For many authors, the thrill of writing compels them to keep going, and the excitement of seeing their work published is the icing on the cake. But once their book is published, they’re often stymied by how to launch and market it.
Authors frequently ask me, “What comes next? How do I get people to buy my book?”
The answer is: There is no set formula for how you effectively launch and market your book. Figure out what works best for you and your readers, especially considering your time, skills and budget.
Here are seven broad areas to consider as elements of your book launch.
1. Get Reviews
The two primary types of reviews are editorial (or trade) reviews and consumer reviews.
For bookstores and libraries to carry your book, they’ll want to see editorial reviews (or to have a lot of their patrons asking for it). Each review service has different submission requirements. Some will want to see the manuscript three to four months before publication. Others will look at it anytime. Some will only work with certain types of publishers. Others will be open to anyone.
Consumer reviews are the star-ratings you see on sites like Amazon, Goodreads, BookBub and retail sites. They act as “social proof” for potential readers who don’t know you already.
Before spending time or money driving traffic to your book listing, you want to have at least ten reviews posted and at least a 4-star rating. So line up a review team before the release date so they’re ready to post reviews as soon as your book is available for them to do so.
2. Gather a Launch Team
Having people join your launch team allows you to leverage other people’s audiences. So, rather than being the only one promoting your book, others will share about it as well.
Your launch team could be friends who are willing to share your content in social media, blogs willing to write a review or publish a guest post, or podcasts interested in having you as a guest.
Sometimes launch team members are also willing to provide bonuses to entice readers to buy your book when you want them to instead of when they get around to it.
3. Update Your Author Website
Make sure you update your author website with information about your book and how to opt in to your mailing list (a crucial component for a successful writing career).
If you don’t have a website, consider making one, even if it’s a simple one-page site letting people know how to connect with you and where to find your book. Your website is the only online presence you actually own. Your social media accounts can be closed without warning, so don’t rely on a strong presence there as the only place people can find you and your books online.
4. Develop Your Social Media Strategy
Social media can be a great way to connect with readers, but it's tempting to try to be everywhere at once. That’s quickly exhausting. Discover which social media platform your ideal reader predominantly uses, and then focus on that one. Over time, you can add others if you want to. But get comfortable with one first.
You’ll also want to find the hashtags your readers follow so you can amplify your content. Hashtags will allow people who don’t already follow you to discover you.
5. Look for Publicity Opportunities
From trending news and press releases to book awards and alumni newsletters, there are many ways to generate publicity.
It doesn’t matter whether you write fiction or nonfiction, publicity is out there for the taking. Every day, the media is looking for sources and new stories. The key is to make it quickly apparent how you will appeal to their audience. Connect the dots to make it easy for them to quickly say “yes” or “no.” They’ll appreciate you for it!
6. Consider Advertising
Advertising isn’t going to be for everyone. But it can be an effective means of creating more visibility for your book.
Choosing where to advertise and how to configure your ad is a learning experience. But I recommend starting with Amazon ads and setting a daily budget you’re comfortable with (even $2.50 a day can be effective if your keywords are set appropriately).
As for Facebook ads, those work more effectively if your book is in Kindle Unlimited or to advertise author events.
7. Produce Marketing Materials
I highly recommend producing what’s called a “sell sheet” for your book. It’s a useful flyer that provides details about the book, where and how to buy it, ISBNs and pricing information, etc. If you have received editorial reviews, add them to it too since this sell sheet is what you can provide to libraries and bookstores who might be interested in purchasing your book.
Other materials to consider include bookmarks, postcards, business cards and event flyers for when you’re doing in-person events.
If you’re interested in learning more about these book launch elements, check out my course, “Book Launches Simplified.” It walks you through various considerations and best practices, as well as recommending specific tools and services that can help you successfully launch and market your book. Learn more at https://emeraldlakebooks.com/blscourse.
Tara R. Alemany is a multi-award-winning author of seven books. She is also a speaker and publisher, as well as a serial entrepreneur.
Although she’s started many businesses during her career, her favorite is Emerald Lake Books, which she co-owns with her best friend, Mark Gerber. This boutique publisher specializes in working with positive people to integrate a book into their marketing or sales funnel to build their business.
In her spare time, Tara leads a writers’ critique group and is a winemaker, a military Mom to 2 young adults (one of each), and is owned by a black cat.
I've always had a launch team and they've really helped spread the word. And my publisher always makes sell sheets for my books.
Thanks for the tips, Tara!
Thank you again for sharing these elements with us, Tara.
Thanks for these great tips Tara, also thanks to Diane.
Thanks for the book launch tips, Tara. It's great how you break it down for us into steps.
This is NOT something I've done well so far. I know I need to do better but there's always something else to do and then it's release day!
Thanks for the tips!
Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I'm glad you enjoyed my guest post.
Hi Diane and Tara - an interesting post for all of us - thanks for setting it out for us. All the best - Hilary
Alex, it's great that your publisher provides you with a sell sheet! We do the same for our authors. And we often will update a sell sheet after a big event (like a great trade review or a new book award). As a marketing piece, it's important to keep it fresh. :-)
Jemi, I know the feeling! When it comes to my own books, it's often like the cobbler's kids. The key is to start working on it earlier. People tend to wait until the last few weeks to a month before the release. But if they started jotting ideas and laying some groundwork, even while they're still writing, it's much more manageable.
Jack Canfield committed to doing five things each day to promote Chicken Soup for the Soul (before it took off). They didn't have to be big. Send an email, shoot a press release off to a journalist, etc. It's the accumulation of all the little things that makes the difference. Even if you commit to doing one thing each day toward marketing your book, that's 365 things by the end of a year!
You're welcome, Hilary!
These are all great ideas! Thanks!
I'm glad you think so, @kjmckendry!
I tried so hard to be everywhere, I ended up being nowhere. Excellent tips!
Agreed, Elizabeth! Understand what the options are, then focus on the things you know you can do best. As your comfort level grows, then you can expand to other things.
Thank you for writing this post Tara.
It's come at the perfect time for me. I'm new to IWSG and I've just launched my first e-book. Although the book is free to download, practising some of your tips will prepare me for my next book.
Sharing the link of my book here --cheeky maybe but certainly keen:-) to garner interest.
'Delightful read' and 'sheer magic' are some of the reviews I've got thus far. It's a short childhood memoir with elements of literary fiction and poetry.
Have a great day.
Congratulations on your first book, Arti! Unfortunately, the link requires a login. So it's not really possible to see it. May I suggest using Draft2Digital to publish and distribute it? That way it would make it more accessible to a wider audience.
Thanks, Tara - more great advice for those of us who are new authors!
Expanded Metal Sheet
Aluminum Expanded Metal
Stainless Steel Expanded metal
flat expanded metal
galvanized expanded metal
Thank you Tara. I will explore Draft2Digital, like you suggested.
Thanks for these very useful tips Tara! Authors often find themselves surrounded by concerns that are very well addressed here.
@Arti, you're welcome. I think you'll find it useful.
@Purple Assassin, thanks!
Thanks, Tara. Excellent points.
Thanks for the potpourri of tried-and-true tips. You are gracious to share, Tara!
Post a Comment