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Using Overwhelming Force to Launch an E-book

Open book isolated on whiteIn my 16-year freelance writing career, I’ve always advocated taking small steps. Planting seeds here and there that will grow into assignments later. Taking care not to become overwhelmed.

But with my new e-book Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race… And Step Into a Career You Love, I knew my old “baby steps” approach wouldn’t fly.

I was providing massive value, and I wanted to get massive sales — right away. So I turned to a tactic I first learned from blogger Steve Pavlina called overwhelming force.

In short, when you use overwhelming force, you throw all your resources at a project at once.

For example, if you want to learn to speak German, with this approach you wouldn’t halfheartedly listen to German language tapes in the car. Instead, you’d hire a tutor for three lessons per week, post on Craigslist for a German conversation partner, spend an hour per night reading in German, and listen to those tapes on your commute.

This sounded like a good plan for marketing my e-book. My hope is to offer the e-book at an extra-low price for a week and drive humongous a number of sales that would propel the book to the top of its category at Amazon and pave the way for steady sales once I raised the price again.

Here’s my plan.

Overwhelming Force Method #1: Get My Potential Readers Invested

Readers love being asked for their opinions, and they’re only too happy to share — and having a say in a product gets them invested in that product’s fate.

So I hired a graphic designer to create three potential covers for my book, then asked my readers and Facebook friends to choose the one they liked best. Within a few hours, I had close to 300 comments on my blog and dozens of comments on my Facebook post.

After I chose one cover and had the designer tweak it based on comments I had gotten, I sent the winning cover to my list, put it on my blog, and posted it on social media sites.

Next on the list: I told my subscribers and Twitter followers I was looking for 50 beta readers to share their thoughts and comments on the book.

Using, I created a quick survey that was limited to 50 responses, where I asked for beta readers’ names and email addresses, plus a promise that they would get the book back to me in one week and review the book once it was out.

The time it took to rack up 50 beta readers? Thirteen minutes.

By my deadline I had received about 25 responses. Not only did these readers’ comments help me make the book shine, but I now have 25 more people who feel invested in the book and want to help get the word out.

I sent a message out to the 25 people who didn’t make the deadline and let them know I was all set with comments, but that I would still like them to review the book when it’s out.

Overwhelming Force Method #2: Get Blogger Buy-In

I asked the owners of several big-name writing blogs if they’d like to offer a freebie bonus download for my buyers; many were happy to do so, because this would allow them to market their products and services to my readers.

So they get marketing, my readers get extra value, and I get to say, “Look at all you get for this low, low price!” Win-win-win.

It was now in these blogger’ best interests to help me boost book sales since the more buyers I get, the more eyeballs they have on their bonus downloads — which of course would include marketing messages for their own offerings. To that end, many of them also offered to write a blurb for my book and even help me market it via social media and guest posts on their blogs.

Having buy-in from people like Sonia Simone of Copyblogger and Jon Morrow of Boost Blog Traffic? That’s what I call overwhelming force.

Overwhelming Force Method #3: Get Social

I started dropping hints about my upcoming e-book on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. (Sorry, Google+ fans — I can handle only so many platforms!) And as I mentioned earlier, I posted the potential book covers on Facebook for friends to vote on.

The best thing that’s come out of that so far? A rep from ProfNet, a source-finding service for journalists that I have used and promoted extensively, Tweeted me to ask if I’d be interested in being a guest on one of their #ConnectChat Twitter chats.

For their last #ConnectChat, ProfNet had an ad up in Times Square that featured the name of their guest, her photo, and the subject of her chat.

Yes, please.

Overwhelming Force Method #4: Cash In On Goodwill I’ve Built Up

You may have noticed a theme in my e-book marketing efforts: I cashed in on the goodwill I’ve built up over the years with my blog followers, email subscribers, fellow bloggers, and social media connections.

This goodwill did not happen overnight.

I’ve been blogging since 2006, writing lengthy posts once or twice per week almost nonstop. I make an effort to share valuable information about writing via Twitter a couple times per day. I’ve used and promoted ProfNet for over 10 years. My email list is treated to a daily motivational email and occasional surprises like a free copy of one of my e-books. And I’ve been writing guest posts for the top writing blogs for a few years now, as well as promoting their posts on Twitter.

It’s all about relationships. To launch a book successfully, you need to have a platform of readers, social media followers, and influencers in your topic who are ready to buy and spread the word about your product. Building up goodwill requires a lot of effort and time.

Ready… Set… Launch

I have a tentative launch date of October 10 for Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race… And Step Into a Career You Love, and I’m excited to discover how my overwhelming force approach will work out.

How about you — have you ever gone after a business project with overwhelming force? How did it work out?

