Monday, September 5, 2016

Lessons From a Book Launch

I published my fourth book, A BRIT ON THE SIDE, a few weeks ago. Yay! Load the confetti canons. If you'll recall, I wrote a post last month about preparing for a book launch and I thought it would be useful on the other side of the launch to talk about what worked, what didn't and what I learned.

1.  Plan something to do for release day to get you away from watching your sales numbers. I suggested planning a celebration, but I seriously underestimated the benefit of going out for the day. On my release day, a friend texted me at 11am and asked if I wanted to go to the beach. Okay, it was a North Wales beach and there was no swimming involved, but I went and it was FABULOUS. Even though a seagull stole my bread right out of my hand. When I came home, I had tweets and Facebook wishes and other social media things to catch up on, but it was SO MUCH BETTER than previous release days I've spent glued to my computer.

2.  Have release day posts, teasers, tweets ready to go and schedule them to post. Facebook lets you schedule posts and you can use something like Hootsuite to schedule on Twitter. Stagger posts so you're not flooding social media all at once. No brainer, but if your Facebook automatically posts to Twitter and is linked to your Instagram, remember one post hits all three.

3.  Send a release day newsletter. Your readers want to know about your new book and they may not be on social media. However, you have another way to reach them -- your reader newsletter. Just like your release day posts, tweets, etc., your newsletter is something you can schedule in advance. If you don't have buy links until your book goes live, you can still write the newsletter and go back and fill in the links.

4.  Make sure your Facebook ads are approved and scheduled. I wrote a post back in January about Facebook ads and I've used them with much greater success with this release. But nothing kills your Facebook advertising strategy like Facebook not approving your ads. Whether it's because they don't meet Facebook guidelines or there's simply a delay in the approval process, it's best to find out well ahead of time.

5.  Give your Facebook ads time to work. My first day running my ads with this release my cost per click (CPC) was awful and it was very tempting to turn my ads off and call it a loss. I didn't, my CPC shot down and Facebook ads are the only ads I have running at the minute.

6. Update your website. Make sure you've got your book info and buy links on your site! This is an easy one to forget, especially if the content on your site is fairly static. But people are going to go looking for you, especially if you've put the links to your website in the back of your e-book. (Hint, hint...put the links to your website in the back of your e-book! It's a great opportunity to promote your other books.)

7. And speaking of the back of your e-book -- don't waste the opportunity to hook your reader! Your reader finished your book, loved it and you want to make sure they come back for more. With A BRIT ON THE SIDE, I put a big thank you with an invitation to get a free epilogue in exchange for signing up for my author newsletter. I wasn't sure what to expect with this, quite frankly, but I've had over 250 people sign up. That's 250 more people than I had three weeks ago so I'm calling it a win.

8. Remind ARC readers to post their reviews. If you've given out ARCs, it's okay to (gently) remind the recipients to post their reviews to their favorite online retailer and/or (cough) Amazon (cough). If ARC distribution was out of your control because you're traditionally published, it's okay to ask your publicist about the status or ARC reviews. Reviews early on are super important and there's nothing wrong with asking for an honest review, even if it makes you squirm a little.

9.  Thank the people who made this day possible, including but not limited to: your pets, your family members, your agent, publicist, editor. It's also a great day/week to reach out to author friends. Your pets and family members are super thrilled you've released a book, but they don't know what it's really like to be sitting there furtively refreshing your phone in your lap waiting for your first reviews to come in. Your author friends do and they can assure you that you're not insane and your book isn't rubbish and you will not, in fact, be exposed as a fraud. This is worth its weight in gold, even if it's a Twitter DM with someone who lives half a world away. At least then you're furtively refreshing your phone on your lap for a reason that won't make you crazy.

10.  Treat yourself. Some people go all out on their release day. I had fish and chips, and a glass of wine. A few days ago, I bought my I-published-a-book present. It's nothing flashy or expensive, but it makes me smile every time I see it and that's the point.

So what have I missed? What are YOUR secrets to a successful book launch?


Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

I'm buying your book right now!

Brenda St John Brown said...

Oh, thank you! I hope you enjoy it.

Jonathan Schramm said...

Great post, Brenda! I'm not quite to the Book Launch phase but when I get there I will definitely take your lessons with me. Really appreciate you sharing. Thanks!

Carrie Beckort said...

Love the idea of the free epilogue when signing up for your newsletter! I got my copy when it came out and can't wait to read it!

Leandra Wallace said...

Ooh, I love the present you bought yourself!!

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