Anatomy of an Ebook Launch

Writers often talk about their creative process, but what happens once the book is complete can remain shrouded in mystery, especially as far as ebooks are concerned. You see without a physical copy there isn’t much point in having an actual launch event and everything is done online.

It does mean that in lockdown nothing changes. While there can be issues getting hold of paperbacks, especially with Amazon regarding them as non-essential items, an ebook is always there, just a download away from landing on your ereader, iPad or phone.

There is a carefully choreographed dance to these things, normally orchestrated by the publisher. The first thing to happen is approval of the cover. I actually saw the cover for Endless Skies back in March but due to illness at my publisher everything ground to a halt.

At the beginning of April we agreed the book should be available to order before the end of the month. We were edging closer, but nothing else happened for three weeks when there was a flurry of activity; we started to fix on a day for the cover reveal, promotional graphics were prepared and I was able to tease the image on social media. Next I was asked to approve the wording for Amazon – known in the business as the blurb. Within hours the preorder button was ready to press, but when should that be?

Cover reveal first, preorder second. On reflection I received such great social media support for the cover, perhaps I made the wrong decision there. If the book had actually been available the same day, it might have started to sell.

The first flush of sales are really important, because the higher up the Amazon rankings you land the better to trigger their algorithms. And that’s what you want. That’s what every publisher and author wants. Because your book will only gain maximum visibility if Amazon starts to promote it too. And unless their software thinks it’s going to be a massive seller then they will stick to pushing the books they publish too.

I noticed the book was available two days after the cover reveal but did nothing about it. The next day my publisher started to promote it very gently on social media and sent me what’s known as a universal link, so I could join in. This link recognises the country where it is clicked and takes the potential purchaser to the right Amazon site. Clever stuff indeed.

In the meantime I’d been busy updating my headers on social media (which involved changing the colour scheme to match the cover) and writing a new page about the book for my website. Next I prepared a mailshot to tell my small but perfectly formed group of subscribers the book is available. Everything is ready. I just need to press the button at the optimal moment. And keep my fingers firmly crossed.