Inside a Bestselling Book Launch

If you’ve been following along, you know that over the weekend I launched my 2019 Book-Writing Planner, and that on Day One it went to #1 bestseller in eight categories. If you follow me on Facebook, you also know that this is a common occurrence. Nearly every week I help launch a book to #1 for my students and clients. If you’re wondering how I do this, read on, because today I am sharing an inside view of how to launch a bestselling book.

There are three key components to a successful book launch:

1. A solid book launch team. One of the first things I recommend to the authors I work with is that they enlist the support of peers (i.e. colleagues or others who share an interest in the topic) and other authors. This team will support your launch by writing reviews of your book and posting them on Amazon. Keep in mind that it’s against Amazon’s Terms of Service to have friends or family review your book, so in assembling your book launch team it may be helpful to join an author’s group (there are many on Facebook, Linkedin and Goodreads) and, ideally, seek out the help of your target audience as well.

Once you’ve created a list of people you think may support your launch, the next step is to send them an email inviting them to your team. Some authors use email to communicate with their team throughout the process, while others create a closed Facebook group and add new members as they agree to join the team. The key is to be consistent so that members do not miss any reminders or status updates you send out.

Once your team is in place, it’s time to deliver to them a PDF copy of the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of your print-ready and polished manuscript. Allow your team at least 1 to 2 weeks to read the ARC, then advise them to craft their review and hold it until the launch.  

When the big day arrives, send a reminder to your team that it’s time to leave their review. Be sure to include a link to the book’s product page, along with detailed yet simple instructions. The easier and more straightforward the process, the more likely you are to get reviews.

NOTE: Keep in mind that it is also against Amazon’s Terms of Service to ask for a positive or 5-star review, so instead ask for an honest review. As authors, we do our best and hope for the best, but we often have to take the good with the bad as far as reviews are concerned.

Why is this important? Reviews help sell books. If you’re browsing on Amazon and you run across a book without reviews, you’re likely to keep scrolling to find one with social proof.

2. Optimize your keywords and categories for ranking.  A big part of getting to #1 bestseller is selecting the proper categories in which to place your book. Did you know there are over 31,000 bestseller lists on Customers browse these lists looking for books to read, so you want to be sure to select categories that are relevant to your book but not too broad. Otherwise, you may find yourself competing against hundreds of thousands of books in that category.

For example, you wouldn’t want to place your book into Self-Help. As you’ll see below, that category has 80,000 books, all of which your book will have to outrank to reach #1.


Instead, find a sub-category within Self-Help that’s relevant to your book, such as Self-Help > Stress Management, which has only 20,000 books.


Equally important as listing your book under the proper categories is ensuring that you have the right keywords inserted in your book’s metadata. Think about it - Amazon is basically a big search engine, and just as you add certain keywords to your website so it appears in Google searches, you want to strategically add keywords (i.e. to your title, subtitle, description and hidden keyword tags) that will assist your ideal reader in finding your book. I cannot overestimate the importance of this step, so it’s imperative that you do the research and optimize both your categories and your keywords before you launch your book.

 3. Schedule paid features with promotional companies. Have you ever wondered what causes a book’s meteoric rise to #1 during its launch? It may seem like magic, but actually rank is determined by the number of reviews plus purchases within a short period of time. We’ve already covered the process for getting book reviews from your team; your next job is to put some paid features in place over a 3- to 5-day period. I utilized the Kindle edition of my Planner for this, because I know having a powerful promo stack in place can result in hundreds and sometimes even thousands of downloads of my book. How do you do this? You select one or two companies to advertise your book each day of the launch, then you “stack” them by scheduling the strongest features on Launch Day, followed by additional features on Days 2 to 3 or 2 to 5, depending on the length of the promotion.

For the launch of my Planner, I chose a 3-day promotion and set up three paid features with promotional companies who advertised my book to their massive list of readers on the scheduled day. This resulted in 2,477 downloads of my Kindle edition in that 3-day period!

Additionally, this was great for my business, because inside the Kindle edition, I offered a bonus gift to all my readers.  All they had to do was opt-in through a form that I linked inside my eBook, and within minutes a free PDF copy was delivered through an automated welcome email. This was a win-win for both of us; the readers got a printable copy, which is important since the Planner includes worksheets and templates, and I was able to add hundreds of new readers (and potential clients) to my mailing list over a three-day period. The really great thing about promo stacking is that I can use it any time I want to grow my list or get my book’s ranking back up to bestseller. Each time I run a 3-day promo on my book, I grow my list and find new clients. Score!

Promo stacking is also surprisingly inexpensive. For the three selected companies, one for each day of my promotion, I spent a total of $87!  Some authors only utilize these tactics during the book launch. I like to run these promotions quarterly to grow my list and keep Amazon’s algorithm ignited for my book.

This, in addition to my launch team’s reviews and the proper keywords and categories, resulted in my book reaching #1 bestseller in the following 8 categories in the US market:

  • Authorship

  • Creativity

  • Time Management

  • Nonfiction Writing Reference

  • Fiction Writing Reference

  • Skills

  • Education Research

  • Writing, Research & Publishing Guides

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It was also #1 in the category of Authorship in the Canadian market, making it an international bestseller on Day One of the launch!

Why is it so important to launch to bestseller?

There are many reasons for this, the most obvious being that you can boast that you’re a “bestselling author” with a “bestselling book” in your marketing efforts, not to mention the fact that having the bestseller badge helps sell more copies.  

However, the main reason you want to launch your book to bestseller is to ignite Amazon’s powerful algorithm so that Amazon begins cross-promoting your book. You want your book to appear in the “Customers who bought this book also bought” section of your competitors’ product pages. You want Amazon to email potential readers with, “Based on your recent search, we thought you might like this book.”

I hope you found these tips helpful, and that you will put them in place before launching your own book.

These are just some of the many strategies I teach inside my flagship program, Bestseller Bootcamp.

Inside this program, I teach you exactly what goes into creating a bestselling book, including the art and science of selecting the proper keywords and categories; how to add those opt-ins I mentioned; how to set up a solid book launch team; where to find the best promotional companies for your promo stack; how to continue marketing your book after publication, and so much more.

You will also connect with other authors who can support your launch and join your book launch team when the time comes!  

To learn all the details, click here.