Writing. Thinking. More Writing

Writing, Novels, Resources

Run Lab Rat Run – Launch Plan

This Run Lab Rat Run launch plan is largely for my tracking of the initial release on Amazon, which is my first book release of my debut self-published novel. I doubt anyone will ever read this article, but if anyone does, perhaps there will be a few helpful tidbits here for those starting off on their self-publishing career.

Most updates are now in the Milestones post.

Goals & Assumptions

I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m relatively intelligent, experienced in online marketing, have what I believe is a quality novel, but I know I’m going to get most of this wrong the first time. So, my goal is to fail fast, learn fast and try as many different things as a I can on this first launch. Pretty obvious, but helps to put it in writing.

My goal is specifically NOT to make a lot of money on this first book, though that would be nice. I want to sell a lot of books, get reviews, and build a reader base. If I can come close to breaking even, that would be a miracle (even if you only count hard dollars and exclude all writing and editing time).

From this learning and reader base, I hope to know enough to start making some income on the second books and so on. But I still realize this is a challenging goal that almost no self-published (or traditionally published authors) ever reach. So, difficult but not impossible. Publishing this book will helpfully tell me how realistic these goals are…

Creation & Design

Writing & Editing

This includes everything from the basic writing to beta reviews and editing.

Step & Details Status & Next
Various Drafts
The usual pantser process. Editing included use of Word spelling and grammar checker and the free version of Grammarly, which I find moderately useful but inflexible esp. with regard to my writing style (which uses sentence fragments and avoids use of Oxford commas).
Done
Various Beta Reads
Great feedback from many. Thank you! Substantial improvements to drafts.
Done
Shortening & Simplification
Cut from 130k+ to 115k, removed many acronyms and abbreviations, etc. This was largely for querying agents, which did not pan out (though there were a few full manuscript requests).
Done
Professional Copy Editing & Proofreading
Friend I met at a conference is doing this. Exceptional skills and insight. Great comments and changes provided and made. Also did some sensitivity checking on one item and updated as a result.
Done
Final Draft Complete
Do final read, check all dates and stats, check all chapter headings, etc. Include internal to new title and remove reference to anything else. Check all typographical items including widows, etc.
Done
Final Title 
The original title was Modified, which is now the book series (presumably). Also considered Dead Girl Running (which was taken) and The Dreams of Weak and Fragile Things, which was too literary. Run Lab Rat Run worked better for a a number of reasons. Should have had this finalized before starting work on cover.
Done
Book Parts (Front and Back)
Finalize all front, back and cover matter:

  • Graphical Cover Page (Done)
  • Text Cover Page (Done)
  • Copyright Page (Done)
  • Secondary Cover Page (NA)
  • Dedication (Done)
  • Email Solicitation (NA)
  • ToC (eBook Only). Decided to leave contents out of paperback to save pages, $ and formatting issues.
  • Acknowledgement (Done)
  • About the Author (Done)
  • Coming Soon: Beasts (Done)
Done
Foreword from Laz
Done and included. I’m so appreciative that he did this, given how out of his normal wheelhouse this book is. Yet another example of how Laz rocks.
Done
3D Course Map (Optional)
Asked for pricing on Fiverr. Would probably be helpful, but could be expensive. Found someone will to do for $150, but still not sure it’s worth it until there are more sales. Maybe next time, or if the book does really well, do online or in second edition.
NA
Chapter Header Art
Probably not.
NA
Modified Hierarchy Art
Done, but won’t be in book. On site only.
Done

Miscellaneous Early Items

You know, other stuff.

Step & Details Status & Next
Attend Writing Conferences
This was more about learning industry and making contacts than the book per se, but it was a great experience and resulted in winning the “Best Science Fiction” at the show in 2020, my first writing award. This was nominally helpful in the query process and allows me to say “award winning author” on the eventual cover.
Done
Select Publishing Name
Going with my name vs. pen name for simplicity, but we’ll see how that works out. I might have gone with SCButler, but the domain was taken.
Done
Pick Initial Platform
I’m going to go with Amazon KDP for both ebook (Kindle) and paperback versions for simplicity and cost reasons. Depending on how book sells, I may add other platforms after the 90-day Amazon exclusive to be in Kindle Select. I’d love to not be so dependent on Amazon, but it’s just a monster…
Done
Get ISBNs for Both Versions
I don’t want to be stuck with Amazon’s free versions (which limit sales to Amazon), so I’ll by a pack of ten (10) for RLRR, Beasts and future books. Used Bowker for this.
Done
Pricing for Amazon Kindle & Paperbacks
I’d always wondered by Amazon Kindle vs. Paperback pricing was so different depending on self- vs. trad-published books, and know I know. The cost of on-demand printing at my page count (around 380 pp for 115k words) means the paperback has to be < $13.99 to make it worth selling. So I picked $15.99 for paperback and $4.99 as initial target for Kindle, but will start at $0.99 with free promos to boost sales.
Done

