So you have your book ready to publish (congrats!). Your next step should entail preparing for a book launch. Pre-COVID-19, that looked like holding an event at your local library or bookstore. Today, we’ve lost a handful of in-person activities – but don’t fret. You can still make a splash around your launch with digital activities like social media, and a successful one at that. I go over seven tips below.
A quick note about digital publishing:
Since the pandemic, people have drastically shifted to digital means. By meeting this new traffic of readers online, indie authors boosted their sales by 69% via PublishDrive. This trend is apparent everywhere; digital libraries and subscription platforms more than doubled in growth. It’s a swell time to launch your book digitally.
1. Freshen up your social media accounts
With digital being the norm, think of social media as a prerequisite for your author brand. This write-up by author Laura Burton explains her social media marketing success. It's a nice intro into why people use social media and how you can get their attention.
Before your launch, identify which channels you want to run (or freshen up). If starting from zero, I suggest choosing three to five channels to focus on. Standard platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Author-specific platforms include Goodreads and Amazon’s author page.
By freshening up your accounts, I mean getting active again. If you’ve been maintaining a social presence, great! If not, start by updating your profile pictures and descriptions. Start posting lightly about yourself too, which leads to the next point –
2. Post engaging content
Don’t be shy to share a bit of personal information. As author Laura Burton shared, “post about YOU and how you’re feeling . . . let people connect to you.” Try writing about any challenges you’ve faced with your book process. Are there any achievements you’re proud of? What do you wish for readers to gain from your story?
Engage by asking. If you’re in the middle of finalizing your book cover and title, ask people for their opinions. Offer book page samples and ask for reviews (an author’s #1 prio). Run a contest by asking your audience to tag friends and family who may like your story. Book marketing expert Ricci Wolman said, “sometimes when you’re stuck, asking your audience for help can be a marketing strategy.”
Engage by giving. Comment on posts; help others with your knowledge and experience. Re-share posts by published authors or blog posts by book bloggers. These organic marketing efforts can lead to new connections and friendly swaps for reviews, book promotions, and more.
Also, post different types of content such as memes, gifts, photos, and videos showcasing quotes from your book – get creative.
3. Set your book for pre-order
This is a strategy every indie should do before publishing. With pre-orders, shoot up the sales count on the first day of release. This increases the chance to rank your book higher in store search engines and land in bestseller charts.
With PublishDrive, set up a pre-order for up to one year on major retailers like Amazon. You don’t need to have your final book cover or content until the day before your release. That’s an entire year to collect orders, build hype, and gain credibility.
After setting your pre-order period, plan your social media activities around that. Share the store link(s) in posts. Pin one of those posts to appear at the top of your social pages (you can do this on platforms like Facebook and Twitter).
With Instagram, add the link to your profile’s bio section. Change your profile pictures to branded ones about your upcoming book, then add the link in the captions. Make your pre-order link visible and easy to find.
4. Create a plan and automate
Compile your content ideas into a single document. Then, get organized by sticking to a schedule. You can use a calendar like this excel template (download for free under “file”). Plan posts on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. You only need a couple of hours to draft a handful of posts for the new week.
Additionally, dedicate just 20 minutes a day for activities like sharing posts or responding to direct messages.
5. Have a set of creatives ready
You want to get the attention of your audience with not only words but visual graphics. I’d even suggest having every post linked with some kind of creative (whether a photo, meme, or a link to a song).
To make your book launch special, create a set of professional and on-brand graphics for announcing your new book. Think of yourself as an official business with a new product (you are!). Presentation is everything. Prepare branded templates to use across social media platforms and throughout your launch period. Here’s an example:
Hire a graphic designer on Upwork or Fiver to design a set of templates for you. Or use Canva, a free tool that’s amazing for design work (no design skills needed).
6. Join online groups
There are several social networking sites to join for making new connections. Check this list of Reddit groups (be aware of posting protocols). Check this list of Facebook groups for promoting your book. And check this list for LinkedIn groups. Feel free to join PublishDrive’s group for getting in touch with other indies.
Go through the lists shared above, google for more, and compile the ones to join in an excel sheet. Use the excel sheet to record where and when you post about your book. This not only helps you stay organized but ensures you don’t spam a group (set up a rule like posting twice about your book per month per group). Pair up or gather a group of authors willing to swap likes and comments. This helps boost credibility and relevance in newsfeeds.
7. Organize a book launch party
Episodic content like live videos is a great way to engage your target audience. Throw a virtual launch party on Facebook live, Instagram live, Reddit live, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. The options are endless. Unlike an in-person event, you can conduct a rather cost-free presentation or conversation from the comforts of your home.
Some pointers for holding a live event:
- Figure out the best day and time for your audience. Check your channel’s demographics to see when they’re most active.
- Schedule your live in advance and use the link to promote it.
- Gather questions to answer leading up to the event.
- Rehearse your live at least once (have a rough outline).
- During your live, ask your audience to subscribe or follow.
- Post a follow-up thank you after your event.
Most importantly, be proud and enjoy! You’ve already achieved the most important part: completing your manuscript. 🎉
You can also tell PublishDrive about your book launch. The team is regularly sharing about indies on social media. And don’t forget to set up a pre-order with PublishDrive. It’s free to get started and publish in thousands of stores: