Welcome back to Suzanne Kelman. She’s been a familiar face around here along with her Blondie and the Brit Podcast partner KJ Waters. Today’s post offers some great tips for a successful book launch, which is something all authors strive for, but often don’t achieve until experience is on their side. Let’s learn from Suzanne’s experience and share our own as well.
Official Bio: Suzanne Kelman is the author of the Southlea Bay series and an award-winning screenwriter. Born and raised in the United Kingdom, she now lives in Washington in her own version of Southlea Bay with her husband, Matthew; her son, Christopher; and a menagerie of rescued animals. She enjoys tap dancing, theater, and high teas, and she can sing the first verse of “Puff, the Magic Dragon” backward.
7 Ways to Have a Successful Book Launch
The book is written, it is edited, and the cover is beautiful, With a mixture of fear and excitement you press send on CreateSpace. Finally, your new work is going out into the world.
But what next?
I have just launched my new book Rejected Writers Take the Stage, the second in the Southlea Bay series. As well as book two, I’m already in pre-launch for book three The Rejected Writers’ Christmas Wedding that will release in October. So launching is all I have been doing over the last few months.
There is data in the advertising world to support the fact that a customer needs to see a product seven times before they will buy. I’m not sure if that is true, but in case it is, here are seven ways I have used to promote my own books.
1) The Book Cover Reveal: If the seven times to buy data is correct, then it is essential to introduce your audience as soon as possible to the most important part of your selling toolkit, your cover.
If you want to build momentum and have the time, have a countdown to your cover reveal. Introduce a blank cover with the words “to be revealed” upon the image and the date. This idea builds excitement and anticipation for your established audience and will also attract the curiosity from any new readers. Once the reveal date arrives, pin your new cover image to all your social media sites and ask people what they think.
Another idea for a book cover reveal is to have a cover voting competition–give your online audience a glimpse of two proposed covers and let them vote on the one they like the best.
2) Giveaways: It makes sense to give away earlier books if you have a series or even the upcoming book as a prize to attract readers. I run a number of giveaways during the launch phase, but one of the quickest and easiest to do is on Goodreads and it’s free. If you already have a Goodreads account it takes about 15 minutes to set up.
A couple of things to keep in mind, first your giveaway has to be approved so that can take a couple of days. Also, I find a month long promotion works best, but if you have longer or even shorter you can still have a great response. My last one had over 2,000 readers add it to their TBR list. I gave away five signed paperbacks as a prize as I find that paperbacks attract a lot more entries than e-books. This is a great way to build excitement for your upcoming release.
3) Sale Promotions: As well as giving away books it helps to attract new readers if you also discount other books you have written during the pre-launch phase. Some of you may only have one book so this may not be a possibility, but if you have other books you have written, offer them at 99 cents or even for free for a period of time. The idea here is to have new readers fall in love with your writing. I usually reduce my books the month before and also use Facebook ads to promote them. Remember to always be thinking big picture through a launch, you will not earn as much on those earlier books but you may end up selling more books in the long run.
4) Reviews: Another great thing to do in pre-launch is start gathering together a list of reviewers. You want as many reviews up on Goodreads and Amazon as possible. So, starting in prelaunch is helpful. I start two months before a release contacting people and giving away free copies of my new book in return for honest reviews. Don’t worry if not everybody likes your books those low scores actually legitimize the reviews themselves. You can find reviewers by adding a link to your blog or website, by reaching out to people who blog about books and also to your mailing list, more about that later. I actually have my review copies up on NetGalley, which is a safe place to have your book and all I need to do then is send a link to my reviewers.
5) Blog Tour: A excellent way to find new readers is to organize a blog tour. This sounds a lot more complicated than it is. It just means asking other bloggers and friends if you can guest blog for them, as I am doing here with Jeri Walker–Thank you Jeri! I usually just put a call out on social media or email to other author friends that I know have regular blogs. If you want to, you can also create a graphic with all the blogs you will be touring, and on what date. The great thing about this idea is you don’t have to only tour during pre-launch, which is a busy time. I actually like to do my blog tour after I launch to keep memento going.
6) Promoting to Your Email Lists: One of the most important things to grow as an author is your email list. You can do that by offering competitions with a ‘sign up for your newsletter’ invitation attached, or by using cross promotion services such as AuthorXPromotions. For a fee, they set up giveaways that collect readers email addresses for you. Once you have a list, I recommend sending out two or three newsletters during launch. The first could be a cover reveal with pre-order information included. The second should have a list of all your giveaways, prizes, a call for reviewers. And the last one can be sent on launch day to let everyone know they can now buy your book.
7) Author Cross-Pollinations: And lastly, work with other authors to help cross-pollinate your book to other writers audiences. I just formed a support launch group with seven other writers; each one contributed to our launches by adding their own skills. One made a video of all of our books, one created copy for our newsletters, one organized a Kindle Fire giveaway, we also had a joint Facebook party. Lastly, I organized an authors roundtable on the podcast I co-host for writers called Writing, Publishing and Beyond.
So, there you have seven idea’s for a successful launch. I hope you try some of these and also add in your own ideas. Happy Launching!
You can connect with Suzanne Kelman and her social media accounts via her author website and blog. You may also be interested in her other guest post Should and Author Have Their Own Podcast? Do be sure to hop over and check out her titles on Amazon.
Have you ever launched a book and how did it go? What words of wisdom could you add to Suzanne Kelman’s tips?
All images are courtesy of Suzanne Kelman, 2017. Please share responsibly.