The Complete Guide to Book Marketing (how to launch a book to #1 on Amazon)

Today is the last day to get the #1 free startup book on Amazon The 7 Day Startup – grab it here for free.

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Note from Dan: Hey guys, a few weeks ago I hired Tom to help me with the launch of my first book, The 7 Day Startup. It was the best decision I have made in a long time. The book has been downloaded over 6,000 times in a few days and is the #1 free book in the Startups category on Amazon Kindle (#2 in the whole business category). Tom has also been working on this post to reveal everything we did, I hope you like it. Over to Tom. 

I met Dan for the first time about a month ago. It only took a few seconds of conversation to realize that Dan is a passionate, smart, and driven person – the kind of person you’d love to work with if you ever had the opportunity.

Lucky for me, Dan was working on a new book and needed help launching it.

As a boutique book publisher that specializes in business nonfiction, I was excited by the prospect. The book Dan had written – The 7 Day Startup – was about his foray into entrepreneurship, the roller-coaster ride he experienced trying to build a startup, and how, after failing multiple times, he was able to launch WPCurve.com in 7 days and subsequently scale it to a 6 figure company within months.

This is exactly the type of book project I love to be involved in and I knew from Dan’s transparent, down to earth approach, he’d be a pleasure to work with.

Then he told me he wanted to launch the book in less than three weeks. And not only that, he wanted me at the same time to create the most useful, comprehensive and detailed post that exists on the topic of book marketing.

That’s when I knew Dan was crazy.

Normally, it takes a few months to properly prepare for a launch (whether for a book, a digital or physical product, or anything in between). But here’s the thing – at this point, I couldn’t back down. Dan had just told me all about his book and how he was able to launch a 6 figure business in 7 days – surely I could launch a book in as much time, right?

There was only one way to find out.

So I got started.

He wanted to make it free and was tossing up between putting it up on his site as a PDF or doing it via Amazon. I pushed him to do it via Amazon and attempt to reach a bigger new audience via their platform.

Results so far

A few weeks later, we’ve launched the book and after a few days of being live on the Amazon store, it’s already been downloaded over 6,000+ times and is #1 in the Amazon bestseller category under “Startups” and “Small Business” as well as their parent category “Entrepreneurship and small  business” and #2 in the entire “Business” category.

(note: the most recent updates are at the bottom of the page and we’ve hit the top 40 of all of Amazon!…not bad at all)

7_day_startup_downloads

Here is a screenshot of the best sellers rank for the 2 categories. Note it got as high as #30 overall, the screenshot below shows it at #49. This is across all free books in the entire Kindle store.

startups_category

 

Here is the Entrepreneurship and Small business sub-category

small_business_entrepreneurship

Hopefully this momentum will continue as we start our post launch promotion, leveraging Dan’s platform, social networks and our “Influencer Circle” (which I’ll explain in detail later in this post).

Normally, I would wait a couple weeks to write a comprehensive report on the success of launch, but there are three reasons I wanted to share this immediately:

  1. The details are still fresh in my brain (like hot-out-of-the-oven fresh), which means you’ll get a lot of “on the ground details” that are often absent in blog posts like this
  2. The book is live right now and free for only a couple more days. GRAB IT HERE!
  3. Dan made me.

A few things before we get started:

  • My first call with Dan was on 8 September, 2014. We launched the book on 29 September, 2014 – 21 days later. However, a lot of that time was spent finalizing the digital and physical print files, determining how we wanted to launch (as in: what platform), as well as coordinating the launch with Dan’s speaking engagement at the end of the month. All of the work that was done could be condensed into 7 days if you’re willing to commit 6 – 10 hours a day to make it happen. As it turned out we only actually finished the book 1 day before we launched it!
  • We had planned on a coordinated physical print promotion to coworking spaces and audiobook release, but time and other outstanding events created some hurdles for us and those didn’t happen (not yet, at least). So while I’ll share what we tried to do with these tactics, I don’t include them as requirements in “The Essential Book Marketing Plan” I’m sharing with you here.
  • This blog post is written in chronological order of important items and tasks that need to be completed before you launch. There’s some room here for flex in terms of order and priority, but generally speaking: this is the sequence I would recommend you use for your book launch.

And finally, if you’d like a copy of the “Book Marketing Canvas” (more on this below) as well as video walk-throughs of everything we did to launch this book, grab my “Book Marketing Toolkit” over here: tommorkes.com/7daybooklaunch.

Alright, now onto the juicy details.

Grab a coffee or caramels, bookmark this page, and enjoy:

Day 7: Create Your Book Marketing Canvas

Here’s the deal: anyone can publish a book. In fact, hundreds of thousands do every year. The barrier to entry is so low it’s as good as non-existent.

Like Seth Godin says: the gatekeepers are gone (or at least fading in power and control).

But once anyone can publish anything at any moment, many will. And the result is noise.

Lots of noise.

In 2012, there were over 391,000 self-published books alone. The statistics aren’t in just yet for 2013 and beyond, but based on the trend line, that number is exploding.

So how do you get noticed in an increasingly noisy world? Well you need an organized marketing effort.

The “Book Marketing Canvas” is exactly that.

