Launching and Reaching Best Seller

Launch Your Book Right and Execute a Strategy to Reach Best Seller Status on Amazon

The launch plan overview
You’ve put a LOT into it to get this far! I know it might sound silly, but it’s a huge step that a lot of people never make. The good news is it will pay off as you move forward. For the impact you want to have and for your business, so let’s get it!

There are few additional tasks that make a huge difference that should be completed the week or so when your book is live and published on Amazon, but before your official launch day. In addition to giving you time to complete all of these items (including updating your categories per above), it lets Amazon’s system really kick in and gives you all the tools to work your way to the top of the lists.

While all that’s happening, it’s a great opportunity to get some good five-star reviews submitted.

Getting the initial reviews
Reviews carry a TON of weight with every product on Amazon, most of us know that. For books by those of us who aren’t celebrities or well-known authors (yet), they are especially important. Simply put, it’s social proof. If your book has dozens or hundreds of reviews and shows 4.5 stars or above, a potential reader says, “Well, it must be good to have that many good reviews.” We all do it in our heads. Because of that, we want to make sure your book has that social proof before launch day.

This is a good place to reach out to several of your “reliable 10” and ask them to write a 5-star review for your book. Now, not everyone always reads the whole book, even if they said they did. This can hold some people up, so make sure you let them know that the review can be based on one or two chapters and not the whole thing.

The most important part of the review process is asking people to write the review about the book, not you. Amazon reviews all of the reviews before allowing them to populate on your book’s page. This is a great thing because it protects you from clearly fake reviews that just attack you, but it also can cause trouble if it doesn’t seem like someone’s read the book. So long as there are no “four-letter words” and it doesn’t sound like your grandma is bragging about you, you should be fine!

It can take anywhere from a few minutes to 24-48 hours for some reviews to populate, so don’t worry if someone submits it and it takes a day or so.

As you ask for reviews, people will likely ask you if they should buy the book on Amazon (even if you’ve given them an advanced copy to read). You really want to bunch as many of your sales together on launch day as possible, but it is OK if some people do buy. It simply “primes the pump” on Amazon. I always just say something along the lines of, “Absolutely! I will be discounting it by half on launch day and asking that you pick up a few copies then, but if you want to be one of the first, go for it!”

To ask people for reviews, I like to do a quick screen recording on my phone. One of my favorite tools is Loom ( The free version gives you five minutes of screen recording, which is more than enough to show people how to leave a review. Once you load it up, start with your book’s page on Amazon. Explain to them the important parts of a review:
  1. Leaving a good review helps the book be successful long-term

  2. Making it about the book, even if just a chapter or two, and not about you/the author

  3. When you load up the book page, you can scroll down below the “Product Details” section

  4. You’ll see “Write a Review” in a grey box. Click this link

  5. Add 5 stars (if you think it’s worthy)

  6. Share a couple of sentences about what you got out of it

  7. Add a fun but simple title

  8. Click “Submit”

That’s all they need to do, and it takes about 90 seconds if you do a screen recording. I find that people really like the video because it takes the guesswork out of it, which means you get more reviews completed.

One final note on reviews. There are two types: verified and unverified. If you go to any product on Amazon, you’ll see both. Verified simply means that Amazon can confirm that the person purchased the product/book. When it comes to the algorithm, verified reviews do carry more weight.

With books, verified reviews are different for print and Kindle. For print, the book has to have been delivered 24 hours prior to the review being written. For Kindle, the book has to be open and read. Not the whole thing, but the general understanding is at least 15%.

What does this mean for you? In the short-term and prior to launch, it doesn’t matter as much. You’re just wanting to have a few 5-star reviews on there so that those you push towards the book on launch day see the social proof that it’s good and safe to buy. In the long-term, you do want to get as many verified reviews as possible. It’ll happen organically as people leave reviews, but it’s always a good thing to email your list and ask that anyone who has bought leave a review.

Speaking of your email list, it’s time to start preparing them for the launch.

Emails to your list
The goal to this point is to not only write your book, but to have built an email list. If it’s small, that’s OK! It will continue to grow, and it’s about the quality of people on it more than the quantity. As you prepare for your launch this week, you’ll want to send a series of emails to your list letting them know it’s almost time.

