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  • Book Launch: How to Plan a Successful Launch

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    Books - Perfect Bound, Self-publishing

    A book launch campaign can help your book start strong with solid sales, good reviews, and the attention of readers. How do you create a book launch campaign that does all that? You can’t guarantee those outcomes, but you can give your book a real chance to succeed with a well-developed book launch campaign. Here are some ideas to get yours off to a strong start.

    Start Early

    A book launch involves lots of moving parts, and you need time to plan everything. If you’ve ever been involved in a huge wedding, corporate campaign, convention planning, or other big event, you know that things can and do go wrong despite your best efforts.

    That’s why it’s important to start early and give yourself plenty of time. Ideally, you should start planning six months before your book’s publication date.

    Get Your Author Website Ready for a Book Launch

    Your author website is an important part of your marketing strategy and should play a role in your book launch. Many authors don’t spend time building a well-designed author website. That’s understandable when you’ve been working hard on writing your book, managing its production, and getting it printed. It’s a lot to take care of, and it leaves you with little time and energy to devote to things like building a website.

    There are ways, however, to work on your website that won’t take up too much time.

    • Set up automatic reminders: Use an automatic prompt to remind you that it’s time to post something to your website. This can be a quick update, a blog post, a news announcement, or a link to an article that your readers may find interesting. Regular updates keep your website fresh and remind your readers that you’re around. You can set the reminders for weekly or biweekly prompts.
    • Use a lead magnet: A lead magnet takes time to create upfront, but once you have it in place, you can be hands-off on your website. A lead magnet is something you give away for free in exchange for a reader’s email address. This allows you to build up a solid email list that you can use to market your book. We’ll go into more detail on lead magnets below.
    • Post book excerpts: You’ve already written your book, which was the hard part. Once that’s done, pulling out book excerpts is easy. Use them to entice readers to read the full book. If your book is fiction, choose excerpts that leave them wanting to know more of the story. If your book is nonfiction, choose excerpts that show you know your subject and can answer the reader’s questions about it. Don’t give everything away, however. Tantalize your readers into wanting more, and tell them they can get the full story only by buying your book.

    Use a Lead Magnet to Build Your Email List

    A lead magnet gets its name from the fact that it works like a magnet. Its primary purpose is to build what’s called a sales funnel, which is primarily a contact list.

    The way it works is that you offer something for free in exchange for the email or mailing addresses of the people you are marketing to. Examples of lead magnets include trial subscriptions, samples, free initial consultations, subscriptions, and freemium services.

    Have you ever tried a food sample at the grocery store, or sampled a wine in your favorite liquor store? The marketers of these products know that tasting something makes you more likely to buy it.

    You’ve probably received an invitation to try a streaming service free for one month, or for 99 cents the first two months, or other offers that seem irresistible. The streaming service is hoping that once the free or reduced-price months are over, you’ll like the service enough to pay the full price to keep watching it. Even if you don’t, they have your contact information, and they’ll use it to contact you about other offers.

    When you create your lead magnet, think about what your reads might value. Offer it free in exchange for their contact information.

    What will you do with those email addresses? Here are some ideas.

    • Ask for reviews: Reviews can make or break a new book, especially one by a first-time writer. As part of your successful book launch, good reviews are invaluable. Before you go running out to beg your friends and family for them, you should know that Amazon—where most people post reviews—has become more vigilant about deleting reviews from people who haven’t purchased the book.
    • Announce the book launch: Use your email list to announce that your book is being published. Post your upcoming speaking, book signing, or other book launch events. Invite your readers to attend these events.
    • Offer specials and sales exclusively to your subscribers: If you use your emails for a newsletter or other subscription, offer a special discount that’s exclusive to subscribers.

    Choose the Right Venue for Your Book Launch

    Book signings should be part of your book launch. A book signing typically only sees a handful of sales, but it’s still worth doing. It’s a great, low-cost way to advertise your book and get your name out into public view du ring the book launch phase.

    While bookstores and libraries seem like the obvious choices, there are many others. The right venue for your book is the one your potential readers frequent. Have you written a gardening guide? Set up a book signing at a nursery, botanical garden, farmer’s market, or other place where people who enjoy gardening are likely to be.

    If your book is a historical fiction set during World War II, find a local veteran’s association or historical society. Often, these overlooked venues are receptive to ideas for events that their members and customers would enjoy.

    Use this list to think of a venue that’d be perfect for your book launch:

    • Specialty bookstores
    • Libraries
    • Schools
    • Hobby and craft stores
    • Garden clubs
    • Social business clubs like the Shriners and Rotary International
    • Churches
    • Hospitals
    • Support groups
    • Religious organizations
    • Political groups
    • Specialty stores
    • Conventions
    • Veterans’ clubs
    • Police organizations
    • Union halls
    • Trade associations

    Add Value to Your Website

    If you are getting visitors to your author website, make the site even more appealing by offering bonus content they can only get there.

    What can you offer besides your book? Consider these options.

    • Guides: Have you created a totally fictional world for your book’s setting? Offer the readers a guide to its major features. Have you written a how-to book? Provide them with a tip sheet to get the most from your book. You can charge for this content, or offer it free to anyone who buys your book. This type of bonus content makes them feel like they’re getting exclusive, insider content.
    • Artwork: If your book features beautiful artwork and images, you can offer prints of the artwork for sale. If you hired an illustrator to do this artwork, be sure you have a contract that specifies what you can sell and what your artist’s share of the money should be.
    • Other products: Do you have related merchandise you’d like to sell? Use your author website to sell merchandise related to the book.

    Consider Hiring a Marketing Consultant

    Are you overwhelmed by the whole idea of having to market your book, develop email lists, and set up book signings for your book launch? If you’d rather focus on other things—like writing your next book, or taking some much-needed time off—consider hiring a marketing consultant.

    A book marketer can do the heavy lifting involved in getting you interviews, setting up book signings, and creating a pre-launch marketing campaign. You’ll still have to do your part, but they can handle the details that you find too difficult or time-consuming.

    How much will a book consultant cost? Prices can vary depending on the marketing experience and level of service you choose. Most consultants can help you get your book listed on the major self-publishing platforms for a flat fee of a few hundred dollars. If you want more than that, including full-on marketing, booking, and social media outreach, the price can range from $1,500 to $3,500 a month.

    Get Your Book Off to a Solid Start

    Don’t let the thought of a book launch campaign scare you. Start planning early, choose the right venues, and offer something extra to your readers. A solid start can help your book get the attention it deserves.

    Have you written a book you want to publish? Contact Dazzle Printing, where we make it easy to see yourself in print.


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