Archive for Amazon
Many people hire me to create and manage their Amazon book campaigns, or to support them as a book promotion coach/consultant. In either case, I have noticed many of my clients experience a steep learning curve at the beginning of their campaigns, as they try to get their heads around all the components and how they work together.
For that reason, I thought it might be a good idea to write a short article giving an overview of the initial steps I use when I put together an Amazon campaign, so you can become an Amazon bestseller like my clients.
The basic concept of an Amazon book campaign is to drive people to a special page you will create that tells them about your book, and to get them to return to that page to buy your book on the specified day of your launch. The reason why you want them to come on a specified day is to drive up your Amazon sales rank. The reason why people will want to return to your page (as opposed to just going to Amazon to buy your book) is that after they buy your book, they can come back to your page to claim some great bonus gifts.
Who is offering the gifts? A group of “JVPs”, or “Joint Venture Partners” you have brought together. Finding and choosing JVPs is a topic I cover in the first week of Module 4 at Spirit Authors. For now, let’s assume you already have a good selection of JVPs who have confirmed their participation in your launch, and let’s move on to our 5 steps to get your campaign going.
Step 1: Design the Timeline and Components of Your Campaign
First off, you will need to choose the components of your campaign, and construct a timeline showing when all these components will occur. Here are a few examples of components that go into a typical Amazon campaign:
- Bonus gift offers from JVPs
- Email/ezine blasts
- Twitter campaign
- A Contest
- Virtual Blog Tour
There are different strategies, technical aspects and creative elements to each of these components, which would take too long to discuss here. For now, let’s say that you decided you were going to utilise all of them in some way.
Step 2: Coordinate Your JVP Materials
Assuming you have already determined the level of commitment promised from your JVPs, your next step would be to gather relevant materials from them, such as headshot, bio, and bonus material information, including a link to the opt in page where people will sign up to receive their gift.
A word of advice: It is highly likely you will need to guide many of your JVPs as to what is an appropriate bonus gift. A good bonus gift should be a downloadable entry-level gift. A not-so-good gift is one that requires the customer to buy something else to receive it, or requires them to travel to specific geographic location. The bonus should also not be an offer of free or discounted coaching or consultation, because if they have a high number of requests, they might find it impossible to honour them all. You, as the manager of your campaign, need to guide your JVPs to choosing the right kind of gift.
As you collect this information from your JVPs, make sure you use some sort of tracking system to cross check you have received all the info. I use an Excel spreadsheet for tracking.
Step 3: Creating Your Pre-Launch Page and Follow-Ups
Next, you will need to assemble all your JVP information, along with key info about you and your book, onto a webpage we are going to call your “pre-launch page.” On this page, people will find out about you, your book, the date of the launch, and the bonus gift offerings. Make sure you standardise the format in which you will publish the JVP content on the web, so everyone’s entry looks similar.
Apart from the JVP information, the key ingredient on this page is a sign up form, where they will sign up to receive a reminder about the book launch. This sign up form should be connected to an auto-responder that sends them a follow up message saying something to the effect of, “Thanks for your interest in my book. I’ll be sending you a reminder the day before it comes out so you can get those great bonus gifts you read about. Be sure to mark your diary.”
Step 4: Create Promo Copy
The next thing you will need to do is create some great promotional copy for your JVPs to use for your campaign. There are basically 3 types of promo copy you will prepare for your JVPs:
- Newsletter/ezine articles
- “Tweets” (for Twitter)
- “Virtual interviews” (if you are planning to do a Virtual Blog Tour)
I usually make two contrasting pieces of ezine copy for my JVPs per month, to give them diversity and choice (they are likely to send only one per month).
I usually make 50-100 Tweets for my JVPs—and I try to make them 120 characters or less. It’s really not as complex as it might sound, and it can make your campaign vibrant, fun and very effective.
A “Virtual Interview” is when your blog tour hosts send you a few questions in advance before the date of their “stop” on your tour.
I cover the details of how to create all these types of copy on Module 4 at Spirit Authors. In fact, I dedicate an entire week to EACH of these types of copy.