One thing that’d be good to consider, if you’re comfortable and willing, is to offer some sort of special incentive or a bonus for those that buy on launch day. You can track this by letting your list know that whoever forwards a copy of their receipt will receive whatever it is you’re planning on offering.

What could you offer as an incentive? It could be anything from a free Zoom session to your personal cell phone number and anything in between. People love free stuff and many will purchase because of those incentives on launch day.

The most successful incentives I’ve seen have been:
  • The personal cell phone number for those that buy 100 copies (a successful entrepreneur)

  • A free signed shirt for those purchasing 250 or more copies (a high-level rock star)

  • A one-on-one meeting with a high-end business coach for those purchasing 50 books or more

  • A free audiobook version when it comes out for those purchasing 10 or more copies (multiple authors)

  • Free entry to one mastermind session for those purchasing 25 copies (eight-figure business consultant)

  • Personally signed copy of the book and entry into a large cash prize drawing (successful entrepreneur and podcaster)

  • A personalized thank you to anyone buying 10 or more books (multiple authors) - you’d be surprised how powerful this one is

You can offer anything, but it’s best to offer something that makes launch day special relative to any other day.

Finally, on the incentive front, I always like to cut the price of the book in half (often from $19.99 to $9.99) for launch day only. This makes it feel easier to purchase multiple copies.

To really hit it home with your email list, though, you need to have several communications going out the week of and day of your launch.

Email strategy
You don’t need a complex email strategy but you do need one. What I have below feels like a lot of emails, but it’s spread over a week and then throughout the day on launch day. If you’d like the templates we use for successful best-seller campaigns, you can get them here.

Here’s the typical flow, broken down by days prior to launch

One week out - remind them that the launch is coming up and they’ve blown you away with their support

Five days out - let them know you put together some special incentives for them and how it’ll all work (they’ll send a receipt and you’ll get them the incentive)

Four days out - it’s coming up! You can’t wait for them to get it; a reminder of what’s inside (use some bullets from your back cover copy/landing page here)

Three days out - the launch is just around the corner; share some feedback you’ve received (likely from the pre-launch reviews) already from people who have helped you make sure it’s perfect for them; remind them of the launch day

Two days out - let them know the launch is just a couple days away; thank them for being part of it and let them know how much it means to you and to the future readers they will help the book get in front of

Day before launch - lead with a “tomorrow is the day” theme and remind them of the incentives and what you’ll ask them to do (buy copies)

Launch day @ 6:30 am - today is the day! In just a few minutes, will send a link…

Launch day @ 7:55 am - it’s live! Share the link to the book page, remind with a few bullet points what’s in it, and ask them to buy buy buy

Launch day @ 10:15 am - let them know orders are flowing in and you can’t thank them enough. If they haven’t gotten their book, click here

Launch day @ Noon - lunchtime reading; if they haven’t joined the masses yet, they still can. And if they only picked up one copy, there’s still time to get more for the incentive s

Launch day @ 3 pm - thank you to all who have supported so far! Here’s the link

Launch day @ 6 pm - have you ever missed an opportunity? Don’t miss this one! Pick up your copy here…

After you send all of these out, it’s nice to follow-up the next day letting them know that you were able to hit best seller (if you were) and it couldn’t happen without them. Because of their work, the message will be in front of thousands more that need to hear it. Of course, use your own language, but that should get you going.

While those emails are going out, you still have a bit of work to do to drive to best seller!

Social media focus
Drive to your landing page; drive to your FB group
Now that you have your email strategy down for your list, it’s time to focus on your social media following. Don’t worry if it’s not huge, that doesn’t matter. Remember, it’s quality over quantity. Drive people to your landing page and your Facebook group.

You want to really use social media to build your list and Facebook group this week. And while you’re at it, since your emails are set above, you want to prepare your Facebook group for the launch. The best and easiest way to do that is to post along the same schedules as your emails going out. You can even use the same text.

If you do copy and paste your emails, though, make sure you start your post with something like, “Hey all! So excited you’re in this group. I just sent this email to my private list (you can get on it here [link to landing page] if you’re not already) and wanted to share it here.” That turns what could be seen as a negative into a bit positive.

