How to Have a Successful Launch

As a publicist, I get a “bird’s-eye view” so to speak of marketing and sales. Or more like the “fly on the wall” perspective. I spend a great deal of time watching my clients’ sales, listening to bloggers and readers, and gauging marketability. Some clients soar while others trudge up hill, and often, after putting in the same amount of work.

Here’s why:

Authors with a larger following earn more sales.

It’s so much easier to work with a client who’s already been making the cyber-rounds. Especially if they’re writing for the CBA market. There’s numerous reasons for this:

1) They’ve earned name recognition. This is HUGE. If you’re an unknown, you haven’t earned reader trust. For nonfiction, this can easily break a marketing campaign. Evangelical readers are cautious about what material they allow to fill their minds, and rightly so. With so many contradictory messages out there and so many books to choose from, they’d prefer to read works from authors they know and trust.

2) They know how to blog and utilize social media. This isn’t hard, but it’s a learning curve. An important one! Successful authors live on Facebook and Twitter (still the two most effective social media sites, in my opinion) and know how to blog. They know how to make these important tools work for them. As a result, they consistently draw new readers from Google and social media sites.

For example, on my personal website, each day I receive perhaps 20% of my page views from people looking for information via search engines. Stop and think about this for a minute. That’s a 20% increase for the same amount of work. It also guarantees views on the days I don’t post new content. So, in essence, my site continues to work for me even when I don’t.

Facebook brings me an additional 20-30% of my views, and often from posts that have been “reshared”. Again, this is a large increase for the same amount of work. And I don’t just post to my own wall. If I write something applicable to moms, I post to women’s groups. If I write something I believe would benefit writers, I post to writing and reviewing groups. I interact with other readers and writers on FB, and as a result, receive friend invites daily. This is a free and easy way to increase my networking contacts.

**But please, don’t spam! Posting your author page and links to your books on other people’s wall makes you look bad and irritates readers. Not a great way to get sales. When posting a link, make sure it’s of value to the people of the group or site you’re posting to. Keep it *others centered*.

3) They’ve stored a reservoir of blessings.

Again, this is HUGE! Right now I have a client, Fay Lamb, that has spent perhaps a decade pouring into the lives of other authors. She leads a large critique group where she consistently gives more than she receives. She’s mentored numerous writers, encourages others, prays for people. She’s the ACFW secretary. I could go on, but in a nutshell, her life is summed up in one word: servant. As a result, when her debut novel launched, bloggers were anxious to help her succeed. Even those who don’t normally host guest bloggers made exceptions. Why? Because she’d blessed them.

For example, there are a few authors and editors who’ve blessed me in my journey. As a result, I write myself reminders to pop in on their FB wall to see if they’ve written a blog post I can reshare or have a release I can highlight.

4) They are creative thinkers.

Effective marketers keep their readers and blog hosts in mind. They know how to spin a press release, post, interview, to fit the situation. This takes some creative thinking and forethought. Even a highly Christian work can get secular press space, if you know how to write it. When crafting a title, think in terms of sound bites. And remember, newspapers, bloggers, and magazines don’t care about you or your novel. They care about one thing: their readers. What does your article, press release, interview, or blog post offer their readers?

5) They plan ahead.

There’s nothing more frustrating than having a client contact you days before a release. Reviewers often need six months or more to review a book, and quite frankly, reviews can make or break a sale. If a reader happens upon a post, follows the link to Amazon, and sees minimal reviews, they may be hesitant to buy the book. Especially if they don’t know the author. If, however, their are a large number of good reviews, they’ll be more apt to fork over cash.

Many bloggers book months out. In addition, writing guest posts and answering interview questions take time. An author who wants a successful launch will begin working on launch details months in advance. They’ll schedule book launches prior to release date, will invite readers, will ask the press to cover it, and will have press releases ready. A press release really isn’t newsworthy if it’s offered months after a book or novel’s been released.

6) They spend the time necessary

According to a recent post written by best-selling author, Gina Holmes, when she launched Crossing Oceans, she spent up to four hours a DAY on marketing. And it paid off, with long-term benefits.

Some authors spend a certain amount of time each day working on marketing. Others set aside one day per week. They participate in reading groups on Facebook and Goodreads. They post links to Facebook pages like Reviewers Roundup. They visit related blogs and leave fun or insightful comments. They continually build their contact list. They write articles for print media and send press releases and newsletter blurbs out. They pay attention to the interviews and reviews posted on or about other authors, follow the links, and make new connections. Basically, they continually find ways to expand their reach, beginning well before their book releases.

What about you? What are you doing each day to actively increase your reach? Think you don’t have time? In my opinion, creating a marketing base is just as important as writing a great book. Be accessible, be visible, be intentional.

How about if you choose one thing you can do this weekend? And share your thoughts and ideas with us! We’re all learning. Like iron sharpens iron, right?

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About Jennifer Slattery

Novelist and speaker Jennifer Slattery, also writing as Jen Pheobus, uses humor, grace, and truth to inspire God's children to live abundant, Christ-centered lives. She does content editing for Firefly, a southern fiction imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and is a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com; Internet Cafe Devotions; Faith, Friends and Chocolate; and manages the social media for Takin’ it to the Streets, a ministry that serves Omaha’s working poor and homeless. She’s placed in numerous writing contests and her work has appeared in numerous compilations, magazines, and e-zines.

Posted on February 3, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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