Monday, March 3, 2014

Your Book Launch: Marketing Methods and Ideas Used by Outstanding Authors – A Study

So the time is near. You have that next book on paper, it is being edited and proofread and you’re starting to get ready to launch that book to the top of the charts. You need to get all your ducks in a row to start marketing that novel to the world.

The first thing you must ask yourself: where, when and how do I start the promotion of my book? The answer to these questions are more complex than you may realize at the start. Besides a well-written book, you need a package of information and plan on how to use it.

An online presence is almost a requirement in today’s industry and a contact list is needed. And then you need to start that marketing buzz and at the same time develop your image to get those repeat readers. Before you throw your hands in the air, read what other authors have to say about how they approach the launch of their books.

It is study time again and I am fortunate to have a group of outstanding, award-winning authors whose opinions I value highly. Over 30 authors helped me with this study. (I have had to limit my post to ebook publishing and fiction but the ideas relate to all of the book publishing industry.)

From their comments, I was able to develop checklists on the related topics and reference the authors and their ideas. This is a long post but I hope it helps my fellow authors. For the authors complete detailed responses to my study questions, a link will be provided at the end of the post.

Starting Point

Every study needs a starting point. And so do authors when they start the book launch process.

Author Dianne Harman @DianneDHarman is Award Winning Bestseller Romance author. Dianne discusses this important point for us.

The book launch is a critical subject to the success of a book. I start about three months ahead of publication date and I use social media. I would tweet it, put it on Facebook (particularly as soon as I have a cover for it), Google+ and of course, would write several articles about it on my blog.

The Book

The book itself plays a key role in the success of a good book launch. For self-publishers the need to address the following issues is critical. Next is a list of topics that make your book more marketable.

1.      Professional formatting and editing

Todd Borg is the award-winning, bestselling author of the Owen McKenna Tahoe Mystery series. Here is what Todd had to say about formatting.

The most critical part of launching a book comes well before the launch. I know that sounds tedious - Sorry! But so many times I've witnessed authors doing all the right steps in their launch and then coming out with a book that has a non-professional cover and no beta reader input and non-professional editing.

2.      Cover design- thumbnail

The completion of the cover is one of the first items needed for the launch. Remember your cover will appear in a thumbnail (Amazon, etc.) so the placement of information and font size play a key role in the reader’s first impression of the book.

3.      Front matter

The front matter of your ebook should be Internet enabled. All the links should be live links including your website and social media addresses. Your list of other titles should be included with buy links to Amazon and other retailers.

This is a great place to ask for reviews. Give the reader a link to submit their opinion. Repeat this information at the end of your book. This is important for your book’s success.

4.      ISBN

Getting an ISBN number is one of the items that needs to be completed before you publish your book. It is required by most retailers. Your book doesn’t need to be finalized to acquire the number. Title, author, blurb and date of publication are required.

5.      Ebook format check

Always check your ebook formatting on the popular ebook devices. What may be good for print may not work on a Kindle or a Nook. If you don’t have the devices, download their software readers to your computer and check out your formatting.

6.      Price

The initial price of the ebook varies on reputation, genre and the marketplace. An established author usually can charge in the $3.99 to $5.99 price range. (Top sellers can charge more but the market is different than the paper version.) You should study other authors in your genre and see what the going price is.

New authors are usually a rung down on the scale, $1.99 to $2.99. Most authors are saving the $0.99 and the FREE price tag for sales and promotions. 

Southern Author Diana Anderson @DianaJAnderson1 is the author of the Southern Country Novel series. Here is Diana’s strategy.

I try to time my book launch date with another of my eBooks that I’m offering for free. I contact several websites that will promote for free my free eBook. I have to do this a few weeks in advance to get on their list.

7.      Publishing your book on-line

All the major retailers allow authors to upload their novels on-line including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo and Smashwords. Unlike the paper version, these are digital files that can be update at any time.

For example, if the your website address changes, you could update their digital copy and upload the new version on the spot. The same with other live links included in the ebook. And of course, if you found an error, you what to change the cover or you want to add something to the front matter that can all be done on-line.

