Path to Publication: Day 17 & 18

Day 17 & 18

Today we are focusing on keys to a successful launch.  Over the past couple of months I’ve been reading many tips on marketing.  I plan to sort through all the tips and resources available to see what works best for me. I have noticed a trend for me that it takes a full day of research and then the second day of planning.  However, I have them as one post because it is easier for me and if you choose to do what I do rather than research then it will all be one day. You can look through these options and make your decision.

Things I did:

Pre-Launch

  • Order physical copy and look through it to make sure it appears the way you want it to. (I was finally able to do this and it will take two weeks to arrive so I will not have paperback option at launch, but I plan to offer pre-orders through me for paperbacks)
  • Choose your place for a launch party (more on the party below).  Coffee shops, churches, local bookstores and pubs/bars are all recommended places.  Not a weekend will be more appealing to these places because they are already busy on the weekends and don’t need added people, but on a Tuesday night… the place wants you! (I decided to use FB Party, online, but I’m considering a secondary launch in a place when my paperbacks have arrived.  Which I ordered two for preview and then will place another order, so it might be about a month after launch, which hopefully will boost sales of kindle as well as paperbacks.)

Time

  • Your time is valuable and you should consider what you would pay someone to do the same thing.  If it takes you a day to do something and you get little response from it, then maybe that is not for you.
  • However, from everything I have read success is extremely hard until three books are published.  The three books work together and you can publicize one and get the results to all three. (Works best for a series but is true for stand alones as well)

Marketing Options 

  • By now if you are following my steps then you have already set up your FB author page, website, newsletter, and obviously I blog.  This blog has actually been a huge marketing tool.  I’ve gathered a dozen new likes and followers and gain one or two more with each additional post.  Thank you!
  • Update your email signature with link to website, Amazon or FB page.
  • Email everyone on your list a personal message about your new books and link to Amazon or website.
  • Have a launch party either in person or online.
    • authorpromotions.blogspot.com — Read testimonials for ideas.
  • Newsletter Swapping (see day 12&13)
  • Did you know that local Barnes&Nobles will allow you to set up a book signing in store?  You do have to have your book on their store site and ebook (Nook), but give those managers a call and set something up.
  • Is there a Sci-Fi convention, Romance/marriage building seminar or local art festival (yes, you are an artist) you can rent a booth at?  Ask! If it’s expensive then try to find others in your area to go together with.
  • Be social, look them in the eye, and come to them, if you wait for them to come to you it most likely won’t happen.  Have a 5 second elevator pitch memorized.
    • Example: Legendary bookseller Tony Acree describes his pitch like this: “The first line of the book is, ‘It was 6pm when the devil walked into my office and had a seat.’ The Hand of God is about bounty hunter Victor McCain. His only brother has sold his soul to the devil and he has 24 hours to find a certain girl before the brother goes south. It has lots of action, dark humor, and ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger. The Watchers is book 2 and you can find the rest of the series on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel.”
    • Example: “The Goblin Wars series is non-Tolkien fantasy from the perspective of goblins. I don’t have elves in trees shooting bows or dwarves in mines with hammers. My races are goblins, humans, orcs, and minotaurs. The goblins are a hive-mind controlled by a single goblin queen until one of them is born free. He leaves his mountain home and adventure ensues. My books are $12 each or 2 for $20.”
  • If talking to people makes you really nervous, then record your sales pitch, and put the audio to a mesmerizing image (like maybe your cover) and have the video play on repeat.
    • For myself, I’m backwards shy (not sure if that is a real thing, but it is real to me). I’m great with strangers, but once I know them I become shy.  So the idea of a random booth sounds fun, but a table at my church scares me to death. I will have to tackle my insecurities to be successful.

LIVE Events

  • Bring lots of books.  You’ll want six visible at all times another 30-50 in a box.  Having so many copies will encourage you to sell, sell, sell.
  • Dress professionally, but know your audience, Comicon and Church wouldn’t have the same attire.
  • Have your money in order, you should accept both cash and credit (square and paypal have easy card readers)
  • Have a live reading.  One of the most nerve wrecking is reading your own words, but can also be very powerful seller.

