7 Lessons Learned in My Book Launch

For those of you who like details (and maybe are considering doing your own book launch), let me summarize what I have done in the past 2 weeks:

1.  Had an online Virtual Book Party and Giveaway (11/15 – 11/30)

2.  Had a 1-Day Amazon Best Seller Campaign (11/30)

3. Used Targeted FaceBook ads (Pay Per Click)

Both #1 and #2 were shared via email (about 80 emails for #2) and via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  I also created a Facebook Event for the Book Party and Giveaway.  The one day campaign was not started until about 8:30 AM on 11/30.

Bottom Line Results (numbers):  I’ve sold 43 books (25 Amazon Print, 10 Kindle, 3 Nook, 1 iPad, 4 in-person).  Fourteen of the Print version were on 11/30.  Those 14 were enough to take my book from #591,348 to #14,584.  Kindle sales do not figure into the Print version ranking.

Addendum:  Author Central later (12/10) reported the statistic that my book hit #10,887 on Nov. 30 (it must have dipped down in the middle of the night.  I saw the 14,584 number in the morning).


Labeled Screen Shot of Amazon Rank 7:50 AM 12/01/2010

A few lessons learned:

#1 A bigger list of contacts (email and social media) would have helped. This really is the #1 thing.

#2 I should have been clearer that my Virtual Book Party was ONLINE and for 2 WEEKS.  In my original FB event, a few people stated they wouldn’t be able to make it.  Here’s the breakdown on the FB event responses:  14 attending, 9 Maybes, 240 Awaiting Reply, 37 Not Attending.  Less than stellar results.  I think a lot of people ignore the FB event invites.

#3  I could have had better prizes/giveaways.  Basically, I could have spent a little more time on setting up. I could have tried to get some sponsors, especially for the giveaway (on the giveaway there were 38 comments from 17 people).  Also, if I had a more compelling set of free items if people bought my book, perhaps the response rate would have been greater.  Here’s where I got my idea (and used much of the same wording): Getting Your Book to # 1 at Amazon. I knew I didn’t have enough contacts to get to #1, which is why I chose #1000 as a goal.

#4 I could have contacted some key people in advance to help publicize my 1-day event to their contacts.  This would have been an especially good idea with more free stuff.

#5 A little local PR would have been great.  I was unsuccessful at getting press releases into the 2 local papers (Elk River Star and Crow River News).

#6 I wish I had thought of doing some sort of short visual earlier regarding the 1-Day campaign.  Here’s the visual I posted on FB at about 9:30 last night:  Why Buy Diane Windingland’s Book by Midnight? It didn’t take me long to create as I had all the pictures in a file for my FB ads.

#7 The FB ads were a bust–spent $120 and I estimate I probably sold 3-4 books through this effort (got 365, 646 “impressions” with 113 clicks at an average price of $1.06/click).  If I had a higher profit margin product or service it might have been worth it.  However, this was a very interesting exercise in coming up with ad variations (different titles, different pictures and different target markets) to see how that affected clicks.  I feel like I got a bit of an education!

If you are interested in how much I make– about $2.65/book sold on Amazon. Print books sold through my website earn me $4.25 (I have a Createspace store–Createspace is a division of Amazon.  I use them as a Print On Demand source) and books I sell in person, about $5+.  For the Kindle books I make 70% on domestic sales (which is why I sell for $3.99) and 35% on international sales (and half of the Kindle book sales have been international).  The profit is similar for the Nook and iPad eBooks.

In short, I won’t get rich at this rate, but making money on book sales was not my primary purpose for publishing this book.  The main motivation for writing the book was to develop credibility as a speaker, which can also feed into selling more books.

I’d love your comments as to how you perceived my efforts and what I might improve on for the next book (yes, I would do it again, but better!)


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

5 Responses to 7 Lessons Learned in My Book Launch

  1. Sounds like its a good learning experience….I bought a book last week and Retweeted you and shared on facebook I think. I think a big list is key. Getting more people to share/retweet is key. Also getting people to giveaway some item of value is key too. ( I have been watching what the GURU’s do very closely)!

    Anyway! Cant wait to get the book and read it!

  2. Paulie says:

    I am also excited to get my book… it has shipped 🙂 Thank you for sharing your insight Diane. I love that you mentioned you published to gain “credibility as a speaker” and agree that your book will support that. Look at Gitomer 🙂 Well done!!!

  3. Pingback: How to Self-Publish a Book: A Short Course of Why, What and How « Small Talk, Big Results

  4. swoote says:

    Interesting lessons learned. I’m glad I read your post because I was considering one of the “pay by the click” style ads.

  5. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and also
    the rest of the website is extremely good.

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