Category Archives: book marketing

THE ROAD TO LAUNCH – PART THREE: PRODUCTION

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These steps are a guide to aid you in a successful book launch. If you missed the first steps, you can find them here:

THE ROAD TO LAUNCH – PART ONE: CONCEPTION

THE ROAD TO LAUNCH – PART TWO: WRITING

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You read all the time about book promotion or book marketing and I know it sounds like a helluva lot of work. It is. There’s no way around it. But if you want a successful book launch or your best chance at becoming a bestseller, then you need to take a look at your options and get organized.

During this stage of your book launch, you want to build interest in your book. You will want to share the process to get your followers more deeply involved and to create demand for your book.

  • You can start by getting your followers engaged in the production of your book.
  • Seek and publish interviews with the leaders in your field.
  • Start getting review commitments.
  • You should also begin laying the groundwork for a book marketing and publicity campaign.

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ENGAGE YOUR FANS AND SET THE GROUNDWORK FOR LAUNCH

It’s time to make creative decisions like what to edit, which cover to use, and what the title of your book should be. Document that process and get your fans involved in key decisions, it will pay off on launch day.

Facebook Live Video

Facebook Live video generates massive engagement within the platform. In fact, according to Facebook’s own data, Live videos on the platform are watched on average three times longer than regular videos. Take advantage of this during the production process by live streaming as you make key decisions about the book such as choosing the artwork, title, and launch date.

Poll Your Fans

Polls are an incredible way to better understand who your audience is and what they actually want. Try coming up with three or four different title options and see which performs the best in your communities. Doing so will lead to more informed decisions while simultaneously giving your potential readers some sense of ownership.

Split Test Your Creative

In a similar vein to polling, it’s a good idea to use advertising tools like Facebook as a way of testing titles and cover artwork in a much more public setting. Run an ad split-testing multiple title choices, the one with the most engagement wins. Doing this will give you a better idea of what the entire market is looking for.

Create Q&A Videos

Q&A is a fantastic format that people tend to gravitate towards because it provides specific context. Using Facebook Live, or regular video, try taking the time to collect a few questions about your topic or your book from your community and give thoughtful answers to them.

Create a Q&A Podcast

The beauty of video is that once you are finished with it you will have perfectly good audio to use. If you’ve done the Q&A video I would suggest that you pull the audio from those files and turn it into a podcast for some additional reach.

Create a Book Trailer

If you have the time and the dollars to spend, creating a book trailer can be a fantastic way to promote additional excitement for your book launch. The best book trailers focus on the main problem that the book intends to solve while not giving away too much information.

Create an Explainer Video

If you don’t have the dollars to get a professional book trailer done or if you want to create more videos, consider getting in front of the camera and explain what the book is about, what problem it solves, and who it’s for. It may not be fancy, but clearly explaining your book is never a bad thing.

Work With Your Book Launch Team

As you move into the pre-launch stage of your journey you will need to start recruiting people to be on your book launch team. These are the people who will be your biggest advocates. They’ll write your early reviews, they’ll introduce your book to their friends and audiences, and they’ll help you get the initial rankings that you’ll need to build a sustained machine. Reach out to the community you’ve built thus far in order to recruit.

Send Out Review Copies

Don’t wait until two weeks before the launch to send review copies to people who have the power to drive massive awareness. Your goal should be to send them review copies with more than enough time for them to go through it and formulate an actual opinion. Once your final draft is done look into sending them out immediately to get that process started.

Get Early Amazon Reviews

This is the same concept as above, send members of your book launch team early copies so that they can have honest reviews prepared for launch day. The trend with Amazon is proof of purchase to give a review. There is a way around that but I forgot what.

Create a Media Kit

As you move into the pre-launch stage you are going to be doing quite a bit of “pitching”. Take the time in this stage to create a media kit that will save you time and energy in the long run while helping you look more polished when compared to other self-published authors.

CREATE A PROFESSIONAL MEDIA KIT

Use HARO to Get Media Mentions

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) can be a fantastic tool for getting media mentions and getting featured on various websites. By signing up you’ll receive an email whenever a reporter is looking for something you may be able to weigh in on so it’s a fairly “passive” source of gaining additional exposure before the real push starts.

