Don't Just Write... Sell.
One of the questions we hear the most often is how far in advance do I need to start thinking about book promotion. The polite answer: it’s never too late to get started. The honest answer: as soon as the book idea pops into your head, it’s time to start planning.
Yes, it’s true, most writers want to focus on nothing but the story at hand until the last word is typed. But what is it really costing you? To properly position your book, you’ll need to hire an editor, a cover designer, a proofreader, find reviewers, set up promotion and advertising… get the picture? Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on which side of the conversation you’re on), the good ones are likely booked weeks, and sometimes months, in advance. Maybe you can get squeezed in, but do you want someone rushing through your manuscript just for the sole purpose of saying you hired an editor?
Here’s a cheat sheet to help get you on track with promotion to better position your story and get you the attention it deserves.
Tighten Your Brand
Give your website, logo and/or social media platforms a makeover. Tidy up pages and clean up any dated images or content.
Mood boards are a good way to keep you on track. Record your theme, colors, and fonts to keep your brand consistent across all platforms.
Create a Pinterest board and Spotify playlist for your current project. Set it to private until you’re ready to share with your followers closer to release day.
Set the stage for your new project by setting the tone now.
It’s a Date
It's possible to luck up on an available spot with your favorite editor the week before release, but don't count on it. Ever. Good service providers book weeks and sometimes months in advance.
Start talking to beta readers, editors, proofreaders and reviewers early to get on their calendars. Projects vary, so you also want to make sure you’re all on the same page. Believe it or not, but the editor that did an amazing job on your erotica best seller might not be the one for your paranormal novella. The same goes for everyone else. Ask questions, feel each other out and give yourself time to have options. Your readers will love you for it and your reviews will be the proof.
Don't forget the cover designer, graphics and promo support service providers, too! As a company that offers virtual book promotion, we see the best results with clients who give tour hosts extra time with their stories.
It’s in the Mail
Your favorite social media platform might be hot today, but what about tomorrow? Do you have a way to capture all of your followers and take them with you to the next big thing? If you do, please let us know! In the meantime, save yourself the frustration and your followers by focusing more on your mailing list than your follower list. Don’t worry, the email list will help you grow your follower list.
Many followers believe if they follow you on social media, they will receive all the updates and know everything they need to know about you. This is wrong and you shouldn’t give them a reason to believe otherwise.
Your list is personal. It’s intimate. It can even be exclusive. And its human nature to love all three things. What’s even better? You own the list.
Don’t have one? Do you think your list feels a little light in digits? No worries. This is the time to grow it and you can do it with incentives like giveaways and freebies (free short story or older novel that introduces new readers to your brand).
The next step: commit to a schedule. Communicate with subscribers regularly, whether weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Touching base regardless so it doesn’t feel like you’re only reaching out when you have something for them to buy builds trust in this budding relationship. To make it easier so you can get back to writing, set up a template for your newsletter.
Get Promo Ready
Readers love visuals and Social Media is very visual. Take the time to gather graphics that will halt a finger swipe long enough to garner interest or hire someone to handle the graphics for you.
Once you have all of your images together, including book teasers, trailers, and vlog posts, spend a few hours setting them up in a scheduler. We love using Trello and Planoly to keep us on course. (Trello is how we manage our workflow at Honey Magnolia PR and Planoly helps us set up our Instagram posts.)
Now is the time to start teasing what's to come!
You deserve to sit back and relax on release day (although we’re certain you’re a bundle of nerves and possibly refreshing your sales pages). Just don’t abandon your baby soon after.
Many make the mistake by thinking release day is the end of promoting. We’ve found that book sales often need a boost around the two-week mark (even bestsellers can take a little dip), but why stop there. Create a strategy that helps you maximize sales opportunities weeks, months and even years post-release, including a sales boost blitz campaign.