Cover Design & Artwork

You know, that thing on the outside of the book in the real world.

Step & Details Status & Next
Figure Out What I Like
Poked around at what works in fiction, science fiction, etc., and knew quickly I didn’t want the usual melodramatic SF cover (nor did I think I could afford one that looked unique. Saved some on Pinterest.
Done
Cover Art (6″ x 9″)
I started using Canva (free or $119/yr) to come up with some book cover ideas, thank God, because my initial ideas were frankly terrible (See Pinterest board). I was still reluctant to go with the $700+ standard cover services, so used Fiverr to test a $50 option. This worked surprisingly well and resulted in the final cover choice, saving me more than $700 or so. Take a look these guys ($600) for next time?
Done
Cover Art Change (5.5″ x 8.5″)
After the 1st paperback proof, I did some more research and realized I could use this trim size w/o changing page length and get a better look. Paid $20 on Fiverr for updated PDF / PSD files and a slightly updated title font.
Done
Cover Art Market & A/B Testing
Did not do this, though I can see why people do. Got feedback from friends and used gut instinct. Cover seems professional enough as compared to most other SF covers, though it’s not going to win any awards. See here ($50+) or one related service for future reference. See more cover design suggestions here.
Done

Typesetting & Versioning

Think of this as how everything inside the book looks and feels.

Step & Details Status & Next
Various eBook Typesetting Rounds
I spent a LOT of time formatting the initial ebook version to remove Word artifacts, get things to work on Kindle, etc. the primary issue was that the default styles needed to be changed but couldn’t be without losing direct formatting (lesson learned). I also learned to use page-breaking sections in Word rather than page breaks in order to get header formatting to work in all chapters.To test changes, I loaded versions into KDP and used the Amazon preview tool to see how things looked. I also emailed these versions to my Kindle to confirm formatting. This was free, fast and resulted in greater confidence about final output.
Done
Generating eBook Formats (ARC, etc.)
This was harder than it should have been, due to me using an older PC with an EOL operating system (Windows 7) on which the standard eBook conversion tool (Calibre) wouldn’t work. So, I used a web tool and then SmashWords to do the sample versions, but I’m not a fan of any of these tools; they just feel quirky, overly complicated and sometimes auto-insert branding information I didn’t like. Still more to learn here, but was able to get everything I needed for the ARC versions (See reviews, below). In the end, I got a solid epub and PDF versions without much trouble (ignoring several hours of missteps and learning).
Done
Final Kindle Format
After final edits, I’ll update Word source doc to include:

  • Possible interior cover copy page (Done)
  • All caps on chapter starts (Done)
  • Final chapter titles / formats (Done)
  • Chapter graphic (NA)
  • Single spacing + paperback fonts (Done)
  • Reference to resources (Done)
  • Etc.
Done
Various Paperback Formatting Rounds
This was substantially different typesetting and font from what I used in the eBook, but I think the final paperback version will work better in both.Again, I loaded into KDP (along with cover) to use Amazon preview tool several times before ordering a proof. while the tool is a bit slow, it was great to evaluate final look and feel.
Done
Book Proof #1 (Paperback)
Received and reviewed (cost was about $10 from Amazon KDP). Several things I’d like to improve, including font, spacing, cover layout (minor), etc. Not much I can do about quality of paper (it’s thick and a bit coarse).I would like to see what page implication is of smaller font to allow for smaller trim. Went from 12 pt TNR with single spacing to 10 pt Garamond with 16 pt spacing. Overall page count didn’t change much, but it seems more readable. Also might try white paper with standard font color on Amazon vs. B&W on cream. Need a better SS font for headers, but I’ll try Calibri for now.
Done
Book Proof #2 (Paperback)
Second proof with new formatting, font & size, chapter headers & font, pagination, internal cover art, etc. Did not wait for final front / back matter or back cover changes.Great improvement vs. #1. Almost there, but font is probably too small and need to disable widow protection and do manually. Should be interesting.
Done
Book Proof #3 (Paperback)
Test just to see if changed margins, font size (11), spacing of header, and paragraph spacing still looks good. If so, all that’s left is to repeat in final version.
Done
Final Paperback Version
See publishing details below. Remember to order author copies to sign and send to beta readers, family, etc.
Done

