Monday, February 07, 2011

Four Tips on Preparing for Your Book Launch

Today is Joanna Penn's big day! Today she launches her religious thriller novel Pentecost. Read the opening chapters here. Check out the book trailer on YouTube. But in the meantime, read this message from her on how to plan for such a day as this.

4 Tips On Preparing For Your Book Launch

This is a guest post from Joanna Penn, from The Creative Penn: Adventures in Writing, Publishing and Book Marketing.

Writing a book is like scaling a mountain but when you reach the top, you realize there’s another peak to climb. You now have to sell and market your book so it can reach avid readers around the world and the launch day is just the start.

Here are four tips that will help you prepare for your book launch but will also keep your book selling consistently over time.

1) Start blogging. Blogging is almost mandatory for authors today but there are some key aspects that will help you be effective. Understand your genre and the niche for your book and make sure you focus only on that market. This will help with search engine optimization and targeted traffic. Remember it usually takes around six months before you start seeing any significant traffic so start blogging way before your launch. You can also try multi-media posts using audio and video in order to stand out in a crowded market. If you make an effort with your blog, it will become the springboard to your other launch activities and an ongoing promotional vehicle for your book/s. I started blogging two years ago for marketing reasons, but it’s become far more than that over time. You may be surprised by how much you enjoy it!

2) Build relationships. The most valuable behavior online is to be useful and generous. Share other people’s links and blog posts and you will find your own site rewarded with incoming links. Give information away for free on your blog and you will find people want to buy your books/products to help them achieve more. Review and promote other people’s books and you’ll find it easier to ask for guest posts and reviews when it’s time to launch your own. Again, this takes time to build up so ideally start a year before your book publication but there’s never a bad time to start, so just jump in. Social networking is a great way to build relationships. Choose your network and focus your energy by sticking with it. My social network of choice is Twitter, which I find an amazing source of online friendship and also promotional opportunities.

3) Research and prepare your marketing plan. It may just be a basic document but you need to start keeping a list of ideas for your launch as early as three months from your launch date. Keep track of people you meet online and blogs you’d like to guest post on. Note down articles (like this one!) that give you tips for when it comes to the launch and marketing options. Decide whether you want a focused launch on one day or a week versus a longer marketing approach over several months. Will you run a competition, or perhaps focus on audio interviews or a video book trailer? Your plan will morph into specific action points as the date draws closer, for example, create book trailer and launch on YouTube or write guest post for X blog. I started off with a few pages in Word which then became an actionable list of items in Things, an online productivity tool which I use for tracking tasks. You also need to factor in the time it takes and be selective based on your preferences. For example, my book trailer for Pentecost took me two days of hard work and a small budget whereas I could have written six articles in that time, but I considered a trailer important and worth doing.

4) Decide on targeted advertising. The other tips cost no money and all the time you can spare but many authors will have at least a small budget for a book launch. One of the most effective targeted advertising campaigns you can do these days is Facebook where you can show your book cover and advert to selected groups of people down to specific demographics and preferences. For example, I could target men and women aged 18-65 in the USA who like Dan Brown for my religious themed thriller, Pentecost. Facebook has this detailed information and you can choose a budget and target market to suit your launch. You can also use Goodreads advertising for specific reader groups or consider Kindle Nation to target lovers of the Amazon ebook platform.

In summary, you need to plan your launch months ahead of time and much of the effort comes from preparation, relationship building and planning. As the date approaches, your efforts will become more targeted (and frantic!) but it’s the long term mindset that matters the most. Even if you have a hugely successful launch day, you want to continue selling for months and years into the future. Blogging and relationship building are still the keys to that long term success. Happy Launching!

Joanna Penn is the author of Pentecost, a thriller novel. Joanna is also a blogger at The Creative Penn: Adventures in Writing, Publishing and Book Marketing. You can connect with Joanna on Twitter @thecreativepenn


Laura M. Campbell said...

Great post. I am still in the process of revising my novel, but knowing what I should plan for in the future gives me some direction.

I regularly work on my blog as well as follow and comment on other blogs. I use Twitter and Facebook to spread my name and work. Slow going so far.

My next step is the marketing and advertising plan. Thanks for the tips!

BECKY said...

Hi Hope! Thanks for all this great information. I wish Joanna the best! I'm happy to say that I've been doing all four of these all I have to do is finish my memoir! :D

Joanna Penn said...

Thanks for having me Hope!

and it sounds like you ladies are already doing what you need to for marketing! Well done :)