By Melissa Uhles
Amber (my Pen and Parent co-blogger) and I are launching our second co-authored book. It was written with you all in mind. Parents who write may eventually want to publish and make some money with their creative labors.
So as we’ve prepared for our own launches we’ve done research and thought we’d pass it along to you. If you are ready to self-publish or your traditionally published book releases soon, check out these tips first to help your book launch successfully.
If you are only a few chapters in or haven’t started your book yet, you could trying “writing to market.” Chris Fox is an author who has written fiction and nonfiction books for writers. Write to Market: Deliver a Book that Sells is a book I read after having launched a few of my romance novels.
Fox’s idea is that you can mine Amazon and research titles, look at the sales and competition for similar titles and genres and figure out where the money is being made. After you’ve done this research, the idea is then to write a book “to market”. It’s not an exact science, but worth a try before diving in to marketing a product (book) you aren’t sure there is an audience for.
Andrea Dunlop on Jane Friedman’s site recommends asking yourself some questions before you get started. What are your goals for launch and how much can you spend on marketing, for example. Are your goals realistic? Will you hire help or DIY your whole launch?
Dunlop says, “it’s less about how much you have and more about how you use it. Needless to say, it takes both money and time to successfully launch a book. If you have a lower budget, don’t fret; just be prepared to make up in sweat equity what you lack in cash.”
Once you received ARC’s (advanced reader copies) that are mobi, epub or pdf’s, you’ll need to send them out to get some early reviews. You may want to ask your email subscribers’ if they’d like a free copy in exchange for review. If you have social media channels you can put the word out that way too.
If you can shoot for sending out at least 10 copies and hope for 5 reviews on or near release day, you’re off to a good start. If you don’t have an email list, you may have to ask friends or family but make sure they actually want to read the book, choose people who already read the sort of book you’ve written.
Another strategy is to release the book as free or for .99 for the first week only and let everyone know about it. This is a good way to get some reviews. After the week is finished raise the price. If you are doing KDP Select, you can run free promos for five days each quarter to boost sales.
Goodreads is another option. You don’t capture emails this way but you can set up a free giveaway and all you have to do is pay for the book and shipping and mail it out once they choose a winner. The good thing about this is that it gets readers to add it to the to-be-read list. That means, even if they don’t win, they may purchase the book and read it at some point. I’ve seen some decent results doing giveaways this way. It’s worth a shot.There are also bloggers who run book review sites. Send a personalized email to them with a pitch of your book and ask if they’d like a free copy in exchange for a review.
If this is not your first book launch, you may be able to form a “street team”. These are fans that help spread the word. In exchange you offer them continual free copies of your new releases. Then you let them know release dates and encourage them to talk about the book on their social media or on their blogs. Michael Hyatt has some terrific tips and ideas for incentives for a team like this.
Julie Drake guest posted on The Writer's Digest about tips for a successful book signing to launch your book. I haven’t done this yet because I was so new to writing fiction, I couldn’t imagine anyone showing up. She has some ideas about how to overcome the obstacle of getting people to attend. Choosing the right venue and feeding the crowd are a few of her ideas.
You may be just submitting your book or in the middle of writing it. Maybe you’re researching book launching in preparation for the big day. We’d love to help you on your writing journey.
Our ebook How to Make a Living as a Writer will guide you through traditional publishing submissions, self-publishing and introduce other ways to make money writing in addition to being an author. It’s all about multiple streams of income!Are you about to launch a book? We’d love to hear your advice in the comments.
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