for Books,” includes some great examples of engaging titles that pull readers in.

There are two primary strategies for a book launch:

  1. Give away the book for free (via KDP Select program) for one to five days out of every 90-day period; try to get as many downloads as possible. This helps you build momentum so you get more sales when you increase the price of the book.
  2. Price your book at 99 cents and market it to an established platform.

The free launch strategy is great for people who don’t have their own platforms. The problem is that it takes a lot of hard work to run this type of promotion. It takes some people as much as 20 to 40 hours to do one of these launches.

If you have an established blog or YouTube channel, the second strategy might work best for you. With an established platform, you can generate sales on your own. If you can generate 50 to 100 sales by marketing to your existing audience, then this is a good strategy.

So when does Amazon really start promoting your book? It usually takes about a week.

Steve’s publishing process takes about two weeks. In week one, he publishes the book, checks the formatting on multiple devices, and asks people to check the books for any problems. He also sends the book to his street team, a group of people who liked his previous books and agreed to read his new content.

Week two, which lasts five to seven days, is launch week. Amazon really likes to see a consistent amount of sales spread out over a number of days. One-day promos don’t really help you gain momentum unless you are strategic about your promotional efforts.

If you have steady sales, it shows Amazon that your product is something people want. Therefore, Steve spreads his promotions out over a week. On Monday, he’ll promote to his Develop Good Habits list and swap out the book title on his thank-you page and Hello Bar, an advertising banner at the top of his site.

On Tuesday, he sends an email to people who are interested in his self-publishing information. A lot of people who are interested in habits are also entrepreneurs, so this tactic does generate sales.

Wednesday is the day Steve does social media. He puts advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. He also adds a short advertisement on his blog. This advertisement converts during launch week, but it also converts well after the book launches.

Thursday is the day Steve writes a “last chance” email to let readers know the price of the book will be going up soon. This email converts better than anything else.

Finally, Friday through Sunday is a mix of promotional activities. He might email people, put an advertisement in his email signature, or use other tactics to drive sales to his book. At midnight EST on Sunday, he increases the price of his book from 99 cents to $2.99.

Steve uses all of these promotional tactics to generate a steady stream of sales and traffic throughout the week. This seems to help Amazon realize that the book is a good one.

The most important thing is to focus on consistent action.

Resources and Links

Excuse Proof Fitness: Find content to help you change your fitness habits and stay motivated

Hooks for Books: Learn the key to drawing in readers and turning your book into a bestseller

Hello Bar: Add an advertisement to the top of your website with just a few keystrokes

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