LESSON TWO: Book Launches and Signings
Good morning everybody! As a reminder, please feel free to ask questions whenever you want.
What can you do before your book’s publication to help make your launch more successful?
· Set up your website/blog and keep it updated with whatever fresh content you’re able to.
· Get on social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter AND THEN actually use these tools to develop relationships. A static Facebook page is not good enough. You must interact with your fans whenever possible. Being on Twitter does you no good if you don’t engage with your followers.
· Find out about influential book reviewers/bloggers and offer to let them review your book or post an interview with you.
· Use your connections and call in favors. On Twitter, for example: re-tweet others and they will re-tweet you. You might have to ask them to, but that’s ok.
· See if you can get someone who is influential in your genre to read your book and give you a blurb to put on your cover.
· Make up your promotional items as soon as you have cover art and start handing them out to everyone you know. Give them extra and ask them to disseminate them for you, too. (see later for ideas for promotional products)
· Ask blogs you like if they’d consider letting you do a guest blog post.
· Offer to swap with an author friend: she puts your information up on Wikipedia, you put up hers.
· Send information about your book’s publication to alumni magazines, etc.
· Set up and distribute your sell sheet: a one page sheet with cover art, all ordering info, back cover copy, cover quotes, reviews and any pertinent bio info. You'll include this with mailings to media, when you give an ARC to a bookseller or even instead of an ARC.
What can you do AT and AFTER the book’s publication to help your sales?
· Do anything above that you haven’t done already.
· Hold a contest – give away your books and other prizes if possible. Make sure you publicize your contest on your Facebook and Twitter and ask people to help you get the word out.
· Try to schedule an all-day event at a website like Coffee Time Romance, Whipped Cream Reviews, or The Romance Studio. But if you do this devote the entire day to it and know you won’t get other stuff done. Try to drum up more visitors through Twitter and any e-mail loops you’re on. If you haven't gotten a comment yet, recruit family and friends to stop by and start up conversation.
· Attend conferences and ask to be on panels or offer to teach an online class.
· Offer your book/your expertise as a prize for a charity auction.
· Ask friends to call the local library system and ask them to order your book.
· If readers send you (via your website) a confirmation that they ordered your book, offer to send back a short free read as a thank-you gift.
· Run a contest on your blog to reward people who bring new readers to you. They must, of course, display some proof.
· Have book club discussion questions on your website and offer to be available to book clubs for phone/in-person discussions.
From Allison Winn Scotch: Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn! No one will do it for you, and if you’re not your own best advocate, who will be? That being said, don’t be annoying about it. Have a sense of humor and be self-deprecating.
Tips for book signings:
· Write your own announcement for the store’s PA system if you can. Give them a couple of versions since they’ll be repeating it.
· Remind the store personnel to make an announcement if it’s been a while. They get busy and might forget. Every half-hour is good for making a new announcement.
· Offer to make the announcements yourself if they’ll let you and you feel comfortable enough to do it. You will show more enthusiasm and it’ll sound more personalized.
· Make a nice name tag for yourself so visitors know who you are.
· Don’t just sit there behind the table waiting for people to approach. Get up and greet people as they enter the store or the area. Have something to hand out – people will usually take it.
· If people show any interest, hand them a book/promo item and tell them to check it out.
· Be willing to sign the promo item if the person doesn’t buy the book itself. Remember – you’re spreading good will!
· If you’re unsure about traffic, invite friends and family to create buzz. However: It is
important to not use these people as a crutch to keep you from talking to new people.
· Leave bookmarks for the store staff to stuff into purchase bags if they are willing.
· Bring candy. People will stop to take some – use that opportunity to greet them and talk to them.
· Get to know the Community Relations Coordinator. They’re the ones who will invite you back/talk you up to management.
· Send a personalized thank you note to whoever you worked w/at the store to set up the signing.
· Send a thank you note to the store’s manager praising whoever help set up the signing.
· Have your book cover made into a little easel sign w/its own easel that you can bring to book signings.
· Encourage attendees to bring their ereaders so they can download the book right there. If they go home they’re far less likely to buy it. You can also ask store staff to make sure one of their computers has someone nearby to assist customers w/buying your book if they don’t have their reader with them.
From Rohit Bhargava: Avoid “the big bang” – doing all your promotion at once right when your book comes out and then fading away and doing nothing after that.