Step 5: Create Clear Instructions for Your JVPs
The last step to getting your campaign off the ground is to create a set of clear, written instructions for your JVPs. I always include a timeline, a description of the components, and a break down of how everything will run. I write it in such a way that it is visually easy to read, and convert it into a PDF document. I give them tips on how to use the materials, and how to increase traffic to their bonus.
Follow a Real Live Launch
As I am currently the project leader for the upcoming Amazon campaign for Patrick Ryan’s book Awakened Wisdom: A Guide to Reclaiming Your Brilliance, the easiest thing you can do to understand the things I have been describing would be to look at the page we have put together for that launch at http://www.awakenedwisdom.com/Public/Amazon/booklaunch/index.cfm. As of this writing, we are still finalising some details on it (and there are a few more JVPs coming along). Of course, I also hope you’ll check out Patrick’s book and sign up for a launch reminder while you’re on that page (I made the video, by the way. Do you like it?).
And if you are on Twitter, follow me at http://twitter.com/LynnSerafinn and you can see some of the Tweets I’m sending out about the book. Hopefully they will give you ideas of how to make your own. Most everything I have learned about online promotion is the result of watching others who know what they are doing, so now it’s my pleasure to invite you to do the same (hopefully I know what I’m doing!).
This article has been a very brief overview of the 5 steps needed to put together your Amazon book campaign. If you’d like to know more about creating, running and benefiting from an Amazon book campaign for your upcoming book, have a look at my 8-week course on the Spirit Authors website: Module 4: Your Book Launch – Designing and Delivering. For a limited time, you can take a 14-day test drive for only $1, and receive some special bonus gifts that are yours to keep just for trying it out.
If you feel you need a more personal touch, fill in a contact form on the Spirit Authors site to request a 1-to-1 consultation. Please be aware that I only take on a limited amount of book launch clients throughout the year, and that we will require 4-6 months to work on your launch, depending upon the strength of your online platform.
I hope you found this whistle-stop tour useful. Drop me a comment below to let me know what you think.
SIDEBAR NOTE: If you haven’t yet gotten your copy of Allison Maslan’s Number-1 seller, check it out at http://myblastoff.com/booklaunch.
This is a true story of how one small thing can change your life.
Back in September 2009, a fellow named Tony Eldridge, whom I had met on Twitter, asked me to write an article for his book marketing blog, talking about the promotional strategies I had used that enabled my book The Garden of the Soul: lessons from four flowers to unearth the Self to become a bestselling title. I was a first-time, self-published author. I wasn’t exactly rich, and I had next to nothing to spend on promotion, so I did just about all of it myself. But somehow, by dint of my having spent the previous two years attending dozens of live seminars and teleseminars and reading hundreds of articles and eBooks on the topic of book promotion and Amazon launches, I built my online platform, designed my campaign and found some truly wonderful joint venture partners to assist me. As a result, my book became a bestseller in the UK in spirituality and mind-body-spirit categories, as well as in self-help category in both the US and the UK. I couldn’t have been happier. At age 50-something, it really was the dream of a lifetime.
I knew that the success of my launch had come from building my platform at least a year before my book had come out. So when Tony approached me to write the article, I decided to call the article “Pre-Natal Care for your Book,” with the aim of encouraging authors to start building their platform months before they even finished writing their books. When he published my article on 6 October 2009, Tony announced it on Twitter, and continued to ReTweet the link to it throughout the month.
I was very pleased with the article, and very pleased Tony seemed to like it too. I had no idea, however, that this one small thing was very soon going to be the catalyst that would change my life.
A few days after the article was published, an author from California named Allison Maslan saw one of Tony’s ReTweets (bless your tweet heart, Tony), and clicked the link to read my article. She was intrigued with it and contacted me through my website, asking me if I would “coach” her to create a book promotion campaign, because she had just landed a book deal with Morgan James Publishers for her book Blast Off! The Surefire Success Plan to Launch Your Dreams into Reality.
I asked, “What do you want me to do?”
She replied, “Exactly the same thing you did for your own book. I want to do all of it.”
Without thinking, I heard myself saying to her, “OK. Except it’s not enough. My book made it to Number 18, and that was great at the time. But I want your book to do better than that. I want it to go all the way to Number 1.”
