Updated: Feb 22
When I started writing books, I never thought it would be my career, let alone make me money. I had an idea that I thought would make a difference. Like many other aspiring authors, I saw a gap in children's literature that I wanted to fill and THAT was the only thing in my focus.
But what I quickly learned was that for my books to make the impact I desired, I had to treat it like a business. I had to learn...a lot. The whole industry, in fact. So I got to work.
Even with hundreds of hours of research, I still made a lot of mistakes with my first book. I secretly released it, assuming I would promote it later. Big mistake. When it didn't sell well, I started spending all my energy reaching out to book bloggers and book reviewers. That was my whole marketing plan! Another huge mistake.
But I wasn't in it for the money, so I created and released another book. This time, I picked a release date but I still had no strategy. No plan. It actually sold better than I thought. I was selling about 20-25 books per month! But I had so many more ideas and I needed my stories to start funding themselves. I didn't have thousands of dollars to keep shelling out but I was so passionate about my books...
...I was torn.
So I decided that I'd start to learn what traditional publishers do to release a book. I started learning more about the gobblygook that my husband kept suggesting (he has an MBA) and figuring out how to apply it to picture books. And sure enough, my third book sold better than my first two.
I started to realize that my issue with the first two books wasn't the content. Or the covers. or my pitch. It was my marketing strategy.
I had NO idea how much weight was placed on how a book is released!
So I looked at what I did right with that third book. I looked at what I could improve. And then, I released my fourth book: Rhythm Rescue. I made a plan and marketed it for 3 months beforehand. My launch team had over 800 people on it. Almost 200 of them left reviews the first week of publication. About 400 of them preordered the book, which registered to Amazon as 400 sales on day 1 of the book's release. This showed Amazon that my book was popular among a specific pool of people, so they organically started showing Rhythm Rescue to other people who matched that same demographic. After all, they want to make money too! And I'd just proven that I could help them do that.
Those 800 people didn't just help with sales and reviews. They shared with friends and family--other people just like them, which got me in front of MORE people within my target audience. But that's not even the best part. Those 800 launch team members meant 800 new people on my email list. Ones who were already excited and invested in what I was creating. People who could help with future releases!
From there, the sales snowballed. I'd shown Amazon who my target audience was so they continued organically sharing my book alongside similar titles. My launch team continued talking and sharing. But most importantly, I continued to create a buzz. I sent my book to influencers, created press releases, took every course I could on Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) so I could start running profitable ads on Amazon.
Pro tip: Did you know you can run AMS ads to a KDP ebook preorder before the publication date? Amazon Ads take about 10-14 days before they start performing to their highest potential. By running an ad to the ebook preorder, you get in front of strangers which helps drive traffic to your Amazon page. Once the KDP book is live (on your release date) you can ADD it to your existing ebook add and then turn off delivery to the ebook. Voila! Functioning AMS ads right from the start.
I created a successful, repeatable process. One I could continue to refine and implement with every new book that I produced.
Sure enough, two weeks later I got a Bestseller banner on Amazon.
It was incredible to see all my hard work come to fruition.
I’d finally cracked the code!
And at that point, my release had earned me over $15,000 in profit. It changed my family’s life and that’s when I realized—if I can do this, others can too.
The teacher in me can’t help it; I WANT others to succeed. I love sharing what I know!
A few months later, Brittany Plumeri and I started running webinars, and in January of 2021, At Home Author was born.
I continued my repeatable marketing plan, each book launch more successful than the last. When Step Met Skip was released in July 2021 and had a launch team of 1,100 people (880 were new to my email list!), had over 750 preorders, and went on to sell over 2,000 copies in the first five days of publication.