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More to come on “Your Road to Launch” – stay tuned 🙂

THE ROAD TO LAUNCH – PART TWO: WRITING

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These steps are a guide to aid you in a successful book launch. If you missed the first step, you can find it here THE ROAD TO LAUNCH – PART ONE: CONCEPTION.

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The next step on the road to launching your book is writing. And writing is about much more than writing your book.

Writing

You want to be sure that you’re writing at least five days a week. You’ve outlined your book, so now you just pick a scene and write. Focus on that one scene alone and don’t go back and try to edit what you’ve already written. Save it for when your draft is done. Remember, your draft doesn’t have to be perfect, that’s why they call it a draft. Just puke it out if you have to, it can all be polished up later.

The key here is consistency. Sit down and get some words on paper.

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Of course, at this stage, you’re going to be focused on writing your book. But during this phase of your book launch, you should be doing all that you can to grow your network. The network you’ve grown by the time of your book launch will be the ones who first purchase your book. Many will leave reviews and share your book with their friends, all of which will sell more copies and get your book into the hands of more readers.

Some of the best marketing options available to you are during this “creation” stage.

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GROW YOUR NETWORK

Blog About the Process

This isn’t blogging your book, it’s blogging your writing experience and sharing it with potential readers. Find ways to use the writing process that you are already going through as a means of connecting with your audience on a deeper level. Don’t share parts of your book.

Don’t share parts of your book.

This is a great opportunity to connect with your followers and gain some new ones. The more people in your network, the more copies of your book you’ll sell. Plain and simple.

Create a Facebook Page

I see a lot of authors that create a Facebook author profile and that’s really not the best way to go about promoting yourself on Facebook. What works well is an author page, they are actually geared to work for you and your blog posts can automatically post directly to them. This way your facebook profile can stay personal and separate from your business as a writer.

Having an author page also promotes your website and gives you the ability to boost posts or create ads. You can even select the audience you are targeting so they see your posts too.

So remember, a Facebook Profile is personal, a Facebook Author Page is for business.

Create Videos Expanding on Core Ideas

This is a great way to go over ideas for your book and attract an audience. You don’t want to read your book aloud, you want to talk about your theme and core ideas. Get your viewers interested in whats to come. Video is awesome, it gives your followers a chance to connect with you on a deeper level. This is my next big leap 🙂

Write Guest Posts for Other Blogs

You know you need more exposure and one of the best ways to get it is by guest blogging. Expand on the core ideas of your book in these blog posts. Ask the reader questions, interaction on these posts is a big win. It can give you new ideas and you get to meet new people who are interested in what you’re writing about.

Create a Landing Page

Do you have a landing page? Landing pages are a great way to promote your writing and give you a chance to offer your viewers something for free for subscribing to your blog. This is one of the most effective ways to build your subscribers list. Then when you’re ready to launch, you can market your book to your subscribers. This is where the majority of your initial book sales will generate from.

Create a Podcast

Podcasts are pretty cool. they’re not hard to get started and you can incorporate them into your website. You can gain a ton of fans by talking about your book, doing interviews, etc. Also, they are easier to get into for those of us who are shy. You just chat away into the microphone and people listen. This can be a great way to grow your network fast.

Interview Experts

Taking the time to sit down with and interview experts in your field is a great way to draw your target audience and build your network. It will also strengthen your brand while creating brand awareness. You want to interview authors whose target market is the same as yours. Plus, you can learn from them which will help you develop your own ideas. And making new friends is always a bonus.

Create a Book Profile on Instagram

The Instagram community loves quotes which makes it an ideal place to share micro-content from your book. Set up an account for your book, set your website link to your landing page, start publishing quotes from the book in image form, and use relevant hashtags to boost discovery.

Get Interviewed on Podcasts

Since you are now writing the book it’s safe to say that you have a decent idea of what the core concept is and what directions it could possibly go in. That means it’s an ideal time to start sharing your ideas on a slightly bigger stage. Reaching out to podcasts and getting interviewed about your concept is a great way to get it in front of their audience while simultaneously being forced to explain the idea. Explaining leads to better writing.

