How I Launch My Books For Amazon And Direct Sales

I want to share my strategy for book launches to help fellow indie authors. While no book launch is the same, what I’m about to explain applies to my most recent book launch for Free Speech Isn’t Free.

Understand which audience you’re marketing the book to

launch-segmenting

I segment audiences for my book into four groups:

  • Those who know me and think the book is relevant to their interests
  • Those who know me and think the book is not relevant to their interests
  • Those who don’t know me and think the book is relevant to their interests
  • Those who don’t know me and think the book is not relevant to their interests

For book launches, I mainly focus on the first group with slight targeting on the second group. After the book launch, I can target the second group by highlighting reviews or excerpts that make them realize the book is indeed relevant to their needs. I do not target the third or fourth group. This would require SEO work for the book’s keywords, advertising on Google or Facebook, or working with affiliate marketers to sell the book for a commission. I see that as an entirely different set of business skills.

Create pre-launch buzz

launch-pre-launch-buzz

Before your book launches, put it in the news by sharing what it’s about while allowing readers to shape the final product. I asked my readership for help on a title and also had them vote on the cover. The title and cover I ended up going with was heavily influenced by their opinions, so not only was doing that a way to let them know a book was coming, but it improved the final result.

Next, be generous with giving review copies to bloggers and readers. Share their reviews with everyone on your blog and social networking accounts.

Add bonuses or discounts to sweeten the deal

launch-bonuses

A new book is coming out… so what? Why should someone dive into reading something new without waiting to more carefully evaluate if it’s a quality work or not? Personally, I see no need to buy a new book when it’s released, because it’s not like the book is going to be taken off the shelves. But if you give me bonuses or a discount with a deadline attached then that may light a fire under my ass to buy it sooner than I had planned.

For Free Speech Isn’t Free, I included two written bonuses and a 30% discount. Some readers will buy because of the bonuses and others who are more budget conscious will buy because of the discount. You should include both in your launch.

I have experimented with both 3-day and 7-day launches. It’s clear that 7-day launches will improve sales, but it takes far more work since you need to keep pumping out book-related content and sales messages for longer.

“Spam” your audience with news of the book

launch-spam

I hate to use the word spam but that’s what it felt like from my perspective. I put out multiple posts here and on ROK, mostly highlighting reviews or aspects of the book. I sent countless mailings to my email list. I made dozens of tweets. I added page alerts, modified sidebars, and sent messages to forum members. I structured the promotions so that it would be impossible for a reader of mine to not know that I have a new book out.

It’s important to understand that not all of your readers come to your blog or Twitter every day. Most of them are casual readers who only stop in every now and then, so you must use every available channel to bombard them with the news, right up to the point where they get sick of it (you don’t want to piss them off).

In spite of my relentless promotions, I didn’t receive one complaint, so I probably could have done more (my Youtube efforts were especially weak, with only one video published). Readers understand that you’re trying to make a splash with your new product, and will give you a pass as long as it doesn’t last too long.

Since most of my launch efforts involved promoting the book to readers who are interested in the topic and story, I didn’t “sell” it with marketing language. The reason is that I’m not particularly skilled or interested in “internet marketing,” especially if it’s not a self-improvement work like a game book, which lends more to that style of marketing.

Ask for (genuine) reviews

launch-5-stars

You will get a lot of feedback from people who read the book. Since their feedback is already a written “review,” ask them politely to leave it on Amazon or whatever platform your book is selling on. For me this was essential because SJWs bombed the book with fake reviews.

If you’re selling on Amazon, the goal is to give your book a big sales push so that it’s listed in the “Customers also bought” section of others books that have high sales ranks. Otherwise, you’ll see very little benefit of being on Amazon’s platform.

I also sell books directly through BangGuides.com. I receive a higher percentage of the sale price, don’t need to worry about fake reviews, and can offer combo specials that greatly increase the transaction price while giving large discounts to readers. For example, I would have to sell 10 books on Amazon to make the same as roughly 1 USB card that I sell directly. If your business credibility is high, like mine is, it won’t be difficult to sell higher priced products.

After the launch

launch-recommendation

Some books sell at higher levels post-launch and others do worse. For example, sales of my books like Poosy Paradise and Why Can’t I Leave A Smiley Face? didn’t maintain high levels after launch, while Bang and Day Bang surpassed launch sales. You will need to hope that your book goes “viral,” and one way to help that along is to continually plug your book in related articles or videos you publish in the months ahead. From this point on, whenever I write a culture war article, I will plug Free Speech Isn’t Free at the end.

So that’s my general strategy. As long as you have a readership, no matter what size, you can participate in a launch. Simply identify all the channels where your readers congregate to receive your content and then go through the above steps. The more readers you have, of course, the more books you will sell. My launch of Bang in 2007 resulted in less than 100 copies sold while my newest launch was over 1,100. I expect future launches to equally well as long as I continue to give great value to those who follow my work.