8.      Buy Links

Once you have published your book, the sales/buy address to your retailers becomes a key to your book launch and the marketing of the book. I quickly grab a short link of the buy link to make it easy to push the book through social media. I use bitly but there are several good link shorting sites.

9.      Copyright

The copyright comes last. You can note the copyright in your book but the actually filing with the copyright office is done later and takes a while to receive your notice back.

Package of Information

Your book launch requires a package of information. You should do your homework before your start the launch cycle and before you publish. Keep a ‘Hot List’ handy (word doc works fine for this) with the information you will need to publish, market, and use on social media. The following is an outline summary of what our study group came up with.

Alan Jacobson @JacobsonAlan is the bestselling author of jaw-dropping thrillers. Alan added this.

Once I hand in the final to my publisher, I write promo blurbs for various uses and of different lengths. I do interviews online and radio interviews; Advance Reader Copies are sent out by my publisher; reviews are solicited; marketing materials are printed including business cards, bookmarks, etc. My website is updated to include the new novel. And…all the while, I’m doing full force on the next book. There is zero down time, no break, no moment to breathe…

1.      Author Bio/Profile

Spend some time on this one. Make it interesting. I have reviewed hundreds of profiles for my blogs. Some are interesting and engaging. Others are a waste of time and some authors have none. Make sure you keep your profile up-to-date. Authors will use their profile in a variety of places on the Internet and they should be consistent. Keep a list of where your profiles are in your ‘Hot List’.

2.      Author pic

This is one of the personal items that you can use to form relationships with your readers. In the paper world the back cover almost always has the author’s picture. On-line publishing is not an exception. Have a large version and a small version in high quality. Keep track of where your pics are and when you update your picture, change all your sites.

3.      Book description/blurb/teases

Develop the book blurb even before you finish the book. You will need it to start pushing the book to your reading audience. You need to broadcast your book description and cover to your readers before the book is on your retail sites.

4.      Excerpt

Have an excerpt of your book ready for bloggers, book tours and other broadcasts of your book information. Some use the first chapter. Others use their best scene. This should be part of your information package.

5.      Pitch

Develop a pitch about your book. Before you deliver your pitch you should qualify your prospect like a good salesman. Have a long pitch for the real fans and a short one for the tire kickers. You never know when someone will ask you what your book is about.

Terry Ambrose @suspense_writer is the author of the McKenna Mystery series and a member of Murder, We Wrote. I asked Terry, a veteran of book festivals, about his festival pitch?

“[Long ago I] learned the importance of the hook. Depending upon the reader, the author has on average 10-15 seconds to describe their book and get the reader interested. I have three different opening lines that I'll use depending on the question I get from the potential reader.”

One of my observations was that almost none of the authors qualified me. They saw a live one, and there were many at the festival, and jumped right into their sales pitch. We are talking 55,000 people on Sunday.

How about these questions? Do you read Mysteries? Do you like Suspense?

As I saw, there was a variety of people at the festival. You had readers. You know people that love to read. And then you had tire kickers. There were people who were there for a good time but were not buyers. Note: Tire Kickers sometimes buy books and a good impression will last.

There was a lot of foot traffic and the authors needed to work the prospects. Talk to them. Socialize with everyone. Hand them a copy of your book. Here take a look? You never know.

6.      Links

Keep a list of links in your package. Items like your buy links (all retailers), review blogs, websites and social media links and any Internet references.

7.      Tweets prep

Do your tweets in advance. Make them part of your package. Twitter lets you attach your cover picture and, if you use a short link of the buy link to Amazon, followers will be able you reference the book description right from Twitter.

8.      Amazon Information Package

This will give you an idea of what Amazon will ask for when you publish your book. Of course they want your title and subtitle. Also they what your book description which should already be a part of your information package. They ask for a list of contributors, the publication date, publishers name and royalty plan you wish to use.

Major items that need to be addressed are what is book’s genre, the initial price and the final cover image before you publish.  

9.      Book trailer

Way down on the list is a book trailer. The jury is out on how effective a video presentation is during your book launch process.

 Social Media Presence

If you’re a new author especially, a social media presence is a necessity. If you are marketing your own book, social media is the place to start. Get involved with your readers. It will pay to be in all the right places.

