My new book, Free Your Thoughts: How I Re-programmed Myself For Happiness And How You Can Too, has been a bestseller in its category for nearly a month now.
This is my sixth Kindle. Every time my writing gets better and I learn something new about the launch strategy. This time has been no exception.
Learn from the experts
Wanna be a bestseller? Meet bestsellers and ask them how they did it. Simple. How do you do this? Ask to join Pats1stBook.com which is a private Facebook group started by Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.
There are some incredibly successful self-published authors in this group that will give you encouragement and advice. Where else can you get free advice from people like Pat Flynn, James Altucher and Steve Scott? I’m one of the moderators there (I’m proud of that).
When it comes to Kindle, you have to outsource (editing, cover designing, formatting) somewhere along the line. If you want help with a choice of outsourcer, Pat’s group is a great place to start.
For this book I decided to employ the services of a new company set up by my friends and two stalwarts of Pat’s group, Jyotsna Ramachandran and Ani Alexander, PublishMyBook.Today (affiliate link). This was definitely worth it.
I discovered the importance of category choice and how to choose them from Jyotsna Ramachandran. Here’s what she taught me:
If you scroll down on any Amazon book page you can see the rank of that book.
You can use this ranking to find out whether a category is easy to be a bestseller on or not. You can see above that when my book was ranked roughly ten thousandth of paid Kindles, it was enough to get the top spot of the Religion & Spirituality > New Age > Self-Help category.
Here are some pointers from Jyotsna:
- If the Top 3 books in a category are under #5,000 rank, it is highly competitive.
- If the Top 3 books in a category are between #6,000-15,000, it is less competitive. (This is the sweet spot for me).
- If the Top 3 books in a category are above #20,000, it shows that the category has very little traffic but it is at least very uncompetitive.
I knew I could expect my new book to achieve a rank of at least #10,000 because of my list so I picked the categories accordingly.
Requesting a category change from KDP
Once your book is published and selling well you should also request it to be moved into other, more competitive categories. To do this, you can find the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page at kdp.amazon.com.
I requested KDP to move the book to certain categories and they duly obliged within a day or so. Here is a copy of the email I sent.
My new Kindle “Free Your Thoughts: How I Re-programmed Myself For Happiness And How You Can Too” http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YUY4WYM/ is doing extremely well. It’s #6,743 Paid in Kindle Store which, I believe is the highest any of my books has ever been. I’m extremely grateful to you at Amazon for enabling us to self-publish in such an easy and amazing way.
Could I ask for my book to be included in the following categories:
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Self-Help > Creativity
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Alternative Medicine > Meditation
I think that would help customers who may be interested in the book find it.
Requesting a category change can mean being in many more than two categories at anyone time. Imagine being in that top row of as many as 10 different category bestsellers pages in Amazon! This is possible with intelligent category choice and category change requests.
I did a nice looking PDF with color images and a color cover. The color images (of exotic locations) seemed to have the effect of drawing people into the book.
I have email folders specifically for people who I think would write a review for me – these are basically people who I’ve done favors for or helped in some way.
In Gmail, you can “grant access” to your account so that someone can read and send emails on your behalf. Scary, eh? Not if that someone’s your trusted virtual assistant. I got my VA had to attach the PDF version of the book to this queued email. She changed the “first name” in the email below so it looks like I sent out 350+ personal emails.
Title: My new book
Dear [first name],
I hope this email finds you well and happy.
I attach a free copy of my new Kindle book Free Your Thoughts: How I Re-programmed Myself for Happiness and How You Can Too which has just gone live in Amazon.
It’s a bit of a departure in terms of subject matter as it’s about the mindset shift that I enjoyed before I found happiness and business success. I would love you to read it!
The book has been doing well. It got up to #10,000 paid Kindle books on it’s initial launch and has so far gathered over 10 Five-Star reviews on Amazon.com
The book will be free on Kindle from June 16th to 18th and I’ll send you another email during this time to remind you if I may.
But, otherwise, if you do read it, it would be great if you could let me know what you think.
All the best,
The feedback from this email was immense. I got loads of positive feedback immediately.
Then, during the first three free promo days, I sent this email (notice the “ClickToTweet” and the CTA to review – props to Nick Loper for that one):
Title: My new book is free on Amazon now
Hello [first name],
The feedback I’ve been getting on my new book “Free Your Thoughts” has been great! I’m emailing to tell you it’s now free on Kindle. It’s free from today, Tuesday, until Thursday.
Please feel free to download it now. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YUY4WYM
Also, I have a couple of favours to ask:
1. Please share this freebie with your friends and following on Facebook or wherever.
Click to Tweet: “Free Your Thoughts” New book on #Happiness by @RobCubbon is now FREE on Kindle http://ctt.ec/L3CKz+ #meditation #selfhelp
2. Please, please, please consider leaving me a review. You can download the Kindle for free and then, if you have time and review it, your review then will be a “Verified Purchase” review on Amazon – which is worth a lot.
Sorry about this, I hate to ask for reviews. And, of course, don’t worry about it if you don’t have time to leave a review. We’re all too busy!
All the best,
So, two emails separated by a couple of weeks to 350+ peeps. I’m sure this resulted in a lot of hype and good reviews. And, as they were prompted to download the Kindle for free, their reviews counted as an Amazon Verified Reviews.
Kindle launch procedure
Jyotsna advised me to split my five free promo days into two. One reason for this is that they tend to spike on the first day anyway so with two you get more bang for your buck.
Here’s the launch strategy procedure in a nutshell:
- Launch Kindle and paperback (told my email list – I got 50 purchases, although they knew it was going to be free only days later)
- 3 free promo days (two weeks later with paid promos – 3,000+ downloads)
- 2 free promo days (two weeks later with only one paid promo – 500+ downloads)
- Buckbooks daily deal (a few days later – 100+ purchases)
… all this time the price was $0.99 if it wasn’t free. After the BuckBooks promo I’ll put the price up from $0.99 to $2.99.
The paid promos I went for were:
I got 3,000+ downloads during the first 3 free promo days where I used all of the above three paid promo services. I got 500+ downloads on the second 2 free promo days. But look at the sales after the promo days!
You can also see how high my book went in the free and paid rankings by using this strategy.
You can do it
Category choice is essential. Make sure you’re in at least one category that’s low competition. Once your book is live you can contact KDP and they will add you to other categories.
You can send personal emails to people that you “know” or have helped in some way. It’s the personal relationships that get the reviews.
The launch procedure certainly involves many steps. You’re never going to get them all right or even do them all. But each time you do a launch you’ll get better and better at it.
You can do it, you can be an Amazon Kindle bestseller.
- Scott Britton‘s free day marketing tactics to net 41,000 downloads on OKdork
- Nick Loper‘s book launch or listen to this podcast
- Michal Stawicki’s book launch autopsy and ways to promote on Facebook
- Here’s a more “beginner” version of the strategy that I wrote two books back: Become An Amazon Kindle Bestseller (with a book that takes 2 weeks to write)