3 book marketing canvas

The “Book Marketing Canvas” is a simple, one pager – an adaptation of Alexander Osterwalder’s business model canvas or more recently Ash Maurya’s lean canvas, which are one page business models for startups.

The canvas methodically reverse-engineers the successful launches of competitors and develops an overlay or template that allows us to replicate their success with our own project.

The reality is that the most successful authors in the world are already doing just that; they’ve developed a template or blueprint that allows them to approach every book launch in a standardized, predictable way. This is important because it reduces waste (of time, money, and effort) and leverages the 80/20 rule or Paretto’s Principal: that 20% (give or take) of our efforts will result in 80% (ish) of results.

The “Book Marketing Canvas” is your template to achieve these same outstanding results. This assumes your content is good and you have somewhat of a platform or audience to start with.

Next, I’m going to walk you through the main elements of the “Book Marketing Canvas” and specific topics you need to address in order to achieve a successful book launch.

Note: in an ideal world, you’ll have developed your “Book Marketing Canvas” long before you ever start writing. However, if you already have a book finished, you still need to draft out all the elements so you know exactly how to develop and deploy your marketing and sales initiative.

For our purposes, I’m going to walk you through Dan’s “Book Marketing Canvas” as an example of how to fill this document out.

Let’s get to it:

Step 1.Basic Info (the top section of the Book Marketing Canvas)

4 book marketing canvas

The top section of the “Book Marketing Canvas” is all basic but essential information. This should take you about 57 seconds to fill out:

  • author
  • editor
  • publisher
  • marketing / book launch consultant (often, this is the same as a publisher, but if you’re self-publishing, you’ll want to hire someone for this)
  • title
  • launch date (important!  everything needs a ship date – everything!)
  • formats (how do you plan to roll this book out? PDF? Kindle? etc.)

Next, we deep-dive into the heart of the “Book Marketing Launch Canvas”

Step 2. Who is this book for?

5 book marketing canvas

This may be the most important question of the whole “Book Marketing Canvas.” After all, if you aren’t precise about who you’re writing for, how can you reach them?  How can you determine your book sales page copy or design?  How can you properly market or sell to them?

In this section, you want to get clear on who your target audience. Some questions that will help:

  • Who are you writing your book for?
  • Who is your ideal readership / reader segment / customer segment?
  • How do they refer to themselves (not how do you refer to them)?

Step 3. Who are your early adopters?

6 book marketing canvasNext, we want to find out who among your target audience (reader segment) will be the first to click “buy.” Whether you’re selling your book for free, through the Amazon platform, or direct to customer using a platform like Gumroad.com, this section can’t be stressed enough.

Early adopters are the most important group of people for a book launch (or any launch, really). These are the excited readers, the top 3 – 5% of your audience who will buy on proof of concept alone (oftentimes, simply because your name is assosicated with a project).

The keys are to:

  1. Identify this group
  2. Make sure you’re able to reach out to them directly and ideally separately from your general audience or reader segment (more on creating an Ambassador group below)
  3. Incentivize them to buy, share, and review on launch day
  4. Create an ‘early access’ ambassador group for your book. This group will get early access to the book before anyone else (or, if you’re doing a hard launch day, they’ll be the first to know and get access). They will be your key for spreading the word when you launch.

Step 4. What problem is your book solving?

7 book marketing canvas

Once you identify exactly who your ideal reader is, you’ll want to clarify what your book is about (and why your readership should care). This means identifying the main problem your book is solving.

Clarifying the problem helps with sales page copy, newsletter copy, and ultimately: activating your reader segment. When an author articulates a problem we have in the language we use with ourselves (often subcosciously), it’ triggers trust.

For The 7 Day Startup, we knew we were solving the problem of the “wantrepreneur” (or someone who had great ideas but could never properly execute on them). Knowing the problem we were solving, it was easy to come up with a list of bullet points for our sales page that spoke directly to this demographic. This landing page was put together using OptimizePress which comes with a bunch of suitable templates.

You can check out the landing p age for The 7 Day Startup here.

8 the 7 day startup

Every bullet point here is the solution for a common “wantrepreneur” problem (or at least identifies the problem wantrepreneurs have – like the concept of validation – and shows that we have the solution).

Step 5. How does your book solve this problem?

9 book marketing canvas

Once we understand the problem we’re solving, the next question is: how do we actually solve it with our book?

A book is a medium to exchange an idea. In that respect, it’s a lot like YouTube, or a blog, or Twitter…but with a big difference: a book allows us the space and length to dive deep into a subject. That means the solution to the problem we’ve identified ought to be something that benefits from this, not detracts from it.

Have you ever read reviews on Amazon where people say: could have been summed up in a blog post? If you’re solving the right problem with the right medium (in this case, a book), you’ll never see these comments (except from the outlying haters, but you can safely ignore them).

For The 7 Day Startup, Dan kept his book fluff-free – a short, powerful, and most importantly, ACTIONABLE read, complete with a half dozen bonus materials to help you start a business from scratch in 7 days.

This was due largely to the help of some early reviewers and an awesome editor, Elisa from Writing Business Well.

