The following is a guest post by Dana Sitar.
You’ve written 20,000 to 80,000 words to craft a product that is irresistible to readers, and you’re ready to push your keyboard aside. Launch Week is just around the corner, and you want to focus on tweeting and monitoring your Amazon reviews.
Not so fast!
Unfortunately, that book isn’t going to sell itself. Fortunately, you possess a key skill needed to promote it: writing. You’ll have to create a lot of content to pimp your book throughout Launch Week, so use this checklist to plan ahead and get started early!
Email is one of the best ways to tell your contacts about your new book, but not if you’re generic and impersonal!
- Break your contacts into categories by how you know them: friends, family, colleagues, readers, niche acquaintances, etc.
- Determine what you want from each group; for example, encourage influencers in your niche to spread the word, but encourage readers to purchase the book.
- Craft a template message for each group based on those goals, and personalize it for each person you email. Yeah, really, every. one.
Blog post announcement
Of course you’ll want to tell your blog readers about the book’s launch! Don’t be too salesy, though. Stick with the tone of your usual posts: If your blog is personal, share your experiences and emotions leading to the launch. If it’s educational, share tips based on lessons you learned. Don’t insult your audience by suddenly becoming a shill.
Press releases and Media materials
You can alert press in three basic categories — local, national, and online — depending on your audience.
- Local media may be interested in your story simply because you’re a local author or because you’re hosting a related event.
- National press doesn’t care who you are, so consider what’s truly newsworthy about your book — i.e. a new concept explored.
- Online media — mostly blogs — are a self-publisher’s best friend. Find blogs connected with your genre or niche, and you can likely promote your book even without a newsy angle.
For step-by-step instructions on creating media materials, grab my free Press Kit for the DIY Author, which includes a press release template from the Duolit team!
Guest blog posts and Q&A responses
In addition to a press announcement to bloggers who might review and share your book, you can also pitch guest posts and Q&As. Even if you don’t run a formal blogtour, beefing up your guest-posting right after the launch is a proven way to draw readers to your book. Coordinate with host bloggers and write your posts well ahead of Launch Week. Then you can focus on promoting the blogs who host you and responding to their readers’ comments when the posts publish.
Social media messages
These might seem awkward to write ahead of time because of the seemingly-candid nature of social media. But from a promotional standpoint, pre-written messages for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. will help ensure you’re not repeating the same sales pitch over and over. It’ll also take one more thing off your plate during Launch Week, so you’re free to focus on those candid interactions — retweet useful information, reply to every @mention you receive, and update your followers on just how awesome your launch is going!
Grossss. Sales. But, alas, you need to nail your sales page if you’re to convince anyone to read your book, so study up. Whether at your blog or for an online retailer, remember that writing sales copy is not writing a book, so don’t rely solely on your fiction-writing skills. Study other sales pages, and run your copy by both experienced copywriters and potential readers to critique its effectiveness.
Related blog posts for your blog
In addition to a post announcing the book’s launch, you can also arrange your editorial calendar to include posts related to your book before, during, and after Launch Week. These shouldn’t simply plug the book, of course. Write posts related to the topic, especially if it’s non-fiction, in order to draw new readers to your site and get new eyes on the book. If you write fiction, write posts on the publishing process or share tips for crafting a story in your genre. Relate these to your personal experience, and don’t forget to mention the book!
Update your author page at Amazon, Goodreads, etc.
Keeping these up-to-date year-round is a good idea, but always double-check and polish right before a big launch. Write a bio that will make people think about buying your book, include links to the new book’s website, and ensure your headshot is up-to-date to match the brand you’re creating with the new book. Navigate your pages to catch any flaws: Does it link to your other published books? Are the links to your blog, social media, and book website still accurate?
Update your bio (everywhere!) with the new book
A strong author bio on your blog, social media, and all those online forums and associations can encourage readers to buy your book without being a sales pitch for the book. Mention related accolades — fiction awards, business accomplishments, recognizable publication — to establish your credibility. Craft a tagline that sums up what you offer readers, whether it’s your unique storytelling style or your expertise, so they know exactly what they’ll gain from your book.
If you decide to purchase ads on Facebook, relevant blogs, or newsletters, you’ll have to write the ad copy and tailor it to each market. Just like with your emails, don’t try to use the same copy for every audience. Rather, speak specifically to the markets you’re targeting. This will not only help catch readers’ attention, but will also show bloggers and newsletter editors that you took the time to get to know their audience.
What other marketing ideas have you used for your ebook launch? What works — and what doesn’t?
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a freelance journalist and indie author. This week, she’s celebrating Launch Week for her latest ebook, A Writer’s Bucket List, an inspirational and educational guide for writers at all levels of their careers. Get a kick-in-the-butt for your writing career at writersbucketlist.com.