You can’t make money writing books.
Authors are just starving artists.
Being a full-time writer is just a dream.
I’ve heard all these statements before. Honestly, I used to say many them myself.
Make no mistake. There is some truth in them. Most authors never sell more than a few hundred books in their lifetime.
But is the problem the industry OR the author?
We all know books were meant to be read, not just written. Yet this only happens when they’re written, published, and marketed the right way.
You might be thinking, “Marketing? Ouch!” Or even “Yuck!”
See if you can relate. Have you ever thought…?
• An author’s job is to write, not market.
• I don’t like people who self-promote.
• A good book should stand on its own.
• I don’t have a marketing or publicity budget.
• I don’t know how to market my book.
I used to say these as a way to justify my lack of success. Then after my third traditionally published book went nowhere, I said, “There has to be a secret I'm missing.”
I wanted to go pro with my passion, but I knew the publishing maze was kicking my tail. And with three kids and a wife I wasn't about to leave my day job.
Then in 2010 I discovered a secret. I found out there is a right way and a wrong way to all of this. I turned my my next four books—both fiction and non-fiction— into 18 streams of income that each yielded 6-figure businesses. Shortly after, I started my dream job and I haven't looked back since.
So how did I do it?
As the CEO of a publishing company I’ve personally overseen the unique journey of over 500 authors. These authors range from some who have zero followers to some who’ve earned millions and millions of views on their videos and others who’ve had millions and millions of unique people visit their websites.
Regardless of the size of their following, the most successful authors employ three key strategies. In this article I’ll list them and provide a brief overview.
But if you’d like a more comprehensive perspective you can watch my FREE author training. It breaks down these strategies and several others more in depth.
3 book launch strategies of a successful writer
Like a mentioned above, there are three key strategies that you need to master as a writer. By building on these foundations, you will be more likely to create a successful book launch for your book and build your dream career as a writer.
Build a book launch team
If all the buzz for your book depends upon you then you’re going to burn out. Besides, when you’re the only source spreading the word, it feels kind of forced. The truth is you have friends, fans, and followers ready and willing to help IF you know how to ask.
I’ve been part of dozens of book launch teams and I’ve hosted a few of my own. Here’s a quick list of some best practices:
- Create a facebook group for your book launch team. They need a place for community. I’ve built small teams and big ones. Our most recent team is more than 15,000 members. Quality is much more important than quantity though. I’d rather have 10 committed members than 10,000 just watching the show.
- Build early. Begin building your book launch team about 30 days before your launch party.
- Cast vision. You are chief visionary and your most important role is casting vision. Your team needs to buy into your vision long before they think about buying your book.
- Show up in your launch team everyday. Create a daily post. Many of my authors have followed my suggested daily themes. Mission Monday, Tool Tuesday, Word Wednesday, Thankful Thursday, Facebook Live Friday, Strategic Saturday, Sneak Peek Sunday.
- Invite your book launch team to subscribe to your email list. For all the purposes above and many others, sending your launch team and readers strategic emails makes sense. I recommend using ConvertKit. They are the answer to all your email needs.
- Gift all members a digital copy of your book. Ask them to commit to reading it and posting an honest review on launch day.
Host a book launch party
Your book needs a birthday party.
Experience proves again and again that events drive attention. Look no further than movie releases. Opening weekend makes or breaks a film for years to come.
Producers would never think about nonchalantly leaking their films into the world. Yet, every single day authors inaccurately believe when their book goes live somehow the world will take notice.
However, successful authors take ownership of the outcome by increasing engagement through launch parties.
There are three main types of parties. Each one works well because each serves a different purpose.
- Physical party: This type of party focuses upon the people in the literal room. These parties can be inexpensive. Many authors get their book cover printed on a cake made by a local grocery store.
- Virtual party: This type of party naturally goes global by integrating live stream. Whether you use Facebook live, BeLive, or some other service, virtual parties spread your message and earn you more influence and impact.
- Combo party: This type of party is a combination of both physical and virtual. You host a party in a physical location, but you also live stream portions of the party virtually.
When we launched my young adult sci-fi thriller Elixir Project, we utilized a combo type party. We set a world record for the largest livestream party with 157 satellite cities. You can view the entire party here.
Here are a few best practices for launch parties:
- Always integrate an emcee who guides “the show.” Nobody wants to hear an author self-promote throughout the party. Pick a competent person to highlight you and your book. I provide all my authors a suggested “tic toc.” This written document breaks down the party minute-by-minute so you leave nothing to chance.
- Promo your other products and services naturally by putting them in a prize pool. Everyone who purchases a book gets his or her name entered into the prize pool. Throughout the party pick a name and raffle off one of your prizes. Winners could receive a complimentary coaching session or a ticket to your upcoming retreat or a code for your forthcoming course. These prizes increase book sales and advertise your services.
- Integrate an email sign-up for your party. Again, I recommend using ConvertKit. They are the answer to all your email needs.
Borrow people’s platforms
No matter how big or small your online presence is, you and your book will benefit from increased exposure. As you might already know, the ability to be seen and heard is made possible by something called a platform.
There are three ways to get a platform.
Buy a platform: This takes money. You can buy a platform through ads, promoted posts, sponsorships, etc.
Borrow a platform: This takes creativity. You can borrow a platform through guest posting, media interviews, online summits, etc.
I show my authors how to leverage all three ways to get a platform. But by far, the most effective tactic is borrowing other people’s platforms.
Nothing can compare to influencers that edify you in front of the people who know, like, and trust them. This gives you instant credibility and visibility.
Early in my career I didn’t know how to borrow other people’s platforms. I thought it was all about “the ask” and all about me. Clueless me. I had to learn the hard way.
Eventually, I matured and realized I needed to shift my mindset. Simply put, I had a change of heart.
I realized influencers are tired of being asked to share their platforms. However, you can quickly become an outlier by serving influencers with no strings attached. Often these same influencers repay your kindness by sharing you and your message with their people.
The key is to serve without any expectations of being served. This sets your motives right from the beginning. If influencers later decide on helping you then that’s just a bonus.
After blowing it so many times in the beginning I created a resource for my authors called 10 Reasons Why the Big Fish Don’t Partner with You and How to Change It.
In the training I share best practices I learned over my 15-year publishing career. These tweaks helped me launch my book Day Job to Dream Job with the celebrities from Shawshank Redemption. It also enabled me to do over 100 interviews on TV, radio, blogs, and podcasts.
My clients utilized these best practices to secure big endorsements, speak on global stages, secure TED talks, and get featured on social media accounts with millions of fans and followers.
Why you should start today
There is an old proverb about trees relevant to our conversation about building an audience for your book launch.
The saying goes:
When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago.
When is the second best time to plant a tree? Today.
This is true for you and your author career. The best time to build an audience for your book would have been twenty years ago. However, the second best time is today.
As someone who’s trained over 150,000 authors online, I’ll leave you with one piece of advice.
Start taking your audience building seriously. Start using these three strategies today. If you don’t have an email list, change that reality by taking action today. Don’t let regrets from the past steal away your future.
If there’s anything you need on your author journey, please message us. We’d love to help you achieve all you were created to be.