Award-Winning Author Judith Marshall @whipsandjingles is the author of Women's Fiction novels. Judith sums up the idea.

Set up either a free or hosted website/blog and start posting about the upcoming book. Add your URL to your email signature line, so it’s on every message your send. Also, use social media to build interest; i.e. Twitter, Facebook (start a page for your title), Google+, etc. You can also set up a board on Pinterest and post pictures about your writing, the steps to publication, or whatever will attract followers.  Be creative. Nobody follows a post that screams “buy my book!”

1.      Book topics/scene pics

Readers like to get involved with the author and the book's setting. Diana approaches it this way on social media.

Southern Author Diana Anderson @DianaJAnderson1 is the author of the Southern Country Novel series.

I’ve already started promotions with Remember When on Facebook. I find photos that pertain to scenes or places in my novel and post them along with a brief description. It’s just a little something to peak my fans interests.

2.      Respond – Comment

Getting involved with other blogs in the publishing industry can be helpful.

Author Leti Del Mar @leti_delmar is an indie author.  She blogs about the craft of writing and indie books.

I did this by regularly visiting blogs and commenting, and not just about things related to my book. When the time came to launch my book, most everyone I contacted was very willing to help.


One of the most important activities you can do is develop a list of readers, reviewers, bloggers and anybody else that can help you sell more book. You attack this list during the book launch.

Author Dianne Harman @DianneDHarman is Award Winning Bestseller Romance author. Dianne starts this section off.

Another method I do - and I have no figures to support it other than my books do really well out of the starting gate - is am email list I have compiled from book signings, blog, etc. I send out a brief synopsis of the book along with the links.

Steven Konkoly @stevenkonkoly is the Author of the apocalyptic thriller, The Jakarta Pandemic, and gritty covert-ops series, Black Flagged. Steven thinks list are important.

I approach my book launches a little differently now. Having built a solid readership, I rely heavily on their support in the beginning… For me, leaning on my reader list has been the most effective. Another important aspect of maintaining a dedicated reader list, is the sheer number of reviews they can generate within the first month.

Author Roger Stelljes @rogerstelljes is the bestselling author of the McRyan Mystery Series. Roger agrees.

Build a "New Release" email list and then send out an email announcing the new book.

1.      Newsletters

Many authors use a newsletter to develop a list. These are people who have a true interest in your writings. They should be the first ones you contact about your book launch. Some authors get their followers involved early in the process. Some even use them to help develop the cover.

2.      Groups

Being involved in groups of other authors is very important. They all have lists of their memberships. Below is a brief list of several national and Internet based groups.

National professional groups

Internet groups
Independent Author Network

3.      Friends - Street team -  readers groups

Everybody needs friends in this game to help with the book launch.

NYT and USA Today Best Selling Author Melody Anne @authmelodyanne. She is the author of many Romance and Young Adult novels.

I do several things at the launch of a new book. First off, I have a team of people who work for me who do an amazing job of getting the word out. My street team advertises the book and posts reviews. My marketing team places ads for the book in different areas, and my fans share the book as well.

I have a release party where I give out prizes and let people know a new book is out. The biggest thing, I guess, is letting people know that there is a new book, so word of mouth, I have found, is still the best advertising. I have done some Facebook advertising, too, but I don't know if that helps or not.

4.      Blogger connections – reviewers

Develop this list to give your book that extra boast during launch.

Author Leti Del Mar @leti_delmar is an indie author.  She blogs about the craft of writing and indie books.

I'm all about building connections with bloggers PRIOR to releasing your book.  If you can establish a relationship with bloggers who review or talk about your kind of fiction, they will be more likely to help launch your book.  

When the time came to launch my book, most everyone I contacted was very willing to help.

Lists are very important to the success of your book launch. John Huffman, as you see from the numbers below, has developed a large list of followers.

Award winning Indie Author John W. Huffman @johnwhuffman writes Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers.

