The Beginners Guide To Promoting A Book – Part Two: Timeline
In the first part of our "Beginners Guide To Promoting A Book" series we talked about three key tools that will be the foundation for building your promotions: your website, social media, and distribution. Making sure these three aspects are up and running (or at least being worked on) are very important, so don't overlook them.
Today we are going to focus on a timeline that will guide you throughout the process leading up to the release of your book.
If you are a self-published author it's good to have a fixed day that you can aim at having everything done. When you are feeling good about the writing process, think ahead and come up with an official release date. Give yourself at least two months prior to the release to properly set up the release of your book.
Published authors will receive the release date directly from their publisher.
But honestly, your promotions after past the release date are just as important as those leading up to it.
While the Book Is Being Written
The writing process, believe it or not, is chock-full of social media and online marketing opportunities. Blog throughout the process to spark interest with new and established fans. Take pictures, video, introduce characters, settings, etc. Anything to introduce them to what you are working on. Ask your fans questions, run ideas by them, etc. Keeping them involved will make them all the more vested in what you are doing and want to see the end result.
Before the Book Is Released
Think Through Your Branding
Creating a consistent and cohesive look, feel, and vibe is important to your overall brand. Your brand is everything from the images you use to the colors and textures used on your website and on your social media outlets. It should all be seamless. Do your research and find examples of websites you like, colors and textures that you'd like to use. Remember that these will be used across the board with your website, social media, and any visual that you use.
Work with your web designer to create a cohesive look and feel that can translate across all platforms. If you are able, hire a graphic designer to design a logo. If you are looking for suggestions in graphic or web designers, we work with some great people who can help you out. Feel free to contact us!
Thinking through what your "pitch" is is an essential aspect to your overall brand that you need to think through as well. We have an earlier post that talks you through how to create your unique pitch HERE.
Your pitch is the quick line or description that you have in your back pocket that encompasses what your books & writing are about. Having your pitch featured on your website and social media outlets will not only help you with your overall brand, but it will also give potential fans a spark of interest and a quick taste of what you write about.
If you don't feel comfortable writing a bio for yourself, hire a professional. The key is to have a bio that is available within your online press kit for both fans and the media. If you need help with locating a great and affordable bio writer, contact us and I can hook you up.
Many authors don't tap into the power of a newsletter and email communication with their fans and they are missing out on a huge opportunity. Create a way for fans to sign up for a monthly newsletter on your website where you can give them exclusive information and establish a deeper relationship with them. Social media is the first layer with fans - getting them to sign up for your newsletter is more exclusive. Give them a free chapter, an ebook download, etc., as an incentive to sign up. And keep it simple. Gain their name and email address and you are good to go.
We use MailChimp to manage our newsletter and we highly recommend it.
Three Months Before Release
- If your website, social media, and distribution aren't set up yet, get on it right away. It is essential that by the time you are ready for your book to release you have these three elements set up and ready to go.
- Make sure you use the same headshot on your website, Facebook avatar and Twitter avatar. Keeping that imaging consistent throughout your social media outlets is key to establishing your brand.
- Decide on a location for a book launch. This isn't absolutely necessary, but if you are interested in gathering your friends, family, inviting local media, local fans, etc., to a book store to do a signing & reading on your release day, you'll need to start working on that as soon as possible.
- Start a blog, if you haven't already. If this is new to you, start with one post a week. We have several blog posts that can help you with establishing a blog. Check out our Ultimate Blogging Roadmap and 50 Blog Topics for Fiction Writers.
Two Months Before Release
- Release an exclusive free chapter download to your fans. This can be the first chapter from your book to give fans a taste of what's to come. Or announce the title of the book and hold a contest or poll regarding the final book cover art to get fans engaged. If you have a previous release, maybe do a dramatically reduced price e-book (maybe 99cents or $2.99) and include two sample chapters of your new book at the end. It's all about creating interest and anticipation for the book.
- Get to work creating some "sharable" content that you can use online. Downloadable posters, e-cards with your book cover art, banners, etc., anything that fans can share with their friends online to help spread the word of your new book. By creating sharable content you are giving your fans a reason to share your brand/information with their friends. This is word of mouth at its best. Find out our secret to creating easy and powerful shareable content in a recent blog post.
- Start thinking through contests and other giveaways that you might be able to do. Get creative like free books, bookmarks, chapters, discounts on the book, etc. that you can share with your fans.
