By Tim Riordan
We’ve all heard before, “All’s well that ends well.” If you want something to end well, it helps to start well. As you create a strategy to release your book, you must figure out a way to start the daunting marketing journey well. But what do you do to give your book a good start?
It’s possible you could stumble into book sales without much forethought, but developing a good launch strategy will create a greater probability of success. I’d like to share with you a few keys that will unlock sales success through the launch of your new book.
Most of us are not wired to automatically think about marketing. We tend not to focus on marketing until we’re holding a finished book in our hands. An effective launch should start months before your book is published. Of course, you can start any time, but the earlier the better. From my research and experience, I’ve learned the value of creating a strategy that includes prepublication, publication, and post-publication.
Prepublication can start anywhere between one and twelve months before your book is released. Some advertising services, blog tours, podcasts, speaking engagements, or writing opportunities will require several months advance notice.
Build a Team
There are no Lone Rangers in authoring and marketing books. Of course, even Lone Ranger had Tanto. God made us for community for a reason. We are better together in every area of life, including writing and marketing our books. Your team will consist of some people who will help make sure your book is ready for publishing. It will also include additional people who will be sharing reviews and broadcasting the pre-release and release of your book. Enlist as many people as possible to read your book before release who will prepare to share a review. Your book launch team, or street team, will then follow your strategy to share graphics and release information to as many people as possible through social media and other forms of public communication.
In order to build an effective team, consider doing the following:
· Create a job description.
· Make your expectations clear.
· Offer a reward or gift as people follow through.
· Send a pdf of your book to your team a month or two before your book is released.
· Let your team get in on some of the inside scoop of your book or your expertise.
· Offer more than one tier of participation.
· Send your team a finished copy of your paperback book when it’s released.
· Create a communication method (Facebook group, email group, group me, etc.) and stay in touch with your team regularly.
· Consider sending one or two personal emails to each team member. It’s very possible you may not know your team, but you can still try to personally connect.
· Express your gratitude often.
· Be willing to help some of your team members when it comes time for them to launch a book.
Remember that everyone who signs up for your team may not follow through with their commitments. If you want fifty reviews during your first week, you may need to enlist 100 people.
Your team may also include influencers in your genre. You may want to enlist some of these influencers to endorse your book or share your book with their email list. Some of them may write a review of your book for a publication or allow you to speak at their event.
Create a Buzz
Many authors have found it useful to create a prerelease strategy where people can preorder books. Some platforms will allow you to offer your book for preorder as early as twelve months before publication. You can use this period to build anticipation and to start your launch with a significant number of sales.
In order to capitalize on this strategy, you may want to offer a gift for people preordering your book. This creates a sense of scarcity because the gift will not be available once the book goes live.
Write about your book’s topic as often as possible. Get input on your book content and book cover through social media. Market your book idea and announce the prerelease of your book through ads on Facebook, Bookbub, Amazon, etc.
Many people communicate on social media through video. Companies are discovering that a video element is essential for successful sales. How can you utilize video to sell your book? Create a book trailers, author interviews, video contests, and anything else you can think of to visually engage people around your book topic.
Although we want our videos to look as professional as possible, we now live in the world of the selfie. People will accept a personal video shot from your cell phone. Don’t hesitate to employ professionals to create a quality product as well.
Connect Through Email
Hopefully, you have an email database of raving (or at least quite interested) fans. Bring them along with you on your launch journey. You can also tap into email resources of other authors and promotional services (Ereader News Today, Bookbub, Faithful Reads, Gospel Ebooks, etc.).
As a rocket will never reach space without a successful launch, your book will not reach its potential without a thoughtful, strategic launch. Book sales and author influence usually happen in response to your careful, intentional marketing strategy that begins with a successful launch.
I once read, “When you’re getting ready to launch into space, you’re sitting on a big explosion waiting to happen.” When you create a careful launch strategy and follow through with your launch plans, your explosion will catapult your book into years of productivity and possibly a lifetime of influence success.
Dr. Tim Riordan is the author of The Next Bestseller: Book Marketing for Success and a bestselling author of eleven books including Wisdom Speaks: Life Lessons from Proverbs, which received the 2019 Christian Indie Award. He is a pastor in Newnan, Georgia, and works with various authors through speaking at conferences, consulting, and publishing. You can learn more about Tim or follow his blogs on his website at timriordan.com. He has also created a free “Book Launch Kit” to help authors with this important facet of book marketing.
This post is part of the Writers’ Room, a collaborative writing advice column by Christian writers.