I’m excited to welcome author Chloe Adler to #IndieMonth2017! When Chloe launched her first book with this marketing plan, she was not a known author. In the first four days her book was on sale, it garnered 17 reviews, boosting the listing’s Amazon rating to spot #5,889. Over the next six weeks, the total climbed to 31 reviews, and the book eventually hit #5 in the Witches category for free books and #286 in free Kindle books overall. Imagine the possibilities if you practice and perfect Chloe’s plan. Read on to learn how putting these steps into action has enhanced her sales.
[Tweet “Imagine the possibilities if you practice and perfect @ChloeAdlerWrite’s launch plan #IndieMonth2017”]
This guide is in-depth and intense. It is a go-to resource list and specific set of instructions for authors serious about acing their next book launch. This is not a light read, and Stage 1 requires some investment of time and energy. Don’t have time to read and absorb it all right this second? Skim through to imprint the basic framework in your memory, then bookmark this article for reference later. Some (not all) of these steps are specific to Amazon, but since Amazon is the biggest player in the yard these days, Chloe’s plan should work for most authors.
Planning to launch your first book as an indie and feeling completely overwhelmed with the process?
Before I launched my first book, I prepared—for months and months. In retrospect, I wouldn’t recommend over-preparing. I read contradictory experiences and some confusion set in, plus I wasted valuable writing time on research. Research is important, yes! But after you read a few author’s experiences, formulate your own launch plan and then get back to writing.
Before you plan your launch ask yourself: Do I work better by writing things out longhand? Using Word to make paragraphs and lists. Or using Excel or a Google doc spreadsheet? I made my first launch list in a Google doc spreadsheet and never looked at it again. In the end what worked for me was writing it out in Word.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the three stages to a successful book launch:
- What to do before launching
- What to do on the day of launch
- What to do after your launch
Stage 1, pre-launch
Yes, I’m going to tell you now what I told you not to do, but with the caveat of limiting your research. Where do you research? On Facebook groups and/or forums (links below). Spend no more than 30-40 minutes per day on this. Time yourself.
- Facebook: There are 2 great forums you should check out. Lurk at first, and use their search bars to look up your questions, because they’ve probably been asked before and answered in detail. There is absolutely no self promotion allowed on either of these sites. For Love or Money and 20booksto50K.
- Forums: There are free ones and paid ones. Start with the free ones—Kboards and Romance Divas. The paid one that I love and belong to is Dirty Discourse (it’s $5 a month).
Read books about launching
Reach out to other authors
Ones you meet in the facebook groups or on the forums. Most are more than happy to answer questions and interact as long as you don’t take up too much of their time and are respectful.
Start a Facebook page
Use your pen name or real name (whatever you’re writing under) and post at least once a day. Note that if you start a new profile page as an author (under your real or pen) you will gain a ton of author friends. 🙂
Start a website
If you can. This is not a must, but it does help. There are free drag and drop website builders like Weebly that work great and are easy to use!
Start gathering Twitter followers and engage with them
If you’d asked me several months ago if Twitter sells books I would have responded NO. But last week I tracked it, and yes I sold 1 book. That won’t “break the bank” but I never tracked it before so I’ve probably sold more. After four months of spending about 20-30 minutes a day gathering Twitter followers I hit 1,000. I currently have close to 1500 after 7 months.
Write down your marketing strategy
There are some free promos—like Shameless Book Deals—and many paid ones that are affordable, from $5 to $35. And then there are those that are $300+ that you will have to wait for (like BookBub). Obviously you will have to find the ones that cater to your genre. You can learn what they are from the FB groups, forums, and other authors. You need to set many of the promos up far in advance, especially the more popular ones like Fussy Librarian (and they also only take books with 5 reviews or more, but are happy to schedule you for a future date prior to your launch, pending reviews).
Create a “reader magnet”
I did not do this, but it’s highly recommended. Write a free short story or long book and put it up on Instafreebie (IF) to get newsletter (NL) subscribers. It’s recommended to have a 5,000 to 15,000 word story (or a full book) and make it exclusive to IF, so do not offer it anywhere else or it becomes devalued.
Give out advanced reader copies of your book (ARCs)
1-2 weeks prior to your launch, put your first book up on IF as an ARC and encourage reviewers to give it an honest review on launch day. If you send out your ARCs more than one week before launch, you’ll want to send out a newsletter 5-7 days prior to remind your readers that you are launching on (date) and counting on them for reviews. Then send another newsletter on the day of your launch telling them that it’s live.
