Traditional publishers are taking a standing 8-count. Independent authors are making massive inroads in establishing the future of publishing and it is set to remain in the hands of the author. To date, 2016 has proven to be one of the most exciting and innovative years for indie authors as they continue to succeed in bringing to life creative and quality work and meeting sales and promotional targets they set for themselves.
Pre-launch sales have shown to be incredibly beneficial in establishing a strong readership, return of investment and great steps towards achieving personal goals as an author. It’s been great to watch our authors at InHouse Publishing successfully establish themselves in the marketplace and further recognise their creative talents. So I felt inspired this week to write a post that would help others prepare for their pre-sale period. While myself and others are working hard in bringing your book to industry standards, you can slowly and successfully start learning the mindset of marketing in preparation for the grand announcement – you have published!
Now the first thing you need to ensure is that your creative publishing team are working on the three essential steps for your book to be ready to pre-launch. First, your cover design. It is the first and most necessary step in the pre-launch. Your network has to know what they are buying and it starts with the cover. Next your blurb – that magic elevator pitch that will intrigue and inspire people to hit the BUY NOW button from your website and that’s the third step; your website. Ensure that the basics are set up such as purchasing options, description, cover, contact details and early reader reviews and positive editorial comments.
Now while these factors are being addressed by your team, here are five steps that you can take to prepare for the pre-launch.
1. ESTABLISH YOUR TARGET MARKET
‘But my market is everyone?’ No, it’s not. Every published piece of work has a direct target market and it is important that we define it and work towards connecting with them. I firmly believe that we start in our own backyard with book marketing and work from the inside out. Start in your local city, state or even country and worry about conquering the rest of the world later. Consider whether the book is of more appeal to urban livers, suburbans or rural dwellers and what gender is the title best suited for. Remembering over 18’s are book buyers but which generation? Make sure this is researched. Also write to the individual despite promoting to the masses. When you write tweets, updates, posts, act as though you’re writing to this individual. Doing this personalises your message which creates more connection.
2. RESEARCH YOUR PEERS
‘It’s a shot in the dark!’ No, it’s not. Independent publishing does not mean you stand alone. Whilst you are not under the umbrella of a traditional publishing house, you have many available connections that are all sailing in the same ship as you. First, do some research and look into other authors of your genre that have gained some success in their marketing efforts. You can find such authors on Amazon, social media or even Google. Research how they promoted, which social media is their most active and what posts and blogs generate the most engagement. Take it one step further and see where the followers, fans and readers of these authors are congregating such as Facebook pages, Goodreads, etc.
3. CONNECT WITH OTHER INDEPENDENT AUTHORS
‘I must beat my competition!’ No, you don’t. Quite the opposite. One mind can come up with a fantastic idea but many minds make that idea even better. You learn from those that have travelled before you and you also innovate in marketing to discover new concepts. Running these concepts past other established indie authors can definitely reaffirm your idea and possibly spark greater ideas. If possible strike up a partnership, a friendship even, to further establish the relationship in a genuine way. Make sure it is reciprocal and you will have soon created a relationship where your partner holds you accountable, motivates and inspires you. Consider exchanging reviews, share each other’s posts and updates, and even run an interview for each other that can further expand your profile.
4. BUILD YOUR LIST
‘Cold calling has value.’ Not in this case. It is essential you engage with readers now and start building a loyal following. By now you should know who they are, where they hang out and what their online behavioural patterns may be. Next you want to connect, engage in random conversation and encourage people to join a mailing list. You could offer an excerpt for free if they do join your list, or free entry into a future giveaway offer. Those you connect closely with, you can then solicit them to read and review your book to build a testimonial document for your pre-launch. You may choose to do a blog tour at this point as well to build the fan base even larger.
5. TALK, TALK AND TALK
You have established your market, built your list, researched fellow authors and built partnerships…the time is now! ‘Just received my draft cover design! Would love your feedback!’ and post your cover. Make sure you engage with all comments to show you value their time and feedback. ‘First marketing mentorship complete – feeling inspired #authorsuccess!’ and tag your mentor. ‘Pre-launch date decided. Get ready for the (insert date here)!’ and every few days following add new news and updates to build the excitement. Leading up to the week of launch date, have online interviews prepared, testimonials queued to post, video trailers, interviews and pre-recorded vlogs, pictures from your publishing team showing manuscript in development and engage those close partners to help spread the word on pre-launch day. You might even offer a unique offer as well such as a discounted price, free eBook with hardcopy purchase, bookmark or poster or the cover.
Finally, set yourself targets and be proactive. Continue the excitement by asking your buyers to post on their social media, tagging you in the process. Ask for them to share photos of them with your book as well. This is not all you can do to build your pre-launch book marketing activities, so keep your creativity alive and always look for the opportunities that fit for you and your book. Generally, you can adapt any promotional methods to suit your needs. Just make sure you are prepared and have structured your time effectively so that you can continue the momentum. Whatever you do – do something to promote your work. Anything you can. Whenever you can. Be consistent and confident — see past pre-launch when you call your publishing mentor/consultant asking to increase that print run because the first run has sold out!
Ocean speak regularly on the topics of Creative Leadership, Creating A Book For Your Business and Inspired to Publish. Dates and locations of the presentations can be found on OceanReeve.com