- Start researching local media outlets that you can contact regarding your book launch part. Check out our blog on how to contact local media HERE. That blog post is aimed at musicians but it works very well for authors looking for local media coverage as well!
- This is also a good time to research niche blogs and online websites to review your book. Check out our blog post on how to get book reviews as well as how to research blogs to pitch to.
One Month Before Release
- If you are a new author, your first book really is a marketing tool. You are trying to draw people in and create interest in your books, characters, writing style, show that you have the answer to their problem, and more. Your focus here is building an audience. The best way to do that is by giving fans a dramatically reduced price in your ebook to introduce potential fans to your work. By promoting this through your social media outlets, website, blog, etc., and asking fans to share it with their fans, you have a virtual snowball of promotion going!
- Announce your book launch event! Send out the e-cards, event notifications, emails to your family and friends, every way you know how to get a hold of your fans, family and friends!
- Contact GoodReads.com to set up book giveaways on their site. GoodReads is a book lovers paradise and free books are like gold! It's a great way to also expand your reach and showcase your books to new fans.
- Contact the local press you researched last month regarding your book launch. Be sure to include:
Your name (mention the fact that this is your book launch and signing)
Date and Time
Venue phone number
Your Website Information
Your phono/book cover image
- Be sure to send the media a link to download your book. It's a great way to establish a relationship with the media and possibly get a review out of them.
- Send the niche blogs and websites you researched a download of your book for a possible review. If they don't accept ebook submissions, ask them if you can send them a physical book and for the best address to mail it to. Send them a link to your online press kit (which should be part of your website) that includes your bio, high res images and book cover, who you are inspired by, who others might "compare" you to, and a way to contact you. If you are an established author, be sure to include links to previous reviews or quotes.
Three Weeks Before Release Day
- Follow-up with the local media, blogs, and websites you contacted regarding the book launch coverage and book reviews. Follow up with them at least once a week until the release. There is a fine line in being persistent and being annoying… keep that in mind and be respectful!
- Hold weekly giveaways on your social media outlets from now until the release of your book to keep the momentum going. Be sure to announce the giveaways on social media but hold the giveaway on your website. Have fans submit their name to the comment section of your blog (or come up with another way to enter) to keep the traffic flowing to your website. Look at your social media outlets as a megaphone to direct traffic to your website.
- Make sure that you aren't just posting information about your new book or book launch on your social media outlets. Keep the engagement rolling - create a video for your fans, ask them questions, do a Q&A Tuesday where they submit questions and you answer, etc. The key is to not just push your release on them - keep thinking about your fans, what they want to see, hear, etc., and provide content DAILY.
- Hold an exclusive giveaway (maybe a Skype session with a fan's book club, a free catalog of your books, signed copies, etc.) that will lead up to the release. Get creative and come up with something really cool (it doesn't need to be expensive at all - just something special) to announce on release day.
- Hold a Q&A on GoodReads or Google+ where fans can tune in to hear more about the book, how you started writing, your process, they an ask you questions, and so on. It's a great way to interact with your fans and
One Week Before Release Day
- Provide a free PDF of your entire book or one day of a free ebook download. This is a great way to not only create interest but give your fans and potential fans a reason to direct their friends to your website. It's also something exclusive that will only be available for a few days.
- Announce the winner of your exclusive giveaway
- Give an exclusive to your newsletter list that they can purchase the new book for just $5 (or whatever amount you want) today and today only. It's a special exclusive that only THEY get.
- Send out reminders on your social media outlets that your book is available and give them links to where they can purchase it.
- Have a friend take pictures & video throughout your book launch
Day After Your Release
- Be sure to thank fans and specific media that supported you and your book launch party
- Share images taken from the book launch through Instagram. Post them on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- Ask fans to post reviews of your book on your GoodReads page and on Amazon. Showing fans that you appreciate what they think goes a long way, so be sure to thank them!
- Be sure to send thank you messages to the media who covered your launch party or mentioned it. That goes a long way. When you receive reviews, also send them a thank you email. And don't forget to thank them and link to the reviews on Twitter and Facebook as well. Establishing a good relationship with the media now will help you more than you will know!
QUESTION: What were some of your promotional ideas that helped you & your book? What would you like to share with other authors? Leave a comment below and share the love!
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