Step 6. How will you reach your readers and early adopters?

10 book marketing canvas

Next to identifying the target audience for your book, this is the most important part of the “Book Marketing Canvas.”

It doesn’t matter if you write the best book in the world if no one reads it. Conversely, there are plenty of poorly written books that become bestsellers.

The differentiator?  Activating and catalyzing your fanbase.

In other words: how do you get your biggest fans to drop what they’re doing, read your book, write a review, and spread the word? I write more about this process below, but for now, we just want to figure out who those fans are and how we can reach them (and who they can reach, by extension).

Step 7. How do you measure success?

11 book marketing canvas

Before you move on, it’s important to determine your metrics for success.

One of the first things Dan said to me over the phone: “I’m giving this book away for free and you’re not going to change my mind on it.”

Cool – that rules out revenue as a metric for success.  So what did Dan care about?  Reach and impact.

That’s why we went with Amazon’s platform: it allowed Dan’s book to be consumed by the broadest possible audience (whereas, had we given his book away for free on wpcurve.com, it wouldn’t have reached quite as broad an audience…but could have brought in more revenue, had that been the point).

You get the idea. Depending on what your metrics (how you measure success), this will dictate the distribution channels you use.

Step 8. What makes this book unique?

uniqueWrapping up the mid-section of the “Book Marketing Launch Canvas” is identifying exactly what makes this book unique.

Here we want to figure out what allows this book to stand out in a very noisy crowd. It will be different for every book.

It could be one of the following:

  • Is it the authors credientials and testimonials?
  • Is the book the only one in a niche that is underserved in the Amazon marketplace?
  • Is it packaged or designed differently?
  • Something else?

Whatever makes this book stand out from the crowd (in a way that matters) gives us our edge.

We want to exploit this when it comes to promoting the book.

Step 9. How do you plan to price your book? What are your expenses / overhead?

13 book marketing canvas

Finally, in the bottom section of the “Book Marketing Launch Canvas” is the more technical side of the book launch:

  1. What is our overhead for this book launch?  What are our individual expenses?
  2. How do we plan to price our book?

It’s important to note that while these two factors are related, they are entirely independent of one another. It’s more than possible to sell an entirely digital book (essentially no overhead) for $300 (just takes very good marketing, and you’re better off calling it an eCourse or training program). On the other hand, selling a cookie-cutter paperback can only sell within a narrow price range, so we better do our due diligence to figure out if this book is even worth writing or selling in the first place.

Dan was adamant about not selling The 7 Day Startup for profit, so we basically just ignored this part. However, since Dan was planning to purchase paperbacks to hand out at conferences and give as gifts, I collected some basic Createspace print on demand costs for reference. Your particular situation will depend primarily on goals (see number 6 above), and target audience (number 2).

Day 6: Assemble Your Tribe

Once you’ve created your “Book Marketing Canvas” you need to take action on the most important task: assembling and catalyzing your fanbase.

Step 1: Build Your ‘Notification’ List

Using the “Book Marketing Launch Canvas” from the previous section, we identified our target audience as:

  1. entreprenurs
  2. wantrepreneurs
  3. startup founders
  4. freelancers

The good news: many of these target demographics are present, to some degree, in Dan’s main wpcurve.com newsletter, which numbers over 10,000. This made it an ideal place to start to reach out and ask people if they wanted to be notified when the book launched.

Key places to share your ‘notification list’:

  1. Your main email list / newsletter
  2. FB friends / groups you run
  3. With permission: other peoples lists and other FB groups
  4. Dan has also been using ConvertPress (a WP Curve owned plugin), to get email optins at the end of blog posts.

By reaching out to his list, Dan was able to create a list of around 1,500 people who wanted to be notified when the book would launch. Dan put a lot of content out leading up to the launch, which you can see on the resources page.

Because Dan had such a large audience to begin with, this was more than enough to get us started. If you don’t have the same list size, you’ll need to reach out to other audiences and source people from other groups and blogs. The most effective way to do this is through guest posting and drawing people back to your ‘notification’ list splash page. That’s how Dan originally built his audience.

Here’s how simple a notification list splash page can be. This is a standard ConvertPress template.

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The reason something this simple works: we’re only going after early adopters here. The kind of people who are so excited by whatever you do that they’ll be the first in line (to subscribe, buy, share, whatever).

Just to reinforce this concept: this page does not have to be complex. A brief overview of the book and some bullet points is more than enough.

Step 2: Create an Ambassador List

Once you’ve assembled your ‘notification’ list, it’s time to reach out to these same people and ask if any of them would like to become ambassadors.

An ambassador is someone who will review and share your book when it launches in exchange for early access to the book (or bonuses, or direct access to you, or some other perk).

Notable nonfiction authors who have used this same technique to launch themselves to the top of the charts: Pat Flynn, Chris Ducker, Tim Ferriss, Charlie Hoehn, Natalie Sisson…just to name a few off the top of my head.

Related: Book marketing with Charlie Hoehn.

The point is: anyone who is reaching the top of the charts these days is creating a group like this to lead the marketing effort (or has a massive marketing budget behind them to go the giveaway and promotion route, but I’m writing this for bootstrappers in particular).

