So last week I launched my latest ebook, 25 Things They Should Have Taught You In Medic School… But Didn’t on the Amazon Kindle platform through Kindle Direct Publishing. The book is enrolled in the KDP Select Program that allows Amazon Prime Members to borrow the book for free and gives me 5 days during which time I can offer the book for free. In this post I want to provide an outline on how I launched the book, why I did what I did, and what the results have been for those of you who may be either considering self-publishing or have decided on self-publishing and are looking at how you want to do it.
The finished eBook was uploaded to Kindle Publishing on January 29, 2013. The time it takes to publish a book on Kindle and have it accepted into the KDP Select program can be anywhere between 12 and 72 hours. For this book, it took 15 hours to receive both notices. The book was uploaded at a $.99 introductory price point.
Looking at the calendar, I wanted to do a launch that would END on a Sunday. Why Sunday? Because historically searches for the keywords “free ebook” peak on Saturday and Sunday. Those are the days people are most often looking for free ebooks, so it makes sense to make sure the promo encompasses that time frame. The reason to put it at the end is because ultimately, you want to end as high in the rankings as you can when the free promo ends and the book reverts to its list price. Since those days are the peak search days, chances are good they’ll be your highest days.
So I chose to start the launch/promo on February 6 and end on February 10. This placed the start on a Wednesday and concluded it on a Sunday.
Here are the major components that I set-up for the Launch –
- Scheduled blog posts announcing the eBook both here on DavidKonig.com as well as on TheSocialMedic.net
- Scheduled Tweets promoting the book beginning early in the day (7:00am) and scheduled one new Tweet every 90 minutes for a day
- Submitted the free promo to Pixel-Of-Ink
- Did an interview for Medical Author Chat that would be published in conjunction with the promo
- Promoted a photo of the ebook cover (with a link to the book on Amazon in the description) on both my personal Facebook profile as well as on my Facebook Page
Most of the things above I actually did over a week in advance, and thank goodness I did that because from February 2 through February 7, I was actually sick with the flu. Aching, feverish, and chills prevented me from submitting the promo period to sites other than Pixel Of Ink.
In doing this launch I had a goal. That goal was to break through the Top 100 on the Amazon Best Sellers lists. Becoming an Amazon best selling author is something that not everyone can lay claim to, and while it may indeed be on the “Free” list that will often help your book’s rankings long after the promo period is over. Prior to the launch, the book had been ranked below the 500,000 mark which is where most books start prior to any sales.
On the first day of launch (Wednesday), the ebook was downloaded over 1,100 times. This resulted in an initial sales rank of 400. Now I’ll be honest, I was a little miffed at that ranking considering the volume of downloads, but this was only the first 24-36 hours. I knew that ultimately the ranking calculation that Amazon uses was some sort of cumulative algorithmic measurement so time was actually on my side. The key was to try and keep the momentum going in a positive direction across all 5 days.
Over the course of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday there were approximately 400 additional downloads each day, and that pushed the sales rank of the book by Saturday afternoon to 281. These additional downloads kept the movement in the rankings going in the right direction, although the increase was incremental considering the book started below the 500,000 ranking mark. I really did minimal promotion during these 3 days, a couple tweets and a few Facebook posts in addition to the posts that had been put up on Wednesday and promoted.
Not surprisingly, Sunday saw another 1,200+ downloads of the ebook. This pushed the sales ranking to the highest it had been, at 175. The total number of free promo downloads ended up being 3,611 copies by midnight PST Sunday, when the promo ended and the ebook went to it’s $2.99 price point.
Although I had set out to crack the Top 100 and fell short, it is still an impressive feat for a non-fiction non-genre niche ebook to crack the Top 250. Overall, I am very pleased with the performance of the book in the rankings during the launch.
I started out with a goal to crack the Top 100 on Amazon’s Best Sellers list so I can be an Amazon Best Selling Author, but it was one I did not actually attain… sort of.
Although I did not crack the Top 100, the ebook has in fact been listed as a Bestseller in the Informal Education Category as evidenced by this screenshot. So since the book is in fact a Bestseller, I think its safe to say I can now call myself a Best Selling Amazon Author!
Overall I view this launch as a success. There are definitely some things I would probably do differently next time, but really what a lot of this has to do with is experimentation and finding a formula that works best for the types of books I write.
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