An increasing number of my clients have a book as part of what they want to market. Over the past several months, I’ve had the honor of coordinating the book launch for Lee Zlotoff’s The MacGyver Secret. This has been an especially fun project to work on because:
- Lee is a personal friend and a great guy.
- I have been using The MacGyver Secret for about 18 months. In fact, I used it to help with this blog post.
- MacGyver is a global brand with a large number of dedicated fans.
The book launch has been a great success. Here’s a screen shot of the book as #1 in 3 categories – Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity:
In addition to being a best seller in 3 categories, we had a number of other successes in the book launch for The MacGyver Secret. These include:
- Almost 5000 downloads during the free Kindle promotions.
- 100’s of social media shares from people who loved the book.
- Daily ongoing sales from optimizing Amazon’s algorithm, particularly for the Kindle version.
- Strong word of mouth marketing for the book.
I learned a tremendous amount about doing a best selling book launch through this process. Clients, colleagues and even complete strangers have been asking me if I could share what we did. So, without further ado …
10 Lessons Learned in a Best Selling Book Launch
Here’s a breakdown of the ten most important things we did for this book launch. NOTE: A number of these are things you do BEFORE your book launch goes live. Your book deserves this kind of thoughtful launch, not just a “throw it together at the last minute” approach.
1) Identify your audience(s) for the book. Early on in this project, we had honest conversations about who the book could help the most. The audiences Lee focused on for this project are: a) techies, b) entrepreneurs, and c) the personal development audience. The awareness of these audiences and the unique needs and desires of each were baked right into the book itself as well as our book launch plan. This made for an easier book to sell.
2) Develop a strong title. The first thing people see or hear about your book is usually it’s title. Make sure yours is something that has an impact. In this case, many people are already familiar with the MacGyver brand. And the word “Secret” has engaged people’s curiosity.
3) Grow your email list. Several months before launching the book, we turned on a simple sales funnel with the goal of growing the MacGyver Secret email list. We used Facebook ads to promote a free “Quickstart guide and video mini course” that teaches people how to do the basic steps of the MacGyver Secret. Thanks to this approach, we had an email list in the several thousands at launch. This simple ad was one of our most effective – the cost was about $.50 per sign up. Here is the landing page for the free offer.
4) Find six or seven strong keywords. As part of getting ready for the book launch, I identified 7 strong keywords. Unfortunately, Google has made changes to it’s Keyword Planner Tool – so I don’t have a free resource to recommend anymore. Instead, I recommend SEMRush or to hire this out with a service like Upwork or Fiverr. You want at least several of your keywords to have 1000+ searches per month and low competition. Use these same keywords everywhere you post about your book – your Amazon description, your website, for your shopping cart, in the description for the company where you print your book (we used IngramSpark), etc.
5) Identify good Amazon categories for your book. A great way to get sales from Amazon is to be a best seller in the categories your book is listed in. This means Amazon will feature your book in a variety of ways – like showing your book as one of the books as “People also bought” when someone buys a book in your category. On this project, I discovered a great tool called Best Seller Ranking Pro. It helped me to easily find the best combination of relevant and least competitive Amazon categories for this book.
6) Create a book launch team. For the launch of the MacGyver Secret, we asked entrepreneurs, personal development leaders, techies, media personalities, colleagues and friends if they would be willing to help get the word out. Many of those asked said yes. Ideally, you want at least 20 people – and a group in the hundreds is even better. I created a separate list in our email management system so it was easy to contact these people. We sent 6 total emails getting the team ready for the book launch, sending them materials they need to promote it, and announcing when the book became a best seller.
7) Launch with a social media blitz. Done well, social media can be incredibly effective to spread the word about a new book. They key is to engage your launch team and people who care about the topics your book is focused on. For instance, we sent this picture to everyone on our launch team with some suggested copy to post about the launch with. A great resource to create pictures for social media is Canva. The free version is adequate for most people, though I pay for Canva For Work.
8) Connect with potential readers via video. Video helps people connect to your project in a way that’s much more dynamic than text and pictures. It doesn’t have to be fancy. This Facebook Live promoting the first free Kindle promotion we did was shot with a smart phone. It was seen by more than 6,000 people.
9) Utilize the power of free Kindle promotions. When you sign up to put your book on Kindle, you get the option of doing a 90 day exclusive with Amazon for the electronic version of your book. One of the benefits of taking this route is you get 5 free Kindle promotion days in that 90 day period. We did two free weekends for The MacGyver Secret – one in November to launch the book and a month later. The result was almost 5000 downloads, great word of mouth, and 40 reviews. Done well, it’s a powerful strategy to get more sales on the world’s largest book store, Amazon.
10) Arrange a combination of in person and podcast talks into a book tour. People who have had a personal experience of the author sharing her or his message are much more likely to buy a book. For The MacGyver Secret book launch we combined in person talks like the talk pictured below to 300 people at the Maker Faire in New York with interviews on leading podcasts like this interview on the Creative Giants podcast. Traveling for a full book tour can get expensive. Instead, we took the approach of doing several larger events in person and then setting up podcast interviews with thought leaders. Think off it a live/virtual hybrid book tour.
Creating a book is a major investment of time, energy and money. Your book deserves as much mindful attention in the launch process as in the process of writing it. I’m excited that you are doing your homework!
Do you have questions about what makes for a successful book launch? I’d love to hear about them in the comments. And if you are a book launch veteran, please share your tips.