Here’s an example of a simple example of an ambassador optin page:

15 the 7 day startup

This can be even simpler than the other page because these people are familiar with your book already.

All you wan to do with this optin is let people know that you’ll be asking a favor in exchange for the gifts / benefits they’ll receive as ambassadors (the more specific the better). In Dan’s case, he went into way more detail in his email to the ‘notification list.’

Here’s Dan’s exact email copy that you can copy, paste and edit for your situation. Grab it here.

Step 3: Create Your “Influencer Circle” List

Like ambassadors, influencers are key to your book launch success.

What’s an influencer? It’s anyone with an audience of passionate readers / viewers / followers. There’s no official number associated with how big an audience has to be to make someone an influencer (as in: minimum 1,000 subscribers, for example). Oftentimes, those with smaller lists have more passionate fans and can create a bigger impact than larger sites with less engagement.

The important questions you need to ask as you assemble your Influencer Circle:

  • does this person command the respect of his or her peers and audience?
  • does this person have an audience or work in an industry compatible with the message of my book?
  • would my book resonate with this influencer and his / her audience?

It’s important to make sure that “influence” and “compatible messages” are both taken into consideration.

It’s not only about who you know, but about how they line up with you and the message of the book.

Luckily, Dan had already built up a sizeable group of influencers who were in his niche / industry – men and women who ran companies or wrote about startups and small businesses; audiences that would certainly resonate with his message. Dan makes a strong effort to help these guys so he doesn’t mind asking for help when he needs it.

To create our list, we created a collaborative spreadsheet (we used Hackpad but Google Docs or OneNote are just as capable), and started brainstorming everyone in Dan’s network. We listed off everyone Dan knew and I knew, combined lists, and prioritized by (1) list size and (2) influence (note: this was more gut instinct than science).

At this point, we don’t want to reach out to Influencers – we’ll be doing that later – but we do want to have our list organized and ready to go when we do share our book with them.

2 Psychological Reasons You Need an Influencers Circle

Here’s the deal: you can’t dismiss creating an “Influencers Circle” for your book. Even people with massive audiences (1 million+) benefit from leveraging an “Influencers Circle.”  Here are the two most important 2 psychological reasons this is the case:

  1. Social Proof. Influencers command the respect of followers and peers. Getting their validation adds social proof to your work, which increases trust (which ultimately means more people will want to read what you’ve written). And while testimonials are great, it’s much more powerful to have the author of said testimonial actually share your book with their audience, because they now have skin in the game.
  2. Mere-Exposure Effect. Fact: the more often we see something, the more we like it. This is true with peoples faces (that’s why I think I’m so handsome) as much as it’s true with products and services. Getting influencers to share your book increases the chance that the same person will see the same book more than once, subconsciously increasing their desire for it.

And while not a psychological reason, Influencers can multiply your readership. After all, you’re now accessing a brand new group, many of whom may not have been in your circle to begin with, so the more people who share your work, the better. It doesn’t hurt their reputation either to be associated with a great project, particularly if it’s a success.

Now that you’ve assembled your ‘notification list’, ‘ambassador list’ and developed your “Influencer Circle” it’s time to prepare the rest of your launch.

Step 4: Identify Alternative Marketing Channels

Everyone does social media and their own lists. What can you do to stand out?

As an example, Dan and I created a list of every co-working space in the United States and began expanding that out into other countries. Our ideal endstate: to send free copies of the book to every single coworking space we can find (who would want our book).

Why?

Because co-working spaces are ideal distribution and marketing channels for a book on starting a business in 7 days.

For your book, it may make more sense to try something different (artisan coffee shops? monthly REI meetup groups? local writers workshops? whatever type of group would resonate with your message, go with that).

Note: due to time constraints we haven’t sent off books to co-working spaces just yet, but in an ideal world, this would have been just one promotional channel we would have gone through to spread the word.

Additional Alternative Marketing Channels for Your Book:

  • Podcast and blog give-aways (Tim Ferriss does this with all his book launches and it pushes him to the top of the charts every time)
  • Conferences (Dan spoke at a conference the weekend before the release of our book. We were hoping to get physical copies to him before this event, but the printing solutions in Australia are limited; no such thing as two day printing down-under…kind of a bummer, but we will have them for Dan’s next conference later this month).
  • Live Google Hangout launch celebration (book launches are events and a live Google Hangout with give-aways and other surprises is an excellent way to spread the word and get people excited to contribute and share your work. Because of Dan’s tight schedule we had to scrap this idea, but it would have been a great way to build even more excitement around the release).
  • Listing sites and communities – We’ve also had some success leveraging listing sites and communities for the book launch (more on that below).

Day 5: Build Your High-Converting Book Sales Page

This next part can either take weeks or a couple hours. It all depends on how skilled you are at the process or how big your budget is.

When it came to building out the book sales page for The 7 Day Startup, I took care of that process for Dan, drawing inspiration from several sources:

When it comes to design, especially for sales pages, this is the rule of thumb to live by: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Or more appropriately: if something simple works, stick with that (adding bells and whistles only overcomplicates things and leads to more things breaking).