Amazon Kindle (KDP) Final Checks

This eBook manuscript will be the foundation used to produce the paperback, so everything done here is also done in support of the paperback. The following is far more detail than anyone else would possibly care about, but…here you go.

Step & Details Status & Next
Final Skim
Check first section (done), all Easter Eggs (done), front cover graphic (done), cover page (done), legal text (done), dedication (done), update final TOC (done),
about the author (done), acknowledgements (done)provi and coming soon (done).Plus: ISBNs (done) and hyperlinks (done) to this site
Done
Final Text Cleaning
Check for double spaces (done), double paragraph returns (done) and untrimmed spaces (done).Plus: Finalize decision on indenting (done). I decided to remove 1st paragraph indents as per industry standard, even if I don’t like it (it’s odd when the starts is a few words or dialog). Looks fine.Plus: Finalize section break formatting with graphic indicator and indent removal, or not (done). I put in a single centered asterisk and paragraph formatting. Seems to work pretty well
Done
Final Header Cleaning
Check all spacing (done) inc. chapters with compound headers (done), all Obstacle details paragraphs (done) and all section headers (done).
Done
Final Text Formatting & Spell Check
Check all primary text single-spaced (done), all paragraphs end in Section (Page) Break (done), and do final spell check (done).Plus: Remove page numbers (done) and format TOC to include chapter indents.
Done
Final decision on custom imprint
Decided juice wasn’t worth the squeeze on this one.
Done
Apply Kindle DRM?
Based on articles like this, I decided to leave it OFF.
Done
Initial Amazon Keywords & Categories
This was based on fairly rudimentary research, but does seem to match similar books on Amazon.
Done
Semi-Final Amazon Load & Preview Check
Visual check of all breaks, formatting, etc. Skim only, with focus on catching obvious issues. Looks fine in tablet, phone and Kindle views.
Done
Quarter-Final Email to My Kindle
Just another way to check how file appears.
Done
Strip Extra Returns on Chapter Breaks
Do this AFTER confirming preview of paperback version using single returns! LOL, kinda jacked up the order here, but it worked out.
Done
Semi-Final Email to My Kindle
Just another way to check how file appears. Found a few errors, so, tried again.
Done
Publish on Amazon
Push. The. Button. Only took a few hours to publish, rather than 24-72 hours: Amazon Profile Page
Done 8/9

Amazon Paperback (KDP) Final Checks

This uses the eBook as its foundation, so all checks applicable to the electronic version also apply here (and were already done).

Step & Details Status & Next
Strip out Section Break Double Returns
Once this is done, preview on Amazon to assure that chapter-ending paragraphs still format properly.
Done
Remove TOC
This isn’t necessary in the paperback version.
Done
Page & Margin Setup
Set margins to template (done), trim template (done), alternating mirror pages (done), different section first pages (done), remove widow/orphan control (done) and reformat interior cover graphic to margins (done).
Done
Add Paperback Items & Formatting
Add in alternating pagination (done), normal font 12 to 11 (done), paragraph spacing exactly 14.25 (done), quote text spacing exactly 13 (done), header spacing (180/45 to 90/30) (done) and remove hyperlinks (done) and verify paragraph indents 0.2″ (done).
Done
Semi-Final Preview Check
Load to Amazon and test out. This is the last step prior to verifying visual appearance of new font / spacing in Proof #3.
Done
Final Cover Check
Do final review of cover, blurb, bio, etc.
Done
Publish on Amazon
Pushed the other button. Amazon Profile Page
Done 8/11

Social Media & Website

This is all that platform stuff you’re supposed to have in place prior to launching, ideally with pre-existing traffic, etc. I had the website in place (you’re on it), and the social media accounts, but very little confidence I can drive any traffic via the latter; I don’t have that many followers and little interaction. So, work to be done is on (a) growing the audience and (b) increasing interaction.

