A Proper Indie Book Launch

Written by Eric Vance Walton | October 2, 2014

Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine that you’ve finally done it. The manuscript that you labored on for so long is perfectly polished, it has been written, edited, re-written, laid out in its final format, and the eye-catching cover is designed.  Your head is swimming with a myriad of emotions, anticipation, fear, and a kind of general euphoria that’s difficult to define. Against all odds you’ve struggled to do the best work you can, now it’s time to send your book out into the world and see what kind of response comes back to you. After all this could be, “the one” that changes everything for you and your writing career.

You’ve put so much of yourself into this project that, naturally, you want your book to be seen by as many readers as possible. For the Indie author with a limited marketing budget an important addition to your marketing campaign is to have a meme or article about your book go viral on the internet. In my four years of constant social media promotion I’ve had only one post go viral.  I can tell you that watching something I created spread like wildfire across the world is a feeling like I’ve never experienced and can only be described by one word: humbling. There is no concrete formula that you can follow that will guarantee a worldwide buzz on social media but you can increase your odds by taking the time to plan an intelligent book launch.  

The tricky thing about marketing as an Indie author is the book’s marketing campaign needs to begin well before the book is ready to release. This requires you to start brainstorming about the marketing of your book while you’re still writing it. The most important piece to the book launch puzzle is to have a group of loyal readers in place ready to buy your book before it’s released. This established fanbase creates a built in market and the more filled with anticipation these readers are for your work, the better.  If you don’t already have a fanbase of readers from previous you should, ideally, begin building this readership a year before your book is published. If you haven’t already done so, create a Facebook author page, Twitter account and blog for your writing and post to them often.

Drumming up a buzz to spark the anticipation and interest of your readers doesn’t have to cost lots of money but does take time. Creating publicity for your book launch is best accomplished gradually through blogging and regular (at the very least 2-3 times per week) posts that pertain to your book on social media. Most importantly, have a blog or personal website created to allow readers to subscribe to your posts via email. This email subscription feature is the best way to communicate with your readers because you deliver posts directly to their inboxes. This direct line to them greatly increases the odds that your post will be read. Studies suggest people are more likely to click on a link that is embedded in a personal email than a link found on social media.  

In these blog and social media posts talk about the main characters, provide tantalizing teasers about the plot, pick your top three to four book title ideas and conduct a reader poll to allow them to choose the final title. While writing these posts make sure the tone of your posts are both honest and personal, don’t sugar coat or make them seem too much like a sales pitch. People are drawn to reality. Share with your readers the unfiltered highs and lows of what you’re going through in the months leading up to your launch. Also, ask your readers for marketing ideas…they’re wise, listen to them. All of these things will allow your readers to participate in the process and will generate more interest in your book.  

At the same time you’re concentrating on your online promotion you must also start a grassroots effort to reach out to your local television and radio stations. Start building relationships that will increase your odds in securing media interviews. Pay a visit to local bookstores and introduce yourself to the managers, tell them about your book and the proposed launch date. Inquire about their bookstore carrying your book on consignment as well as hosting a signing event. Some bookstores need up to three months notice to plan for events so make sure to plan accordingly. Leave a business card for the bookstore manager and also keep a list of their names and contact information. Book club meetings are also a great way to sell and promote books. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how helpful and supportive people are willing to be to local authors.

About a month before before your release date start pre-sales of your book on your website.  Share your attention grabbing book cover along with links to where readers can pre-order. It’s best to offer some kind of a discount for readers as an incentive to purchase your book before it’s released.  At this stage you can also begin to hold contests on social media to give away a few free copies of your eBook to the winners. Encourage these readers who win the free copies to write online book reviews and share your posts with their friends. Remember, you want the largest outreach you can get.

Also, in this age of social media it’s still wise to draft a good old-fashion official press release. Press release templates and instructions on the process are available on the internet.  Post your press release online as well as faxing it to established media outlets. This will increase the chances of professional book reviews. A professional review published in the right place can garner lots of attention for you and your book. Most importantly, use your creative superpowers to think outside of the box in regard to your marketing campaign!  Take the time to make your book launch fun and engaging for your readers and it will pay dividends in book sales and increased readership across your entire social media platform.

Bio:

Eric invites you to follow his unfolding story by “liking” his Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/EricVanceWaltonAuthor for updates and promotions on his current and upcoming projects.

You can buy Eric’s new book One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way as an Indie Author, on Amazon in print or as an ebook.