Buy my book, send me a receipt, and I’ll send you bonuses worth (insert $$ value here).

The practice of creating bonus offers to celebrate the launch of a book has been around a while, and doesn’t seem to be fading.

While the practice continues, it is shifting.

Bestseller Campaigns

Authors create bestseller campaigns, offering content from a variety of thought leaders, typically e-books or other digital products. They add up the value of each digital resource and arrive at an astounding large number. That large number, often in the hundreds of dollars, is bait — “Buy my $15 book and receive $769 worth of bonus material from these experts.”

These bestseller campaigns were/are effective for two reasons. The ideas is to involve an author’s influential friends, allowing an authors to expand the audiences for their book. This method is an exchange: the author features another thought leader’s content as a bonus while the thought leader agrees to email their list about the campaign, promoting the author. It’s meant to be win-win: the author sells more books while the network gets exposure for their content.

Questions: Does this method still work? Does anyone care about the digital bonuses? What is the open rate on the emails networks send? Have we grown immune to these offers? As we have access to unlimited resources on the web, does the offer for more free content drive book sales? Does anyone have time to read/consume the free content offered in bonus packages? If not, is it truly a win for the thought leaders offering content? If an author spends hours networking to create a bestseller campaign, is that effort worthwhile? Does it result in increased book sales?

The Modern Version, Two Ways

Launch Team Incentives Authors create exclusive launch teams, inviting online influencers to join in promoting their books. Often, joining a launch team involves an application process and participating is reserved to an select group. You may have to prove the strength of your network and your commitment level in order to participate. Some authors create a list of expectations for your participation — a lengthy list, balanced only by the long list of benefits they promise to you in exchange for your participation. Once you’re in, you are meant to feel like part of an elite few, with special access and goodies from the author. Bonuses for launch often include special access to the author, in exclusive calls or webinars.

Pre-sale or Launch Week Bonuses Unlike Gary Vanynerchuk and other authors who incentivize bulk sales, authors like Dan Pink and Michael Hyatt have pioneered bonus offers for individual sales. And, instead of offering bonuses of material from others, this method of launch offers includes bonus material from the author.

Pink created a First Mover offer to drive pre-sales of  To Sell is Human last year, and created offers more interesting and compelling than most, in my opinion. Hyatt offered a long list of bonuses with the purchase of his book, Platform, during launch week. These offers are designed to introduce urgency into the book selling process. Authors want to concentrate sales during one big week in order to reach bestseller status. Their bonuses are intended as a reward for your loyalty and book purchase. Most often, the bonus content offer is a complement to the book itself, related reading on the topic or exclusive souvenir type print material.

Questions: What results do authors experience when they create an exclusive launch team? Can any author leverage this method, or is it more effective for celebrity authors? What motivates people to join and serve faithfully on launch teams? Do bonus offers for individual sales work well? What percentage of people would buy the book anyway, if asked?

Tell me something! What tactics do you think work best? What motivates you to participate in a launch? Buy books?

P.S. For the most part, none of these tactics are a part of our process at Weaving Influence. Although we do work with a network of influencers, we don’t offer bonuses or have exclusivity or applications for participating in our launches. However, we are always watching what others do, learning from their best practices, and considering how to innovate the work we do in supporting authors in promoting their books.