When I launch a new book, I announce its availability, with links, on Facebook, ( over 3,500 followers ) linkedin, ( 500 links ) twitter, ( 10,000 followers ) my web site ( ) schooldfeeds, ( 500 friends ) Goodreads, ( up to 5,000 views )  the Independent Author Network 20,000 visitors a month ) and write my own article to eleven different small newspapers across the southeast with a combined distribution of 100,000 plus readers.

Written Plan: Tasks

A written plan of the scheduled tasks for your book launch with estimated dates of completion is very important. Hopefully this study will help you with the list of tasks. And then for your next book, your plan would be modified with your experience and what worked for you.

Award-winning Author Mohana Rajakumar @moha_doha is an author based in Qatar. She has a PhD and has been involved in various foundations supporting young writers.

Book launches are like delivering babies, you need month and months of preparation. If you wait until your book is out to tell people, you'll already be scrambling to get its attention. To get the most noise out of a launch, book a tour or ask your blogging friends to host you on a series of days leading up to or after the launch.

Science Fiction & Fantasy Author Steven Montano @Daezarkian. He is the creator of the BLOOD SKIES series. Steven plans.

For me the hardest part about a book launch is remembering all of the steps.  You have to make sure your cover and ad blurb are ready early enough to start scheduling teasers and guest posts well before the release, you have to make sure to have the ARCs in your book reviewer’s hands early enough for them to be ready when the book comes out...and of course you have to make sure you give yourself time to get the book done in time to do all of that.

1.      Reviews and their timing

The timing of reviews is critical to a fast start book launch.

Brent Hartinger @brenthartinger is the author of The Russel Middlebrook series. The movie version of his novel: Geography Club was released in 2013. Brent talks about timing.

The good news about non-traditional media (blogs and social media) is that they'll sometimes cover unusual books -- self-published books or books from small publishers. The bad news is that most non-traditional media folks have no concept of the idea of "launch date."

On the contrary, they're often eager to be the first to review a book (to get in search engines, etc.). For whatever reason, they'll often post a review of a book immediately after they've read it, regardless of what you, the writer, suggest or want.

Which means that if you time things poorly, you can end up with a lot of reviews of you book weeks or months before your book is even on sale.

2.      Cover release

Like reviews, the timing of the cover release is important.

Author Roger Stelljes @rogerstelljes is the bestselling author of the McRyan Mystery Series.

Do an early cover release on your website/blog along with a couple of sample chapters to give the readers a taste.  (I don't recommend setting a specific release date until you know the book is live at all locations.)

3.      ARC (Advanced Reading Copy)

Several authors weigh in on the timing of their ARC process.

Brent Hartinger @brenthartinger is the author of The Russel Middlebrook series. The movie version of his novel: Geography Club will be released later in 2013.

Unfortunately, the only real solution to this is to be very selective in who you give advanced reading copies too. Otherwise, wait until the book is actually released to send it out to blogs. This has the added benefit of spreading the attention out over the first few weeks and months of release. If you're using NetGalley, however, there's really nothing you can do about this. Chalk it up to building buzz, and hope that people will pre-order.

Awarding-winning Author Paul D. Marks @PaulDMarks is an Author of noir, mysteries, satire & mainstream fiction.

It's all really pretty basic stuff. Try to get review copies out to various people.  Then use social media like Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.  Also word of mouth.  Then, hopefully one thing builds on another.  And if you have a good track record, a book that's been well-reviewed before or has won awards you can play on that to try to get more attention for the new one.

Award winning Indie Author John W. Huffman @johnwhuffman writes Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers. John adds this.

I also send out copies of the book to selected readers who I know and trust to write reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. I then follow up with updates and author appearances where ever I can get a foot in the door, such as book stores and charity events, where I give a portion of the sales to the venue.

4.      Launch with a free book

One of the ideas that sounds good is offered by Diana.

Southern Author Diana Anderson @DianaJAnderson1 is the author of the Southern Country Novel series.

I try to time my book launch date with another of my eBooks that I’m offering for free. I contact several websites that will promote for free my free eBook. I have to do this a few weeks in advance to get on their list.

5.      Months in advance

Your plan should start way before your novel is complete.

Science Fiction & Fantasy Author Steven Montano @Daezarkian. He is the creator of the BLOOD SKIES series.

