If you’re finishing up your next book, stop writing and consider these points to increase your chances for a successful eBook launch – because a delayed book launch is better than a bad book launch.

At BookLemur, we review dozens of titles daily, searching for standouts our members will snap up and enjoy. After reviewing thousands of eBooks, we have a seen a pattern in the titles that are most successful as far as number of downloads and purchases.

Based on these observations, I have many recommendations that must be considered in order to have a successful eBook launch. So if you’re almost done with your next book, stop writing and think about each of these items now to increase your chances for success. Remember, what’s worse than a delayed book launch? A bad book launch!

Planning

You do not want to be a one-and-done author. Think about all the really, really successful books. There are always sequels, series, and follow-up books. It’s so much easier to sell to established fans than create new ones every time.

When I released my first book, Credit Card and Debt Management, I didn’t think ahead. I got letters (snail mail at that time) asking what other books I had. My response was, “Ummm… none.” Then I got, “Anything in the works?” I realized I had to get something together, and quickly – so I launched DebtSmart.com. This taught me a lesson I see all the time with new authors and their books.

You have to start somewhere, it’s true, but you also have to know where you’re going. So what do you do if you didn’t plan ahead, but you’re close to book launch? Just think about it now.

Say you’re writing a fiction book and realize there needs to be a book two in the future. Be sure to plug book two in book one – in the description. Let people know that it ain’t over and they have something to look forward to, which is why they need to sign up for updates at your website to be the first to read the opening chapters, etc. You get the idea. Be wary of cliffhangers, however, as they can be a major turn off to readers.

Price

Whatever you decide for your retail price, one thing is for sure when it comes to the book’s promotional price, and that is: cheaper is better. And FREE is the best.

That’s because free and discount book promotion sites attract people who are looking for a bargain. That’s how these sites get people to sign up. They want free, free, free. And believe me, they get angry when there aren’t enough free books to download.

Setting a low promotional price can feel painful when your goal is to make money. But there is a bigger picture here to consider, and that is to build fans – loyal fans that not only enjoy your first book, but also are looking forward to that next book. It’s like in the classic children’s book, If You Give a Moose a Muffin. What happens? He wants another, and another, and another.

So how do you achieve the goal of making money while giving the book away?

Amazon allows authors in their KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program to run free book promotions. This way you can launch your book with say, a two-days-free offer to get downloads that will hopefully turn into reviews. This will also boost your Amazon Sales Rank, which can put your book on the bestseller list. Then you can say “my book is an Amazon Bestseller” and hopefully get the domino effect of a high Amazon rank that leads to sales that leads to an even higher Amazon rank that leads to media interviews and blog mentions. Details of setting up a KDP promotion can be found by clicking here.

Title

Your title is the headline for your book. If it’s non-fiction then be specific so people know exactly what the book is about. Don’t be fancy. What do you think my book titled Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt! Phone Calls to Banks That Saved More Than $43,000 in Interest Charges and Fees is about?

Fiction can be a little trickier. You want people to understand what it’s about, but also what them to be intrigued by the title. For example, the title The Girl on the Train plants a picture in my mind, and while it doesn’t tell me much, I can’t help but wonder what it’s about.

Cover

Like it or not, the truth is people DO judge a book by its cover. That’s just a fact of life. And, it would be a shame if a not-so-aesthetically-pleasing cover would thwart people from discovering the beautiful prose inside.

Never use a cheesy stock photo for your cover. Your cover MUST be GREAT! Nothing short of great.

Do some research by looking at the covers on Amazon’s Bestseller lists in your book’s category. If you find a cover that is in the style you like, then look inside the book and see if the cover designer is mentioned. Many times they are, and then you can contact that book designer to get a quote for your cover.

BookBaby also offers fantastic book cover design services. You should check out what they can do for you. Give them examples of what you like from the research you have done on the Amazon Bestseller lists so they know what you’re looking to do.

Genre selection

In marketing, the three most important things, in order, are:

  1. Your list
  2. Your offer
  3. Your copy

The list is the people who are getting your offer, and a good list is made up of the people who are most likely to be interested in your work, i.e. people interested in the genre/category your book fits into.

