I recently co-wrote a book that is selling pretty well considering us three authors are mostly unknowns. This breakdown of our marketing plan was inspired by this conversation on Facebook.
We Started With a Proven Idea
We started before we ever even got the book done. It originated from a monster blog post that seemed to really take off and get lots of traffic. I said "Hey, this thing is already 4,000 words, why don't we build it up a bit and put it in the Kindle short reads?" I knew we were in trouble when Alice texted me and said she sat down and wrote 13,000 words before she even realized it. By the time we got everything we wanted in there, we had a real book. (We left around half of it out.)
While we were still in process, we were posting a few things on social media. We asked for feedback on a back cover blurb, which was very helpful to us, but also let people know that something cool was coming. We asked for feedback on cover design as well, and got lots of good input and it helped build anticipation.
I told the girls that we needed to pull out all the stops and make a big splash with Amazon.
Amazon is set up to push the books that sell, so we needed to demonstrate that ours sells.
A program Amazon has to help authors get going is the KDP free days or the Kindle countdown. Those are 5 days at most, and you have to discount your book, while we wanted to get our money back out of ours. I felt like we needed two weeks to get a solid push to our book and get it ranking well in Amazon. If we had a larger audience to launch to or more of a foothold in that niche, that length may not have been needed.
So if we don't discount, then how do we effectively get people to buy early? Almost all launches rely on scarcity techniques, so we rigged up our own. We decided to offer bonus material if they bought during our launch time frame. It had to be something free or low cost, therefore downloadable, and ideally it would promote at least one of our businesses, be relevant to the book and be an attractive offer for people.
We decided Del would do an MP3 walking people through the prayers and the template in our book, set to the music mentioned in it. This introduces them to her music as well as her classes on the supernatural.
We got a free yahoo mail address that we could abandon after the launch. We asked the book buyers to forward their Amazon order confirmation to our email in order to get their MP3. We hooked up the vacation responder as our delivery system for the MP3 download. Not perfect, you could totally scam our system, but we didn't have to man it. Worst case scenario, a thief would get our free MP3, use it and forever transform the fate of their entire family and generational line. Shrug. We decided we were ok with that.
I've done lots of product launches in my business Freedom Flowers and know that a launch is only as good as its content. You can't just say "buy my stuff" over and over again. You have to either educate, entertain or both, in such a way that people are getting something out of it, therefore they don't mind being marketed to. I usually do 5 day launches. Did we have enough content to keep talking about this every day for two weeks? We did.
I mapped out 14 days of what to say. This was my rough plan for social media only. Email worked a bit differently where I emailed my list every few days with deeper detail. We did not stick to this, but it gave me confidence that we could easily do 2 weeks.
The Tentative 2 Week Launch Plan
Day 1: Our book is out on kindle! State MP3 launch deal
Day 2: Premise of the book. Little more detail on our revelation of why blessings can get trapped.
Day 3: How it's helped us (1 testimony)
Day 4: Excerpt from imagination section, reiterate launch deal
Day 5: Somebody's story or another excerpt
Day 6: The fun of our Alice in Wonderland allegory
Day 7: Another testimony on results of exercise
Day 8: Less than a week before the deal is up! Answering questions and concerns if any/ what exactly the book covers
Day 9: Stories that didn't make it in (If the one's that didn't make the cut are this awesome, imagine how good the book will be!)
Day 10: More stories that didn't make it in
Day 11: Talk about Del's MP3 and soaking music
Day 12: More stories, two more days to get the deal, seg into when the print version might be available and what that deal will be.
Day 13: Healthy jealousy, have we provoked you yet?
Day 14: Last day, hurry up
For detail people, I'll put links day by day to exactly what we did for the duration at the end of this article. We emailed, we blogged, we posted and shared. Good times. Now we're doing nothing other than coasting on the momentum.
So we launched! Yay! So exciting and as I suspected, straight to the top of our categories. We did as good as number 2 in Pentecostal I think. But I know it's easy to get there, hard to stay and I didn't let myself get too excited. (Now I'm impressed. We have been #1 in hot new releases in our categories for quite awhile.)
I do need to say that we priced our book pretty well. At 3.99 people can take a risk. Our subject matter is popular yet we have a Unique Selling Proposition. We also have three people marketing. That's three people who have built mailing lists so we can sell people stuff. However, none of us have large audiences, and we have quite a bit of overlap. The fact is, you do have to have an audience to launch to. There is just no way around that, so build your platform and get an email list going if you haven't already.
Me and my big ideas...
I got the bright idea to offer something bigger. Something that would cost me. I was a little scared, but I did it anyway. I offered a free full size Bouquet Blend flower essence (actual physical product) to anyone who read the book, put it to use and wrote me at least 500 words on what happened. Not a book review, just a private email because I wanted to know they weren't just consuming info, that we were making a difference.
When those started coming in, I felt like I'd been handed gasoline to pour on the fire. I now had actual proof that not just the super awesome authors could have the kind of results we were talking about in the book. I got permission to share and started posting those and using them in emails.
As promised the "what we did when and exactly what we said" list.
For all of the Facebook posts, we set them to public and tagged and shared each other's posts. This is a lot of book related content. You have to continue to be a real person on social in addition to promoting. Continue to post your normal everyday life stuff, comment and share on other people's stuff. At no point should people feel like they exist only to be marketed to.
Nov 7th: Yer basic social media announcement, plus a blog post to my audience explaining the whole deal. Alice blogged very similarly. Del did too with extra points for entertainment. We shared each others blogs and we also emailed our lists.
Nov 8th: Alice posted a screen shot of us in the #2 position in Hot New Releases, thanked everybody. Earlier in the day I had taken a screen shot of us in the #6 spot in Pentecostal. (Hoping for bandwagon effect. Plus it's cool and exciting!)
Nov 9th: Del wrote a blog post giving the extended version of a story that was in the book. She went back into the vision and got more revelation. Bonus material! I had gotten some questions on the book, so I addressed all of it in a social post.
Nov 10th: I shared my testimony of what has happened in my life since the material in the book got put to use. Alice blogged on using the sanctified imagination which was an excerpt from the book. Alice and I shared a photo of the paperback.
Nov 11: I shared an excerpt from the book on practicing seeing in the spirit. I sent a Veteran's Day sale email to my list and casually reiterated the book deal.
Nov 12th: Fun with our Alice in Wonderland allegory. Which character are we?
Nov 13th: Alice shared her testimony of what has happened since she went through her door. I shared a screen shot of our book reviews so far.
Nov 14th: I shared an experience a reader sent from following our template.
Nov 16th: Alice shared a story that didn't make it into the book.
Nov 17th: Amazon inexplicably deleted all of the reviews we had gotten so far. I asked for help from anybody who had read the book. We got them back.
Nov 18th: I shared my story of getting my vision cleaned up that didn't make it into the book.
Nov 19th: Another story of mine that didn't make it into the book.
Nov 20th: Emailed my list that the free MP3 offer was almost over, and packed it with the testimonies gathered so far. We all posted "last chance" warnings on social as well.
Nov 21: Posted of Facebook a screen shot of us being #1. Thanking everybody for getting us there.
So right now, we're done promoting, and have been since 11/21. As of today 12/2 we are still #1 in Hot New Releases in two categories and have been ousted by Bill Johnson in the third, where we are #2.
I did have a Facebook ad running, you can see it here. I measured the clicks vs books sold per day, and I doubt it helped that much. I think the majority is from Amazon's recommendations.
Image credit © Can Stock Photo / cuteimage