How I became a best-selling author on Amazon: My book launch story

How I became a best-selling author on Amazon: My book launch story

Last Friday night I launched my first self-published Amazon Kindle book, Email Marketing that Sells: Your Guide to building a fired up email list. On Saturday morning I was at #1 best-seller for two categories, Business Writing and Ecommerce. In just five days over 2000 people have already downloaded the book.

Email Marketing that Sells book cover

Before I get into the nitty gritty, I firstly want to sincerely thank everyone who has downloaded the book and supported me through the launch.  This was a mass-scale effort and there was no way I could have come close to achieving my goal if I didn’t have the help of my E-Web Marketing colleagues and the “book launch team” (more about the “book launch team later).

You’re probably wondering, how can a regular Aussie bloke take an idea in his head and turn it into an international best-seller? Great question.  Luckily I’ve documented my progress and turned the book launch into a project template that can be used again and again.

How long did it take?
On August 1st I set myself a goal of being a best-selling author by the end of November. I procrastinated for three weeks, then I thought I should do something about this goal if I’m going to achieve it! I procrastinated for another few weeks and only got serious about putting together the book outline in mid-September.  From then I went into over-drive, and I wrote the book, had it edited, formatted and published on Amazon in two months.

How did I promote the book?
I did heaps of stuff to promote the book. The main recipes for success was the two weeks of hype and build up before the launch, multiple promotions to our list, the Facebook ads, and the loyal launch team members who promoted the book to their networks. What also worked quite well was a Facebook “offer” that over 150 people claimed, and it went virally into their news feed.

What’s the “book launch team”?
One of the key reasons for my success was developing a “book launch” team.  I learned this idea from Michael Hyatt, author of “The Platform.” You ask people if they’d like to read a “pre-launch” copy of your book, in return for writing a review and promoting the book launch to their friends.  This was a great idea, although you can’t count on every person on your launch team to be as excited about your book as you are.  In my case, I had over 100 people who said they wanted to be on my launch team, but only 10 people actually ended up contributing.  And I don’t blame them for not taking action, they’ve probably got higher priorities than promoting my book, but it was a massive learning for me that you can’t take your launch team for granted.  For my next book, I’ll have a smaller launch team, but I’ll work a lot closer with chosen few to make my next book launch an even bigger success!

What went wrong?
At 5pm on Friday (2 hours before launch) I realised we were in the wrong Amazon Kindle categories. Sigh. All of this time and effort we put into choosing the right categories would be wasted if it wasn’t fixed. So I had to quickly change the categories and hold my breath while Amazon implemented the changes on their end. To say I was nervous was an understatement, especially when the message said it would take up to 12 hours to update!  Thankfully they updated the changes almost immediately and the launch went off without a hitch. Be careful when you choose your categories, because the physical book categories don’t match up to the Kindle book categories……

I also felt our launch day execution could have been better co-ordinated to get more downloads in a shorter period of time. Again, this is a learning for me and an area I can improve next time.  Getting to best-selling author means you need a 24-hour hard slog of promotion, because you want everyone to download the book on the same day.  My downloads were spread out relatively evenly over 5 days.  Although I still achieved my goal of getting to best-selling author, I’ll certainly be a lot more organised next time, and I’ll have closer relationships with my launch team to co-ordinate promoting to their audiences at the same time.

What if you want to become a best-selling author?  
I can’t proclaim that I have a perfect system that always works in every situation, because I’ve only done it once for myself! But I can definitely show you in more detail what I did, what worked and didn’t work, and what I would do differently next time.  Leave a comment below if you want more detail.

Good luck with your book launch!

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