The 7 Absolute Musts to Boost Book Sales
Finally! You finished your book and it is ready to publish! You’ve spent months – possibly even years – perfecting this literary masterpiece and now that the hard work is over, it’s time to sit back and let the royalties roll in…
If only it were that simple.
Whether you decided to self-publish or if you chose the traditional route, if you launch your book without a marketing plan, the truth is FAR fewer people will read it. With over 4000 books published each day in a growing crowd of competition, it takes careful planning and an action-oriented marketing strategy to get your book the attention it deserves. Even if your publishing company has its own marketing department, remember, no one will fight for your book as much as you will.
So now that the launch date is set (or almost set) what do you need to do?
Google provides an overwhelming list of book launch to-dos, but our team of book marketing experts whittled it down to the 7 ABSOLUTE MUSTS for a successful book launch. The following advice shows both self and traditionally published authors how to stand out from the crowd and get more eyes on their book.
1. Create a Launch & Marketing Plan:
Your launch plan is a blueprint to your entire book launch. It outlines what you need to do, when you need to do it, and the resources, people, and tools you will need to get it all done. A successful book launch begins with a marketing plan. (Luckily for you, the following list is everything you need for your marketing plan.)
2. Create a Media Kit:
When a journalist or reviewer asks about your book, you need to be prepared. The purpose of a media kit is to grab the attention of journalists and producers and make them want to write a review, article, or do an interview with you. The media kit should be a one-stop shop with all the information needed to get this done.
The basic information you should include in your media kit is:
- Contact Information: Your name, email address, phone number.
- Book Facts: Website, release date, retail price, purchasing information.
- Book Details & Author Info: Brief author bio, and a short book description or synopsis. (Remember, brevity is key. Your bio and the book synopsis should only be a few sentences each.)
- Attention Grabbers: This is where you can get creative and really sell your book! Why do people want to read it? Does it fill a void or respond to a current trend or need? Perhaps you want to include a bulleted list of interview talking points, or a few article headlines or pitch ideas. At the very least, include a few sentences describing the main reason to buy.
- Reviews / Awards: What are people saying about your book? Has it won any awards or gotten positive feedback? The media should know! The review doesn’t have to come from a famous critic or top news outlet – but if you have one, that’s great! – A positive Amazon or Facebook review works perfectly.
- Images: One or two high resolution photos of the book cover and one author headshot.
- Media Release/ Press Release: Almost all of the above items can be included in a media release or press release. A press release is formal in tone. It is written like a news story and includes information that is more factual than promotional. Even if you are not sending it out on the official wire (through a service like PRweb), there are specific style and formatting guidelines you should follow to ensure journalists can read your information quickly and easily. In contrast, Media releases are less formal and more visually appealing. They can be sent via email to media contacts and in our experience, these are the best way to get interviews and print placements.
There are a variety of different ways to organize the above information in a media kit. Some authors make giant media kits filled with every document, pdf, and picture related to the book. Others include only the nitty gritty. We recommend organizing the information into 2 PDFs (one fact sheet and one media release) and several images.
3. Get your Social Media in Order:
You likely already have a personal profile on Facebook, but creating a public author page is also important. This tip might sound obvious, but because we see so many authors make this mistake, the case for public profiles had to be included in this list. So here it is:
In general, public pages have better tools for advertising and promotions and they have more capabilities and plug-ins which will give your fans (or anyone who views your page) a better experience. Pages give you the ability to add “call-to-action” or “buy-now” buttons, review pages, landing pages, and so much more. They provide in-depth statistics and insights into your fans’ behaviors so you can better target ads.
In addition to just looking more professional, Facebook pages are optimized so that people can find you more easily (and since many people today use Facebook like a search engine, this is important.)
4. Website and/or Sales Page:
You don’t need to be an internet wiz or spend a fortune hiring HTML coders, but a good landing page is crucial for book sales. Your website should include a compelling description of the book, photos, reviews, and information about you as the author. Above all, it should contain all purchasing information and links with a clear “call-to-action” to buy.
5. Get Book Reviews:
Reviews aren’t just important, they are vital. Reviews give books greater visibility and a greater chance of getting found by more readers. They provide social proof that your book is worth buying. Your reviews will go in your media kit, on Amazon, on your website, and more. You’ve probably received ringing endorsements from your friends and family – (and if you haven’t, or if you haven’t gotten them in writing, what are you waiting for?!)
Remember, the more people that read your book, the more reviews you will get. Send advanced copies of the book to everyone in your close network and ask them to review on Amazon, Facebook, or other social platforms. Even a positive feedback sent via email is great for your arsonal of endorsements.
Amazon and Facebook reviews are great. What’s even better? Reviews from trusted news sites or medias authorities. To get your book reviewed or featured by established media outlets, send advance copies of your book and media kit to book critics, bloggers, and review sites. If you don’t have access to a media list or database like Cision, you will have to do some Google research to find the right person to speak with. Also, be sure to include a personalized note explaining who you are and why you think they would be interested in your book.
6. Get the Word Out – Media Attention:
Media attention is the best way to boost sales and get the word out about your book. Doing author interviews (radio, podcast, tv), writing a newspaper opinion piece, or getting quoted in a magazine will give you more credibility and social proof than anything else.
A compelling media pitch is key to landing these placements. Your pitch should outline why your story would be a great fit for their show (or magazine, news site, etc) and what their audience would gain from what you have to say. Remember, unless you are reaching out to the media with an explicit request for them to review the book, your pitch can’t sell the book too hard. (Pitches that are too promotional get sent to the sales department to buy ad space.) Instead, your pitch should sell you and your message and they should be customized to fit to the outlet/contact that you’re pitching.
Once you have a killer pitch, make a media list of who to send it to (include outlets on both the local and national level.) Again, if you don’t have access to a media list or database like Cision you will have to do some Google research to find the right person to speak with (usually a journalist, editor or producer.)
7. Recruit a Launch Team:
When launching a book there is so much that needs to be done. The above list includes only the most important items and even this list is overwhelming! That’s why you need a launch team. Whether they are hired help or volunteers, your launch team will help you pull everything together (from soliciting reviews, booking interviews or media appearances, scheduling bookstore events, organizing the launch party, and promoting on social media…even just hearing you vent.) Recruit a few close friends and/or hire a professional to ensure things run smoothly and you make the most out of your big day. Remember, behind every successful author is a great support team.
Have marketing questions? Want to strategize? Need to vent?
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Call us at 866-949-6868 or click HERE to schedule a free strategy session.