Read Next: 18 Self-Publishing Tips That Have Helped Me Sell Over 25,000 Books

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RooshErudite_KnightLittle Bo PeepThomas FowlerTyskKille Recent comment authors
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TyskKille
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TyskKille
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I have a question for Roosh:

How many hours in total did you spend on writing the book, and how many on marketing it?

Roosh
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Roosh
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If I were to take a wild estimate: 70 hours writing the text, 30 hours packaging, marketing, promoting.

TyskKille
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TyskKille
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That’s impressively efficient.

milo1102
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milo1102
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Off-topic (sorry if inconvenient):

It’s wonderful to see you develop as a writer, year after year. You were a relatively terrible writer when you started out as DC Bachelor ages ago (no offense), but over the years you have mastered the craft. Free Speech isn’t Free isn’t just your most mature book content-wise, it’s also the one with the best prose. It really gets you hooked and reads very smoothly.

Maybe you can write an article about your journey as a writer in the future, would be interesting to see how you experienced your progress, on whether you deliberately worked on becoming a better writer or if it just naturally happened through your work, as well as giving some general tips on writing and storytelling.

Roosh
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Roosh
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Yes my writing was pretty bad in DC Bachelor days.

I never deliberately worked on my writing. I just kept at it and read a lot. But I do put my writing through multiple edits. I’m in the camp that incremental improvements to a draft can really make a huge difference. The draft to Free Speech Isn’t Free was just hammered out in airports over a week. It was horrible, but the edits refined it.

Thomas Fowler
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Thomas Fowler
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Cal Newport has some good advice on developing skills such as writing.

Lost In Translation
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Lost In Translation
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Hey Roosh.

I published 2 books over a decade ago on money and career success without a college degree. I was a college dropout and self-made career man before it was vogue to do so. Back then, I was still publishing the traditional way, getting into book stores via the big book distributors. Amazon was just starting to handle eBooks in the days before eReaders, tablets and smartphones. Print on demand was the hot thing back then. Boy how things have changed.

I’ve probably got another dozen books in me, but really see books as a business card to establish expertise that can be more aptly monetized through private consulting, speaking engagements, training courses, and live seminars. However, I’d like to see a bit of revenue from direct book sales.

I followed you for years and have seen your various promotions for new books — all of which I own BTW. One question I have is how much does your social media presence factor into your books sales? Honestly, I don’t follow you on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social sites or apps. Can you say how important those sites are in your book promotions compared to the sales from the following on your blogs/sites?

chris007
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chris007
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I’m writing an action novel currently. My concern is by the time I finish writing it, how do I market an action novel? I have about 670 followers on Twitter, how can I use it to market the book? I will need guidance to do this.

Roosh
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Roosh
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I never wrote fiction. This is a good blog to read: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/

Krivo
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Krivo
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How many total copies of Bang have you sold over the full nine years?

High Evolutionary's Devil
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High Evolutionary's Devil
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Wow, nine years and every word of “Bang” is still relevant to this day for the man looking to get laid!

rationalize
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rationalize
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Except the text messaging stuff
Which is now completely critical for non same-day-lays.

Roosh
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Roosh
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I stopped counting when it became a pain (from having it on so many platforms).

TyKo Steamboat
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TyKo Steamboat
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I am pretty tech-savvy & can self navigate rather easily through sites. But how can you leave a review on Amazon? It just gives me the error message from my laptop & tablet. I tried for ya, Roosh.
You did the email campaign a while back & I was like…”this guy has helped me more than anyone I’ve never met…I can dedicate 30 minutes to several reviews”
But it just wouldn’t work without a purchase

Roosh
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Roosh
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Click this button:

Little Bo Peep
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Little Bo Peep
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Roosh,

How many paperback copies did you print prior to launching Bang, and, in hindsight, how many would you print if you went back to do it again?

Roosh
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Roosh
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It’s a print-on-demand system. The company I used at the time (Lulu), only printed a book when someone ordered.

Little Bo Peep
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Little Bo Peep
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Oh, that sounds convenient. I’ll look into that, then. Thanks.

Thomas Fowler
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Thomas Fowler
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While living overseas, how much trouble have you had with filing taxes, reporting self-employment, etc. to both the US and your country of residence? Would someone doing similar publishing work need to hire specialists to report Amazon sales?

Roosh
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Roosh
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Not so much trouble. I have an accountant, which I recommend if you make over $50k a year.

Erudite_Knight
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Hi, nice job getting another book out. I have a question for you, given the huge uproar you get from SJWs would you agree ‘bad’ publicity is better than no publicity? Said another way, if your stuff was not so charged and no hater brigade is that better for you?

Roosh
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Roosh
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Yes, bad publicity isn’t bad, because people who like you will become more engaged into what’s going on.