Here’s the way we templated our sales page:

High-Converting Book Sales Page Structure:

  1. Above the fold – Good heading minimal text, ebook picture and buy button and 1 endorsement
  2. What you will learn section
  3. Who should read it
  4. Endorsements
  5. Download a sample – (unnecessary for a free book)
  6. Take a peek inside
  7. Add screenshots of the book here when they’re ready
  8. About the author
  9. Guarantee – (overkill for a kindle book – more appropriate for an expensive product)

This is where the “Book Marketing Launch” comes in very handy.

Remember the part about the problem we were solving and how the book solves that problem (part 4 and 5)? This becomes the “What you will learn section”:

16 the 7 day startup

Remember how we identified our target audience or readership? This becomes the section “Who should read it”:

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Remember the part about what makes your book unique? This becomes the “sneak peak” section:

18 the 7 day startup

Finally, endorsements can be added from a small section of influencers or your audience who get early access in exchange for sales page testimonials.

Note: we decided to scrap the free chapter part and the guarantee. While many book sales pages use these, it doesn’t seem necessarying when (1) the book is free anyway and (2) it’s sold on Amazon (Amazon comes with its own social proof and trust mechanisms – no need for overkill).

I built out this entire page on Optimizepress 2.0, but it’s more than possible to build something out using a basic wordpress page (it will just take a bit more time to properly format).

All of the graphics were done by Derek Murphy from CreativIndie. Derek looked after the whole process of the main cover image, all associated 3d book images and the entire book formatting. He produced versions in multiple versions for PDF, Kindle and print and advised on book marketing and distribution too. He did a great job and with those nice graphics, it made it a lot easier to come up with a nice looking landing page.

Day 4: Get Your Book Ready for Distribution

Now that we have the backbone of our promotional effort ready – the ambassadors and the sales page (where most people will land when you start sharing and spreading the message) – it’s time to square away the distribution.

For Dan, while we played around with several options, we ultimately decided on Amazon for selling the book digitally and Createspace for our print on demand service.

This mean we needed to:

  1. create an Amazon KDP account
  2. create a Createspace account
  3. create an Amazon Author account (yes, this is separate)
  4. buy an ISBN (comes free if you want to use Createspace’s as your “publisher”; otherwise it costs about $125 for a single ISBN)
  5. generate an ASIN (like an ISBN but for digital books – Amazon creates this automatically for you when you upload a book into KDP)
  6. create your book description, about the author description, and consolidate editorial reviews (ideally quotes about your book that will make you look awesome)

Honestly, there are another couple dozen things that need to be squared away if you’re going this route, but I don’t want to bore you. However, I’ve created a comprehensive KDP and Createspace checklist for those interested in going this route. Check it out here.

Day 3: Notify Ambassadors and Influencers

Now that you have everything setup in the backend, it’s time to share your book with Ambassadors and Influencers. In our case we only gave them a few days because of time constraints but ideally you’d give them 1-2 weeks to get their head around the book and how they might want to be involved.

Step 1: Email your ambassadors a free copy of the book

For ambassadors, I recommend sharing a link to the book that is hosted on something like Amazon S3. That way you can track downloads with something like S3Stat.com (which is what we did).

Step 2: Share your free book with influencers

There are generally two types of influencers:

  1. those you know (well enough), and
  2. those you could know better

For the former, a simple, personal email letting them know you’re launching something big and giving it away free is more than enough info. For a ‘cold’ email to to someone you could know better, you’ll need to give the recipient an out. You can send the file directly if you’re on a tight schedule, otherwise I’d recommend you don’t send the file right away to this group – tell them what you’re working on and why they’d like it, then let them know you’d love to send them a free copy.

When it came to The 7 Day Startup, we had Dan reach out to every influencer on the list personally and let them know about his new book that would be coming out in a few days, with an offer to share the free book with them. For those Dan knew pretty well, we shared the book in the email. For others, we asked if they would like a free copy.

In either case, the emails were low pressure and allowed the influencer to choose not to take action. Here’s example email copy Dan wrote to one of the influencers he knows pretty well:

* * *

Hey man, how’s it going? Was good to catch up in Sydney. I’m down there again this weekend actually at WordCamp but I’m in and out. 

I’m coming out with a book next week.

It’s called The 7 Day Startup.

Here’s a link to the advance copy before it releases. Please don’t share it, it will be released on Amazon on Monday. 

I would value your feedback if you get the chance, although I know it’s late notice. I know you like to read. If you like it, it would be cool to have some shares next week when it launches, but only if you think it’s good for your audience of course. 

It will be free and I’ve also put together a huge list of related resources that are also free (still working on this page). I think Amazon will only let me keep it free for a week but after that I’ll make it whatever the minimum is. 

Thanks so much, let me know if I can help you with anything. I mention you in the book and the acknowledgements. 

–         Dan

* * *

As you build your “Influencer Circle” you’ll realize you know some influencers better than others. Those you know better you can be more direct with (I need help spreading the word – please share), but for those you don’t know quite so well, it helps to approach these conversations more politely and get their buy in before you send the free book (I have a new book I think you’ll love – it releases next week but I’d love to give you a free advance copy. Let me know if you’d like one!).

