We’ve all seen them, the huge flop of a book launch that gets no traction and you feel like you’ve failed as an author. I’ve been there multiple times and have had a chance to see what works and what doesn’t work. To prevent that from happening again, I’ve come up with a list of strategies to prevent sales from dunking or not happening at all. Obviously, these tips aren’t 100% fool proof and you may feel they do the opposite for you. However, as a general idea I have seen many of these be very successful for both those who are limited on funds and others who have a bigger pocket of money to use.
1. Beta Readers
For those who don’t know, beta readers read the book before it ever goes onto the shelves at stores. Usualy they are there to check if a book has plot holes or any grammar issues an editor may have missed. Beta readers are also your first line of reviews if you ask them after leaving a book to review it. It’s best to have a paperback version of your book available before the ebook launch happens so that way you have a page for them to leave the review on immediately and before anyone else goes to buy the book. If you are scared that a beta reader will steal your work, you can also have them sign an NDA but for the most part, beta readers follow the unspoken rule to not steal ideas or pirate the piece when they read it for you.
2. Street Teams
Street teams are the golden road for all social media. They are your most loyal of fans and can bring you the best reach when you need a boost. Having weekly, or daily if you are that motivated but weekly tends to be the most effective, missions for them to complete in different ways from pinning the cover of your book on pinterest, sharing a post on facebook, and even just sharing a favorite part in the series can help in different ways. So if you just need that extra boost, this is the perfect way to do it. In another post I will discuss how to actually build a street team from the bottom up.
Who doesnt love a free book? Also, who doesn’t enjoy some emails for their newsletter in exchange for that free book. You don’t have to put your entire book on Instafreebie and a good way to build interest for that book launch is to have an excerpt of your book on Instafreebie and then email them when your book goes live. For those who love your book from the excerpt, you will be garunteed sales from those who are interested still. There is a 30 day free trial available from them but after that it will cost you. So keep that in mind when going into their service, but I haven’t heard anything bad from them yet.
4. Newsletter Book Blasts
In the world of Book Bub, authors are constantly wanting to be that next big author who gets featured in front of millions of authors. Obviously we all can’t get on there, but there are smaller Newsletter Blast service providers that will still be just as effective if you know what you are doing. A few that I know of top of my head are GenreCrave by Rebecca Hamilton and Romancing the Dragon by Jen McDonnel. Both are great and have a strong base of readers in their newsletters that are willing to grab a copy of your book. They also have additional services you can use to help in boosting the word out as well. Newsletter Blasts can obviously be used whenever, but if you need that boost for launch, this would be a great way to add to it.
5. Review Blogs
Who says that blogs are a dying breed? Obviously not these reviewers who are still creating a strong fan base that trust them on finding the next greatest books. You can easily find some on Facebook by just typing in “review” or “reviewer” or just “book” and do a little digging into your preferred genre. Make sure that what they review usually isn’t too outside of your target audience or you wont find many sales from it. So if you write epic fantasy but the reviewer has a lot more focus and attention to urban fantasy, you may not appeal to a lot of their audience. There will be some crossoveer, but not by much even though it is still fantasy.
6. Facebook Parties
These used to be a big hit on facebook before they changed how events look. Though if you can get enough interest and do a multi-author event, these can be still fairly effective and great for multiple calls to action during your time at the party to advocate your books. It’s beneficial to have your teasers and posts planned out beforehand so when it comes to party time you spend less time typing and more time interacting with the audience. If you want to find some, its best to connect with other authors in your genre and ask around about current or new parties possibly coming out. Just because they don’t post about it often doesn’t mean that it’s not happening.
7. Facebook Live
Live is getting HUGE boosts from Facebook right now. If your app is up to date, it will even notify you when people are live or had gone live since you last checked. It’s good to be consistent with these videos so people can join in on them constantly and go live beforethe book launch so you can get readers hyped for the launch even more. If you got the paperback version with you, showing off how it looks in real life can be one idea for your advertisement of the launch or doing a live reading for people to enjoy. Like the Street Teams, I will be doing a more in depth look at how as writers you can use Facebook Live or the other live video promotions to get more traction from readers.
For this you need to build trust and interactions with the writer you are wanting to do the takeover with. You don’t want to host a takeover on a Facebook page that was built on Science Fiction and you write Contemporary Romance. You could incorporate a lot of the other tips from this list into a takeover and do a mixture of posts during your takeover time. What can also be beneficial is letting the other author do a takeover on your page as well as a trade so that way both of you can meet new readers in your market and showcase your work to them versus your constant readers from your own page.
9. Newsletter Swaps
This tip goes hand in hand with Newsletter Blast services. Obviously you need a decent newsletter size for this of 1000+ for some trades but once you hit that, there will be plenty of people willing to trade. If you are in any author groups, just ask around to see if anyone is willing to feature your book in their newsletter in return for a feature in your own newsletter. Many are always up and willing to do trades but don’t let that mean you accept everyone and anyone. They need to be close to your target audience or it will just be a dud for the both of you in terms of sales. Note: These are all free so don’t always expect sales from the swap but enjoy that you were shown in front of a large audience so that they may remember you another time.
10. Newsletter Trickle Effects
If you have your list labeled on who clicks the most, you can seperate your list up based on that and trickle emails out to readers to spread the word. Having the least clicked readers first and the most clicks last can help with Amazon algorythms. If they see that your book sales are constantly growing in size, they will begin to also advertise the book more and your rank will go higher faster than if purchases stay at a constant rate or even drop from the first day to the 7th.
My biggest downfall but perhaps not yours. An ad on Facebook could bring you a lot of eyes on your book and potentially a lot of clicks to purchase it as well. You need to really understand your audience before you do an ad that way it is extremely targetted and you know you wont have a lot of empty “reach” from the ad. Personally, I do a boosted post as it is already getting interaction as is by my own fans, so when more see the interaction, they are willing to see what all of the importance is about and keep boosting reach. Just keep playing around to see what works for you and go from there on this one.
Goodreads is reader central! If you want to find reviewers, readers, and all around die-hard fans, this is the place to go. There are even dedicated groups just for authors to find fans for their book and get reviews while others are for readers to talk about what they loved or hated about a book It can be great research in that sense so you can connect with readers on a different level and see how they think versus how you believe they think. Even setting up a profile and linking your boost is a boost as everyone begins to add your book to their shelves and then becomes highly searchable through Google.
An all-time favorite of many launches for any launch. They both operate in the same fashion of setting up a page and a message that those who support you will send out automatically on the day you decide to publish. Thunderclap is the most trusted, but at the price of you needing at minimum 100 people supporting you for the message to go out. With headtalker, you can set a much lower count that you expect and the support can keep growing from there. Both connect Facebook and Twitter for the messages so make sure to use hashtags while each has their own other special social medias you can also have someone support with.
So tell me, what other ways do you make your book launch a success? Comment below with your own personal tips.