We’re deep in our blog series about sample launch plans depending on what type of book you’re releasing.
Today, we’ll cover a sample launch plan for your later-in-series book!
A later-in-series book is arguably one of the easiest types to launch, because you have the momentum of earlier books in the series, and existing readers who are eager for more of the same characters and setting. This type of book is also the easiest to launch at regular price!
Technically the launch plan we’ll discuss could be either a fiction novel or non-fiction series. We’ll look at the big picture goals and the details! Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes marketing a new book release can be overwhelming, so a few weeks ago, I started a series of blog posts to help simplify the process. We’re talking about what pieces should be the core focus of a launch, depending on what type of book launch you’re doing.
You can see the launch plan for a Debut Novel here.
Today, we’ll cover a sample launch plan for your 1st-in-series book or a standalone title. I consider these as comparable when it comes to planning the launch, because you already have readers from previous books, but you don’t have the momentum of previous books with familiar setting and characters to drive read-through sales.
We’ll look at the big picture goals and the details! Read the rest of this entry »
I’m starting something new…Marketing Group Coaching!
I love working one-on-one with authors, but there are only so many hours in a day… And I also believe there is great power in small-group learning!
Over a 10-week course, we’ll work in groups of about six authors, diving deep into the following topics that are critical to effectively marketing books:
- Find your Target Reader
- Grow Your Email List into a powerful tool
- Build an effective Launch Team
- How to get more Amazon Reviews (and why it matters)
- How to find and work with Influencers in your target audience to widen your reach
Through a combination of videos and group chats (as well as a private Facebook group), you’ll receive in-depth training, actionable feedback, and built-in accountability to help you succeed in each of these areas.
Each coaching group will be open to 6 authors, and this first group will begin within the next few weeks. We’ll schedule the live sessions at a time that works for each group.
I’m offering a 50% discount for the first group, and wanted to give you, my blog family, the first opportunity.
You can see all the info and register here: http://the-ambitious-author.teachable.com/p/next-level-group-coaching/?product_id=368109&coupon_code=ACFW1
To get the 50% discount, enter promo code ACFW1.
If you have any questions not answered on the course page, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
The more I’ve delved into marketing and ways to find new readers, the more important it’s become for me to understand who my target reader is. What kind of people tend to fall in love with my books? (Not just those who can tolerate them.) Where do I find those people?
The deeper I go in this topic, the more I’m intrigued by it. The more I understand the freeing power of knowing my target reader, the more it influences my story lines, the types of characters I write about, the settings in each book, my book covers, back cover blurbs, types of advertising, you name it!
In other words, almost everything I do related to books centers around my target reader – making sure they can find my book, and then making sure they love it!
So how do you find that elusive person?
Read the rest of this entry »
So we hear all the time word of mouth is what sells books, right?
The Amazon review is one of the most powerful word-of-mouth tools you’ll ever encounter. Is your book well-researched? Your readers will appreciate that and mention it in their reviews. Did you forget to tie up loose ends in your story line? You’ll be called out on it, I guarantee. Potential readers often look at the reviews to see if they’re willing to spend precious money and time to read your story. Hone your craft and write the best story possible, and your reviews will reflect it.
How many reviews do you need? Many writers say it seems there’s something “magical” about reaching twenty-five. After that, they seem to come so much easier and quicker. The more reviews you have with a four- or five-star rating, the more comfortable a potential reader will be taking a chance on your book.
So let’s take an extra minute to talk through methods for garnering reviews. Read the rest of this entry »
As we talk through all things marketing, I’d like to share a strategy that I’ve found to be wonderfully effective in gaining early sales and reviews. Using Pre-orders!
I’m a huge fan of releasing ebooks for pre-order before the official release date, although I realize there are a wide range of opinions on the topic. The concerns I’ve heard about using pre-orders say the authors either 1) don’t see the need (will wait and release the book when it’s ready) or 2) don’t feel comfortable with the commitment.
I didn’t take college Psychology classes past the 101 level, so I’m not qualified to address commitment issues. What I do want to discuss, though, are the pros and cons of releasing books for pre-order weeks or months before the actual release date. When is pre-order a FANTASTIC tool, and when you should stay away?
