launching books


If you have the time, the money, the know-how and relationships needed to do a bestseller launch for big publications like USA Today, WSJ, or The New York Times. Great! Go for it. But if you don’t, using KDP Select is the way to go.

When you put your book in KDP Select and launch your book with a free offer, once it is no longer free, the minimum price you can charge is $2.99 and you get a 70% royalty. You also have to give Amazon a 90-day exclusive, but then you can take it out if you want to after 90 days.

If you don’t put it in KDP Select, you can offer it for less during your launch, but you only get a 35% royalty and it doesn’t make sense to do this for most Kindle books, because over 75% of books are sold on Amazon so in the long run you make more using KDP Select to start.

You can also start with a Countdown offer, where most authors start their launch at .99 and can increase it up to the retail price for one hour to seven days, and you can create urgency by increasing the price incrementally as you go i.e. .99 to $1.99 to $2.99 etc. if you want to, and you must still give Amazon an exclusive. But you must wait 30 days before you can do one and they are not as effective for most authors because they can’t reach a big-enough audience to make a profit without paying for advertising, which then cuts into the profits. However, when you start with a free offer, even for a very short time, it gives you the opportunity to put it into the announcement sites for free, so you can reach a huge audience.

This is why I like doing a hybrid launch: free for two days, and then discounted for a week to ten days. When you do it this way, you get $2.00 (royalty) a book after your two free days, but if you charge less, and most do .99, when not in KDP, you only get about .35 a book. So, you have to sell a lot more books at .99 than you do at $2.99 to even make the same amount of money.

(However, making your book .99 while you are getting ready to do a launch will make it easier for your beta readers to get the book than it would at $2.99, then once ready, put it into KDP Select and chose the $2.99 price or 50% of the retail price, whichever is higher.)

I’ve done both types of launches: hybrid-free to discounted, and .99, and tested it out. I didn’t sell as many books starting with the free one going into the paid one. (Since they were free to start, we gave a bunch of them away, but because the royalty was $2.00 a book, we made just as much money.)

Aside from the fact that you can announce your book for free on a lot of big announcement site lists, the other reason I like the free first approach better is it allows the author to give value first, knowing that some people will not see it, and others will see it and get distracted, forget to get it for free and will then buy it on the discount.

This happened to me just last week! I missed the free days on a launch, and I knew it was going to be free because it was the book a friend of mine was launching for friends of hers, and I was coaching her through the process! I couldn’t believe it, but I missed it!

So in this situation, potential buyers can’t be angry that they missed it. It’s on them because you made it free first. And they are more willing to make the purchase. Plus, we always offer extra bonuses during the launch to create urgency because that also gets more people to make the purchase during the launch and that helps you keep the ranking up.

So, don’t be fooled into thinking that you will automatically make more with a Countdown offer and charge for your book right out of the gate during your launch. You have to understand how large your reach is, what your budget is and pick the strategy that will work best for your situation. And, in my experience, starting with a free launch offer works better than a paying one for most authors.

Adapted from the Books Business Abundance podcast training with me at:

Listen to the podcast to find out how to get a complimentary Bestseller Book Launch Consultation)

Ellen Violette is an award-winning book and business coach & Grammy-nominated songwriter, who helps entrepreneurs, authors, coaches, consultants, who value their time and want only the best, become #1 bestselling authors and grow high-income businesses.

Ellen is also a multiple International #1 bestselling author, 3-time eLit award winner, podcast host, regular contributor to Published! Magazine, CEO of Create a Splash and Grammy-nominated songwriter. Her company is a full-service company for book services for authors and entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants, trainers, and speakers. It also delivers done-for-you services. To learn more, go to