Becoming an author doesn’t stop when you’ve finished writing your manuscript.  Even if it’s been edited and is now in the hands of your publisher, you can’t rest on your laurels.

Regardless of whether you have a contract with a mainstream publisher or you’re working with an independent publisher, you will need to have a marketing plan.  This plan will have two threads – the book launch and ongoing promotion.

There are plenty of things you can do to make a splash with your book’s entry into the world!  Work needs to start at least 2 months before your publication date to get the best results.

Part 1: The book launch toolkit

This is a process that encourages potential purchasers to buy their copy of your book on launch day.  This is how it works:

  • You’ll need a bonus bundle that you offer to people who register to purchase on launch day. This can be digital documents that they can download, a place on a webinar, a bonus chapter, entry into a draw for something of value (this has included lunch with the author, a place on a valuable training programme, other books, webinars or ecourses and free consultancy services), or anything else that you can assign a monetary value to.  Ideally, this needs to be at least 10 times the cover price of the book.
  • Create a hidden download page, where all your digital bonus documents and information on claiming other bonuses is located. You’ll only send this URL to people who email you their proof of purchase.
  • You’ll need an image of your book cover, preferably in 3D format. Your publisher or graphic designer should be able to provide this.
  • Next step is to create a landing page with a form that captures people’s name and email address. This will outline the entire bonus offer with values and what they can expect if they register.
  • Ideally, set up a book@ email address for all correspondence relating to the launch campaign. This is where your launch day purchasers will email their e-receipt to claim their bonus bundle.
  • You’ll need an email campaign to encourage your existing contacts to sign up to your book launch. Typically, this will feature 8 messages.
  • You’ll also need a set of email autoresponders for those who register, thanking them and then reminding them the day before and on the day (at least three times) to make the purchase.
  • A social media campaign, teasing content, promoting the book launch and offer, linked to your landing page for registration will drive more people to sign up. This could include short videos about the book – and perhaps you opening the first box of books to generate excitement.

You may decide to run a Facebook ad and/or a Google ad to promote your book launch (or for ongoing promotion).  This will need to be created and set to go live at the appropriate time.

Another way to increase sales is to get key contacts to promote your book to their lists too – acting as affiliates.  Possibly, they may want to contribute to the bonus bundle with their own free items of value too.  The ‘carrot’ for these is that they will get access to the list of registrations and also potential leads if they add their own bonus offers.

You might need to provide them with emails to send to their list to encourage registrations.

Bring it to life

On launch day it’s important to have someone monitoring your book@ email to ensure people get a prompt response with the download link for their bonus bundle.  It’s also a good idea to monitor Amazon on launch day to see how your book is doing in your chosen categories.  With good planning and a little luck you should be able to apply that ‘Amazon Best Seller’ flash to your book.

If you’re doing a draw, doing it live on social media is another way to generate interest, although this would not happen on launch day – typically a few days after that.

Part 2: Ongoing promotion

Once the excitement of the launch has passed, it’s easy to forget that there are still people out there who have not yet purchased your book – and would find it of value.  These are ways to increase sales:

  • Have an official ‘launch’ at a bookshop, exhibition, conference or other event and invite people to help you celebrate
  • Ongoing reminders to your list in your regular newsletter
  • Social media posts featuring tips/quotes from the book
  • Feature your book in networking presentations
  • Have the book available back-of-room when you speak at events
  • Ask your local bookshop if they would be interested in you doing a book signing
  • Ask your local Chamber of Commerce, FSB if they’d be interested in you doing a presentation about the book (you may need to be a member for them to consider this)
  • Talk to local companies about a joint venture where they sponsor X copies in exchange for having their branding added to the book.

If you do some of these ongoing activities you’ll give your book a long life.