Just make sure you’re keeping engaged with your groups and comments on your posts. You can even go as far as thanking people who like, comment, and share via DM and after a few communications, offer to have them join your email list and Facebook group. You’ll be surprised that these end up being some of your biggest supporters on launch day.

All of this brings us to the big day: your launch. Let’s get it!

The big day: your launch
Now that you’ve written, packaged, and published your book all while promoting it along the way, it’s time to have your formal launch where you push for best seller. The good news is, if you’ve done what was shared here, you’ll be in excellent position to hit best seller, and maybe even #1 best seller, in one or more categories. (More on what best seller is and means below).

To get there, though, you need to do four big things:

Email your list! Just as outlined above, make sure you stay on it. It can feel like you’re doing too much, but your future readers won’t think that, so stick with it and get plenty of emails out.

Post to your Facebook group and ask them to help you out and buy, buy, buy. Make sure you let them know it’s discounted and you are offering incentives and that you would be forever grateful if they would purchase multiple copies for friends, family, or even their own use.

Go to your reliable 10 and ask them to buy 25 copies. If they can’t buy 25, ask them to buy 10. If not 10, five, and if not five, 2. You’ll be surprised how many people will invest $50 or $100 in you without thinking twice because they are proud of you and believe in you and your message.

Finally, post, post, post. Anywhere and everywhere on social media. Just let people know that you are excited that your book is now live and ask them to buy a copy or two. You’re not imposing here - people are impressed with authors (you are not the author-ity after all) and want to support you if your book might help them.

If you do that, you’ve done all you can and you will most likely end the day as a best selling author! First, though, what does that really mean?

What best seller on Amazon means
To be a best seller, you need to land on the best seller list in at least one category. You do not have to outsell all of the books on Amazon - only in your category (or categories).

While Amazon has a list of 100 in each category, realistically, to be a best seller, I believe you need to be in the top 25. Why? Because that’s about as far as people scroll, and it adds some integrity to the process.

To reach #1 best seller, you need to sell more than the other books in the category over a period of time. For Amazon, that period of time is fairly short because the lists are updated every hour.

While it helps to concentrate your sales into a short period of time (say one or two hours), realistically, pushing for a day will do you just fine. That’s because sales from previous days (and hours) still partially count. We tend to see you get credit for roughly 1/2 of the previous day’s sales in your current sales rankings. Because of that, concentrating sales into a day works the best.

So, in short, your goal is to get a bunch of sales in a day, or even a few hour block, and then watch your book rise to the top of the list.

Recording best seller
As you watch your book rise to the top of best seller list in each of your categories, you’ll want to take screenshots for your proof that you were there. Some people are surprised that Amazon doesn’t formally track best seller, but when you think about the volume they do, it makes sense.

Because of that, make sure you grab the screenshots because they make for quality “thank you” emails to your list and, later on, marketing material. Plus, it’s just neat seeing your book there!

The good news is it should last for at least a few days, but often many more if you keep up your own promotion and marketing efforts.

A quick note: Amazon updates sales rankings between four and seven hours after orders are placed. It does vary sometimes, but rarely is it less than that. The common belief is that it makes sure people aren’t putting in orders of 100s of books to boost rankings and then canceling before it goes to the print on demand facility.

What happens once you reach best seller?
The helpful thing is that, once you reach best seller, you get a little help from Amazon, its algorithms, and human nature to stay there. Since sales are what Amazon cares about, they have some incentive to help books that are selling keep selling. That means you’ll start showing up in other lists (Hot New Releases, etc.) and the famous “People who bought this also bought that” area of each book page.

Once you’re at the top of a list, and especially if you have some good reviews, you’ll find that people will pick up your book when browsing the lists of best sellers in each category. That’s human nature - we assume that what people are buying and leaving good reviews for is a safe purchase.

If you’ve followed through on everything here, it’s likely you’re a best seller. If that’s the case, congratulations! No go out and use that. Not sure how? Check out the leveraging section (coming soon).

Still interested in help with the launch? Click the button below and let us know!