Find Readers With Twitter Search

If you go to Twitter and use their search feature it allows you to find people who are talking about your exact topic. When used correctly this is a powerful thing as it enables you to jump into conversations, share resources, or even just observe what the conversations look like.

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More to come on “Your Road to Launch” – stay tuned 🙂

THE ROAD TO LAUNCH – PART ONE: CONCEPTION

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These days, a lot goes into publishing a successful book. This series of articles discusses the stages of writing from conception to launch.

BEFORE THE WRITING STARTS

The Benefits of Getting Organized

As a writer, you may know all too well the disappointment of a project that has gone awry. Without a clear plan of attack sketched out from the beginning, it can be easy to lose your initial momentum. Writer’s block may occur from a simple lack of knowing your next move. Without some sort of map to guide you, your writing could drift, losing clarity and effectiveness.

Knowing what comes next is helpful because it gives you a list of manageable goals and provides you with direction. Planning ahead can help to keep you focused and strengthen your writing. Breaking down your project with an outline is the most efficient way to accomplish your goals and meet your expectations.

There are many steps in any writing project and taking the time to address them beforehand can get you to the finish line in a timely manner – knowing you’ve done your very best.

Build a Community Around Your Ideas

Nothing great has ever been built alone so the community you build in this initial stage will serve as your first buyers, your first reviewers, and your support system throughout the entire process. Find your potential readers and ask them questions. Tell them you have a product to launch and you want to share some of it with them to get their opinion and maybe they might buy it. But in any case, it would be great to have their help while you’re putting it together. Over time it will build you up as an expert in your niche.

There are many steps that go into building excitement and interest for your project before the process of writing begins. It’s a good idea to create a schedule to tackle the following objectives while at the same time, creating a writing strategy.

  • Talk to Your Potential Readers
  • Research Similar Books
  • Practice Strategic Networking
  • Build an Email List
  • Document the Journey
  • Build a Launch Team

Depending on your goals, it may be a good idea to become even more involved with your community. Here are some other options to consider:

  • Join Facebook Groups
  • Join LinkedIn Groups
  • Message Group Members Directly to Create Authentic Connections
  • Do Some Market Outreach
  • Attend Local Meetups
  • Join Relevant Forums

Not only will these methods help grow your network, but they will grow your knowledge base, your understanding of your audience and your genre, improve your skills, and will help expand and refine your ideas.

Create Yourself a Schedule

I know first-hand how overwhelming things can get when you start to take your business of writing seriously. The best way I’ve found to keep it all in perspective is by creating a weekly excel sheet that lists all of my goals for each day.

I record my time spent on each activity to manage my time, stay on task, and reach my goals that much quicker. Like most others, I manage a day job, family, fun, and other responsibilities as well as my writing career.

Prepare a Writing Strategy

For your best chances of success, whatever your subject matter, start with an outline. An organized and detailed plan that tells you what to write about and when. A strategy that can be broken down into manageable parts that can be written each in one sitting.

By creating your outline, you tackle the difficulties of theme, character development, and plot from the beginning. Breaking down your writing goals into smaller sections or scenes makes it easier to tackle one piece at a time. This enables you to know exactly what to focus on at any given moment. Knowing what is needed and when helps keep your writing focused without the stress of the entire undertaking weighing you down or misdirecting your train of thought.

Outlining works with all genres. Keeping pace with an outline that has proven successful in your genre can help you captivate your audience and keep them reading. Although there’s no rule that you have to go with any particular style, so feel free to create your own. Be mindful that it’s a good idea to know what has worked for others before you get started.

Focus on the Task at Hand

Always refer back to your schedule and focus on the task at hand. It’s best to start with the most difficult tasks first and limit your time spent on each. It can all become overwhelming without some degree of discipline.

Consistency is key. Relationships are formed over time through participation. Knowledge is gained by being open to the ideas and insight of others, questioning and commenting on what you learn along the way.

Taking time to create your outline and flesh out your story will make it that much stronger when it comes time to write.

Reward Yourself

Reward not only feels good but reinforces behavior and helps create habits. Create a system of reward for accomplishing your goals, like an espresso or something else that feels good.

