Steps to a Great Book Launch
Labor Day, 2013 marked the beginning for me. That weekend, while vacationing with my sister in Denver, I started my book Homestead Cooking with Carol: Bountiful Make-ahead Meals. I didn’t intend to begin while at my sister’s. I enrolled in a class to get this thing done and that is when the class began.
From start to launch, the process took five months. I didn’t begin from scratch, though. I began with a handful of blog posts that I thought would make a great book. The instructor helped me to turn them into something folks would buy. If you’re interested in a class in micro-publishing, check out the offerings of Christina Katz.
This post isn’t about the process of writing an e-book that sells; it’s about how to get that book in front of the masses, in front of those folks that will pay for your hard work. So follow along as I take you on my journey to launch.
Have a Tribe
In 2007, I began a blog. I had no interest in blogging. I did it because I read in Writer’s Digest that writers need a platform. The platform that I’ve worked to build since that time is what sold my book right out of the chute.
I don’t have big numbers. A few thousand, total, if you add my email list with my blog and Facebook followers. But I capitalized on those numbers, and those relationships, when it came time to spread the word. If you don’t have a tribe, it’s foolish to think that your book will be found among the millions of others on Amazon’s shelves.
When I had a final draft, I contacted folks in my niche and asked them to read my book and give me two to three sentences I could use on my sales page. I asked every day folks, and I asked top name bloggers. Once I had the testimonials, I created emails to send out to my list and I created the landing page for my website.
Before the digital version was ready, I did a soft launch of the PDF version to just my tribe. I had a giveaway for a free copy on my blog; I offered a special introductory price just for my followers; and I hosted a Facebook party to talk about homestead cooking. By doing this, I was alerted to anything that needed adjustment (like pesky typos) before the digital conversion. The soft launch also helped me to earn the money I needed to pay for BookBaby to handle the digital distribution.
The toughest part in the process of a book launch is waiting on others. I wanted to launch my book in time for the Christmas shopping season. That didn’t happen. The hardest part was waiting on BookBaby, and then for it to hit Amazon shelves. Use this waiting time to get your ducks in a row. It will pay off later.
For the launch in digital formats, I had a team of 18 bloggers waiting to do a blog tour. Some of them simply reviewed the book. Some interviewed me, some tried out recipes. As soon as I saw the book on Amazon, I emailed them to get reviews up. You want as many reviews on Amazon as you can get before anyone goes to buy your book.
We started the tour the next Monday and it ran for two weeks. Every day on Facebook I announced the next stop in the tour. The bloggers shared with their tribes, added the reviews to blog hops, and pretty much went out of their way to promote my book. They did this because they wanted to help. It goes back to those relationships I built over the years. These folks also know I will do the same for them when they need it.
Also during the launch, I hosted a teleconference to discuss homestead cooking. It was another way to connect with readers, promote the book, and build relationships.
Book promotion never ends. I have a review/interview scheduled for a national magazine. I write related magazine articles and mention the book in my bio. Also, make sure you create an author page on Amazon and list it in your email signature. Just this week an editor offered me a regular cooking column because she saw “cooking” in my email signature.
Shortly after my soft launch, I noticed a huge spike in blog traffic. A major blog had linked to my granola post and it was driving a lot of folks my way. To capitalize on that traffic, I created a little ad for my book and dropped it at the end of every one of my food-related posts. "For more homestead cooking ideas like this one, get a copy of Homestead Cooking with Carol: Bountiful Make-ahead Meals." I hyperlinked the ad to my landing page.
I’ve had a lot of requests for a print version of Homestead Cooking. I’m looking into the possibilities. When that happens, I will have another launch event to get the word out. I will also have books to carry in my bag wherever I go, to sell at conferences, to give as gifts.
A few more random tips that helped me:
- Make a checklist of absolutely everything, even minor things that you could forget.
- Test everything: every link, every page, everything.
- Do not do technical tasks late at night when you are tired. Things that involve coding, setting e-junkie parameters, uploading, downloading, or things that require a fresh mind. If you do, and a reader finds your mistakes, thank her/him profusely.
- Send out winning copies from giveaways promptly. When you send out those copies, ask for an Amazon review.
That’s about it. I’d be happy to answer any questions in the comments. Or if you have a success to share, please let us hear about it, too. :)
Amazon author page
Buy Homestead Cooking with Carol
Great advice, thanks Carol, for sharing with us. Wishing you all the best!
Do you have any questions for Carol? Do you have a "tribe"? Are you part of one?
Have a great week,