Reaching Number 1 was something I had a difficult time imagining, but I really meant it when I said it. Over the months Allison and I worked together, I found myself saying, “I want your book to be a Number-1 bestseller,” again and again. The desire was so powerful I could feel it in my gut.
I have to admit, though, that somewhere in the back of my mind I could hear a voice chiding me, “Number 1, you say? Uh-huh. Well we’ll just see about that!” But in spite of my occasional self-doubt, my logical mind told me if I simply applied all the learning I had amassed from having completed my own launch several months earlier, I could avoid all the pitfalls I had encountered and easily surpass my previous achievement. It seemed perfectly “do-able”.
And while such logic is a wonderful thing, the greater thing I have learned is that when you set a sincere intention, the Universe conspires to ensure it comes to fruition. So honey, let me warn you—before you open your mouth and speak loudly enough for the Universe to hear, you’d better be sure you are ready for outrageous success. But when you say it, you really have to mean it. Don’t just wish it. Don’t just say to yourself, “That would be really nice.” Feel the desire so powerfully that you will not accept anything less, and then commit to doing the work that will make it come true.
Over the following months, I worked closely with Allison to design, coordinate and deliver her campaign. First we tightened up her platform by building a strong online infrastructure and integrating all her social networks. Then, I showed her how to operate many new software programmes. She got to be a real pro at them in no time and soon she was off and running and gathering new followers every day. She was a natural at it, and because she was such a nice person, people simply WANTED to be connected to her.
Then I introduced her to an excellent communications coordinator, Yvonne Perry from Writers in the Sky, whom I had met on my Garden of the Soul Ning group. Together, we three assembled a truly vibrant team of spirit-based joint venture partners. We then designed all the timetables, promotional copy, strategies, sales pages and so many other things. As the day of the launch approached, we worked out tracking systems and a rota for watching the sales. There were some pretty hair-raising last minute “tweaks” behind the scenes and Ali, Yvonne and I were writing emails to each other so rapidly, it was almost like talking in real time.
The day of the big launch finally came Tuesday 19 January 2010. As I live in the UK, I was up hours before Allison or Yvonne. Soon, Britain woke up and started shopping online. I found my heart pounding when I first saw Allison’s book get into the Top-20 bestseller lists in the UK, alongside and even AHEAD of celebrities from Britain’s show “Dragon’s Den”. I frantically started sending out blogs and newsletters and tweets to tell people about this great news. Then, as North America woke up (Allison amongst them), and I started to see her book climb the US and Canadian charts, I could feel my heart pounding even louder. Heck I think I could even hear Allison’s heart pounding all the way from San Diego! Wow! Suddenly Blast Off! was soaring up the charts into the Top-10. Unbelievable. She had indeed passed my own book’s rank, just as I had said I truly wanted.
Behind the scenes was a FRENZY of emails, Tweets, Skypes and on-the-fly blog posts. We analysed. We strategised. It was total madness! I think if I could pick one thing I am most proud of about the campaign, it would be when Allison got to the Number-4 ranking, just behind Gary Vaynerchuk and Michael Gerber—two monumental names in the charts. We looked at the sales figures and estimated that we were very close to the Number-3 position, and all we needed to get over the “hump” was another 15 book sales. At that point, I sent out an appeal to all our members on Spirit Authors fan page on Facebook, as well as my blogs, and Allison sent out emails to her lists, telling them exactly what was going on. Yvonne started Tweeting like crazy. Within minutes, people responded with messages of support, telling us they had just bought the book.
I watched as an amazing truth became evident—people WANTED Allison reach Number-1. Their desire was just as strong as ours… except now there were hundreds of people all desiring the same thing.
And do you know what? With all that passionate desire being sent into the cosmos, the Universe could not help but fulfil our collective wishes. It was like an ocean of desire flowing into cyberspace.
In less than an hour, the book Blast Off! by my wonderful client (and now dear friend) Allison Maslan not only moved into the Number-3 rank, but within the next couple of hours, it also rose in both US and Canada to become Number-1 bestseller in entrepreneurship and was dubbed Number-1 “Hot New Seller”. It also made the top 5 in several other categories including “motivational” and “self-help”.
