What’s The Point Of Book Launch Promotion Anyway?

Recently I shared on an online writer’s forum how a couple of book promotion services catapulted my new time management book into super high sales ranks. One commenter replied, thoughtfully:

So bear with me here because I don’t get it, you made 355 sales yesterday at $0.99 and a 70% commission. So you made $246. After the promotion is over what happens? 

I don’t get this system that people seem to so excited about. Sure it’s nice to be on the “bestseller list” for a day or two but where’s the value, where’s the real profit, and where’s the longevity come into this? Not trolling, seriously just don’t understand and would love to.

My answer to his question is below:

It’s actually worse Jon Goodman. At .99 you can only get a 33% commission. Now, your question would probably take an hour to answer in a quality way, but here’s a short version.

First, the revenue from the last two weeks in digital and print will be over two thousand dollars, the 355 sales occurred on day 12. And I have other books that consistently bring in over a thousand a month many years after they were launched. So I’m not sure what dollar amount gets you excited, but it can add up over time.

Second, when it comes to the “system”…not really sure what that refers to or what others are doing but I look at two phases for each book: launch phase and forever.

For Launch: You will never get as much excitement for your book as you will at launch. So its worthwhile to try to drum up some attention so that you make the “New” and “Hot” lists, get discovered by new readers, stack up reviews, and hopefully earn some money. It’s this phase that I’ll spend money on promo sites. Oh, and with this attention, you can rank highly in the search results. After 2 weeks, I’m now the 3rd or 5th book that comes up for “time management” depending on how you are searching. This is out of 145,000 other time management books! Those promo dollars lead to those results.

Forever after: Once you seize some high ground, and you’ve caught the attention of Amazon algorithms, it’s beneficial to continue to “tickle the ‘Zon”. Most people do see an immediate drop off after a big launch–maybe that’s what you’re referring to. I continue to rank in top 3 for search results in my keyword terms. That’s always my focus. To tickle the ‘Zon, each month I try to write a guest post somewhere with a link back to my book. Do a webinar that then links back to the book. Put up social media quote-cards that refer back to the book. Every 3-6 months run a .99 or even free deal to get new readers and tickle the algorithm.

Does all that make sense? Launch gets to the top of the charts and should generate reviews and income. After that, it takes monthly activity–not much but some–to keep it there. Only time will tell (hehe, funny pun I just made) how my new book will fare.