Bonus Points: In some cases, offering a signed copy or physical print of the book will go a long way, creating a much bigger impact. The problem for us was that we were on too much of a time crunch properly arrange this, so we stuck to sharing digital copies.

Day 2: Final Prep and Pre-Launch Marketing

Yes, day 2 is all just final preparatory work. All the wheels should already be set in motion, so you want to use this day before launch to make sure:

  1. everything is finalized and ready for distribution
  2. the majority or all of your copy is created (to notify ambassadors, your main email list, influencers, etc. about the launch)
  3. you’re not missing something (because we’re almost always missing something).

Here are a few steps to make sure you cover all your bases:

Step 1: confirm all files and distribution channels are ready to go

If you’re going the Amazon route, it’s so important everything is ready at LEAST 24 hours out from launch. Amazon’s system takes a while to update when you have new changes.

If you’re going the KDP route, it takes a MINIMUM of 24 hours advance notice to create a free promotion or countdown deal (exclusive to KDP select enrolled books…meaning – you must keep your book exclusively on the Amazon platform for at least 90 days)

Step 2: create ALL email and Facebook copy for the first few days of the launch

When the launch happens, your job is to lead the movement. This means building awareness of the release and creating energy and excitement around it. The more excited people are, the more willing they will be to download, review and share.

For The 7 Day Startup, since we knew we were doing a 5 day free giveaway promotion, we knew we needed 5 days worth of content. While we didn’t write out every email and FB message before we started, we did create key milestones and times that would trigger certain emails.

Step 3: create promotional materials and preschedule them for launch week

When your book launches, you want to be everywhere. That’s where it helps to have multiple platforms (blog, newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ etc.) sharing content in multiple mediums and formats (text, images / graphics, videos, etc.).

For text, creating Click-to-Tweets out of quotes is an easy, effective way to spread the message.

For graphics, I recommend something like Canva.com if you’re not a Photoshop whiz or don’t have a full-time artist on staff. The best part: Canva.com comes with templates for all your social media needs:

19 canva

Here’s an example of a simple graphic we created in Canva.com for Dan’s book marketing campaign:

20 the 7 day startup promotional graphic

Okay, just kidding. We didn’t actually use this image to spread the gospel about Dan’s book…but if you think we should, leave a message in the comments below and let us know (if we get over 50 comments, we’ll change the cover of the book to this*)!

*we probably won’t do that.

Dan: We definitely won’t do that, but I will change my Facebook profile pic for a week

Day 1: Launch

This is where the rubber meets the road.

Everything up to this point has been preparing your launch for this day. But it doesn’t mean you hit the publish button and sit back. The day of launch is the most important part of your book marketing plan.

So get your quad-shot espresso ready and let’s get to it:

Step 1: Notify all Ambassadors that your book is live and available for download

Do this via your ambassador email list as well as on the Facebook page you created. Here’s an example of how Dan catalyzed his ambassador list (first hitting up the FB group with explicit instructions, and letting them know an email would be coming shortly):

21 facebook post about the 7 day startup

Step 2: Email Your “Influencer Circle”

Before you shoot off this email, remember this important fact: important people are busy. Hell – everyone is busy. So make it PAINLESSLY EASY to share your book.

How? Include a click-to-tweet that has all your info pre-filled and formatted. This takes about 17 seconds to do on the part of the influencer, and only a few minutes on your end to properly set it up.

Here’s exactly how you can do it:

Go to Clicktotweet.com

22 clicktotweet the 7 day startup

Go to Bitly.com to shorten the link to your book – either the splash page or directly to Amazon or whatever platform you’re using. (Bonus: this is also great for tracking purposes, so you should definitely use it)

23 bitly the 7 day startup

Create a Click-to-Tweet message that is generic enough that anyone could share, but also enourages people to click through (notice the clear call to action at the end: “Get it!”). Also make sure you tag yourself in the message (alternatively, hashtags could work in this situation):

clicktotweet

Here are a few we put together for the launch:

My buddy @thedannorris has released his book The 7 Day Startup. It’s free this week on Amazon. Highly recommended CLICK TO TWEET THIS

The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch by @thedannorris is free on Amazon today #startups CLICK TO TWEET THIS

Got a business idea? The 7 Day Startup by @thedannorris will take you from wantrepreneur to entrepreneur. Free today CLICK TO TWEET THIS

Step 3: Promote On Multiple Platforms

Finally, to drive as much initial momentum as possible within the first 24 hours, we made a concerted effort to post on as many platforms and mediums as possible:

  • Business / marketing focused Facebook Pages (offering the book free makes it an easy share)
  • Business / marketing focused forums like Fizzle.co (sharing the experience of marketing the book makes this a education-first post that the forum will find helpful)
  • Sharing on listing sites and communities like Producthunt.com (more below)
  • Reddit / Digg / Stumbleupon / Medium (really, anywhere you can share your book, the better)

Listing sites and communities

One unexpected surprise for us was the traction we got off listing sites and communities. Dan posted a book launch thread in a forum that he is a member of. We also had the book posted on:

We posted it on Bootstrappers but generous podcast host Jacques Van Heerden posted it on Product Hunt after he recorded this episode with Dan on the day of the launch. The post got immediate traction on Product Hunt and shot to the front page where it stayed in the top 10 all day.