Websites (My Platforms)

Author Website
Step & Details Status & Next
Get Domain
Decided to use shawncbutler.com because, well, that’s my name and scbutler.com was taken. Picking a pen name thus became a backward step of using an affordable domain, which is fine.
Done
Pick Service (Platform)
Already use Word Press, so that was easy. Used same theme as for other sites, but this may change.
Done
Book Landing Page
Done. Need to update as reviews come in.
Done
Book Resource Pages
Due to the complexity and backstory, I plan to have several additional pages here instead of bloating the book itself. These include the following, none of which are required pre-launch (except the glossary, which is referenced in the book):

  • Glossary (Done)
  • Timeline (In Progress)
  • Characters (NA)
  • Course Information (NA)
In Progress
Timeline TBD
Book Promo Sidebar
This is too show up on every page. I don’t have  a footer in this theme, so I’ll use this instead. I’ll need final cover art before launching.
Done
Secondary Website (Cactus to Clouds)

This site was intentionally built, in part, to be a promotional platform for any running or hiking related books, and anything relating to the Barkley–which of course RLRR is.

Step & Details Status & Next
Get Domain
Decided to use shawncbutler.com because, well, that’s my name and scbutler.com was taken. Picking a pen name thus became a backward step of using an affordable domain, which is fine.
Done
Pick Service (Platform)
Already use Word Press, so that was easy. Used same theme as for other sites, but this may change.
Done
Book Landing Page
NA. This is on shawncbutler.com
NA
Book Sidebar
This is designed to route traffic to book page and/or purchase sites including both sets of links.
Done

Social Media & Publishing Pages

Facebook Author Page
Step & Details Status & Next
Create Page
This was a few seconds. Nothing on it and no followers, but technically done.
Done
Page Banner Image
Use RLRR image and finalize when cover done.
Done
Let Friends Know
I assume some will follow. Writer friends specifically (invite them directly).
Done
Various Activities
I’ll need to come up with regular posts, calls to action, etc., etc., all of which is TBD.
Done
See Milestones
Twitter Profile
Step & Details Status & Next
Create Account
Done. Some work done on building audience, but not much. Very little interaction. Around 450 followers as of end of June 2021. Probably need closer to 2000.
Done
Build Followers
Or at least try…
Done
Kinda
Various Activities
I’ll need to come up with regular posts, calls to action, etc., etc., all of which is TBD.
Done
See Milestones
Instagram Profile
Step & Details Status & Next
Create Account
Done. Very little use. Not sure I’ll invest much.
Done
Build Followers
Meh…
Done
Kinda
Various Activities
We’ll see what works. Need some visuals.
Done
See Milestones
LinkedIn Profile
Step & Details Status & Next
Create Account
Done a very long time ago. Thousands of connections. I’d rather use via my network than directly.
Done
Build Connections
Don’t want to force this.
Ongoing
Various Activities
I’ll need to come up with regular posts, calls to action, etc., etc., all of which is TBD.
Done
See Milestones
Amazon Author Page
Step & Details Status & Next
Create KDP Account
Created with draft versions of RRLR for testing.
Done
Build Author Page & Profile
Picture, bio, URL, blog link, other?
Done
Various Activities
TBD. Not sure what’s useful here.

  • A+ Content?
  • Free Book Promo w/Promo Site
In Progress
Goodreads Author Page
Step & Details Status & Next
Create Author Account
I have a person account, but not an author one. Submit new author (Done 8/11), Submit new book (Done 8/11)
Done
Build & Profile
Setup and done.
Done
Various Activities
TBD. Not sure what’s useful here. Need someone to add my book to lists for me, as I can’t do it myself.
In Progress
Other Profiles & Pages

I’m sure there are many others to come. I’ll probably do a book link page on Books2Read (done).

Marketing & Marketing Services

One thing I learned quickly by listening to other self-published authors an watching some videos on YouTube (of course) is that there was a lot I don’t know about promotion, mailing lists, Amazon Ads, review solicitation and far more. Some of that in listed here.

Social Media Marketing Services

Step & Details Status & Next
Bublish
Do contract work for authors. Probably pricey, but checking.
Pending
Phone call pending
Fiverr Gigs
I had no idea this existed, but interesting. See list toward bottom of this linked page.  Try this one (book must be FREE). See by platform, below.
In Progress
See Milestones
Net Galley
Probably too pricey, but researching.
TBD

Book Email Promotion Services

Given my lack of a mailing list or desire to create my own list, I’ll probably need to use one of these (though it’s not really a replacement). Adds some $$$ to budget, but we’ll see. Apparently the recommendation here, money dependent, is to do multiple such pushes.