The easiest way for me to do all of this is to decide what my end date is, which I don’t bother to set until I know I’m about 90% finished with the final edits.  From there, I can plan backwards – if I’m releasing on Feb 7th, then I know to set the cover reveal two weeks before that, to have ARCs out 3 weeks in advance, etc.  If you can get yourself a street team to help you spread the word then you’re a step ahead of the game, because rather than soliciting book bloggers and reviewers you already have a built-in support base to help you get things rolling."

Author S.R. Grey @AuthorSRGrey is the Author of the A Harbour Falls Mystery series.

Preparing for the book launch begins weeks and months before the book is released. I utilize a lot of social media tools to drum up enthusiasm. For example, I may tweet teasers or post an excerpt on Goodreads or Facebook. I also keep the readers updated on my progress.

Another important step is to have the book blurb/summary ready in advance. It gives the readers an idea of what the book will be about. I always post this months in advance on Goodreads. And remember, you can always change it around as needed.

So, in closing, remember to: 1) get the readers excited for your release. 2) Use all your social media outlets to build awareness. And 3) prepare and post a blurb as early as possible.

6.      Sample Plans

Written plans are important to a successful book launch. I have included three author’s plans for their book launch tasks for your review.

Two Bestselling Mystery Authors writing under the name Sparkle Abbey @sparkleabbey. They are in real life Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They have written the bestselling Pet Mystery Series.

Here are our book launch plans:

a.      Contact loyal readers for potential pre-sale reviews
b.      Schedule blog tour
c.       Share book information with reader groups
d.      Share book information with indie bookstores
e.       Schedule Goodreads giveaway
f.       Send invitations to online launch party
g.      Contact Greyhound rescue groups who have assisted in research for the book
h.      Plan social media announcements (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, Pinterest)

Todd Borg is the award-winning, bestselling author of the Owen McKenna Tahoe Mystery series. Here is what Todd had to say about his plan.

So here is my launch timeline.

a.      After the book seems done, get beta reader input
b.      Rewrite accordingly
c.       Hire at least two professional editors
d.      Write compelling Back Copy.
e.       Get a professional book cover designer.
f.       Pick your official publication date enough months in advance so you can get Advance Review Copies mailed out a month before your publication.
g.      Pick your official publication date enough months in advance so you can get Advance Review Copies mailed out a month before your publication.
h.      Prepare your ARC review request letter.
i.        Prepare your email blast, your social media approach, and your snail mail postcard mailing.
j.        Set up book signings
k.      Put together a media kit that touts those signings
l.        Get your book and all of your related info uploaded to Amazon, your cover, your book description, which is your Back Copy.
m.    Prepare a humorous, self-deprecating fifteen minute talk and contact your local libraries
n.      Find other venues where you can sell books and do it.
o.      Get to work on your next book.
p.      Congratulate yourself.

Veteran Author Susan Oleksiw is a bestselling author of the Mellingham series and the Anita Ray mysteries.

Launching a book is almost as much work as writing it, but I have a few established steps.

1. I order updated bookmarks with the cover of the new book. I give these to everyone, and even put them into reply envelopes for bills, etc. I also make sure I have enough business cards. I put cards and bookmarks on every chair at a book event (if there is seating), and hand them out at events like book fairs.

2. I compile a list of reviewers and invite them to review the ARC. I send the ARCs out about three months in advance. I ask colleagues, friends, and professional reviewers to review. I include a letter from the publisher indicating the type of story, etc.

3. I begin setting up events--talks, panels, etc., anything that gets my name out there. 

4. I use social media, so I'll have a few posts on my own blog plus do a few guest blogs. I post on FB and I am learning to use Pinterest, especially since I have wonderful covers.

5. This one is harder, but I recommend it if you can pull it off. I recently sold a short story with the Anita Ray character, my series character, to Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. This will probably be published in the coming year, which will reinforce interest, I hope, in the novel For the Love of Parvati, coming out in May 2014.

6. I use Wattpad to introduce readers to my series characters by posting very short stories for free. I also have posted the opening scene from a longer work, with a link to the site where the reader can buy the whole work.

