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Stone and Silt
by Harvey Chute

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Big Al's Books & Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards: Young Adult Nominee

A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.

Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.

Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love....

Author Topic: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch  (Read 7949 times)  

Offline MikeRyan

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2017, 11:07:22 AM »


Day 1- Rank #865: Discover SF announcement, email to main SF mailing list, $140 ad spend (FB, BB, and AMS ads)
Day 2- Rank #320: SF Bridge announcement, MLS (Mailing List Swap) #1, MLS #2, social media push, FreeBooksy, $400 ad spend
Day 3- Rank #314: Fiction mailing list, ENT, Planetstrider list (smaller but highly engaged), $400 ad spend
Day 4- Rank #220: Deathless List, MSW#4, $500 ad spend
Day 5- Reddit promotions, $500 ad spend
Day 6- MLS# 5, #500 ad spend
Day 7- MLS #6, all mailing lists, all social media, $500 ad spend


I have not considered Reddit for promotions. What exactly did that consist of?


Offline Augusta Blythe

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2017, 11:39:12 AM »

Hey, Augusta! It was awesome finally meeting in person. FB and ENT are small enough that I didn't worry about them muddying up the algos. I made sure to sandwich each between much larger pure SF lists, and that seems to have worked pretty well =)


You, too! And NINC is only about 145 days away (not that I'm counting). I think it's worth pointing out your NL sandwich because, for authors who don't have a healthy genre-specific list yet, they may want to avoid the wider promo sites until later and focus on more targeted advertising. Thanks for the great info, as always.

Offline Sally Clements

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2017, 12:07:26 PM »
Great post, Chris, I'm really interested in reading it, so definitely not coming under the umbrella of self promotion. How big are your lists now?

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Offline Daniel Roy Greenfeld

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2017, 12:43:55 PM »
Thanks so much for this post. I learned a lot that's very current.


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Offline Salvador Mercer

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #29 on: May 09, 2017, 04:01:11 PM »
Awesome launch!  Thanks for sharing, I too open any post with your name on it.  You'll have to share those Bookbub ads I've seen in my inbox, if they're doing well or not for this launch.  Best of luck with book two. :)

Offline Cheryl Douglas

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2017, 04:09:07 PM »
Thank you so much for posting this. I'm in the midst of my first 'real' launch. Normally I just launch to my mailing list, set the first book free after a few months, then focus on promoting. Not a good approach, I know.  This time I've pre-written several books and have been using FB ads to generate pre-orders, so I look forward to implementing some of your strategies as well. Btw, love your YouTube videos and non-fiction books. You have been so generous with your knowledge. Please don't stop sharing!

Offline John Van Stry

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2017, 04:13:03 PM »
I launched a book under a pen name last month (around the 20th). First book ever for that author.
I have not spent a single penny advertising it anywhere.
I made zero posts about the book.

It's currently alternating between 700 - 800 over all on Amazon. Yeah, it took two weeks to get there, but it's still moving up through the ranks steadily.

If you have a name and a large following, sure, that helps. But advertising online? Sorry, I think it's worthless. The only advertising that works is the stuff Amazon does automatically, putting your book in front of people who they think will like it. Over 90 percent of my fans all tell me that they found my book on Amazon, when Amazon recommended it to them. I have yet to find any other advertising online that works.

Offline Seshenet

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #32 on: May 09, 2017, 04:20:06 PM »
Thanks for the post, Chris. I never consider these self-promotion. But I do find them very informative. I am writing a series and don't plan to publish them until the first 3 are done, so it's nice to see what others already there are doing.

Offline Gentleman Zombie

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #33 on: May 09, 2017, 04:23:29 PM »
I'm a Chris Fox fanboy!!!

But that new book really sells itself! The cover is just amazeballs and the story sounds gripping to any scifi fan.  Haven't had the chance to read yet, too busy!!! But I did borrow it through KU.

My random thoughts:
- Good Cover
- Great Blurb
- Unique SciFi Niche

I think those factors are probably driving that book more than ads.. but what do I know!! I'm not a bestselling author. :)

Offline RobCornell

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #34 on: May 09, 2017, 05:03:01 PM »
Based on previous launches, this can result in a string of four figure days. My goal is to prolong that string for as long as possible, and to get books out fast enough that it never stops until the series is complete. Destroyer stayed in the top 20 of it's genre for just over two months, and in that time I only released one sequel. In that same sixty days I want to release four books, with a fifth about to launch.

Am I correct in assuming, based on this, that the new series will go longer than a trilogy? Do you still have an endpoint in mind, or are you going to keep writing them as long as they keep selling well?

Thanks. Good to see you back on Kboards!

Offline Chris Fox

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #35 on: May 09, 2017, 05:54:37 PM »
Great post, Chris, I'm really interested in reading it, so definitely not coming under the umbrella of self promotion. How big are your lists now?

I have about 7,500 engaged people. I used a little under 5,000 for this launch. The rest are non-fiction related =)


If you have a name and a large following, sure, that helps. But advertising online? Sorry, I think it's worthless. The only advertising that works is the stuff Amazon does automatically, putting your book in front of people who they think will like it. Over 90 percent of my fans all tell me that they found my book on Amazon, when Amazon recommended it to them. I have yet to find any other advertising online that works.

Advertising is hard, no doubt about it. Most people, like you, give up and conclude that it's worthless. That's cool. The fewer authors advertising, the more profitable it is for me. And I assure you, it is indeed profitable. Nor am I the only author on these boards making using of it. As I said in my post, advertise or don't. I'm just sharing what works for me, and trust that advertising is a big part of it. I track ROI meticulously. It really comes down to math, and diligent tinkering.