[alert type=green ]DaVinciKittie’s note: Some reviewers, especially the ones that post for larger blogs, require more than a month’s notice, so when you do your research, be sure to look into the review policies of any sites you want to work with, and get them their review copies within their requested timeline. Here is an example of a Review Policy from GraveTells.com[/alert]
One caveat about ARC reviews
Amazon reviews written by verified purchasers go to the top of your reviews, so if you’re launching for free ask your ARC readers to purchase your book first (even though it costs them nothing and they already have the ARC copy). Eventually, when you have enough verified purchaser reviews, your ARC reviews will be hidden.
A tip for collecting early Amazon reviews
If you want reviews posted on your ebook listing prior to its launch, you can release your hardcopy on Amazon before you launch your Kindle book (but I did not do this).
Team up with author friends
If you’ve gathered author friends, ask them to promote your launch in their upcoming newsletters. Most authors (in your genre) are happy to do this.
Put your book up for pre-order
You can put your book up for preorder prior to launch, or not. I did this only because then I would be beholden to getting it published. If you do not launch on said date then Amazon won’t let you set up another preorder for a year!
Stage 2, launch day!
I almost didn’t do this but an author friend told me to, and I’m so glad I did. My celebratory dinner cost me $80, and it took me several weeks before I recouped that. During which time I made the joke, “I still haven’t made enough money to pay for my celebratory dinner.” So celebrate whatever way works for you. Take a day off to spend with your family, go to the beach, play lawn darts, whatever. But make it momentous in your own way, something you can remember.
Check your numbers and ranking
But don’t obsess (easier said than done). If your ranking is too low, you may want to hit up more promotions.
On your own FB page(s) and on Twitter. Within reason! Do not annoy people!
[Tweet “Click for go-to strategy instructions for authors SERIOUS about acing their next #BookLaunch.”]
Stage 3, post-launch
More newsletter swaps
Join FB newsletter swap groups—there are MANY. Search FB with the terms “newsletter swap” and do as many as you can!
- If you’re in KU (Kindle Unlimited), you are only allowed to give away 10% of your book for free. If this is the case, upload a 10% sample to IF and Bookfunnel (BF) with links in the front and back to your full book and an explanation about this being 10%. If they like what they read, they can purchase the full.
- If you’ve done your reader magnet you can offer that in you’re the newsletter swaps.
- If you’re not in KU, you can offer your full book for free in the swaps.
If you want to “stay sticky”—which means you get “high up” in the Amazon rankings—and you’re a nobody or haven’t shot your rocket right out of the gate (ie: been lucky like Hugh Howey), you’ll have to stay on the ball and promote the heck out of yourself. You can do free promos, small paid promos, blog tours (I’ve never done those), or Amazon ads. You can try Facebook ads, but personally I don’t touch those. I spent $400 on FB ads for another business and my ROI (return on investment) was zero. But many other people know how to made FB ads work for them.
[Tweet “#BookLaunch #tip from @ChloeAdlerWrite: Stay on the ball and promote the heck out of yourself!”]
Temporarily make your book free
Offer your book for free. If it’s in KU, you can do this for 5 days within 3 months. I spread those out over 3 days and then a month later for 2 days. If you can include a promo during this time that’s even better! I’m using Fussy Librarian for my free days, and next time I will use FreeBooksy. For my first free days, I asked some folks on FB to promote, and I promoted myself using my FB, Twitter, and my NL.
Have your next pre-order ready to go
Put your second book up for pre-order as soon as possible because people will buy it after they read your first book. Also put a link to the preorder in the back of your first book and a blurb (or Chapter 1) if you can. I have done this with every book in the series, and my preorders (which were only 8 for book 1) have gone up to over 50.
[Tweet “#IndieAuthors: Increase your #preorders by putting your 2nd book up ASAP! @ChloeAdlerWrite”]
Publish your next book as soon as you possibly can. I’ve published 3 novels in 6 weeks.
- Yes, I also have a day job.
- Yes, I’m insane!
- Yes, I had them partially stacked upon release of Book 1.
- Book 1 was written and edited
- Book 2 was being edited
- Book 3 was being written
Keep a regular newsletter cadence & give things away
Send regular newsletters, and offer free or discounted books when you can. One author I know offers a free chapter a week for newsletter subscribers.
