How to Make a Book Release Successful part 1
*Due to the length of this Book Barista post I have split it in two. The conclusion to this post is a link at the bottom of the post*
Over the years of me figuring out how to market my books and grow fans as an author I kept coming back to a picture in my head: a spider web. The more I learn about book marketing the more I realize there is no one thing/way that will make my book a success. There are many ways, which all need to be used and promoted in many different ways. Does that make sense?
You have written a book and set a release date. Great! First let me congratulate you on that. As my husband tells me every time I finish a book, “There are many people who say they will write a book and some that even start writing it, but only a few actually finish.” As many authors know, creating a book is not an easy task. I am writing one right now and have already written and scrapped so many chapters and scenes, not to mention rewriting the plot as I go along.
If you don’t believe in the book you can’t expect others to believe in it either.
Back to my point. You got a book and you want people to buy it. You believe this is such a great book you think everyone who loves the genre or topic you wrote about should read it. Good, go with that feeling. If you don’t believe in the book you can’t expect others to believe in it either.
Take that passion and put it into planning out your release. Ideally you want to plan many months (or even a year) before you start implementing your release plan. That way you won’t be running around like a crazy person trying to do everything you want to do and also write another book (assuming you want to write another book and not just be a onetime book author).
This is where planning comes into play. Find out what you need to do for your release and do as much as possible ahead of time. I have word documents filled with Facebook posts I made ahead of time and post ideas so I can just copy and paste when need be. Also, if you have a Facebook author page (which I highly suggest you have one – more on that later) you can make your posts ahead of time and schedule them for a certain time. I use the Later app on my computer to schedule Instagram posts too. As I do most of my stuff on my computer and Instagram isn’t computer friendly, it helps me not just for scheduling but for posting as well.
I also make teasers ahead of time and any pictures I want to use for my website or social media posts. I suggest you schedule anything that requires another person as far ahead of time as possible like designers, editors, PR/promotion tours, etc.
Now onto the web.
In the center I have the Book, the main thing you are going to promote. The next level from the Book is filled with Newsletters, Ads, Promo/Discount Sites, Fans, Giveaways, Website, Other Social Media, & Promo Tours. That list is the main thing you have to focus on to have any sort of successful release. Before I researched book marketing, I only did half those things so my releases weren’t really that successful. With the upcoming Rules of Payne release I plan on doing all of it.
I will break down each and explain why they are important.
Newsletters are the ONLY way you can get your exact message into people’s hands.
Newsletters: Take any book marketing webinar, buy any book marketing book, or read most of the blog posts on book marketing and author newsletters are at the top of the list. Why? Newsletters are the ONLY way you can get your exact message into people’s hands. If you post something on Facebook, then Facebook decides who sees it – even if you do a Facebook ad they still have control and can change the rules on a moment’s notice making it harder for people to see your post or ad. Even on your website only people who decide to go to your website will see your post. So, that’s what makes newsletters so utterly important for any author. You have a release. Make a newsletter with links and send it off to your fifty, two hundred and fifty, or two thousand and fifty sign ups. All they have to do is open the newsletter. It is in their inbox. They don’t need to seek out your website or hope Facebook shows them your post, it’s on their plate. It’s only up to them if they want to take a bite.
Think of yourself as the modern day Don Draper (without all the sexism and racism of the era) and take a look at where authors are putting up ads for their books.
Ads: Think of yourself as the modern day Don Draper (without all the sexism and racism of the era) and take a look at where authors are putting up ads for their books. A few places I have noticed is Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads, and BookBub. I’ll be honest and say the only Ads I have tested are Facebook Ads. But for the Rules of Payne release I think I might also try Amazon ads and I am still looking into BookBub (the ads not the newsletter 'deal' promotions) and Goodreads.
The Facebook ads I have done have worked out well but they didn’t do any better than anything else on the book marketing web. That’s why I will do ads as well as all the other stuff. Use ads for your release but don’t blow your entire book release budget on ads. Spread out the marketing budget.
You will probably gain some fans but not a lot based on what you pay and how much you sell. And you want fans especially for your next release.
Promo/Discount sites: These are BookBub, RobinReads, The Fussy Librarian, etc. Those discount/bargain newsletters that go out to tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of readers looking for a good deal on a book. HERE is a list of some I have used and some I have heard of but haven’t used yet. They range in price from free (Readfree.ly) to very expensive (BookBub).
I’ll be honest here, if you want to get a LOT of people to download your book over the course of a few days then get a BookBub deal. I have heard of authors who got a BookBub deal and they had the best sales they have ever had for that week. But it was only for a week. After that everything went right back to normal.
With that said, you aren’t going to gain a lot of fans doing that. Most of those people are just looking for a cheap book. You will probably gain some fans but not a lot based on what you pay (anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars) and how much you sell. And you want fans especially for your next release.
I have yet to use BookBub and even if I submitted my book there is no guarantee they will accept it. I have known authors who have tried several times and have yet to get accepted.
Instead of blowing most of my marketing budget on a BookBub deal (which they may reject anyway) I am using several different discount sites that I have tried before and found to be helpful. Again, these things don’t gain you a lot of fans but it does help spread the word about your book. I want Rules of Payne in as many people’s hands as possible so I am using a lot of discount sites the week of release. That’s not because I want to come close to or hit bestseller, but to get my name out there. My next release in the series, One Wild Ride, I won’t be using the discount sites as much. Because I believe (and hope) by that time I will have a bigger fan base, more newsletter sign ups, and more book blogs interested in a book from me.
Super fans will shout from the rooftops when you have a release.