Step & Details Status & Next
BookBub
Pricing for services is high. For science fiction, a Featured Deal would cost $754 if priced at $0.99 or $2,640 if priced at $4.99. Clearly, this is only affordable or me at the lower level, if then. They claim to have 1.7m SF subscribers and an average download count of 1,180. They also have a New Releases for Less feature ($?). Free user (subscriber) resources include recommended Books
In Progress
Claim Author Profile when on Amazon?
Partner Account
User Account
BookDoggy
They have an $20 promotional newsletter for authors. Appears to require existing book online for at least X days, and then sign up for promotion? Books submissions reviewed and not guaranteed for selection.
Done
Running 9/821
FreeBooksy / BargainBooksy
Has both free and bargain book pricing. Promises email to 119k SF readers for $40. Dates appear to be available about a week out. No review requirement but editorial process.
Done
Using Bargain Booksy
Not great results
See Milestones
Fussy Librarian
Appears to be best for using free promos when you have more than one book, and the others are not free (to boost sales.
On Hold
Use for second book?
Others
See this list of book promo sites.
TBD

Some interesting ideas in here about how to setup and prep for free book promotions in sync with Amazon Unlimited free days:

Book Review Services

These include services like Booksprout (with a free option) and paid options like Kirkus. Lots of options, but thankfully far fewer than with book promo sites.

ARC & Newsletter Management Platforms

These two functions are blended together, largely because getting ARCs and collecting newsletters both depend in these models on giving away free copies.

Step & Details Status & Next
BookSirens
Offers paid marketing via their own newsletter a’la the paid promotion of Booksprout. I’ll definitely look at this if StoryOrigin doesn’t work out.
Done for Now
Rejected 7/??/21
Applied 7/20/21
Booksprout
Seems to have a free version worth trying. Next level is $10/mo or $120/year, so I’ll have to see how free version works. I’ve read that (a) the free version is not protected and (b) doesn’t really work anyway. So on hold for now.
NA
BookFunnel
A little pricier than Booksprout w/no free option, BF seems to have higher rates / more positive feedback online esp. because of spam blocking and book protection. Primary focus is on getting newsletter subscribers, NOT reviews.
NA
Insta Freebie
Old name for Prolific Works. Also with poor reviews.
NA
NetGalley
Another ARC platform, originally for trad published authors but also with a free-based structure for self-published books.
NA
Prolific Works
Very similar to BookFunnel, focused on getting newsletter subscribers. Based on online reviews and comments, not using for now.
NA
StoryOrigin
Much like BookFunnel, but with a free offering. Seems to be the rising star. In both cases, the $100/ yr offering seems best for my needs. Based on the combination of cost, documentation, feedback and features, I’m going with SO for the launch of RLRR.
ARC in Progress
1 Friend Review
+1 Review 8/30
5 Pending
Book Review Bloggers

My initial impression is that trying to reach (free) book bloggers is a colossal waste of time, with the effort and costs high, the probability or a review low and probably far out in the future, and the value questionable. I may change my mind if I learn more about this, but for now, I’m not putting any energy here. I’ve submitted to a few bloggers just to see if anything comes of it. For reference, Reedsy has a list of book review bloggers, filterable by genre, which includes both paid and free reviewers.

Step & Details Status & Next
Artisan Book Reviews (160k v/m)
High quality site with lots of great reviews.
In Progress
Submitted 7/16/21
Book Reporter(113k v/m)
Cool site, but only published and rarely indie.
NA
Maybe post-launch
The Reading Cafe (20k v/m)
Free book review blogger, nice vibe, probably inundated, but does review SF.Update: Kindly responded in hours with interest. Cynicism reduced. 🙂
In Progress
Interview 9/4/21
Confirmed 8/6/21
Q&A Sent 8/4/21
Response 7/15/21
Submitted 7/15/21
Book Review Vloggers (Booktube)

No idea how to approach these, but I assume there’s be a convoluted process involving video breadcrumbs and Star Trek references. Off to dig around YouTube for specs of information. In all cases, I’ll try to reference one of their reviews I especially liked. Just as with “regular” bloggers, my expectations here are low.

