As you may have read last week, I released my third book, Broken Pieces, on Kindle (remember, no Kindle required). This has been, by far, my most successful book launch and it’s only been out for ten days! I’ll give you specifics below. Lots of thought and planning went into the launch of this book, so I want to share some of my secrets here.
1) Pre-Release Marketing: Since my two previous books were primarily humor, I needed to shift people’s thinking patterns about my brand and who I am. While A Walk In The Snark hinted at my more serious side, people still know me as the funny girl since that’s clearly my writing style (see Mancode: Exposed). I knew as I started my next book it would still be about relationships, men and women, etc — my normal fare. However, Broken Pieces is a nonfiction book of the real-life experiences that shape us, particularly as women, and is not humorous in any way.
So, about nine months ago, I shifted the focus on my blog posts here to include some of my new work. In addition, I asked some amazing writer friends to share their more serious stories about how life experiences that have shaped them — and the results are amazing. Stories of stalking, kidnapping, coming out, abuse, depression, suicide — sure, not ‘happy’ topics, but real. So very real.
This brings up an important point: start marketing your next book while you’re writing it. Waiting until release is one of the biggest mistakes I see authors make.
2) Social Media: I work hard to interact with people and I follow about 200 people or more every day on Twitter. I also actively connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Pinterest. As part of my pre-release activities, I changed who I targeted to follow (using primarily ManageFlitter, Pluggio, and the Twitter hunt-and-peck method) to focus other people whose interests were similar to my interests: grief, loss, love, relationships, abuse, depression, suicide. The bonding with these people has been real and life-changing for me.
- Excerpts: I put out a few excerpts about once every eight weeks, just to give people a taste of my new work.
- Betareaders: I also asked for betareaders (see below), primarily on Facebook and Twitter. Beta (meaning ‘test’) readers are people who see the work before anyone else. Not a perfect copy — I sent it to my betas between my editor completing final edits and sending it on to my proofreader. That way, I could still make changes before I sent it off to the formatting company (this time, I used PublishGreen.com and they were fabulous!). Having betareaders has a three-fold advantage: you share your work with true fans before it’s available to the public, you ask them kindly for a review when the book goes live (and to like and tag), and you catch minor things — or at times, major — that you and your editor missed, and can change before release.
- Cover art: I sent out a few different cover art concepts my graphic designer sent me and asked for feedback. This gives people a heads up that the new book will be out soon. When I chose my final art, I shared that. This helps create buzz.
4) Connections: I’m always encouraging authors not to only follow other authors, but search for, follow, and interact with book bloggers, book reviewers, and readers. Which isn’t to take away from engaging with other authors. Some of my best friends are authors and are, for the most part, a very supportive community.
For this particular launch, I’ve joined forces with several amazingly successful and bestselling writers (Christine Nolfi, Terri Guiliano Long, and Molly Greene) to form a #NewClassicReads promotion. We’ve done tweetchats, blog posts, and starting Jan 3-7, we’re offering a blog hop (you can still join us! Read more here) with $300 in prizes. I’ve also lowered the price of all three of my books to $2.99 for the promotional period.
5) Be Real: I don’t mean in a wishy-washy, quotey, I’m eating a burger kind of way. I mean — let people know who you really are.
I’m known as being a snarky bitch (and I often say what’s on my mind). But that doesn’t mean I’m not incredibly grateful and honored by the reviews of my readers. I thank them, interact, talk with them. Sure, I’m asking a lot lately: like, tag, review my book (feel free to join the party here!), but I also feel I’m able to ask these little favors because I’m not constantly spamming them with stuff solely about me. I really want to know how they are, what they’re working on, what they’re reading. I promote others often and share content like this that hopefully helps others succeed.
And by changing my focus from exclusively humor to including more serious messages, excerpts, and now of course, my new book, I’ve changed my branding in a way that hasn’t freaked people out.
6) Pulse Pricing/Free: Okay, one more. Being self-published, I’m in charge of my pricing and ability to change the price or go free (as part of KDP Select, I can go free five days out of every ninety). So for the launch, I took Pieces free for only two days. This helped me get more exposure (and on tons of free lists), hit #1 on Women’s Studies, and since taking the book back to its regular price of $4.99, I’ve sold about 60 copies! And lowering the price of all three books to $2.99 makes it more affordable for folks — even if it’s only for a week.
That’s most of it. I also started Google AdWords (see The Ad Words Guy if you want to learn how), Facebook ads, etc. I don’t spend more than $5/day on ads. I look at it as an investment — not only in me, but in the future of my books, and my brand.
What do you think? Have you tried any of these techniques and what has worked for you?
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