First, let me call out a few details that will be helpful during our discussion today. I believe the larger trad-pub houses can negotiate some of these requirements with Amazon, but for the rest of us, this is how it works.
- You’re allowed to release a title for pre-order up to 90 days before the actual release date. At any time during the pre-order period, you can move the release date up (make it June 15th instead of June 30th, but you may NOT push it out (make it July 5th instead of June 30th).
- When readers purchase a pre-order book, they are given a price guarantee. If the price drops at any time during the pre-order period, they are charged the lesser price. This means if you lower your pre-order price half way through the period, ALL pre-order sales will be sold at that lesser price.
- You are required to submit the basic book information before you can make the pre-order live. Amazon requires you to upload a manuscript file, but you tell them whether it’s the final draft or not. Interestingly, whether you say it’s the final draft or not, you are allowed to upload a new draft at any time until about 3 days before the official release date.
- The pre-orders all dump into your KDP Reports (and into Amazon’s system as actual sales) on the evening BEFORE your release. This is very important to one of the Pros we’ll talk about shortly!
Now, let’s talk through the reasons why pre-order is fantastic!
- Sales! It allows you to sell copies of your book while you’re still finishing up the final writing and editing details. Many of these sales are very likely some that you wouldn’t see otherwise!
- Reviews! When your pre-orders turn into sales on your release date and all those buyers are notified your book is now on their Kindle, hopefully they begin to read your book! If you’ve put a nice page in your back matter asking the reader to post a review, many of them will! This helps so much with getting those reviews early after your release date. My most recent release, The Lady and the Mountain Doctor, was up for pre-order for 81 days and sold 3,765 pre-order copies during that time. That resulted in 31 reviews during the first two weeks. That doesn’t sound like a lot of reviews based on the number of sales, but most of you probably know how hard it is to get those first 25 or so reviews.
- Early Reviews! Most authors have lamented the fact that reviews can’t be posted on Amazon.com until the book is officially released. I’ve developed a bit of a loop-hole to help with this. While the ebook is available for pre-order with the strict release date I’ve chosen, I release my paperback version a couple days before. That way, my launch team and early reviewers can click “Paperback” and leave their review, but all my ebook sales can stick to the release date I’ve chosen.
- Bestseller lists! This won’t apply to everyone, but if you’re planning a strategy to hit one of the bestseller lists (like USA Today), pre-orders are an absolute must. Keep in mind, though, that the sales all register the day BEFORE your release date.
And now the cons…
- Commitment… When you set a pre-order date with Amazon, you cannot push that date out without being chained and shackled inside Amazon Pre-order Prison for one full year. (I’ve been told it’s a real place.) The “better safe than sorry” method is a good one when planning the official release date for your pre-orders.
- Cover art… For most people, cover art is one of the last steps in the pre-publishing process. If you use pre-orders, you’ll need to rearrange the order of your process a little. I’ve actually started creating my cover art fairly early in my writing process, partly due to my use of pre-order for the full 90 days. It’s had a pleasant side effect that I can also make sure my character and location descriptions in the story match what I’ve chosen for the cover. Win-win!
To recap, pre-order might be a great option for you if…
- You can decently stick to a deadline, even if you’re a procrastinator.
- Or, if you’re pretty close to the end of your pre-publishing process.
- You want to increase your number of reviews within the first few weeks of releasing.
- You’re working to sell enough books to boost your title onto a bestseller list.
You will need to be careful with the pre-order strategy and plan effectively if…
- You can’t meet a deadline to save your soul.
- You have a specific reason the cover art can’t be created earlier in the process.
So now, tell me your experiences! Have you used pre-orders to garner early sales and reviews? Was it successful? What challenges did you face?
Hi, Gang! Before we kick-start our discussion on marketing and best practices to get our books in front of readers, let’s cover a few prerequisites.
No matter how much marketing or advertising you do, your sales potential will never be reached unless you have these factors in place. I’m sure there are a host of other important influencers (I can already think of several), but you’re dead in the water until you get these three right.