Marketing Buzz

How it’s time for the good stuff. It’s time to start the buzz. It’s launch time. It’s time to turn on the NET.

International Best-Selling Author Luke Romyn @LukeRomyn writes Mystery & Thrillers, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy novels. Luke starts it off.

At first it was a bit daunting, but now I'm used to it. Once I do my run through and am happy with it, I'll send it off to several proofreaders to pick up the final crumbs, and then format it for both print and ebook. These can sometimes be annoying, but nothing too strenuous. I upload the copies and prepare the great Luke Romyn marketing machine - lots of begging, pleading, and ultimately, weeping.

Author Amy Metz @authoramymetz is an Author of Mystery & Thrillers as well as a blogger and book editor.

I think it's important for authors to try to get a "buzz" going about their book before it launches. About two months before a launch, I send out queries to as many bloggers and reviewers as I can find that fits with my genre. Many don't respond at all, some say flat out no thank you, but some kind souls agree to review the book or to do a feature on their blog. Interviews and excerpts give the reader brief glimpses into a writer's style and their work.

As an author, I know what an invaluable service bloggers provide to authors by helping us promote our work. I try to support authors on my blog in that way and my goal is to feature a blue million books--hence the name A Blue Million Books! In addition to author features, I hope authors will find my page "Marketing for Dummies (and Indies)" ( useful. There are so many free resources out there, authors should take advantage of as many as they can.

1.      Email blast/newsletter

Blast your lists with your book cover and description.

New York Times bestselling author J.A. "Judith" Jance @JAJance. She is best known for the Joanna Brady series and the J. P. Beaumont series.

A week and a half about before the book goes on sale, I write the newsletter announcing the upcoming book, and it is sent to my database (10,000 names amassed over 30 years.)  

The day after the announcement goes out, I'll receive probably 200 to 300 responses. Mostly they are nothing more than thank you, but I scan them all and respond to those requiring responses. (My first sales rep taught me that each personal contact with a reader is worth ten additional readers.)

2.      Paid Promotion

Colin F. Barnes @ColinFBarnes is a Hybrid writer of dark fiction & Technothriller novels. Colin added this in a recent spotlight post.

This is an area I’m still working on. I tried doing a blog tour for Assembly Code and given the amount of work involved for the return, I don’t think it’s effective. It can be good for certain genres where you have blogs with huge amounts of readers (romance particularly), but for me it was a bust…

My next launch will be more structured and ad-supported with the various bargain book newsletters and blogs. They can be really effective, and if your book catches, the Amazon algorithms can kick in and really get it going in those first 30 days when you’re on the ‘Hot New Releases’ list.

3.      Cover use

Dave Folsom @davefolsombooks is a Mystery & Thrillers author based in the Northwest. Dave’s take on covers and the book launch.

At about midway in the writing process I have the cover art finalized in order to use it for marketing.  I might make subtle changes later but mostly it is in close to final copy stage.

I begin adding it to my tweets, Facebook, and other social media pages early and include teasers about the book at least a couple of months prior to my estimated release date.  I also start blogging about it about the same time or even earlier

Two months to six week out, I add it to my webpage along with a short excerpt of the first chapter.  The excerpt is somewhere around 1000 to 1500 words depending on a good place to leave the reader wanting more.

Christopher Meeks @MeeksChris is a Prize winning novelist who writes serious and funny fiction. Chris adds this.

In today’s environment, books with reviews by both customers and critics is the best way to have your book stand out.

4.      Blog plus pictures and the cover

Use your blog to start the marketing. Start way before the actual release date.

Amazon Best Selling Author Lizzy Stevens @LizzyStevens123 writes Paranormal, Romance and Woman's fiction.

I use my blog to post the cover, buy link and blurb and I use twitter to announce the new release and include the buy link with my tweet.

5.      Book tour – blog hop

Book tours and blog hops are becoming popular. The managed and structured approach to the marketing is finding results with some authors and with others, not so much.

Author Connie Flynn @ConnieFlynn is the bestselling award-winning author of many Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal and Romance novels and short stories.

