Part 3 of My Publishing Journey - Launching my Book

It’s late October 2011, and my book just went live on Amazon. I wrote a book. It bears repeating…I wrote a book. So now I had to let people know about it! My goal that day (I think it was 10/27/11) was to try and get as many people that I knew to buy the book - that day - so that it would debut with a high ranking on Amazon. In my humble opinion (I hate texty acronyms), that Amazon is king, and a books ranking, reviews, and presence on that site is the key to success. I will blog more about the specifics on that another day. But on October 27th, my goal was to come out with a bang. That morning I sent an email to all of my friends, and basically anyone whose email was stored in my computer over the last five years. Here is the email I sent:

My book is on Amazon!

Yes, I wrote a book!   It's titled, One Pink Line...and so begins my Shameless Self Promotion Tour (SSPT)! 

As some of my favorite people (and those most inclined/willing/obligated to buy, read, and positively review my book!) I have a huge favor to ask. If you plan on buying One Pink Line through Amazon, please do so TODAY! 

Why is she being so bossy you ask? Because my goal is to try and boost my Amazon rating, and one of the factors are purchases per day. Let me also follow that request with...please don't feel obligated! I swear I will never really know/care if you bought it, so you can simply tell me you enjoyed it and I'll gladly believe you.

And if you don't buy it today...any other day is entirely acceptable. The link is below, and please forward this to any of your fabulous friends/family/enemies/book clubs who might be interested. Did I mention SHAMELESS!?

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, so I came across like a bit of a spaz, but most of these people know me pretty well, so it wasn’t entirely intrusive. I’m not sure of exactly how many people I sent that email to, but it worked!

Yup, there’s OPL in all her hot pink glory at #4 right under James Patterson and John Grisham. It bears repeating…James Patterson and John Grisham! I was astounded, and this was the paperback version, my Kindle copy hadn’t even been available that that point. I sold 106 books on that day alone (gives you some insight into what Grisham/Patterson are doing pretty much every day), and that was enough to allow me to debut at #4 in Contemporary Fiction. Now, let’s not be fooled, it stayed in the top 20 for a few days, and then moved quickly down into the thousands. But that’s the paperback book, and no one cares so much about that one. It’s the kindle copy that is the true measure of success.

Prior to the kindle version of OPL becoming available, I did extensive research on ebook pricing, and would encourage anyone else to do the same. Ultimately, you should do what you think is best for you, but there are so many great articles out there on this critical topic. Here is one in Huff Post by fabulous author Melissa Foster.

Many indie authors like myself were offering their ebooks for $.99 or FREE. I simply could not bring myself to do that, so I chose another popular indie price point, $2.99. I have seen $2.99 referred to as “the new $.99” but the royalty difference is significant. If you price your book at $.99, Amazon will give you a 35% royalty rate, and you will make $.35 per sale. Whereas, if you bump your book price to $2.99, Amazon will give you a 70% royalty rate, and you will make $2.09 per sale. To me, that is a significant difference, and yet I don’t think that $2.99 is a significant price for a reader to pay for a good book. In fact, I think it’s an amazing opportunity for readers to discover new authors with very little investment.

So I priced my ebook and uploaded it to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. And there it was, uploaded and ready for sale, now all I had to do was sit and wait, and surely people would just find it and buy it. Right? Eh, not so much.

In my opinion, Amazon is the key to success. It’s as simple as that, and I knew that going in. And as much as friends and family helped boost my initial debut, they would never be the key to my long-term success. Again, I did extensive research on what other successful self-pubbed authors had to say, and I learned early on that I needed to ingratiate myself to Amazon. If you are a writer considering self-publishing, some of the absolute BEST articles on the topic can be found on Joe Konrath’s blog. He has so much fantastic information, I suggest you set aside a day or two and read as much as you can.

In order for my ranking, and overall presence, on Amazon to improve, I needed sales for my book. And in order to get sales from strangers, I would need some good reviews. Let me just say, when it comes to reviews, I’m completely shameless in asking for them. If someone contacts me and says they enjoyed my book - I ask them to leave a review on Amazon. I was actually surprised by how many people I begged asked, who had no idea they had the option of writing a review on Amazon. These same people had all admitted to reading reviews of other books, but had never attempted to leave one themselves. So if you’re an author, and wondering why people aren’t’ leaving reviews, I would suggest asking them to do so. Reviews are a critical factor, along with sales and magic dust, which contribute to boosting a books ranking on Amazon. Therefore, I will continue to pester people about reviewing my books…assuming they enjoyed them.

My next post will focus on sales numbers. I’m not really one to chat about how many copies I’ve sold, but I always appreciate when other authors share their sales numbers because it gives/gave me hope. Please ‘join this site’ on the right so I can look popular and important.

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