So it's been a week since my debut novel dropped onto KDP Select and now seems as good a time as any to provide pointers to the uninitiated, in the hope that you don’t make the same mistakes as me!
Let me talk first about the excitement factor - staying up until 1.30am to see the book shift from pre order phase to the buy phase. I actually fell asleep and woke up at 4.30am to see we had gone live at 1.45am! So I missed that one.
I then found myself religiously studying the Amazon rankings by category - yippee I was in the top 400 across all 3 categories for about 24 hours and then I slipped and slipped and slipped - currently languishing at 879, 1902 and 3582 across my three main categories. That I can say is an emotional rollercoaster in itself.
I have had a reasonable budget to hire resources from Fiverr to support my launch. Some have been awesome, others average and several dire. Quality control is key when hiring 3rd party resources to avoid mistakes and delays. So what are my key learnings:-
1. Make sure you get lots of sleep pre launch because I can tell you won’t once you are live - at least I haven’t as I’ve found myself replying and liking posts in the early hours
2. Prepare for a deluge of spam accounts trying to sell you promotional services across social media, especially Instagram. The occasional one is good but most are disreputable.
3. Find your influencers fast and keep that budget low - I capped out at $150 for a full blown review/reels/story with account sizes of 100-900K and anywhere from $25-45 for a quality review on Amazon or Goodreads
4. The Amazon algorithm is slow to pick you up but I am coming into my free 5 day promotion in 3 days so I remain hopeful. Also sales data seems to have a 48 hour lag.
5. Get those ARC’s in place - I didn’t and hence it’s a slow burn for me, let’s call it a baptism of fire!
6. Try everything once like you’re at University all over again but concentrate on those elements that add value to your brand and not others: namely newsletter, forums, blogs and websites.
7. You are your best PR - yes the written word helps with domain authority for your website and it’s easy to hide behind that but you need video and recorded content. Podcasts, video and dare I say it if you are bold enough TikTok
8. Don’t try and master everything at once. Find people who know what they are doing so you can copy and learn from their expertise. Do read Reddit and any blog you can find to educate yourself on others do’s and don’ts
9. Rome was not built in a day - building an author brand takes a lot of time and commitment and sales will be poor at the start. Focus on distribution - waymarking your work. Test and learn from different promotion sites
10. Finally you need spades of patience, some sleeping tablets, a quiet space where you can get your head down and try and figure out the plethora of promotional Ads you can run.
Don’t be disheartened (as I currently am) as it’s too early to tell where the KDP Yellow Brick Road will lead me. By Jove it has its ups and downs but if you manage your budget tightly you’ll learn the tricks of the trade and be a black belt in no time - at least that’s my hope!
Stay tuned for a review of week two on or about 4th October.