Take a Break

As you embark on your journey there will be much to accomplish, all of which requires some hard work on your part. Be sure to take days off on a regular basis to rest and rejuvenate so you don’t run the risk of becoming burned out.

I set a stop time each day no matter what. If something doesn’t get done, it moves to the next day’s schedule. I try to accomplish the most important things first, so critical items don’t get overlooked.

When my weekend rolls around I leave the business of writing on the back burner and give my mind a couple of days to recover.

Making the most out of your off-time will keep you happy, healthy, and more productive.

🙂

 

 

 

How to Get Book Reviews

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Let’s face it, waiting for book reviews can seem to take a lifetime. These all important book reviews are a necessity in getting your book viewed and purchased by more readers. Without them, you’re screwed.

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While your waiting for your book reviews to increase in number you can begin a campaign that will help them do just that.

Ask for reviews: There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for reviews. In fact, you can send out a newsletter to your subscribers advertising your new book and ask for reviews.

Query book reviewers: You don’t need to pay for this service, although you can. I recommend you get real reviews, because paid ones stand out from the rest, they’re a bit obvious. Start assembling your list of book reviewers well before your publication date. This is something you want to be prepared for so that when your book is released, it has a large amount of reviews to go with it. Book bloggers are the best people to reach out to for this purpose. There are several other places to find reviewers as well.

  • Story Cartel – all books on Story Cartel are free in exchange for honest book reviews.

Be sure to check out the etiquette for this process later in this post.

Offer prizes: You can offer up prizes for your reviews in the form of author swag. People love free stuff and they love to win prizes. You could have anyone who purchases your book write a review and be automatically entered into a drawing that shows your appreciation. You can give out bookmarks, playing cards, coffee mugs, water bottles, sweatshirts, tote bags, and more.

Give your book away: Take advantage of the three days Amazon gives you to give your book away for free. When you are doing your promotions you can mention it’s in exchange for a review.

Ask friends and family: You can amass quite a few reviews just by asking friends, family, and coworkers. These people like you, chances are they are willing to read your book. Ask them to leave you a review, heck, offer them prizes too if you want. Just be sure to mention that they shouldn’t refer to you as if they know you when writing their review. The review will sound more convincing that way and help to draw new readers into buying your book.

Be proactive: What’s important when seeking reviews is to be proactive. Talk about it on your social networks. Use a book teaser to help gain interest in your book through your marketing. But always mention that you would appreciate reviews. Do a blog tour and ask for reviews there.

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A Few Words On Etiquette

Some may not know this, but there is actually etiquette that goes into asking a reviewer to read your book. Reviewers are not obligated to read your book, and they certainly aren’t required to like your book, so here are a couple of pieces of advice for the author who is looking to get their book reviewed.

  • Take the time to establish a relationship with your book bloggers.
  • Take into consideration what the reviewer likes to read.
  • Give a synopsis of your book in the query email.
  • Don’t hound the reviewer.
  • Don’t get upset if the reviewer doesn’t like your book.
  • Don’t expect the reviewer to search out the book.
  • Show gratitude.
  • Make it personal.

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How to get high ranking reviews

Amazon Top Reviewers: Garnering a positive review from one of Amazon’s top customer reviewers is not only a great endorsement for your book, it’s often perceived as a more meaningful, and especially helpful, review due to the criteria that Amazon uses to qualify those that have achieved this ranking.

Their higher profile and credibility, plus the competition for their in-depth, quality reviews makes it tough to catch this group’s attention. But the rewards are often worth the extra effort. In many cases, reviews from top Amazon reviewers can generate enough momentum to create a cascade of additional reviews and book sales.

Another strategy for finding high quality reviewers on Amazon:

  • Go to your personal Author Page on Amazon and locate the “Customers Also Bought Items By” section on the right. This section provides a list of authors whose topic or genre is similar to your own.
  • Clicking on an author name will bring you to their author page, which will include a listing of their books. Choose a book, then click on a review for that book. This will take you to the Customer Reviews page.
  • Click on the name of a reviewer to get to that reviewer’s Amazon profile (which lists books or items that they’ve reviewed).
  • Look for contact info like an email address or a link to their website.
  • Send them a query via email, referencing that you noticed they reviewed book XYZ by John Doe and you are wondering if they would be interested in reviewing your book on a similar topic, and that you’d be happy to send them a free copy if they’re interested.
  • Remember, you can go through the “Customers Also Bought Items By” section on each author’s page, not just your own.
  • No spam! Make it personal and be authentic.

