Setting Up an Online Book Launch

After posting my marketing for new authors I received several inquiries on how to set up an online book launch.

I was so excited to see how many new and aspiring authors there are and that you guys follow my page and work! Thank you so much! Here’s the very basic info on setting an online book launch on Facebook – but realize that you should tweak it to your style and your audience. (This is what makes marketing work!)

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Look at your calendar. Do you have a set release date for your book? (Ask your publisher or if you’re self-published, create one!)

If you’re self published and you’ve never released a book before, the way to figure out your release date depends on your team. How long will it take to get edits back (You need to have your book professionally edited and there are tons of ways to do this for low to no cost if you’re on a budget… but that’s for another post), how long for the layout to be completed, uploaded into your chosen distribution center, print, etc. If you’re going through CreateSpace, it can take about 6 weeks for editing, 3 weeks for interior layout, and overall about 2 months once you’ve submitted your work — sometimes longer depending on how many changes and how long it takes you to review the proof copies.

Then, after looking at your release date count back 90 days. This is when you launch your book launch campaign.

Let me repeat that… this is when you launch your book launch campaign. Not when you start preparing for it. Huge difference and you’ll see why!

Figure out what you’re including in your book launch.

Blog Tour– Are you going to be setting up a blog tour? If so, the host of a blog tour usually won’t schedule you out any sooner than 6 weeks. Why? It takes time to set up the schedule and the bloggers will need to send you their requests – which will either be a interviews, book reviews (which they’ll need PDF copies of your book), guest blog post, etc. This all takes time and a ton of organizing on their part. If you’re setting up your own tour, keep all this in mind as well and try to get everything done and out of the way with your bloggers so that when the time comes, you aren’t scrambling.

TIP: Generally, you want your blog tour the same week of your book release or within the month after that. No sooner since the readers won’t be able to purchase your book. 

Giveaways – If you’re doing giveaways, I would set it up to do giveaways the week leading up to the book release to create excitement. I like to do themed giveaways. For instance, for a horror book release, I’ll giveaway favorite horror movies, keychains, signed books (doesn’t even need to be your own – cross-promiting is a GOOD thing!), zombie statuettes, etc… I’ll even do 2-3 giveaways per day at different times per day. Why? People are online at various times and they lose interest pretty quickly. If all you’re doing is posting boring information about your release (Sorry, but until you have a huge audience of adoring fans, this is what this info is to them on book releases) then you’ll lose your views.

Try to create a spread sheet to keep it organized. I’ll pre-list my giveaways in order of what I’m doing and next to it write down the winners and their addresses. Make sure you adhere to the Facebook guidelines on giveaways and contests.

I try to make my giveaways fun. I include trivia (remember my theme?), scavenger hunts (whoever can figure out what the name of my first ever published book was… etc)

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Get creative! Blog tours and giveaways are just a few ways to create hype around a launch. What can you think of that’ll make it even more fun and exciting for people to participate in your launch? This way, your readers are always excited about your book launch besides the reason of your book being awesome.

Early Book Reviews – better known as ARCs (advance reader copy) or ARRs (advance reader review). You can create a sign up form on your site for your readers to sign up for an early copy (even if you’ve never published before, you can still do this) and say something like “I’m looking for 5 ARR’s for ________ – here’s the link to sign up on!” And I send them a physical copy of the book with a not for resale cover. (This may be a challenge if you’re self-published)

TIP: Your blog tour is a great way to get some reviews as well. If you have bloggers doing reviews ask if they’ll send you the reviews early so you can include it on your cover and launch.

Now you can start your launch campaign. PHEW!

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Set up an event on Facebook – 

Invite your friends and ask that they do the same! Promote it on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, your blog, etc… Provide the link to your blog tour host in case they want to promote it as well.

The timeline below is a rough guideline 

90 Days Out 

Do your cover release and blurb.

Your cover is incredibly important!! I highly recommend Jason Vollario or Cover Crafter Both have fantastic prices and do incredible work! 

Between 90 and 60 days – 1. post teasers. (Quotes from the book, a paragraph, background info, music you listen to while writing) 2. Engage your audience – ask them questions relating to said genre.

60 days – Book Trailer release (you can create your own trailer on YouTube or get a fair priced and stunning trailer by a professional designer like Platinum Footage)

60-30 days – finalize all your giveaways, blog tours, etc – start making announcements about these events.

30 days – 15 days. Share links for blog tours, post any updates, where to pre-order your books, etc. Hopefully you have radio interviews, YouTube interviews, etc set up at at this time too.