This was a huge surprise, here is all of the last 2 days with Product Hunt sending the vast majority of it.

product_hunt

The bounce rate was pretty high so I guess a lot of people were just having a quick look. However it was a mostly new audience which is cool. Since we weren’t converting people on the site (i.e. we were sending them to Amazon) it’s hard to tell how many people signed up. But I suspect quite a few. The fact that it resonated on that site (142 votes) tells me it’s interesting to that audience.

For your book there may be other sites like this that can help push it. Be conscious with the rules and don’t oversell on someone else’s platform.

On your own platform (social media, emails, word of mouth etc) don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet a bit around the launch.

Results from the First 3 Days of Our Book Marketing Campaign

Here are our results from the first couple hours of release:

25 the 7 day startup first couple hours

And some stats from Amazon’s KDP site that show us how many downloads after a few hours of release:

26 the 7 day startup first couple hours

By the end of the first day we ended up with:

  • 1,297 downloads
  • 35 reviews (34 5 star reviews, 1 4 star review)
  • Hundreds of sales page hits
  • Dozens of tweets and shares

twitter reviews for the 7 day startup

the 7 day startup amazon reviews

Not bad, but day one is just the start.

Since the launch, Dan has continued to activate and catalyze his ambassador group, his mail list (from wpcurve.com), and his “Influencer Circle.”

The Results of Dan’s Book Marketing Campaign (as of 11pm PST on 1 October):

  • 9,000+ downloads
  • 74 reviews (72 5 star reviews, 2 4 star review)
  • 6,021 visits to the main landing page
  • 312 tweets linking to the landing page or the Amazon page
  • 463 Facebook shares linking to the landing pare or the Amazon page
  • #49 in ALL of Amazon (got as high as #30)

Wrapping Up

So that wraps up the breakdown of Dan’s book marketing plan and campaign execution for The 7 Day Startup.

Additionally, if you’re looking to launch your own book soon, I have a half-dozen book marketing resources that you might find useful, including:

  • Editable “Book Marketing Canvas” Powerpoint File
  • Example of Dan Norris’s book (The 7 Day Startup) “Book Marketing Canvas”
  • Email templates (for influencers, ambassadors, etc.)
  • Amazon KDP and Createspace Checklist
  • As well as a video on how to use the “Book Marketing Canvas” to best effect

Head over here to get access to “The Book Marketing Toolkit.”

I hope you found this stuff useful.  If you did, leave us a comment and let us know what you think.  Dan and I would be happy to answer any and all questions on how to effectively market your book and get it to the top of Amazon in one week.

Oh, and finally – grab your copy of The 7 Day Startup here!

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About

Tom Morkes helps people start, finish, and ship creative projects. He helped Dan to launch The 7 Day Startup to the #1 free startup book on Amazon. To learn more about Tom, check out TomMorkes.com.

  • Tom

    Thanks for letting me share this Dan. Had a blast working with you. Next book let’s get it to the top of Amazon paid 🙂

    • No chance haha. Thanks, it’s been awesome.

  • Quality article Tom! Thanks for sharing the process you went through in such a short period of time to make this happen. Keep it up!

    • Tom

      Thanks so much @Jacques van Heerden:disqus!

  • tobyjenkins

    Wow – what a post Tom! That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing so much detail. Impressive work to jam all of that into the timeframe. Even better that it all paid off too!

    • Tom

      Thanks Toby, appreciate it my man 🙂

  • richard gregory

    A really generous post – thanks for sharing such detail, Tom. And big thanks to Dan for making the book free for the prelaunch, I’m looking forward to reading it tonight.

    • Tom

      Thanks @richardcgregory:disqus – glad you liked the post…and I promise you’ll like the book (I’m biased, but still).

  • Incredible.

    • Tom

      Thanks @bharris007:disqus – means a lot coming from you!

    • Thanks Bryan

  • This is such an amazing post @disqus_WP1NRVHMfC:disqus, just EPIC! I’ll be reaching out to you for a podcast interview soon if you’re up for it 🙂

    • Tom

      @navidmoazzez:disqus – let’s do it! 🙂

  • Fantastic blueprint Tom! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Tom

      thanks so much @mechlin:disqus 🙂

  • Awesome post mate! I’ll definitely be using this advice when I launch – http://engineertofounder.com/ to amazon.

    • Tom

      @george313:disqus – keep me posted on this man. Would love to see how everything works out for you. Thanks for the kind words 🙂

      • Thanks tom! I’ll let you know how it’s going in a week or so…

        • Tom

          Sounds good. Let me know if you need any help!

  • John

    Great post, the book was definitely a motivator and provided a lot of useful tips and mapped out a great guideline for launching a business and now if i ever need to write a book this post is a great outline for that.

    http://edisonlaunchpad.weebly.com/

    • Tom

      Thanks John!