With KNOW WHEN TO RUN I decided to do a book tour. First I put an advanced reading copy up on Kindle to get input and Amazon reviews, and then I hired a book tour company to guide me through my first tour, which lasted two weeks. So far I have written two blogs and completed four interviews and have compiled a giveaway list that includes my books and their various editions that will extend through the entire tour. I'm using a Valentine's Day theme and on the actual holiday I will offer a surprise giveaway.

Author Colin F. Barnes @ColinFBarnes is a Hybrid writer of dark fiction & Technothriller novels. Colin added this.

This is an area I’m still working on. I tried doing a blog tour for Assembly Code and given the amount of work involved for the return, I don’t think it’s effective. It can be good for certain genres where you have blogs with huge amounts of readers (romance particularly), but for me it was a bust…

My next launch will be more structured and ad-supported with the various bargain book newsletters and blogs. They can be really effective, and if your book catches, the Amazon algorithms can kick in and really get it going in those first 30 days when you’re on the ‘Hot New Releases’ list.

6.      Bloggers and promotions

Seeking help from bloggers to promote your new release is a good way to start. You need to form a relationship in advance with the blogger.

7.      Contests

Everyone likes FREE. This is a popular way to promote your works. Ebooks are an easy way to spread your writing around. Contests allow you to gain attention, pass a few free books to your readers and not give your book away free to the world.

Internationally known author of art-related historical fiction Susan Vreeland. She is a New York Times bestselling author of Clara and Mr. Tiffany and more. Susan passes on this valuable information.

1.      First point, a book launch is not a problem to be tackled. For me, it is a joyous planning. I am happy to tell you of several new ideas that I will utilize for the launch of my new book, Lisette's List.

2.      Six months before pub date I announce the title on Facebook (I don't have a Twitter account) and make references to the book's content from time to time when something (like an art museum exhibition) comes to my attention for me to post.

3.      I host a little contest by posting two paintings by painters who appear in the book, and ask Facebook readers to guess the artists. The first person to guess both artists correctly gets a copy of the first chapter.

4.      I host a second contest asking another question relative to the book, for example, I will give a quote (about art in my case), and give away another copy of the first chapter to the first person who identifies who wrote the quote.

5.      Three months before pub date, I will begin posting a line or two from each chapter every week on the same day, avoiding lines that give too much information yet are intriguing.

6.      Random House is encouraging its authors to create a buzz about the revelation of the cover. I am now working with the marketing department to design a "cover reveal," some kind of hoopla to get people curious about the cover. Eight days before the date of the cover release, I will begin a countdown on Facebook, and encourage supporters to do the same. I chose eight days because Lisette's List is my eighth book. The cover reveal will include a blog or blogs that will go live on that date. (James, maybe that's how you can participate, with a blog about Lisette's List or a blog speculating on what the cover might be, the text preceding the cover image on the blog). Another kind of contest or giveaway might be arranged by my publisher.

7.      When the book is available for pre-order, I will notify a limited number of friends (not my whole mailing list of 5000) that they can order it now for delivery on pub date. The first mass mailing will also include this information and the cover.

8.      Even prior to being assigned a publicist, I will tell my local independent bookstore which has hosted my launches in the past the date of release, and will ask that they save the date, pending my publisher's plans.

9.      Giveaways - KDP

      Amazon’s free book program is a strategy that many authors are using. Currently you can list your ebook free for 5 days every 90 days. Readers take advantage of this sometimes big time. Exposure is the goal here.

10.  Sets and bundles

Another relatively new concept is bundling your ebooks into sets. (Always at reduced prices for the novels.) This increases your downloads if the bundle is marketed properly.

Along with this we are seeing the bundling of novels from different authors, usually in the same genre. The power of this concept lies in the combination of individual author’s social media presence.

For more on this marketing method see the blog, Ebook Marketing: Boxed Sets are Gaining Exposure and Sales. The featured bundle in the post was Mystery Reader's Circle - 9 Killer Thrillers bundle deal of the day. The response to this bundle is very impressive.

It’s time to launch that book

The book launch requires homework and devotion. The book has to be ready and you need your information prepared. You need to have a presence on the Internet. You need a list of people to contact. You need a direction or a plan. And after everything is in place, start that marketing buzz.

