Having other people share your work? Well, that sounds smarmy. Isn't this the blog and podcast all about NOT being smarmy?
Yes. Yes it is.
But there is a way to ask others to share your work that is NOT smarmy. I heavily rely on other people sharing my fiction books for Emma St. Clair, and I've built some amazing relationships along the way. I'm going to break this down a bit, but if you want more on how to work well with others in non-smarmy ways, you should really check out Creative Collaborations. Yeah, I'm plugging my book. But literally, that's what the book is about. So if you want more... get it.
It sounds simple to say that you should ask people to share for you. But if you're starting out and aren't sure how to do this, it sounds weird and gross, like those 100 emails I get every day from strangers asking me to add this super relevant link to my blog post! (Nope.)
The two main ways to do this are:
Let's go a little deeper into the details so you can put this into action! But first... a few quick reminders. If you didn't already check out the first part of How to Launch Your Book, you should do that. I'll give you a summary of the three main kinds of promotion:
Clearly, we are focusing on part two. But I'll go back to part one and also we'll look at ads and promos in the future. (If you want a head start on email lists, you can check out my email list resources!)
Also before we start, let's get your head right. If you hate thinking about promotion and marketing, you need a mindset shift. Stop thinking of this in those terms if you don't like them.
Marketing and promotion is basically YOU connecting with your ideal audience and readers. Don't you want to do that?
Don't you want to get emails from people saying they loved your book and your course and think you are the best thing ever?
Don't you want people joining your email list after they read your great blog post?
Don't you want to know that readers were up all night reading your book?
Marketing and promotion are just fancy words for you finding your ideal people who want your stuff. Doesn't that sound much better, albeit less fancy?
Writers all struggle with different parts of the craft. Some struggle with the start, while others get stuck in the middle, and many find editing to be a challenge. But one shared struggle for most writers I talk with is the actual book launch.
Book launching brings to mind the idea of marketing and promotion and publishing, whether you are working alongside a traditional publisher or you are an indie author. I'm going to share a simple book launch formula here geared more towards indie authors. But if you are working with a traditional publisher, these principles can still work for you! You simply might have other help or confines to work within.
I'm calling this a framework not a formula or a step-by-step guide because I like the loose structure of a framework. I definitely am a do-what-works-for-you person, so within a larger structural framework, you have freedom to try many different strategies. This is meant to help you understand the bigger umbrella of a book launch so that you can shift the smaller, moving pieces in ways that work for you and your book.
When I say "simple," what I mean really is that I'm breaking this down into the simplest overarching things you need for a launch. I'll be following up in detail with later posts, but for now, the goal is to avoid overwhelm. SIMPLE. Got it? Let's go.
1. Pre-launch - writing the book, editing, proofing, formatting, cover design, platform-building
2. Launch - three kinds of promo (more on that next week). Telling your audience, having others tell their audiences, and then paying people to tell people
3. Post-launch - keeping your book afloat, more evergreen strategies on your site, guest posting, AMS ads, continuing to do the launch-type promo paying or emailing, etc
That doesn't sound so bad...right? Let's take each piece and break it down a bit more. Again, this is about the framework, so I'm not going to go into a lot of detail on how to do a lot of these things. Before you get to the details, I want you to have the mindset.
Goal: Prepare the product, building your platform
Actions: In this section of your launch, you'll be preparing your product. You'll write and polish your book, get the editing and proofing, formatting, and cover. All the things you need to be ready for launch.
You'll also be building your platform so that you have an audience to launch TO. I would primarily recommend growing your email list or a Facebook group. But if you have engagement on a social platform (people like, comment, click through, share), then definitely utilize that!
Goal: Get the message out about your book, make sales
Actions: This is the most obvious section, but there are many ways to handle the actual launch! I'm trying a slow launch method where I don't really make a big deal about my book until it's been out for a few days, then I stagger promotional efforts to keep a steady rise. You might go for a big explosion on one day.
The big thing to note is that there are only three basic kinds of promotion: you telling your audience, getting other people to tell their audience, and paid promotions and advertisements.
Goal: Keep your book from gathering digital dust
Actions: Books typically don't just sell and keep selling. You have to continue to drive traffic. This can look like continued ads, writing blog posts related to your book and linking in the blog posts (you also have to then promote the blog posts!), setting up other paid promotions, reminding your readers, and other actions that you did in the launch stage.
If you're using Kindle Select, you get a free promo or Kindle Countdown every 90 days. Now that I have a backlist of books, I try to set up one extra promo a month, in addition to launching a new book. So I'm doing all three of these levels every month. THAT MAY NOT WORK FOR YOU. I write rapidly. Find the balance, but don't forget to give your books love after they launch. Usually they will not keep selling if you don't.
I hope that you are finishing this post feeling a sense of peace. Book launching (or just launching!) doesn't HAVE to be overwhelming. Yes, there are lots of little details within this big framework. But understanding the overarching ideas and the big picture can help you see just how doable this is! You've got this.
We'll keep moving forward in this series, going a little bit deeper each time. Next up: more on promotions!
If you haven't written a book, I want to convince you. And if you have written a book, I want to help you focus your efforts toward getting the most out of it! This post will share three big reasons you should write a book.
I'm not trying to take over Honorée Corder's job and tell you that you must write a book (more from her in episode 104!), but I do want to give you three reasons you should write a book and even break those down into some specific WHYs.
(If you're new around here, I'm all about the WHY.)
These three reasons you should write a book are partly reasons...but also just as much goals for your books. Books don't just make money. They can accomplish a few different purposes and sometimes people miss that.
Other product/service sales