  • illoh ifeoma

    This is good Tom. Wished I had a PDF copy of this article to save and reference as I plan to launch my book soon. Thanks Tom and a BIG congrats to Dan. Though I couldn’t get the book because apparently Amazon says it’s not available to people in my location (Africa). Missed opportunities for more downloads there… 🙂

    • Tom

      @illohifeoma:disqus – great suggestion re: PDF…it was just that it took so long to create already and we were on a timeline. I will definitely consider this for future content of my own, though. Sorry about the restrictions with your region – that’s pretty annoying and hopefully changes soon.

  • Wow, this is an amazing post! This is very close to my own launch strategy, with a few differences! Thanks for sharing Tom, I’m going to implement and adapt a few of your suggestions to my own launch strategy!

    And I got the book during the free download – it’s awesome and I’m only into the first few chapters! you’ve really laid things out in an easy way Dan, really appreciate that. Buying a copy for my husband too!

    Cheers
    Lise

    • Tom

      Awesome stuff @lisecartwright:disqus – thanks so much for the kind words 🙂

      p.s. would love to know more about your launch (when is it? what are you planning?).

      • Hey Tom, my launch date, at this stage, is early next week, although that might move a bit as I lost a few days when my Macbook Air decided to throw a spanner into the works!

        In terms of what I’m planning… I’m testing a few different ideas at the moment, so looking to try a slightly different approach with this next book (I have two books self-published on Amazon already) as it will be part of a series.

        This time round, I’m not going to set up an early notification list, as I’m going to utilise my newsletter list that I have (the book align’s with my subscribers).

        I’m also not going to set up a landing page for this book initially, although I will do once the book is live.

        Here’s the short version I’ve what I’m going to try with this next book:
        1. Announce to newsletter list about the new book 3 days before it goes live (with a follow up email prior to launch date and then on launch day)
        2. I’m not enrolling the book in KDP select at all
        3. I’ll launch the book at $0.99
        4. Get at least 5 verified reviews BEFORE launch date
        5. Submit the book to 9 paid ad sites 1 week AFTER launch date, leaving price at $0.99
        6. Increase price to $2.99 30 days after launch date

        That’s the rough outline, there are a few things going on behind the scenes, such as making sure the product description is properly optimised for keywords, choosing the right keywords when uploading to KDP and utilising Author Central as well.

        This is the first time I’m trying this type of launch, so I’m keen to see how it goes!

        • Tom

          this is great info Lise Cartwright.

          I would love to find out how this all works out for you. Would you mind letting me know once you launch (my email: tom @ insurgentpublishing.com)?

          Also, I’m not sure if this will be valuable for you, but I’m doing a live presentation on this topic this Thursday (where I go in more depth than this blog post and share some alternative promotional and marketing opportunities available to authors and self-publishers)

          You can grab a slot here if that sounds interesting (and then we can connect live!):

          tommorkes.leadpages.net/bestseller/

          • Thanks for that link Tom – definitely something I’m interested in. I’ll be sure to send you an email once the book launches next week, I’m on track for Tuesday 🙂

          • Tom

            @lisecartwright:disqus – how did it go?? 🙂

          • Hey Tom, it’s going really well! Still within the 30 days, so haven’t increased the price as yet, but since it launched, the new book has sold over 1,300 with only one paid promo (I’ve been sick for two weeks so this has hampered things) and I’m set to do the last lot of promo’s before changing the price 🙂 The book is called “Side Hustle Blueprint” and I’ve got some great feedback so far.

          • Tom

            Awesome! Yeah, I think I downloaded that and I’ve seen it ranking #1 in a couple spots if I’m not mistaken. Well done @lisecarter:disqus ! 🙂 (would love to interview you for a new publishing podcast I’m working on….any interest?)

          • Hey Tom, yes it’s been ranking really well! Happy to be interviewed 🙂 Email is lise at lisecartwright.com!

  • What I don’t like about this launch:

    1. Dan is far from the role model of an average indie. He had a solid network of contacts and following established. 1500 people on the launch list?!? When I launched my bestseller it was less than 30.
    2. The promise in book’s title. It should be “The 7 Day Startup: You Can Mimic It After Failing Multiple Times and Wasting Years on The Learning Curve”

    What I like about this launch:
    Everything else. The number and quality of reviews is especially impressive.

    • Tom

      @disqus_TYEOeIbN3O:disqus – thanks for your feedback.

      in response to your questions / comments:

      1. I’d like to know what you did with your 30 person list to get your book to bestseller, and the details, if you’re willing to share (was it free? paid? what categories did it rank on? what did it hit and how long did it stay there? where is it now?)

      I ask because if you can add to the conversation, I know I’m not the only one who would love the education.

      2. Is this a comment on the book itself? I’m biased, of course, so my opinion probably doesn’t matter, but the book has over 100 4 and 5 star reviews, so obviously the content is something special.

  • Congrats Dan & Tom! This post is amazing! This will help for my launch also… http://www.getprospects.co

  • Melissa Spencer

    Hello 🙂 My book is children’s fiction, which has a much smaller market than business start-ups – do you think I would need to do anything differently to what you’ve suggested here?

  • Thanks Tom & Dan,

    I’ve learnt much.

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