We often hear that writing the book is the easy part. Not that it’s actually easy. But for a lot of authors, putting pen to paper is easier—and much more fun—than the marketing part. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is, marketing matters.
You can have the best book in the world, but if no one knows it’s out there, it won’t sell. There is no one size fits all approach, budget or comprehensive plan that works for every book. But in the lead up to the publication and launch, there are several things authors can do (inexpensively!) to make sure they’re getting their book (and themselves) ready for prime time.
Here are 8 Book Launch Basics to get you started
Set up your Author page at Amazon Author Central
This is a free service provided for authors by Amazon. At Amazon Author Central you can add your full author bio, upload author photos, pull in social media, list upcoming events and add a book trailer (if you have one). In addition, Author Central allows you to update the Editorial Reviews for your books. The photo, bio and reviews will flow over to your book page – giving your book (and page) a professional and “full” look.
Consider a Goodreads Giveaway
Every author should have an Author page at Goodreads. Their author program is free and simple to use. In addition, you can run a Goodreads Giveaway which is a great way to get your books in to the hands of interested readers. If it’s in the budget, plan on giving away 15 to 20 books. You will have to bear the cost of the books and postage but the actual Giveaway is free to list and run.
Develop a “Pitch Kit”
While it doesn’t have to be fancy, you will want to be sure you have your “pitch kit” together. You will use different approaches and materials depending on who you plan to pitch, but some staples that you’ll want to have ready include: A press release, Title Information Sheet (including cover, brief description, ISBN, price, trim size, category, ordering information, contact information), an About the Author page (includes your photo, bio and why YOU are the expert in your field) and a Sales and Marketing Sheet (a brief run down of your marketing plans). Whether you are talking to a local retailer or pitching a book via email, having your pitch kit handy to pull from is important.
A Marketable Hook (or two)
All of your press materials and pitch letters have to have a hook. Just because you wrote a book isn’t a reason for press, retailers or consumers to look at it. You have to give them a reason. Here’s a little more about finding a hook to market your book.
Update Social Media
You don’t have to have a social media presence everywhere. This is one of the bigger misconceptions about book marketing. But, what you do have should be up to date. Double check your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and online presence and make sure the book has a presence.
Mine Personal Contacts
Don’t be shy! Send an announcement to personal and professional contacts about the release of your book.
Plan to Approach Local Bookstores
Bookstores still frequently support local authors. Take a copy of your book and marketing materials in to your local bookstores. Offer to sign copies, host an event or see if they would be willing to buy the book directly from you on consignment.
Ask for Feedback
Any time you give a book away, discuss the book, or send an announcement, don’t be shy about asking for feedback.
In today’s crowded book market it’s incredibly difficult for authors and publishers to separate themselves from the pack. To do so fully will absolutely involve a detailed and strategic marketing plan and approach. But, getting yourself (and your book) set up in the best manner possible at launch can make a huge difference.
Bethany Brown is the President of The Cadence Group, a design, editorial, marketing and book coaching provider to the publishing industry. With a background in traditional publishing by way of Adams Media and Sourcebooks and close to a decade of working directly with authors and small presses, Bethany understands the challenges (and benefits!) facing self-publishers and indie presses today.