About Linda Formichelli

Linda Formichelli has has been a full-time content strategist and writer since 1997. She has written for close to 150 magazines and two dozen business clients since 1997, and is the author of Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race... And Step Into a Career You Love. Visit Linda's website to learn more.

30 thoughts on “Using Overwhelming Force to Launch an E-book

  1. Good shout Linda! This is definitely the way forward with launching things online. I think it has to be otherwise you just won’t be heard. What are your suggestions for method #2 when people don’t have quite as much readership to leverage to the big-name bloggers?

    • Thanks, Kirsty! I think you can get an in with big bloggers just by building a relationship with then through Twitter, commenting on their blogs, etc. And if you have something valuable to offer their readers, they’re likely to say yes even if you don’t have a big following yourself.

  2. hi Linda

    That’s a very inspiring launch strategy… I like the first two steps. I do something similar when launching services… coming soon, I’m about to release a keyword service. Cannot reveal more for now. is also a helpful survey service. Not free though.

  3. Very inspirational, but I have some problems. What if I don’t have a blog or any personal relations, and as a new web developer, I don’t really want to spend too much time blogging, is twitter enough? I’m willing to blog if it’s necessary in the long run though. And I’m working on a new project that’s quite unique, I don’t want the idea stolen either though, so how exactly do I show myself to make personal relations?

  4. Great tips – thanks Linda. It’s refreshing to read such a thorough, detailed and honest account of each step in your book launch. Best of luck with it – I bet it will go platinum!

    Kind regards,

    Ps thanks also Danny for sharing x

  5. Thanks for sharing such practical advice, Linda! I do a lot of editing for ebook authors, and everyone wants my opinion on having a successful launch and getting the word out there. Now I have a useful post to point them toward! It’s incredible how many writers don’t realize that it takes time to build up a loyal, engaged audience through blogging and social media. Maybe this will help them realize they need to get started sooner than the week before their book launches.

  6. Linda, what a really clear and powerful strategy. As a book consultant, I’m often urging clients to create a distinct and integrated launch, and your blueprint is a superb one. Thanks to you for sharing your experience, and to Danny & Co for letting us learn from you!

    • Thank you, and good luck with your book!

      The Renegade Writer press is also the publisher of other e-books, including the Kindle version of the classic The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success.

  7. Thanks for this, not only full of great tips for how to get your readers involved in the process, but also how much work it takes beforehand to build up an audience to share with (no. 4).
    I like to be reminded from time to time that you have to keep at it and not change or run out of steam! Appreciate the reminder and good luck with the book 🙂

  8. Hi Linda,

    If there was one thing that lured me in during your pre launch strategy, it was the energy & excitement that you had. It was ‘catching.’ Your writing conveys irresistible excitement, and I really feel like you did an excellent job of conveying that during the pre launch of this book.

    You are a skilled writer who can write anything from books, to magazine articles to blog posts. However, the BEST quality that you hold, has to be that intrinsic flame that you so powerfully, yet subtly impress upon anyone who reads your writing. It really is an admirable, amazing quality that I strive to emulate. But it’s not enough just to possess this quality. You have to know how to use it. You absolutely know how to do that very well. : )

  9. Great post! It accentuates that while there may be more commonly used practices out there, it is really in our control to drive to success. I loved your tenacity and honesty in this post! Thank you!

  10. By the way, if anyone wants to know, I’ve sold about 900 copies and earned over $700 in royalties. (Remember, during the launch I was getting only 50 cents per book!) After the big push, I’m selling maybe 20 copies a day.

  11. Thank you Linda! I am just now discovering you though the Internet grapevine but you give me much hope it is possible if one follows a blueprint that also matche their hearts desire. That fuel we get from being passionate is what makes the writing and the blogging nd the tweeting so worth it…I just came back from a lot of face to face meetings and when I write I always try and remember…there are real people behind each of these Facebook profiles and it feels good to say hi and chat.

    Thank you! Yeah to your success! What you put your energy into expands …
    I have had the great privilege of meeting Steve in Las Vegas and I love his work. He is so generous and always inspires me to give give give

  12. Hello Guru Linda,

    While I was reading this wonderful pre-launch strategies and how you are successfully following up all the WEIGHTY steps, I was “marvelled” at your drive, passion, enthusiasim and above all your natural design- A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE.

    Then, for this wonderful trip you’ve made so far, I want to say CONGRATULATIONS and GOODLUCK.

    To Danny, you are indeed a great GUY!


  13. This is an excellent update on various book marketing books I’ve read. One which focussed on getting to the top of the Amazon best-sellers’ list aimed at getting 100 reviews ahead of the launch by securing agreement to review in writing in return for a review copy. Plus the reciprocal marketing wheeze you mention in return for a valuable piece of content for the launch offer.
    Good point about building a head of steam to support it.
    I’ve ‘attended’ launch parties online too although they are not a patch on the real thing!

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