Am I correct in assuming, based on this, that the new series will go longer than a trilogy? Do you still have an endpoint in mind, or are you going to keep writing them as long as they keep selling well?

Thanks. Good to see you back on Kboards!

You are correct! The series will be five, or possibly six books. No longer than that, and I would prefer to wrap it up in five. I have a very definite ending.

To everyone else, thanks for all the support. I see so many familiar faces =D

Online wingsandwords

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #36 on: May 09, 2017, 06:12:28 PM »
I have about 7,500 engaged people. I used a little under 5,000 for this launch. The rest are non-fiction related =)

Those 5,000 fiction related--are they all back of book subscribers, or do you participate in NL building cross promos, like with IF?

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Offline Silly Writer

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #37 on: May 09, 2017, 06:17:49 PM »
Self promotion???

Pfft.

Love these threads from you! Thanks!

Offline Chris Fox

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #38 on: May 09, 2017, 06:25:57 PM »
Those 5,000 fiction related--are they all back of book subscribers, or do you participate in NL building cross promos, like with IF?

Those are all organic, either from front/back matter, or from website signups. I've steered clear of most giveaways so far, though I have started dipping my toe in recently. I think those promos can work if you have a good way of sifting engaged members from the giveaway list onto your main list.

Offline Dolphin

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #39 on: May 09, 2017, 06:27:27 PM »
Thanks for sharing, Chris. Always a delight, and I've been enjoying your videos as well!

Offline anniejocoby

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #40 on: May 09, 2017, 06:33:36 PM »
As usual, you are one of the most generous authors on this board.

Thanks for sharing!

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #41 on: May 09, 2017, 07:54:51 PM »
Kboards can always use more Chris Fox and less drama llama.





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Offline Chris Fox

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #42 on: May 09, 2017, 08:09:51 PM »
I'm a Chris Fox fanboy!!!

But that new book really sells itself! The cover is just amazeballs and the story sounds gripping to any scifi fan.  Haven't had the chance to read yet, too busy!!! But I did borrow it through KU.

My random thoughts:
- Good Cover
- Great Blurb
- Unique SciFi Niche

I think those factors are probably driving that book more than ads.. but what do I know!! I'm not a bestselling author. :)

I agree completely that you need the great cover, great blurb, good niche. Those are non-negotiable. The ads are designed to capitalize on that. They are highly targeted at the authors whose books I think are most like mine. This solidified my also bought early, allowing all those new eyeballs to see the cover I worked so hard on =D

Offline Daniel Roy Greenfeld

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #43 on: May 09, 2017, 08:42:27 PM »
Day 1- Rank #865: Discover SF announcement, email to main SF mailing list, $140 ad spend (FB, BB, and AMS ads)
Day 2- Rank #320: SF Bridge announcement, MLS (Mailing List Swap) #1, MLS #2, social media push, FreeBooksy, $400 ad spend
Day 3- Rank #314: Fiction mailing list, ENT, Planetstrider list (smaller but highly engaged), $400 ad spend
Day 4- Rank #220: Deathless List, MSW#4, $500 ad spend
Day 5- Reddit promotions, $500 ad spend
Day 6- MLS# 5, #500 ad spend
Day 7- MLS #6, all mailing lists, all social media, $500 ad spend

I'm curious, which advertising channels achieved the most results?


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Offline Doglover

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #44 on: May 10, 2017, 12:24:08 AM »
Not self promotion or bragging. What you are doing is telling people how you went about achieving your results, which is useful to everyone. This is not the same thing at all as the many, many who come here and to other forums with their 'look at me; aren't I clever?' and go on to tell everyone how much money they are making without any useful information for others.

You have the reputation for helping others and that's just what the thread does. Well done.


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Offline Steven McKinnon

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #45 on: May 10, 2017, 01:29:15 AM »
Following with great interest. Cheers Chris, your threads are always worth bookmarking!
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Offline Aaronhodges

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #46 on: May 10, 2017, 01:43:54 AM »
Hi Chris! I'm curious to know, what ads are you using when you say '$400 of ad spend' beside the days. Are these AMS/BB/FB ads?

Offline itslaura

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #47 on: May 10, 2017, 03:15:35 AM »
Congrats on your launch and thanks for sharing the info. Great post.

Offline JonathanC

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #48 on: May 10, 2017, 03:50:21 AM »
Devour everything this man says! 

Thanks for sharing this. :D

Offline DanaG

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Re: Breaking down an Amazon bestseller launch
« Reply #49 on: May 10, 2017, 04:30:01 AM »
I launched a book under a pen name last month (around the 20th). First book ever for that author.
I have not spent a single penny advertising it anywhere.
I made zero posts about the book.

It's currently alternating between 700 - 800 over all on Amazon. Yeah, it took two weeks to get there, but it's still moving up through the ranks steadily.

If you have a name and a large following, sure, that helps. But advertising online? Sorry, I think it's worthless. The only advertising that works is the stuff Amazon does automatically, putting your book in front of people who they think will like it. Over 90 percent of my fans all tell me that they found my book on Amazon, when Amazon recommended it to them. I have yet to find any other advertising online that works.

John, I had the same experience when I launched a new book in 2013, and that book took off and eventually cracked the top 100 with no newsletter list and no advertising.  Overall, my belief is what is most likely to make a book a bestseller is writing a book in a popular genre with an existing hungry audience, making sure that the title, cover and blurb are typical of the genre and look professional, and oh yeah, telling a great, irresistible story.

BUT - I think that if you have done all that, using some advertising on Facebook and AMS and possibly newsletters can help an unknown author get discovered FASTER.  If the book doesn't connect with the audience, all the advertising in the world won't help it, but if it DOES connect with the audience, I think advertising can be helpful and it certainly can't hurt.