7 days – start your giveaways!

1 day – Book launch! (Save your biggest giveaway for this day) and start posting each stop on the blog tour link

10 days post – ask that people post reviews (provide Goodreads and Amazon links every time you ask)

comment on all the blog stops, answer questions, etc

Don’t stop promoting! You should have some momentum on your book now, but don’t stop! Make sure to continue using what I shared in Marketing for New Authors!

If you have any questions  please post them in the comments!! I’ll answer as soon as I can!

UP NEXT: CHILDREN AT THE WINDOW TRAILER RELEASE!

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If you’d like to know more about my marketing, please pick up my book: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Sales and Marketing (Available wherever books are sold)

Marketing for New Authors

I’ve been asked quite a bit about marketing for authors since I have a marketing background. Please note, before reading on, that I’m nowhere near the success level I want to be. But, if you look at the time it’s taken me to achieve the results I have, you’ll probably see why I feel I can speak on this subject a bit.

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I began writing my first novel November 2012. It is now June 2015 and have had three books that have reached top 100 on Amazon (as paid) in their category. I have over 3500 fans on my fan page and over 2000 followers on Twitter. My work has been recognized by an award winning film director for one novel and a producer for another and I’ve been a paid guest author.

The most important thing is that my sales and readership is on a steady and continuous upward growth. So, I want to share (candidly) what I’ve tried and my opinion on it as someone who has a marketing and business background.

Conventions:

I’ve probably attended about a dozen conventions in the last 3 years (perhaps more). Everything from the uber small to the mega size (Phoenix ComiCon) Each convention has truly been different. Here’s my take on it, they’re fun to attend to, but I wouldn’t pay for a booth as an author. My recommendation is to find a book seller to have your books at and try to arrange book signing times only if you are a panelist at said convention. The more panels, the better – for both you and the convention.

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If you’re a small-time author like me and you’re at a larger convention (like Phoenix ComiCon or San Diego Comic Con or B.E.A.) then prepare to do a ton of giveaways to get your name out there. Figure, for every 500 free items you’ll receive about 10 responses. This is where you want to promote social media as a priority and your book as secondary.

This sounds weird, right? Here’s the thing. At a large convention, you’re in a sea of celebrities and important people and a mess of a crowd. Postcards — you might as well throw away your money. Things that work are things people can use. I had Team Zombie stickers made up with my website in small print on the sticker. By the end of the weekend I saw several people with my stickers on their phone and iPads. I also created excerpts booklets and slid them inside a plastic sleeve with a free pen. Something like this is more likely to get pulled out of a mess of the freebie postcards and stuff that make it to the bottom of the bag.

All these things cost money. Especially when you factor in parking, food, hotel in some cases, etc. If you’re on a tight budget, this is probably something that should go to the bottom of your list. If you’re a tie-in author with role playing games, etc – this might be a little better, but I’m speaking strictly on fiction authors like myself.

Book Signings

There’s a world of difference between a book signing in a big city and a book signing in a small town. If I get invited to a book signing locally I’ll most likely attend because it doesn’t cost me anything, but I don’t actively pursue them. I’ve had more success in small towns than larger ones because a small town is limited on activities they have and their residents will be looking for events… like a book signing.

Every new author seems to want to do a book signing at a Barnes & Noble – but if you’re a new author without much of a following, then this can hurt you. Nothing is worse than sitting at a table at Barnes and Noble watching people walk by looking at every book in the store except yours. I’ve had authors boast about their book sales of 10 books at a B&N but this isn’t a good thing. You’re devaluing yourself and you won’t grow a loyal readership that way.

Book Launch Parties

If you have a great sphere of influence and a large circle of people that will attend, then go for it. However, this isn’t the case for most people.

Online Book Launch

These are free and anyone can attend. It also takes less time and dedication to do one of these and I highly recommend it.

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Blog Tours

Blog tours are a great way to get reviews and quotes for your book. It also creates a back link which will boost your Google rankings. Why? The more sites that are linking to your website and/or blog the higher you’ll rank in Google search. This is always a good thing.

The most important thing about marketing is you can’t expect all the results to look the same. Most authors go into marketing with one thing in mind ; book sales. You need to go in thinking — how is this gaining exposure and is it worth it? 

