Ready to launch your book, but overwhelmed by all the advice available on the internet (and from your publisher) on the best way to get the word out for a breakout bestseller? At Worthy Marketing Group, we believe in forward-thinking, long-term launch strategies that help to not only get buzz for pub day, but add value for the long term.
Whether you are self-published or working with a publisher, today’s market means that all but the top tier authors need to be savvy marketers to help their new book get the best chance to get in the hands of readers.
three key strategies for a breakout book launch
1. create a top 50 list (begin 12 months prior to pub day)
Step one to get the word out for your launch is to remember the best way to make friends is to BE a friend. Sit down with your social media accounts and start making a list of influencers who have followings that might be interested in your book too. This might mean fellow authors, business or tech leaders or big-name blogging celebrities. Identify 50 of these top influencers and create a private list in Twitter (call it something fun like ‘inspiration’.) Take time every day to look at what your 50 influencers are up to and engage thoughtfully with retweets, conversations and likes. This isn’t about tooting your own horn… this is about building online relationships.
Tech tip: Use an app like Tweetbot that will help make this daily task quick and easy!
2. blogger tour (begin 4 months prior to pub day)
As opposed to the first strategy, which is about connecting with influencers in your field, the blogger tour is a more direct approach to engage influencers to act as ambassadors for your launch. To put together a blogger tour, sit back down at your laptop and identify a group of bloggers that might be willing to post a guest post, review or support your launch in some other manner. While the Top 50 list will likely include influencers with huge audiences who might not ever directly respond to you, the Blogger Tour should be made up of bloggers in the appropriate niche who will be able to respond directly to your pitch.
After you put together your list of bloggers for your Blogger Tour (more than 10, not more than 200) take the time to write an individualized pitch for each blogger. Make sure to find the blogger’s name and personalize each pitch email with his/her name and a comment that shows that you’ve put some time into researching your list.
In addition to the personal note, each pitch should include a brief description of your book and why you believe the blogger’s audience might be interested in learning about it. Include a specific ask — i.e. “I’m looking for partners to share guest posts, interviews or reviews.” and don’t forget to include all your contact information.
Plan on sending out your first emails around four months prior to pub day — bloggers have packed content calendars! And keep track of who doesn’t respond to your first round of emails. Plan on sending out at least three ‘rounds’ of emails to the bloggers, each personalized and thoughtful.
3. pre-order campaign (begin planning 4 months in advance, launch 6-8 weeks prior to pub day)
As pub day gets closer, it’s time to start thinking about a pre-order campaign. During the pre-order period (when your book is available for sale, but not shipping yet) offer cool free gifts to those who order your book in advance and provide proof of purchase to you. Incentives could be anything from signed book plates, an interesting piece of reference/tutorial, classes that you already offer as part of your business, webinars and/or live events with you. Depending on your niche, put together packages for bulk purchases with higher value incentives.
At the end of the day, the current publishing market means most authors have to become savvy in marketing their own books. Basic launch strategy can be very simple, although not always easy and not quick.
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Love these tips, Jayme! The key takeaway I get here is that upfront planning is essential and we have to leverage the help of others – our mentors, ambassadors, and supporters – to help us get the word out. Launching a book and making it a success is not a solo effort! Thanks for sharing your great recommendations.