If you are like me you have a fair idea of how to write a book but nearly no clue on how to market it but there is a time when you have to hitch up your big girl or boy pants to do it. But what to do? Much of the advice on blogs on how to launch your book is nigh useless, sorry to say, and if you’ve signed a contract with a publisher, it is even worse. If you expect your publisher, unless you are an A-lister, to market your book for you in a way that appreciatively moves the needle you are mistaken.
Now, I can’t give you a definitive guide. No one can. The sands of the internet constantly shift and what works today may not work tomorrow. Also, much of the advice comes from people looking to sell their services to you so they will not give away cow because they want you to buy the milk. And if someone tells you can use social media to SELL your book, they are wrong. You can sell a few copies but the numbers you need to break away into top 100? Most likely that isn’t happening. And some of my ghostwriting clients don’t use social media at all but still make money on the books I write for them. That’s a crap shoot too and involves putting your efforts into your mailing list and sinking a ton of money into advertising, and that’s a slippery slope if a competitor puts up a book in your categories that the reading public finds shinier than yours.
So what will you use social media for if doesn’t sell your books?
You’ll make friends and influence people.
Glad-handing is an age-old tool, used by anyone who sells anything, and if you want to get people behind your books and give you free exposure, then you’ll become their friend.
Now if you want to get some expert advice, go buy one of
Tim Grahl’s books because the man is a genius at book marketing and if I could afford a book publicist, I’d go to him. But I can’t and probably neither can you because you are like me, a lowly writer looking to get an audience with no money to do it.
So we do the next best thing–DYI.
Now, admittedly, I have a good dose of the DYI gene, and when 23andMe figures out which one that is, employers everywhere will demand DNA tests. So I go out, test things out, fail and sometimes win, and come back to you with the results. So here is what I’ve learned.
1.) If you have no audience, you need to start a year before your launch and a year and half if you can’t complete things on time. This applies to both Indie and traditionally published authors. I’ll give you a list of tasks which fall into the category of building your platform and you’ll kick and scream but will thank me later. You’re welcome.
2.) There are six parts of your launch and each have a certain time frame to start it to maximize your results.
a.) One year ahead–identify influencers for your genre and reach out. We’ll talk about ways to do that in another post, but just mark that as a task.
b.) One year ahead–begin to develop your mailing list.
c.) six months ahead–create your press kit. Tease the book to your fans. (You’ll have them from item a.) Release Beta copies to early readers. Hopefully, a few of these will be influencers. Create shareable assets.
d.) three months ahead–release ARC copies and put up your Goodreads page for that book where your early readers can post reviews. Schedule blog mentions. Create a launch page from which all good things flow.
e.) one month ahead–finalize blog placements, arrange a second round of ARC readers, and work your plan.
f.) Launch day. Prepare to spend the day at your computer to respond to social media posts.
All of the above is a sketch of the work ahead, but there is one essential task you must do before you start any of it and that is:
Inventory your social media assets.
We’ll talk about that in the next post. Oh, and I’ll have a handy spreadsheet you can use to help you do this.
Happy writing! 🙂