Publishers Weekly: BookLife is PW’s new site dedicated to the world of Self-Publishing. It’s packed with tips, reviews, profiles and destinations for authors and readers!

It’s also the new home of PW Select, their marketing program for self-published authors and the place where indie authors can now submit their books for PW Review consideration FOR FREE!

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10 places that review self-published books

1. Goodreads

2. Digital Book Today

3. Kirkus

4. Self-Publishing Review

5. IndieReader.com

6. Indie B.R.A.G.

7. PW Select (Publisher’s Weekly)

8. Blue Ink Review

9. The Indie Reviewer List — (not a review site itself, but a great resource with links and contacts for book reviewers and blogs that highlight self-published literature)

10. Book Blogger Directory — (similarly, a “comprehensive listing of book blogs”)

What advice can you give for getting more reviews?

 

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Why You Need a Book Poster

By Jessica Kane

Independent authors are faced with many unique challenges, and one of the most daunting is promotion.

Seeing your book in print for the first time is a special moment that soon gives way to the sobering reality that now you must market it properly.

One of the most effective ways to do this is with a book poster.

There are a few reasons why you need a book poster copy

  • A poster is a highly-portable and visual way to draw attention to your book that can be used in variety of methods and places.
  • Aside from book blogging, which is a great method of promotion for independent authors, a book poster that is professionally designed lends a certain amount of credibility to your status as an author.
  • While the number of self-published authors has grown in recent years, there is still something of a stigma attached to independent publishing. Many readers have a perception that the writing of an independent author cannot be as good as that of an author with a big publishing contract. This is patently false, of course, but it is still something you must overcome. One way to do that is to mimic the promotion methods used by mainstream publishing houses, and the book poster has long been used to generate a buzz for new releases. Just check the window of your local bookstore the next time you visit.

The thing is, any old poster won’t do. Too many independent authors make the mistake of trying to design their own or of using a cheap online printing service. A poorly designed poster can actually hurt your chances for sales rather than improve them. If you are going to use a poster, having it professionally designed offers significant advantages. A designer can bring their creative skills into play in order to capture the essence of your book in a way that others cannot.

Think about it. If you are an independent author, writing is what you do. It is far more efficient to spend your time book blogging than to spend it designing a poster or banner. The money you spend on hiring someone to design a poster for you is well-spent because it frees you up to do what you do best–write.

Getting a book poster designed is actually one of the most cost-effective methods of book promotion because a poster has a wide variety of applications.

  • Posters can be bundled with pre-order offers to enhance the chances that people will make a purchase. Be honest. How many times have you purchased a book because you liked the cover art? You’re not alone. The importance of graphic presentation is something the big publishers have always understood. If you sign some posters and include them with a pre-order, there is a chance that you will make more sales.
  • If you are promoting your book with signings at local book retailers, using posters to promote the event and having some on hand to sign is a plus. Once again, the quality of the poster is all important. You only have one chance to make a good impression with it.
  • Posters are an integral part of the press kit that you should assemble and send to media outlets and reviewers in advance of your book’s publication. Critics are just like anyone else. They, too, can be swayed by slick presentation. If you include a poster with your marketing materials you are sending a message that you are a serious player. The absence of nice graphics in the form of a poster or banner will often sound the death knell for an independent author. If a reviewer takes your book out of the envelope and it looks like a self-published work, expect it to be shuffled to the bottom of the heap where it may or may not get a review.

Overall, book posters are a wise investment. They should be a part of your marketing budget for their ability to increase exposure in a way that is effective and economical when weighed against other methods of promotion.

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unnamedJessica Kane is a professional writer who has an interest in graphic design, marketing, and printing. She currently writes for 777 Sign, her go to place for banner signs, custom flags and custom signs printing.

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