Step & Details Status & Next
Kalanadi
Cool reviews, but “I do not taking reading requests and I am currently not accepting books for review.”
NA
SFF180 (Web)
Famous and established SFF reviewer, major stuff, so no idea if interested, but worth a shot.
In Progress
Bounced 7/17/21
Submitted 7/16/21
Becky M
Nice, quirky reviews and similar tastes. Says she’s too busy for now to take on the review.
Rejected 7/15/21
Submitted 7/15/21
Dan Greene (50 million views)
Popular, cool guy, lots of energy, low probability of interest.
In Progress
Submitted 7/15/21
Instagram Influencers (#Bookstagram)

No idea how to approach these Instagram influencers, so research pending. A fellow author recommends using a paid marketer for Instagram, so I’m going to try to approach this using Fiverr gigs at first.

Step & Details Status & Next
Fiverr Gigs / SA Design4
Experimental first try.
https://www.instagram.com/p/CScm2WFr44L/
Done
See Milestones
TBD TBD
Try next Pending
TBD Pending
TikTok Book Reviewers (#BookTok)

No idea how to approach these.

There are many. See this list, this Publishers Weekly list, and others. Debating value of these sites, as I’m not sure why readers would value paid reviews. Maybe to jump start unpaid reviews? We’ll see.

Step & Details Status & Next
Bookish Elf (30k views / mo)
Thought this was a free book review blogger, nice vibe, probably inundated, but does review SF, but turns out it’s a paid service starting at $75.
Pending
BlueInk
Kinda pricey. Might as well do Kirkus?
Pending
Kirkus Reviews
One of the most expensive and respected among paid provider options, min $425 for 250 word review.
Pending
Indie Reader
Much like Kirkus, but $275 for a review and have a “purchase in advance” option to save $50, bringing it down to $225 if you buy 5 weeks in advance of publishing. Turn-around in any case is 5-9 weeks.
Pending
Self Publishing Review
Starts at $89.
Pending
Step & Details Status & Next
Publisher Rocket
See for analysis / keywords esp. on Amazon.
TBD
Amazon Ads
Just need to learn how this works and budget for it. if like most online ads on search engines, should be short learning curve.
In Progress
See Milestones
Amazon Kindle Deals
Unlimited, Select and others. RLRR eligible if exclusive for 90 days from launch, which is planned.
In Progress
Select 1: 8/9 – 11/9
Facebook Ads
TBD
TBD

Launch Plan

Some additional details by date. Much of this was covered above.

Before Launch

One Month Prior to Launch

Pretty much everything done above, with some notable scheduled items here. Most of this was tracked above or…not.

Step & Details Status & Next
Start Sending ARC Copies
Start sending ARC versions to readers, and keep looking for new possible reviewers.
Done
Many Other Things
Just not tracking them here.
Done
Two Weeks Prior to Launch

This covers all work to be done the fourteen-to-seven days prior to the planned launch date. Didn’t track this here. See above.

Step & Details Status & Next
Start Sending ARC Reminders
Meaning, start sending notes to ARC readers about finalized date, and being very damn grateful.
In Progress
Launch Note 8/13
Date Reminder 8/6
One Week Prior to Launch

This covers all work to be done the seven days prior to the planned launch date, with a focus on delivering a professional product, having reviews lined up, and hitting launch day running. I didn’t track much of this here (see above).

Step & Details Status & Next
Finalize Initial Amazon Keywords
Done, based on use and frequency, with some focus on very long tale phrases since “Dystopian Science Fiction) is not exactly unique.
Done
Finalize Book / Profile Blurb
Done, though can always improve.

  • Basic: Cover, Amazon (Done)
  • Add review snippets: Amazon (Done)
  • Add CRISPR text: Amazon (Done)
Done

Day of Launch – August 13

This is the day of formal launch on Amazon.com, publishing early AM to leave time for debugging and checking. Get it all done, and then have a damn beer.