Author Roger Stelljes @rogerstelljes is the bestselling author of the McRyan Mystery Series. Roger wraps this up.

With each book launch I reassess the process in view of what changes have occurred in the e-book market. Since things are changing so fast what works one year may not work well the next.  Also launching a first book for an author will be ultimately more challenging than launching an additional book in a series.

Two Bestselling Mystery Authors writing under the name Sparkle Abbey @sparkleabbey. They are in real life Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They have written the bestselling Pet Mystery Series. They add this.

Like so many other things in the publishing world, book launches have evolved. The days of a release date, an announcement, and a launch party are no more. For many of us the book launch begins months in advance with getting review copies in the hands of readers/reviewers, getting the word out about pre-sale opportunities, and planning for online launch parties or blog tours. Do these things work?

We're about to find out as we have a new book coming out in April. Fifty Shades of Greyhound is the fifth book in our mystery series and we're hoping to use what we've learned on the past four to have a great launch! Still with the number of books available to readers today, finding those readers who are looking for your type of book is increasingly challenging.

For a complete summary of all the author’s responses access the detail post that accompanies this post: Your Book Launch Study: Detail From Outstanding Authors

Related Articles

David Brin @DavidBrin1 is the award-winning bestselling Author, Scientist and Futurist with such books to his credit as: The Transparent Society, Existence, Earth and The Postman. David Brin provided these references

I can also offer a general site containing advice bits from other top writers. (  

Then there is my advice video!
Many people have found these items extremely helpful.

Also, for remarketing, have a look at the amazing video preview-trailer for Existence, with incredible art by Patrick Farley! See:

Leti Del Mar added this reference.

I have a chapter on this in my book, How ToSelf-Publish: A DIY Approach.

Some sources from the HBS Author’s Spotlight Crew

Matthew Iden - Telling Your Tale
M.R. Mathias - The First Ten Steps
Joanna Penn - How To Market A Book   

eBook Author’s Corners  Related Posts

Follow me:

Or EMAIL at:
Or visit my blog: The eBook Author Corner
Take a look at my Author’s blog: HBS Author’s Spotlight
Or my Mystery blog: HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the Jonathon Stone Mystery Novel: Black Mountain Secrets
NEW RELEASE: Another Jonathon Stone Mystery: Game Of Fire

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  1. Lots of great tips and info indeed

  2. Excellant information, James. You are a great help to other authors.

  3. thanks Pat and Alon. That's my goal.


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  10. Those tips are very helpful. I know a lot of people who think that a computer and a pair of fast hands are all you need to write a book that would sell, but it's really not like that. There is a lot of marketing involve for a successful publication, and I hope more people are aware of that. I still think online advertisement helps a lot, but the traditional way seems to do well in some situations too. Thanks for sharing those methods! All the best!

    Mildred Stephens @ Reputation Local

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  12. Thanks for sharing these ideas with us. You share a lot of things about book marketing services, marketing books Online and author marketing which are very informative for us. It really helps us in marketing to promote our new James Brown book My Father the Godfather- Inside the Godfather" told by the people that were closest to "The Godfather of Soul"

  13. Great information!
    In this era of online marketing, I prefer adding virtual tours in my website for providing more detailed information to the customers/ visitors.

  14. Launching a book requires proper planning and strategy to be successful. No matter how interesting your content is, proper marketing strategies should be implemented to make sure readers will know that your book is already for sale. Those tips will definitely help those who are still planning their book launch in the near future. I hope more writers can have successful launches in the next days, after considering the process stated in here. Thanks for sharing! :)

    Julius Horton @ PolkaDot PR

  15. This is really helpful, James! And if I may add, it’s also important for the authors to highlight their specific strengths or writing styles. Some genres, especially the ones that are currently popular, can be quite competitive nowadays. Thus, it’ll be helpful if they can make a distinction with their work. Not to mention that it'll definitely strengthen their brand image. Thanks for sharing!

    Blanca Hoffman @ Marketing.theProduct

  16. I read your blogs regularly. Your humoristic way is amusing, continue the good work!

  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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