Raise your hand if you waited until you hit “publish” on Amazon to start thinking about how to get the book launch results that author dreams are made of.
If you’re a traditionally published author, you might not have thought about it at all. You expected your publisher to do whatever was needed to make sure readers discovered your book. No need for you to get involved. (Whoops.)
You were probably disappointed with your launch results, too.
Let’s turn that around. It starts with taking specific book marketing steps while you’re still writing.
Discovery is key
I understand the challenge. It’s hard enough to find time to write the book. Making room in your schedule (and mind) for book marketing while writing might seem like too much of a challenge.
But you have to — even if it means it takes a little longer to finish writing.
If you don’t start laying the groundwork you need to sell books before your manuscript is done, your book launch results will be dismal, discouraging, and disappointing.If you don't start laying the groundwork you need to sell books before your manuscript is done, your book launch results will be dismal, discouraging, and disappointing.Click to tweet
Your book won’t be discovered on launch day or any other time of the year unless you goose the discovery process. That work starts early.
9 early steps to improving your book launch results
Take on just one at a time. Fit in what you can, when you can.
If you do this, you’ll have several of your book marketing basics in place by the time your manuscript is done. That will set you up for a better, more successful launch.
1. Learn as much as you can about book marketing.
Identify the bloggers who are publishing book marketing information you can trust. Subscribe to their newsletters.
In addition to my newsletter, I recommend:
2. Get clear on who will love your book.
That’s your target audience, the people you wrote your book for.
If you’ve written a nonfiction book, your target audience is people who are interested in that topic. But what do you know about them?
Many novelists tell me they wrote the book they’d like to read. It makes sense, then, that their ideal reader – their target audience – is people who are like them. (That’s not always the case – it’s just an example.)
3. Research your target audience.
Learn as much as you can about the person who is most likely to buy your book.
This will help you visualize your audience “avatar” – the one individual who best represents those who will love your book.
Next, do more research to learn where you’ll find them online and offline. For example, do people in your target audience use TikTok? Will you find them on LinkedIn? Do they like Pinterest?
4. Build a following on the social network that most of your audience uses.
Your research into your target audience helped identify where you’ll find them online. Select one or two social networks that are most popular with your audience and learn how to use them effectively.
After you’ve spent some time learning how they work, start following “the right” people there.
Try this: Find the most popular authors in your genre. Follow them, and follow the people who follow them, too. (If they like the types of books the category leader writes, they’ll be interested in yours, too.)
And, of course, share content that will interest your ideal readers.
5. Connect with bloggers.
Virtual book tours (author blog tours) are common and popular book launch elements.
When you “go” on a virtual book tour after your book is published, you’ll ask bloggers who reach the people you want to reach to share content that’s related to your book. That might be a:
- Guest post
- Audio or video interview
- Book review
You will be far more successful with bloggers who already know who you are. So, after you’ve identified the blogs you’ll want to visit on your tour, comment on and share their posts regularly.
They’ll notice you.
6. Build an email list.
Be sure to offer a downloadable gift – a “lead magnet”– in exchange for each email address. (Get ideas for fiction lead magnets and nonfiction lead magnets and learn how to create them at those links.)
Learn how successful authors use email to communicate with their readers by subscribing to their newsletters. What do you like about their approach? What do you dislike?
I also recommend reading Newsletter Ninja: How to Become an Author Mailing List Expert.Learn how successful authors use email to communicate with their readers by subscribing to their newsletters.Click to tweet
7. Compile a list of “key influencers.”
Who is most influential with your book’s target audience? You’ll want to ask them to endorse your book after the manuscript is polished and finished.
Begin gathering names and contact information for them now. That’s all – just figure out who they are and how to reach them, and save it all in a file.
8. Create a Facebook Page.
You’ll need a Page to advertise on Facebook, but it’s also a good way to establish your book’s presence on this popular social network without annoying your friends.
Use it to solicit opinions on your book’s topic, share progress updates, ask fans to vote on cover options, and so on.
9. Add your book title to your e-mail signature.
It doesn’t get any easier than just typing “Author,” followed by your book title.
Which one of these will you start doing today? Will you pick the easiest or the hardest?
Do what works for you, but whatever you do, be sure to do it now.
What’s the most important thing you did before you launched your book? Please tell us in a comment.
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