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

Written by Steve Scott on February 8, 2015. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
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The Question

Derek Doepker of 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

  • Razvan

    Hi Steve,

    I am huge fan of yours, I think I bought at least 10 of your books which involve Internet strategies (Outsourcing, Master Evernote, is .99 the new free, email marketing blueprint, how to set up a blog in 1 hour, writing habit mastery, how to write a nonfiction book in 21 days that readers love, 23 anti-procrastination habits, email inbox declutter, resolutions that stick, authority affiliate marketing, your first 1000$ and make money online. All are amazing books, congratulations for writing them!

    I have got into the publishing business in November 2014 and until now I have been using the free launch strategy on most of my books.

    The free launch is getting worse and worse. As I don’t have an email list, I paid for advertising and I had decent results ( I have managed to generate $920 in 1 month with only 2 books in June!).

    The problem is that I want to get more out of my books and I want to ask you a small question:

    If I pay for advertising for a book launch at $0.99 and generate at least 200 sales in 3-4 days, would it be enough to start driving organic sales? I am willing to invest around $300 in ads (Including BuckBooks which were great).

    My first book under my official pen name (Amazon Associates) was promoted free (I got 2200 downloads in 5 days) and then used a BuckBooks promo and got 141 sales in 1 day. After 3 days, the book started making 12 – 20 sales per day at $2.99 and I guess that’s mostly because of BuckBooks. Unfortunately, free promos are expensive and not profitable (for me). I invest like $150 and get 2500 downloads and then I barely see 3-4 sales a day (like you mentioned in some posts).

    I am in the process of building a blog and an email list (just purchased the domain and everything, now I am working on the design), and I want to use your strategies which are great. But until I grow my blog, email list and possibly a Podcast, what do you think about paying for advertising at $0.99.

    Please let me know what you think.

    Thanks in advance.