Social Media

  • With each step on this journey I have been posting to my personal FB page to make sure my immediate friends and family know that I’m about to be a published author.  They have voted on my cover design, viewed my website, and watched me shout from the roof tops when pre-ordering is available.
  • You should post something new  2-4 times per week.
    • Some ideas is Teaser Tuesdays, Writing Wednesdays, Then maybe something funny writer/reader related, it could be a meme, comic strip, or short video.
  • Have an online release party.  FACEBOOK LIVE!
    • Before setting up FB event, send a quick message to those you will invite telling them why they are invited.
    • Set up event.
      • Private with invitation only to make it about the VIP’s in your life.
      • Can be weekend event.
      • Should be 1-2 hours.
    • About 15 minutes before party ask them a question or post something to get the interaction started and remind them of event.
      • Ask them to post a selfie, favorite drink, or color of their shirt, etc.
    • Introduce self with a selfie or 30 second video.
      • Say who you are and what you love
    • Scheduling tool: Cinchshare  (I looked into it and didn’t see how it was helpful)
    • Things to do at Party
      • Have free prizes – Everyone who comes to mine will get a free bookmark
      • If you do ______ you get _______   (If you post a screenshot of your kindle purchase, then you get to be in the drawing for a free signed copy)
      • Facebook Live: Q&A time.
    • End it with a grand prize.  Drawing for a free signed book.
    • Send follow up email to everyone who attends

Promotions:

  • Goodreads
    • At the end of the promotion send a private message to the winners to determine if they really enjoy your genre or just like free stuff, there is a difference.
  • InstaFreebie (a reminder that you can put 10% of your book as a preview for free without breaking your Kindle Unlimited contract)
  • Ereader News Today
  • Facebook Groups
    • Indie Sharing Worldwide
    • Indie Publishing News
    • The Book Blueprint
    • Raven Publicity
    • Books with a Groove
  • Other Free Options
    • I have a document with over 50 sites available for free books.  You could pick 5 or 6 to upload just for a weekend.  Having random free days is recommended for publicity.
    • Other common sites: Free Kindle Books and Tips and One Hundred Free Books.
  • I’ve heard there are websites specific to Kindle Unlimited that will promote for free. I’m still researching this and will post links as I find them.

Physical Promotion:

  • I highly recommend Canva.com for making banners for FB or website, for the image that you will upload for the postcard, bookmarks, etc.
  • Make bookmarks, hand them out at launch party
    • It sounds like some recommend bookmarks to use as business cards.
    • 250 for $36 – https://www.uprinting.com/bookmark-printing.html
    • 250 for 32 – https://www.overnightprints.com/bookmarks
    • 250 for $25 – https://www.gotprint.com/store/pricing.html 
  • Business cards
  • Send Newsletter.
  • Make postcard from cover and mail them.
  • A large banner of your cover for live events, book signings, and if you go to book fairs/craft shows

Featured Author and Book Review sites

  • Find a blogger and book reviewers (like me) and send them free copies of your eBooks to check out. (If it is 3.99 or less, I’d be willing to buy it if you buy mine.) Ask them to interview you for their blog and offer to interview them for your blog so you can share an audience. Write guest posts on other blogs about anything the owner of the blog wants to read. The more places that have your name and a picture of your book, the better.
  • This Chick Writes
  • Bookshop Bistro
  • The Fiction Readers Box
  • Kelly Smith Reviews
  • Daily Book Deals
  • E-Scribes (free book review)
  • The Book Speaks Podcast
  • Books N Pearls Blog and FB page
  • Digital Book Girl
  • Ink Jock – Author Affiliate Network – FB
  • Empress Author Solutions – FB

PAID Promotions

  • I do not recommend paying for anything without doing a lot of research.
  • BookBub is preferred, but you have to be accepted and most do not get in on their first attempt, so keep trying. — https://support.bookbub.com/
  • FB Ads – Research, research, research.  This is an area that can work well, but you have to know what you are doing.
  • As I have stated before, it is very difficult to get your money back with paid promotions until book three is out.  So use your time and energy wisely, it might be better to focus on the free options and write, write, write, until you’ve established yourself in the market.

Expectations

  • For most small businesses it takes three – five years before they begin to make a profit.  Ouch.  Luckily, publishing isn’t your average business, but you need to know it will take time.
  • Have patience.  The philosophy behind 20booksto50k, is that it takes publishing 20 books to begin making 50k a year.  Some did it faster and some after 20 books still aren’t there.  But the point right now is publishing is not a get rich quick endeavour.

Resources

  • Marketing all three parts are really good. – http://www.stuartthamanbooks.com/blog/2015/8/3/launching-books-the-easy-way

 

I have learned that writers are a community of people who support one another, find a way to scratch their back and they will scratch yours. I will most likely have another marketing blog post because there really is too much for one post. Stay tuned and Good Luck!

JJ Liniger

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