What Jeff Walker Didn’t Tell You About How His Book Became a Bestseller

There’s a little, well maybe bigger than little, insider secret to landing a book on the bestsellers list. It’s something Jeff Walker utilized but that I don’t think he’s told you yet. I’ll explain below…

Some of you know who Jeff Walker is. Some might not.

Jeff is a marketing guru and creator of the Product Launch Formula. Forbes magazine called him the 400 million dollar man. He has literally transformed the way stuff is sold online. Along the way he’s become one of the top entrepreneurial and marketing trainers in the world.

Jeff recently released his very first traditionally published, physical book:

Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams

It debuted as a #1 New York Times bestseller and has stayed on the list (at the time of this post) for at least a 2nd week (at #2).

There’s been a lot of hoopla around Jeff’s book release with a lot of influencers talking about it… such as Michael Hyatt, Amy Porterfield, Entrepreneur on Fire (John Lee Dumas), etc.

Inevitably when someone with a larger platform, like Jeff, releases a book as a bestseller, there are some followers who say “Yeah, that’s great but I could never release my book as a bestseller like him… I mean he has a huge platform, connections and resources.” Basically, in not so many words, making statements like that is the equivalent to giving up or making excuses for their own success (or lack thereof). Jeff gave a great response to that very remark here (Seriously, go watch it. It’s only 6 minutes but holds a powerful truth).

What Jeff Hasn’t Shared…

There is something though that I don’t think Jeff has shared with people yet about his book making it on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s the little secret of HOW.

Now, let me clarify something first. I don’t work with Jeff nor do I know him personally. I respect him, I follow his advice and I find the knowledge he offers to be quite valuable. Regardless of whether you are launching a product or idea, online or off, Jeff’s insight and principles found in his teachings (and new book) are very applicable and useful.

What I do know is that I have been in the author platform building and book marketing business for over 13 years. I’ve worked with some amazing authors, helped create many powerful brands and have helped launch dozens of bestsellers including books for Jon Gordon, Michael Hyatt, Crystal Paine, Ryan Blair, Allison Pataki and more.

So what I am about to tell you about Jeff’s launch (and, in part, how he made the list) isn’t based on an assumption. I’ve not only seen it done, I’ve done it many times and it’s one of the core principles I use in making books debut as a bestseller.

It’s about leveraging THE POWER OF SYNC.

What does that mean? Let me break it down.

You see, the bestsellers lists are basically calculated on sales during a one week period. So when someone says they achieved bestseller status, it was for that particular one week reporting period for whatever major list (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.) they were recognized on. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other “Online” lists are different.

One of the best ways to get on those lists is to have all of your marketing efforts working together for a concentrated push (so that you can get the largest volume of sales pushing through retailers in a concentrated window of time). That means having a solid pre-sale and debut strategy. On the pre-sale side you generate sales in advance (which helps with retailer inventory being available at launch and those pre-sales normally push through the system around the week of launch so they count as actual sales then – when they ship). You also want to have a strong debut strategy that really pushes organic consumer sales the week of launch in a big way. In most cases the pre-sale activity takes place with specialized campaigns to your own lists then when the debut / release occurs, that is typically a public push that utilizes other influencers, social, lists, launch team, PR (in some cases), etc. Note: Every campaign is different. These are just general rules.

When you leverage your launch / release so that everything syncs up, you amplify your impact and your results.

I believe that is exactly what Jeff Walker did.

The really cool thing though is that often when you launch like this, you create momentum that carries forward even beyond the initial benefit. Just look at Jeff’s book staying on the bestseller lists for a second week (and likely more).

Think of it like this… the BIGGER the splash, the farther the ripples will extend outward.

Of course, we’re just talking about the launch here. You still need to have a plan in place to capitalize on the momentum you’ve created.

Here’s the best part… this strategy that Jeff, and many other bestsellers, deployed is not isolated to them. It can work for you too. No, you might not have the platform that Jeff or someone like him has… YET… but if you keep at it, one day you will.

Just do me a favor and don’t compare Jeff’s success to your own. As Jeff said in this video, he’s an overnight success 10 to 20 years in the making. You can’t compare your story to someone else’s highlight reel.

Learn from Jeff and others like him. Launch your book, product or idea. Utilize The Power of Sync, leverage your resources and concentrate your effectiveness so that you amplify your impact, visibility and results. Do that now with the platform you have. Do it again as your platform grows. Do it over and over and one day, you’ll reach the mass you need for someone to be eventually writing a post about how you made the list.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Very well said Daniel. If you don’t have an online presence like his it can be easy to dismiss what he accomplished. We have to give him his props! I think too we then have to go back to what you said: building what we have.

    • Indeed. Everyone starts somewhere. Growth is exponential. When we leverage what we have, we usually attract more.

  • Phyllis Nichols

    Great info here Daniel. We all keep hearing that the rules in the publishing world are changing – it’s great to hear from someone who knows how the system truly works.

  • Lucy DelSarto

    Make your introduction a BIG SPLASH and others will certainly turn their heads to see what’s going on! Good advice ~ thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Lucy. It’s all relative though. BIG is subjective. For someone starting out, their BIG might be a smaller pebble (compared to Jeff Walker) to toss into the pond. But, over time… as we grow our platform, our pebble turns into a rock and then a boulder. : )

  • It was interesting how Jeff ran this campaign, by offering the book for free via various blogs/sites and then charging $6.95 for shipping. Once the book released, the books were all ordered/shipped at the same time. Mine came from Bookbaby. Personally, I didn’t care for this strategy very much, since the book was offered for “free,” but actually cost much more than standard book shipping. It felt a little disingenuous. It’s funny, but by the time I actually received the “free” book, two weeks after the release, I could have bought the Kindle version from Amazon for about the same price.

    Sally Hogshead, who released her book, How the World Sees You, at the same time, used a different free approach and hit position two on the business list. She actually offered a galley copy for free upfront, if you ordered the hardcopy from her website. You still had to pay shipping and the hardcopy was sold at full retail. Another way to get the books moving the first week out.

    Personally, my favorite strategy was the one that Michael Hyatt used on his book, Platform. Offer a bundle of digital downloads for free, if you bought the book the first week.

    • Good eye John (for watching how the systems were working). There is always more to every launch that what is visible on the front end. : ) Sometimes what “appears” to have been done was actually quite different on the back end. Different reasons for using different approaches depending on goals and resources. That’s why developing a strategy upfront is so important, preferably with someone who knows how to leverage it all and work with the end in mind.

      • Will definitely seek your guidance in the future. There is a LOT involved with a good book launch.

  • I used to work in the UK music biz – it was widely known there that the fact of getting to no. 1 on the Charts generated a heap of sales. Usually the no. 1 sold double what the no.2 was selling.

  • TerryWilhite

    Outstanding post, Daniel! Really, really insightful! Love the Steven Furtick quote about the highlight reel, too.

  • Chinonso Anyaehie

    Reading your blog has being great, have learnt alot. Preparing to start up my platform soon http://www.authorplatformuniversity.com

  • Cat

    I found that Jeff’s (hugely expensive course) is quite useless for fiction authors. The only reason I didn’t ask for a refund was the list-building course which is applicable for all writers. However, all the other advice he gives needs severe twisting to make it work for fiction. I do recommend the course for non-fiction though.