As you might imagine, Allison is over the moon and she is getting a lot of media attention. I spoke to her this evening and she has FOURTEEN radio interviews tomorrow! I can’t imagine that many interviews in one day. And I have to say, it couldn’t happen to a nicer person.
As for me, I’ve been living on not much more than adrenaline all week. But I really wanted to come back down to earth to tell you about the exciting things that have been happening in my life since the success as Allison’s campaign.
My first big announcement is that “Lynn the author” is now being represented by Waterside Literary Agency in Los Angeles, who also represent an array of illustrious spirit-based authors such as Eckhart Tolle, Neal Donald Walsch, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and of course my own client, Allison Maslan, amongst many others whose names you would undoubtedly recognise. Together, we are getting ready to approach publishers with a proposal for a NEW book I am writing. I’ll be telling you more about it over the coming months.
The second bit of news (and this will probably come as no surprise) is that, ever since the launch, I have been approached by a steady stream of authors requesting I help them with their book campaigns. Some of these are truly BIG and exciting projects. I’ll be telling you all about these wonderful books over the coming months.
All of this truly takes my breath away and, of course, I am absolutely thrilled so many people are approaching me about managing their spirit-based book campaigns. But there is a flip side to all this that also needs to be considered:
a) There’s only one of me and there are hundreds of authors who need help with their book projects and
b) Private campaign managers are simply not a financial option for everyone.
But here’s the beauty of the situation. The Universe is so incredibly wise and clever, it has been orchestrating a solution to this dilemma for the past two months, long before any of these events had occurred.
What is the solution? My new Spirit Authors site, of course!
For the past two months, I’ve been very excited about my new project Spirit Authors, which is a membership site that allows me to combine my professional experience as a teacher, coach, author, online promotion expert, WordPress “techie” and non-stop talker (!) in one place. I call it a “Virtual Coaching and Learning Experience” for mind-body-spirit authors—including those who simply have a dream to write and be a published author in the future. What Spirit Authors will offer authors is the opportunity to learn from myself and a range of other industry professionals about writing, social network-based promotion, self-publishing, Amazon launch campaigns, and making the most of your success, while always retaining your spirit-based focus, and being true to your personal values. It is also an online community, offering you the opportunity to make close personal and professional connections with others of like mind, for friendship, support, ideas sharing and business partnerships.
I originally set up this project because it resonated with my own values and interests. It also fulfils a long-term dream for me, because I have an MA in adult education and distance learning, and for many years I wanted to create a really fabulous online course, using all the principles I have learned in my many years as an educator.
But what I now understand is that the real importance of the project is that it will be able to help HUNDREDS of authors get the information and support they want and need for their projects. I couldn’t possibly do that as a one-to-one coach.
I have arranged a Grand Opening Webinar Week, Monday 22 through Friday 26 February. I’ve got over a dozen industry professionals from authors, marketing specialists, publishers, editors, etc., coming along to share their wisdom and experience on the air. And, yes, Allison Maslan will be amongst the guest line up to tell us what life has been like since becoming a Number-1 bestselling author. It’s all going to be FREE in celebration of the Grand Opening of the new Spirit Authors site.
So there you have it. It all started by someone asking me to write a simple little blog article. Less than six months later, so many things I wanted to achieve in life are all joining together. It has truly been a dance of synchronicity, desire and manifestation.
If you follow my work, you know that one of my key messages is that there is great learning to be found in every story of our lives. So for this story, let me offer you these two “thoughts for the day:”
a) Never underestimate the power of an opportunity you are given, even if it seems very small. You simply do not know how far it will take you.
b) The more you desire to fulfil the dreams of others, the more your own dreams become fulfilled.
Thanks for reading. I really needed to share this story with you. Just by reading these words, you have become a part of my journey. Even if we have never spoken in person, I know on a subtle level that your presence in the world is impacting my life in ways I cannot yet measure. Similarly, I truly hope my presence in the world is impacting you in some small but positive way.
Transformation Coach, Book Promotion Coach,
Author, Teacher, Talk Radio Host