by Kathleen Gage
In the past becoming a self-published author was a very different experience than it is today. There were many obstacles that are no longer limitations for today’s self-published authors.
Not only was the process much more cumbersome, there was no such thing as Kindle, Nook or Apple iBooks.
An author was limited to publishing physical books. Add to that minimum purchase requirements with offset printing of thousands of books, and often it was a recipe for disaster for many aspiring authors.
It usually meant the author’s spare room or garage was filled with boxes of books that were destined to remain there for years because most authors had no plan for marketing and sales.
One of the greatest opportunities happened when digital printing came on the horizon.
Digital printing initially meant professional printing where an author could do small runs of their books. There was a higher cost per page compared to offset printing, but for authors on a limited budget, it was a great way to go. This still required an author to store the books.
In the late nineties, we didn’t have the resources we do today such as POD—print on demand. Amazon.com released the first Kindle reader on November 19, 2007.
There is no storage whatsoever required if an author sells his or her books through online bookstores like Amazon.
With these new technologies came lots of opportunities for authors from every genre. Yet, one huge challenge still existed—selling books.
Countless authors have not understood nor have they been willing to take responsibility for sales of their books. Many still believe all they need to do is get a book to market and somehow readers will find it. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As with physical books, it is necessary for authors to take control of marketing their books, regardless of the chosen format.
In the past few years, online book launches have become very popular. In the late nineties a few progressive marketers gathered together dozens (even hundreds) of joint-venture partners, who would help spread the word about the author’s book.
In trade for promoting the book, the partners would offer an ethical bribe in hopes of getting lots of opt-in subscribers. Launches came and went in one day. There was a big hurrah for 24 hours but then things fizzled out.
Although an author could feasibly sell hundreds, even thousands, of books with a one-day launch, most had no plan for what came next.
Additionally, most book buyers are no longer interested in a bunch of useless bonus gifts they will never use. Today’s reader would much rather get a quality book. Bonuses can still work, but fewer are better, and they absolutely need to be very complementary to the topic of the book.
Today, more than ever, an author needs a more sophisticated approach to a book launch. Not only does the author need to plan for what I refer to as a rolling launch, but to get the greatest result, the launch needs to begin as much as 6-12 months before the book-release date.
A rolling launch simply means it is ongoing and has more benefit than simply being able to say the book hit bestseller on Amazon.com and BN.com for a day.
Fortunately, many authors are finally realizing that in order to have a successful book launch they need a long- term view for the success of their book. Below are a few considerations for your own book launch.
To get the most out of your book promotions it is best to have a three-pronged launch approach:
1) Prelaunch – Your prelaunch efforts should be to build a community of potential buyers. You can do this by being highly visible on social networks, building your opt-in subscriber list, submitting articles to various online article directories, guest blogging and interviews.
2) Launch – Your launch will include many of the same aspects as a prelaunch but now you are driving traffic to either an online book store or your own website.
3) Post Launch – Post launch is where you create other opportunities for readers to invest in other products and services you offer.
To get the most out of your efforts you need to identify your ideal readers:
- Who are they?
- Where do they hang out?
- Social networks
- Radio programs
Use this checklist to prepare as much of the following as possible:
- Media releases
- Interview opportunities
- Blog posts for your blog and guest blogging opportunities
- Articles for your ezine
- Book video trailer
- Affiliate partners who will promote your book with an up-sell opportunity on the back end.
- Optimize your profile on all your social-media platforms
- Images, videos, presentations to be dripped out during launch
- YouTube videos
- Develop a series of videos with tips that tie into your book.
- Slideshare can be huge for a book launch.
If your goal is to simply write a book and get it listed on Amazon then you need not do much else other than write and publish the book. However, if your goal is to make money from your writing and generate multiple streams of revenue then you absolutely must have an extremely strategic approach for promoting your self-published books.
What tactics do you use to promote your books? Or, is there a tactic on the list you haven’t tried yet and will implement for your next book launch? Tell us, please!
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.