I have just published my second book on Amazon. The first book disappeared into the Amazon abyss in no time. I was a complete novice then and didn’t advertise. This time, I was going to shout it from the rooftops and make my book get to #1 in its category on Amazon! Right? Wrong. Here’s what I learned from this experience.
Don’t go on a two-week holiday during the month before the launch
There is so much that needs to be done in the weeks before your book goes ‘live.’ Communication with your launch team members, finalizing your text, organizing advertisement. Don’t waste that time by not being there.
Don’t launch your book when it’s not in tip-top shape
I was still changing words, sentences, paragraphs the day before the launch. I’m still not done. Try to make sure the book is exactly what you want it to be before even contemplating putting it out there. It’ll save you a lot of stress.
Don’t assume your launch team has read your book
I knew some team members had other books to finish first, but I assumed they all would have read it by the time the book was due to be published. I reminded them a month before launch and a week before launch. I didn’t want to be too pushy. It only takes about four and a half hours to read it, yet, when I contacted them personally the day before the launch to tell them their review was wanted in a day’s time, there were still those who hadn’t even started reading. You need to contact them sooner, individually, to make sure they read it. Or scrap to them from your ‘people to count on’ list.
Don’t assume your launch team members read your posts
I knew there were a few people in my launch team new to the whole experience and I wrote a post with guidelines on how to write a review. Don’t assume they read it. Or follow it. Even when I posted where and how to find the place on Amazon to write the review, people still contacted me to ask how to do it. Just smile and explain it to them, again. When they write a review and give away the plot, contact them asap, drop to your knees and produce those crocodile tears, anything, to make them take that one sentence out of their review.
Don’t order a BargainBooksy promo if your book is free
I made that big mistake. I thought BargainBooksy and FreeBooksy were two completely different entities. They’re not. BargainBooksy contacted me on the day to say they couldn’t run the promo as my book was free and not between $0.99-$2.99. They offered to switch me over to FreeBooksy, but FreeBooksy couldn’t run my promo on any of the days my book was actually free. Day 1 wasted.
Don’t assume all launch team members are there for you
There are some people that are there for you every step of the way. Love them to bits. And then there are those that join your team and are never heard of again. Why they joined the team, I don’t know. I understand that everybody lives busy lives, but when you sign up for a launch team, people count on you. I know I’ve been one of those, and I still feel guilty about it, even though I always tell people I’m a very slow reader. What I don’t understand it that they don’t reply after you contact them personally. At least a word of ‘Sorry, I was busy’ would be nice. Now I keep wondering if they got hit by a train or something.
Don’t use Fiverr if you don’t know how it works
It was the first time I used Fiverr. I did so much wrong. I ordered a promo by a girl that said she needed three days to set it up (I opted for ‘the whole hog’ package). I didn’t realize you actually had to order it three days before you wanted it, not 5 days in advance. I managed to contact the girl and ask if she could do it later, on 1 or 2 September. No problem, she said, not mentioning what day she was actually going to do it. I had to try and get a response from her again. I finally did. 1 September she said. Okay, sorted, I thought. She didn’t do it on 1 September. She contacted me on 2 September to ask for the text of the tweet (I thought I had given her enough info (and money) for her to sort this. For some reason or other she didn’t run the promo on the 1st and assumed the 2nd would be okay. Not. I never got my money back as Fiverr keeps it’ in my account for future use.’ As if I ever want to go through that again. Lesson learned. Day 2 wasted (and my money).
Don’t assume your launch team members write reviews that make your book rise in the Amazon ranks
Even though the word ‘launch’ should make it clear that a launch team is there to help your book upward, some people have a problem understanding the system. They insist on rating the book according to how they compare it to other books they’ve read. Obviously, I can’t dispute their rating, but being in a launch team is not about ‘them.’ Team members are there to help the author rise in the Amazon rank to be seen by more people and hence be able to get more people to see and read your book. You can ask team members to contact you if they have a problem giving it four or five stars, but like I said before (see point 4), not everyone reads your posts.
Don’t think Facebook ads are your savior
When I already missed two days of advertising, I quickly made a video for my book and advertised it on Facebook (it took me half a day to make, more time of my promo time wasted). I still have no idea how it works, but I paid over £20 for five people to click on the ad. There is no way I can check if they bought it afterward. I stopped it as soon as I realized that this was a very expensive way of advertising.
Don’t give up!
Even though your ranking will plummet into the abyss immediately after the free days ended (I ranked #2557 the day after the promo), don’t give in. Don’t give up. Keep at it. Keep promoting your books and keep writing more! Remember that perseverance is stubbornness with a purpose 🙂 .
Reading image by Thought Catalog
Running image by Clem Onojeghuo
PS: The header image was taken at a book fair in 2016, showing my first book