Fans: Which brings me to fans. These are the readers who join your fan group and interact with you online. They may message you or comment on a lot of your posts or just volunteer to help you when you ask if someone can go share a post. These are the super fans.
Super fans will shout from the rooftops when you have a release. Even if you don’t have a lot, don’t worry. One super fan has the potential to rock your book like a discount site. It has nothing to do with how many fans are in your fan group or how many people signed up for your newsletter, but who is ‘excited’ about your new release. Do you have hundreds of people in your fan group but when you post something you hear crickets? I hate to break it to you but your fan group is stuffed with people probably only looking for freebies. You might have had sign ups to your fan group as part of a giveaway and never touted your group any other way.
Don’t worry, you can still find or even make some super fans. Just interact with them. Post about stuff you would like to hear from someone you care about. I post about my writing, silly stuff, hot guys but I also post about personal things that are happening to me in my fan group. Stuff I won’t share with people I don’t care about. Since I have been getting personal with my group, interaction has gone up. Now that my release is coming I know there will be some people in my group that will tell their friends about my book. A book recommendation from someone you trust is gold.
Even if you don’t have a book yet, you can get creative with your giveaways.
Giveaways: Here is a good way to gain fans. It’s not so much how much you giveaway but what you giveaway. If you giveaway cash (gift cards) then you probably won’t be gaining many fans. You will only attract the people looking for free money. Also, ebooks aren’t the best giveaway either, unless they are someone else’s book. If you do a giveaway of another author’s book people like that, they think you are being helpful to the other author (which you are – free promotion for them) and they win something out of it. But a giveaway of your own ebook comes across as self-promotion (because it is) and even the reader knows that doesn’t cost you anything. If it’s a giveaway with your ebook and a bunch of other cool stuff, that’s different, but an ebook alone isn’t much.
Giveaway paperback books, swag or something relating to your books (I recently got some stuff from Shoe Bakery because the heroine in Rules of Payne loves cake. So I will use that stuff in giveaways.). Even if you don’t have a book yet, you can get creative with your giveaways. Etsy has tons of unique stuff that you can buy and use as giveaways. Even if you can only afford to do one big giveaway for the release make it interesting. That’s going to get true reader fans to take notice rather than an Amazon gift card.
With a website you have multiple chances to make readers want to buy your book.
Website: Please tell me you have a website. If you don’t and you plan on having a book release, stop reading right now and go make a website. There are tons of options. I use Weebly, but there is Wix, Squarespace, Wordpress, and the list goes on and on. They usually have free options and are user friendly. A lot have premade templates for the people who don’t feel confident designing one.
On to why your website is so important in your release. Many reasons. You can do blog post about it. At the end of that blog post you can put a giveaway (attracting people to that post). In that post you can put your links to the book along with enticing teasers and snippets of the book. Not only that but you can have a landing page that if the person clicks on a certain button will take them directly to retail site for the book or maybe a page on your website with information on how they can get your book or a newsletter sign up. You can have a page with a list of all your books for sales and links to where to buy them. You can even sell your book from your website and cut out the middle man.
With a website you have multiple chances to make readers want to buy your book. Why wouldn’t you have one?
Some people prefer the other sites over Facebook, so how better to reach them than to be on those sites.
Other Social Media sites: This is Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, etc. The other sites you are on other than Facebook. The reason I don’t have Facebook on here or as a category for the release is because it has its hand in so many different things. I mention Facebook when talking about Ads and Fans and it will be super important when I talk about how all these different categories work with each other to make the release successful. Facebook should have its own spider web, ha ha.
But on to the other sites. As much as Facebook is king of social media it won’t always be. So you need to have other places to talk about or promote your book. Plus, some people prefer the other sites over Facebook, so how better to reach them than to be on those sites. I am not saying you should spend every day creating tweets or pins or videos to upload to these sites to stay relevant on them. What I do is when I post something important on Facebook or Instagram I share it to the other sites. Or I create something once or twice a month for a specific site. I stay active but I don’t burn myself out trying to be all things to all sites. Pick one or two, maybe three social media sites to have an account and stay active on. You will probably be dominate on one (for me it’s Facebook and everything else comes second) and occasionally post on the others.
I tried contacting the blogs myself once to save money on a release to get blogs to review my book. Of the twenty I contacted (and I didn’t have a premade script. I really got to know these blogs to find the ones I really liked and found out the names of the bloggers). I contacted about 20 sites. Maybe 5 got back to me. One turned me down.
PR/Promo Tours: These are the book blog tours that help you by contacting blogs to share your release or cover reveal or sale. I tried contacting the blogs myself once to save money on a release to get blogs to review my book. Of the twenty I contacted (and I didn’t have a premade script. I really got to know these blogs to find the ones I really liked and found out the names of the bloggers). I contacted about 20 sites. Maybe 5 got back to me. One turned me down. One wrote a review about my book that said she had read it and liked it, but was too busy to write the full review and would get back to it later – that was 2 years ago. She never updated the review.
I learned that these tours are necessary to get your book into bloggers hands and, potentially, into the hands of some fans. Because readers listen to book bloggers. Book bloggers are such super fans of books that they spend their free time keeping a blog about books. They are passionate about books and getting people to know about great books they discover.
You have a book tour and some bloggers read your book and love it. Not only do you have some new fans, but you have blogs that will always promote a book release of yours.
There you have it. This has been such a long blog post that I am cutting it in half. In the next post I will explain how all these things work together to create a successful book release. Click HERE to read the continuation of this blog post.
As an indie-author I was wondering what I could do to help get my books out there. So, I looked into it and that's when I realized I had a lot to learn. These posts are to help my fellow authors learn how to market and publish their book. I pass on what I found out about making a book a success.