Launch day is tomorrow. Here’s my plan.

In Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, there’s a chapter about the Law of Reciprocity. He tells the story of Christian missionaries who used to walk around airports and ask for donations for the church. They tried directly asking people for a long time with minimal success. Eventually they tried something new. They started carrying around roses and handing them to people in the airport before asking for donations.

Results skyrocketed. Humans have a hard time refusing to do a favor for somebody who has already done one for them. It wasn’t even about the roses. In fact, the missionaries would regularly retrieve roses that people had thrown in the trash so they could reuse them.

People who donated clearly did not value the roses. They valued the idea of returning a favor for somebody. This story reminds me of this Office episode during which Andy and Dwight endlessly reciprocate favors for each other.

Now for the launch strategy:

Remember the last edition of this series when I got people engaged in the book-writing process by asking them to vote on my title and cover? I did that for a specific reason.

Several days before my launch I reached out to everyone who voted on my cover and title posts. This small group of people are most invested in the story of me launching this book since they saw (and helped) me create it from the beginning. I thanked each of them for their input and sent a PDF copy of my book.

By sending this close-knit group of fans an early copy of my book for free, I’m setting myself up to have more success when I ask them to download the book and leave a review later on launch day. The Law of Reciprocity is powerful.

The two most important metrics during launch week are:

  1. Number of downloads
  2. Number of reviews

These two metrics will determine the success of the launch and ultimately the long-term success of the book. The Amazon ranking algorithm values these numbers more highly than anything else. A highly concentrated number of downloads and reviews during the first two days will give the book so much momentum and exposure it won’t slow down for a while.

Free Promotion

Most people struggle to give their book out for free. They worked hard on it and they want to be paid for it. I want to be paid for my book too, trust me.

If your book is paid on launch day, the percentage of people who will download it goes way down. Asking people to pay even $0.99 for a book that just came out and has minimal social proof is a really big ask. You will make more money right away, but you will dramatically stunt your book’s acceleration in the charts, which is the #1 determining factor of lasting success.

I’m taking the long-term approach. My book will be free for the first 2.5 days after it launches.

Rather than cashing in early, I’m being extremely generous with my book. 90% of the people in my personal network will not pay for it. That’s OK. Like I said, a high concentration of downloads and reviews in the first two days is unquestionably more valuable than early sales. It will result in future sales that continue rolling in after I’ve stopped actively marketing the book.

Gaining momentum on the free charts is paramount if you want to gain momentum on the paid charts.

Day 1

Launch day. The book goes live on Amazon and the free promotion begins. I will send an email to my pre-launch list asking them to download and review the book. Most of them have already received a PDF copy by now.

I will reach out to everyone with the PDF to individually to ask them to download and review the book.

I will also be announcing progress and engaging with people on Facebook.

Day 2

By this time the book should have several hundred downloads. It should be climbing the charts and should be close to #1 in its niche categories.

50 people will simultaneously post the link to my book at noon eastern time via my Thunderclap campaign.

The name of the game on Day 2 is urgency. The price goes up to $0.99 on Day 3, so I will be engaging my email list, posting on Facebook, and reaching out to people individually to push stragglers to download the book.

Day 3

The price goes up to $0.99 at 2 pm eastern. Until then, I will be pushing urgency for free downloads. After, I will switch to pushing for reviews.

The book should have well over a thousand downloads by now. It will be #1 in all of its niche categories. This momentum will carry it from the top of the free charts to the top of the paid charts.

Day 4+

Reviews. Need more reviews! I’ll mainly be thanking everyone who left a review and asking people to leave reviews for the next couple days.

About a week later, the price will bump up to $1.99. It will go up by $1.00 every week until I notice sales tapering off.

I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Blast off.

P.S. There also might be a surprise released along with the book tomorrow… 🙂


**This is Part III of a series documenting my book launch marketing strategy. Click here to watch it unfold live.**

Part II