You are most likely very familiar with the specific genre for your book. Just double check by looking at the genres of other successful books that you think are like yours.

Book description

Think of your book description as the ad copy for your book, because that’s what it is. Don’t hold the punch line to the end. Tell people in the first sentence exactly what the book is about, and then go into the story details. Sell it.

Here is a good example from The Last Girl by Joe Hart.

A mysterious worldwide epidemic reduces the birthrate of female infants from 50 percent to less than one percent. Medical science and governments around the world scramble in an effort to solve the problem, but twenty-five years later there is no cure, and an entire generation grows up with a population of fewer than a thousand women.

Zoey and some of the surviving young women are housed in a scientific research compound dedicated to determining the cause. For two decades, she’s been isolated from her family, treated as a test subject, and locked away – told only that the virus has wiped out the rest of the world’s population.

I know from the first sentence exactly what this book is about. It links right up with the title. Then the second paragraph goes on to develop the characters, which at this point, I’m interested in learning about.

Reviews

Do your best to get some early reviews. When your book launches, at least make sure your friends buy the book and give it an honest review. If they like it great! Have them review it. If not, then they can just shut up and you can unfriend them on Facebook.

You don’t want to go into an expensive promotion with zero reviews. That’s why it’s smart to have early promotions with (shameless plug coming…) book promo sites like BookLemur.com, because it’s not expensive and will help you get early reviews.

No matter what. Focus on getting your book in the hands of reviewers and getting those reviews posted at Amazon.

Editing

Everyone will judge a book by its cover, but any avid reader will harshly judge a book by its editing. There are many grammar snobs out there on the hunt for missing hyphens, misspellings, and incorrect use of language. A couple of typos may be forgiven, but a slew of errors make for a very unpleasant read, along with scathing reviews. No matter what, just be sure to have a professional editor go through your work and make it clean. Period.

Image by thomas koch.

 

BookBaby Editing Services

 

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5 Ways To Get Publicity For Your Book (That Aren’t Related To Your Book Launch Or Book Tour)
How To Choose The Perfect Book Title
Whatever Your Story, BookBaby’s Book Editing Service Is The Right Fit

 

Scott Bilker

About Scott Bilker

Scott Bilker has written 3 posts in this blog.

Scott Bilker is the founder of BookLemur.com, one of the top eBook promotion sites on the Internet. The BookLemur Author Spotlight Program is available for all self-published authors to apply and start promoting their books online.

7 thoughts on “The eight elements of a successful eBook launch

  1. I do not make grammatical errors and I know about writing readable, coherent sentences. MS Word catches typos and spelling mistakes. I know that publishing professionals strongly advise hiring an editor anyway. My problem is that the book (Christianity in Ruins) is 940 pages long and contains at least 2000 proper names and numerous technical terms. On the basis of expected minimal benefit I decided not to hire an editor, because it probably would have cost $10,000 or more. I realize I’m taking a chance on putting it out because no one has read more than 10% of it. I’m willing to bet that no reviewer will criticize me for poor writing.

    1. Kilburn Hall says:

      In 2016- no one reads books like these especially as an ebook. One or two libraries may stock it but that’s about it. Now, if you are writing to make money I would think about getting into another genre. I switched from the murder mystery genre to techno-thriller genre because the murder mystery genre was just too crowded with A-list authors.
      -Kilburn Hall
      kilburnhall.wordpress.com

    2. Christina says:

      Perhaps consider breaking up the book into two books and include headers/ subtitles for easier readability…940 pages might seem too long winded for a person to pick up and read, which is what an editor might flag up.
      You’re also likely to make more money in this way. At the moment it sounds like a receipt for financial loss. The tip is to not give up all your knowledge in one singular book.

  2. RL Toney says:

    I’ll add this:
    especially for the first comment
    relying on software to catch all mistakes is a mistake.
    One thing MSword and other doesn’t do well is context and intent. it (especially in autocorrect) may fix a misspelling but that doesn’t mean it puts together the word you’re looking for. With readers that element can cost you so my advice:
    where possible seek and hire professionals and also have faith in the writing (your book) it may not sell but two copies today. tomorrow however is a different story.

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