Step & Details Status & Next
Publish eBook & Paperback on Amazon
Check link and book profile pages (Done)
Purchase copy to ensure process works (Done)
Start tracking book stats on Amazon (Done)
Order author copies to sign & deliver (Pending)
Done
Related Publishing Steps
Publish author page (Done)
Publish Goodreads page (Pending)
Done
Related Social Media Steps
Announce on Twitter (Done 8/11)
– Request retweets by friends (Done)
Announce on Instagram (Done)
– Request likes by friends (Done)
Announced on LinkedIn (Done)
– Update LinkedIn Profile (Done 8/11)
– Post LI book announcement (Done 8/14)
Announce on Facebook
– Post in feed (Done 8/11)
– Post in writers helping group (Done 8/11)
– Post in family group (Done 8/11)
– Request post in Chico 86 group (Pending)
– Post on author page (Done 8/11)
– Request friend post into FB BFC group (Done)
– Request friend post into TAUR
– Request post in Fiction (NA)
– Request post in Science Fiction (NA)
– Post in bargain eBook groups (Done)
Post on primary blog update page, new post? (Done)
Post on secondary blog (C2C) including “inspiration” (NA)
Done
Well, mostly
Paid Promotional Steps
Launch Inexpensive Promo I
Setup paid accounts (ones requiring Amazon URL)
Done
See Milestones
ARC / Review Steps
Goal = TBD (Need to Revise)
– Announce publication to ARCs / reviews
– Request review postings to Amazon / GR ASAP
– Start confirming reviews
In Progress

Post Launch

Week After Launch

Everything to be done for the week after launch, starting on day two. Key to make sure everything is setup properly, fully tested and edited, started tracking stats on promo sites via book sale / review stats / etc,

Step & Details Status & Next
Amazon eBook & Paperback Pages
Check tracking book stats on Amazon (daily)
Update book profile(s) w/critical praise
Done
Ongoing
See Milestones
Amazon Ads Steps
Check to see reviews / evaluate start timing
Done
See Milestones
Related Social Media Steps
Post best reviews on Twitter (multiple varying hashtags)
Announce on Facebook
– Post in feed
– Post on author page
– Request post in Fiction
– Request post in Science Fiction
– Post in bargain eBook groups
Ongoing
Paid Promotional Steps
Launch Inexpensive Promo II
Setup paid accounts (ones requiring Amazon URL)
Done
See Milestones
ARC / Review Steps
Goal = TBD

Request review postings to Amazon / GR
Continue confirming reviews
In Progress
Add New Categories
Research and suggest added categories to Amazon for both book versions, including (up to 10 max):

  1. fiction > science fiction > general  (D)
  2. fiction > science fiction > genetic engineering (D)
  3. fiction > science fiction > dystopian (D)
  4. fiction > science fiction > adventure (D)
  5. fiction > science fiction > humorous (D)
  6. books > sports & outdoors > extreme sports (D)
  7. books > sports & outdoors > running (D)
  8. TBD

URL for Changes:
https://author.amazon.com/en_US/contact

Done
Done (Paperback)
Done (eBook)
Second Week After Launch

Everything to be done for the second week after launch. I won’t be tracking this here.

Step & Details Status & Next
Other Promo Sites See Milestones
Test Keywords inc. Negative Keywords See Milestones
Raise from Promo Price / Free? See Milestones
Continue ARC / Review Follows
See Milestones
Add A+ Content on Amazon
See above
See Milestones

Selected Resources

The following were helpful in developing this launch plan, and might be helpful to other writers looking to launch their first book on Amazon. It’s a pretty random selection.

First Page Rankings by Dan McBeth

This is a pretty elementary set of suggestions for launch on Amazon, but I liked the simplicity and clarity of goals, some of which I adopted as my own. I’m not sure I buy everything he says, but nothing seems unreasonable or too costly. I like the idea of testing higher prices to find the right price point…

Free Book Promotions by Kindlepreneur

Pretty cheesy and basic video but see this ranked list of free promotion sites. I’m not sure how valuable it is, but list!

Book Marketing Strategies by iWriterly

Pretty basic and overlapped with other resources and lists shown here, but good summary of 34 strategies to work on. She suggests getting a professional author head shot, which…I don’t wanna do, but probably will. A press kit is suggested, which seems very far down the road. Generally, her suggestions seem fit for people with lots of time who are great at social networking.

The Self Publishing Checklist

This is a simple interactive checklist that contains MANY great useful items, even if you don’t use them all.

Five Book Marketing Services on Fiverr by SP with Dale

Just a video comparing book marketing services on Fiverr. Kinda interesting, mostly in that it shows how immature the market is. There is really no trackback to actual sales, so it’s subjective feel on impressions (ish) offered.

Other Stuff

Stuff for Readers

Stuff for Authors

Peace.

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