More details you need to consider
How much should I charge for my book?
The money question that I do not have the answer to: Should you put your book up for preorder for $0.99? Should you launch at $0.99? Should you keep book 1 in your series at $0.99 or free (if you’re not in KU)?
Some people swear that Amazon rewards you for launching at full price. I don’t know, I launched at $0.99. I encourage you to follow your intuition and heart on this one. You can also experiment.
Newsletter nitty gritty
I grew my mailing list from 3 people to 2,000 people in six weeks! This was only from having a constant promo up on IF and BF (in my case it’s only 10% of my first novel) and doing newsletter swaps. I get a significant amount of my sales from my newsletter peeps.
- I use MailerLite and love it. You can use it for free for awhile, as you can most of the others. Most authors I know use this one or Aweber (below).
- I used to use MailChimp (MC) and loved it, but when I imported my IF ARC list, MC banned me. And unless you pay for their service, you can’t contact them. This type of business model infuriates me so I no longer use them, and MailerLite gets all my money. 🙂 PLUS in the long run, MailerLite is significantly cheaper than MC when you get more subscribers, which will happen very fast if you always have a promo up on IF and do newsletter swaps.
- Aweber: A lot of writers love this one but I’ve never used it.
- Constant Contact: I have never used this and it’s pricey but some people love it.
[Tweet “I get a significant amount of my sales from my newsletter peeps @ChloeAdlerWrite #IndieMonth2017”]
Another word of advice
Don’t make your friends and family buy your book (they will anyway, grrrr). They will want to buy it in order to support your endeavor, but this will mess up your “also boughts“. I uploaded my book to BookFunnel ($20 per year) and sent a newsletter only to friends and family with the link. 3 people out of 20+ downloaded it. 2 read it. So YES it was a total waste of my time to do that in one regard, but in retrospect it was a really good use of my time since:
- Most didn’t buy the book and damage my also boughts (some did anyway)
- They no longer ask to read it or even talk about it with me at all, which now saves oodles of time.
I basically paid a small price to get them off my back . 🙂
Check out my Writing Resources for Authors Page for more information!
Quick Reference Resources
Here’s an easy listing of the resources listed in this article. Enjoy and good luck with your release!
- Facebook groups:
- Launch to Market by Chris Fox
- 10 Step Self-Publishing BOOT CAMP: The Survival Guide For Launching Your First Novel (Career Author #1) by S.K. Quinn
- Mastering Amazon Ads: An Author’s Guide by Brian D. Meeks
- Online promo tools:
- Newsletter options:
- Other online tools:
Check out Chloe’s latest release, A Witch’s Mortal Desire!A Witch's Mortal Desire by Chloe Adler
Published by Signum Publishing on May 3, 2017
Add it to your To Read shelf: Goodreads
Buy or reserve your copy online at*: Amazon (Kindle)
Find the Author: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, Newsletter sign-up, Bookbub
My name is Sadie, and I’m a nymphomaniac. Oh yeah, and I’m also a witch…with almost zero magical powers. The only place I fit in is with my two roommates—a vampire Domme and a gay shape-shifter.
But against my better judgment, a new human in town wants to squeeze into our ménage à many. Of course, part of his charm is that my mother hates him. But before meeting Ryder, I never even considered letting some possessive, alpha-hole man-candy come between me and freedom.
Yet Mr. Tall, Dark, and Switchy likes to share…and to watch. Because wicked creatures still skitter around the blackened edges of the night me and my friends must turn to my judgmental family for help.
*This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.
These are open to US & international readers! Leave a comment on today’s post, then fill out the prize widgets below to enter to win these fantastic prizes! Not sure what to chat about?
- Got an upcoming book launch? What did you find most insightful about Chloe’s plan?
- What questions do you still have after reading Chloe’s advice?
Sponsored by author Chloe Adler: Winner’s choice of book from her backlist!
A US-based winner can choose from an ebook or a signed paperback, or an international winner can choose an e-book from her published book list.
Win one of 12 prizes from our event sponsors! Including a $25 Amazon Gift Card, jewelry, swag, and TONS of ebooks!
Note: This prize widget is shared between both sites, and you can get points for comments once per day. Which works out great with the schedule, because between the two, there is one post every day. =) Visit and comment daily to hit em all!