Facebook and Twitter

Facebook, finally, has become more helpful in the marketing department without paying an arm and a leg. 1. you should have a fan page. I’ve had authors ask what’s better, a personal page, a group, or a fan page. Without a doubt, you absolutely need a fan page. A Facebook group is not meant for promotions – it’s meant for discussions around a subject matter. Now, there are groups on Facebook specifically for an author created by fans – but if you’re at that point, then you shouldn’t be bothering with my blog post here.

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A personal page is very limiting – (I’m hoping you’re aiming for more than 5,000 fans? Because your personal page has a friend limit of 5,000) Also, a fan page lets you view algorithms and how your page is doing. Everything from the demographics of your fans to to when they’re online and which one of your posts get the most views and likes. This is all included and you should be using this.

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Twitter is a great place for authors because authors and book lovers are always tweeting and retweeting their favorite books, quotes, etc.

Email Marketing

We talked about Facebook, Twitter, blog tours, etc – but what about people that aren’t attached to their social media account or even those that just don’t see everything you post? You need to be able to reach out to them. I try to send an email once a month to my list, but I would never send more than one every two weeks.

I try to include free ‘after the The End” in my email newsletter so that my readers have an incentive to sign up. Something extra that they aren’t getting normally. (think interviews, FAQ, Q&A, Cover release, etc)

There’s a lot of email marketing companies out there but my favorite is AWeber. You can try it out for free using the banner right below. And then, of course, you can subscribe to my email list through http://www.theaccidentalwriter.com

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Do you have any specific questions regarding marketing I haven’t covered? Post them in the comments!

Marketing checklist:

  1. Have a fan page on Facebook, post regularly
  2. Have a Twitter handle (optional)
  3. Have an email marketing campaign (through AWeber)
  4. Set up a blog tour (You can Google blog tours in your genre and then email authors that hosted on that blog tour to see what their review of said tour)
  5. Have a media kit (in both print and digital)
  6. Host an online book launch (look at how other authors have done this)
  7. Follow your favorite authors to see what they do!
  8. Reach out to other authors to see what they’re doing
  9. Be courteous!
  10. Don’t ignore your readers. If you receive fan mail, thank them. If someone helps market your book – thank them! If a reader comments on your fan page how much they adore you, don’t just *like* their comment, respond!

Earning a 6 Figure Living From Writing

If you told me 5 years ago that in 5 years I’d be making a full-time living off of writing I would’ve laughed and said you have lost your mind.

Then I started writing – for whatever reason. And I couldn’t stop. So I kept writing. And Writing… and… well you get the drift.

I wrote scary stories and horror and sci-fi and marketing and anything I could I wrote — except for poetry. I can’t do poetry. (you’re probably wondering how I can write at all if you’ve only ever read my blogs — but alas, I can.)

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Then, eventually – I wrote so much that people started to call me a writer. Then… people started to know me as a writer. I wrote on blogs, facebook, Twitter… you name it – the world was my oyster … or platform. Yes, it was my platform – it was my sound box and whether you wanted to read my work or not you probably were.

Then I started to get paid to write for other people and the longer I kept doing it the more people wanted me to write for them and the more I got paid. It got to the point where a $300 day was the norm. I’ve even been paid upwards of $1500 to write a single page for companies. (Yes, this is copywriting) I did freelance journalism (still do) and then I was able to turn down jobs that didn’t pay well.

Then something strange happened. After I was doing this for a while I heard someone telling a friend of theirs in a writers group of all places that you can’t make a 6 figure income from writing unless you’re majorly published or been doing it for 20 years.

I didn’t know this and I’m glad I didn’t know this because I probably would’ve believed her. It’s true, ignorance is bliss. Yes, I write books – no, that’s not where the majority of my income comes from, but I’m getting there.

So how does someone make a 6 figure living from writing? By believing they can and by acting like they already do. I had no idea I couldn’t do it so it never even crossed my mind that I wouldn’t – and so I did.

As for the acting as if you already do? Rule #1. Never ever ever write for free. Your time is valuable and your writing is a gift. The only time I say this is an exception is if you’re doing guest blogs and even then, do so sparingly and only if there’s true return value behind it. I recently stopped guest blogging for a writers blog because 80% of the other guest bloggers were writing junk posts. There was no way that blog was going to grow and bring me viewers so I stopped writing for them. I don’t have the time to baby another persons blog to make sure it’s valuable and neither do you. A millionaires time is said to be worth $250/hr. If you want to be a millionaire, what is your time worth? If you want to be a six figure earner, what is your time worth?

A writer is a business. Treat it like one. If you treat it like a hobby then you’ll make the same income as one.

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