Two years ago, my YA novel Hag was released and I was not prepared at all even though I had studied publishing for several years. Sure I had a business plan but that fell apart when several unforeseen circumstances came my way. So I ended up doing what I always do, I flew by the seat of my pants and got a crash course in book promotion, one that I will never forget. Today, I reveal exactly what I learned…
There’s a Difference in Clicking Publish and Having an Official Launch Date
Who knew? I thought that when I clicked published that all I had to do was get a few ads and shares on social media then poof… instant bestseller. ( I can hear you all snickering.) Here’s the deal, having a launch date is more for your readers than you. Your launch tells them where your book is available, the price and how they can buy it.
However with a publish date, an author should be actively preparing for the launch date by doing things like:
- Editing (I wrote about that here)
- Beta testing (If you want to know more, check this post out here)
- Scheduling ads to coincide with any book tours, guest posts etc. (Of course I wrote about that too, over here.)
- Crafting social media posts with images, links, as well as the names of the retailers where your book is available.
- Securing reviews. (If you’re interested in that, read this post here.)
- Growing email list.
Go Big or Go Home
Long ago, I read this article on SocialMedia.biz about how important big followings are in social media. At first, I was miffed because it went against everything I was taught. I was a firm believer in targeted following but then I looked at celebrities and athletes who spend thousands of dollars promoting their social media accounts. And I had to admit it was helpful to their platforms. Now I don’t recommend spending big bucks but I do believe we need to get more aggressive when it comes to building our numbers up.
Where Authors Get Stuck
As time goes on many authors reach a plateau where they’ve gone as far as they can with their book. They’ve paid for ads, blogged, tweeted and the results are good for a while, but eventually the energy dies off. That’s because you can only reach the same people so many times before you get ignored. However, if you had a few friends who were willing to help you, your reach could double or even triple. The trick is to find an author that is both willing to help and has an active network of their own which leads me to my next point…
Forget About Selling Anything if You Don’t Have Any Relationships
Years ago, a nasty incident on LinkedIn went viral when a young woman looking for a job contacted a recruiter out of the blue. The recruiter was indignant and went on to bash the young woman about her poor etiquette among other things. However, this attitude isn’t confined to recruiters. There are many bloggers, reviewers and even literary agents who feel the same way about being contacted by strangers asking for favors who offer nothing in return. If you’re going to ask someone to do work for you, such as review your book, or retweet a post then, give them a reason to. Influencers are more likely to respond positively to someone who is helpful or just plain nice to them. I talk about this more in depth here.
By the way, would you like to know the success rate of a cold call or email? It’s between 1 and 6%. This is why many authors are having issues finding support when they need it most. You have to present yourself as a professional, not a beggar. This is a business where everyone wants to know what’s in it for them. Would you help someone who you’re not so sure about? Most of us, if we’re honest, would say no.
Now back to you, what did you wish you would have known before you published? Let me know in the comments.