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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Orchestrating a Successful Book Release


Today's post is by fellow author and blogger, Jamie DeBree.

Jamie's author website is here.

A full-time webmistress by day, Jamie writes steamy, action-packed romantic suspense late into the night. She resides in Billings, MT with her husband and two over-sized lap dogs. Here are her tips on Orchestrating a Successful Book Release. I think you'll be impressed with her organization! Take it away, Jamie.
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When John asked me if I’d like to do this post, I hesitated. I was in the midst of frantic last-minute chaos surrounding the release of my second book, and I felt, as most relatively new authors probably do, that I was doing it “all wrong”. I sometimes need to remind myself that there really isn’t a “wrong” way to market a book – there are things that work, and things that don’t…and the only way to figure out what will work for you and a particular book is to experiment. I’m still learning and experimenting with different marketing methods, but hopefully this will help those just starting out. Note that I don’t actively market locally in deference to my day job, so I do my promotion primarily online.

What Is Success?

First, let me define what a successful book release means to me. It may mean something different to you, but for me, I have only two goals for an actual release date:

  1. To get the word out about my latest book.
  2. To sell more copies of the new book on release day than I did for the previous book launch.

Number one, of course, is to tell people about my book. One day is not nearly enough time to spread the word around, and from what I’ve seen, it’s far more effective to have other people spreading the word than doing it yourself. But in order for others to want to talk about your book, you have to make *them* excited about it too. My philosophy is to market my books to my immediate social circles first, in the hopes that come release day, they will spread the word to their networks. And that means starting to market well before the book is due to come out.

When/Where To Start

Here’s the basic breakdown of what I did to lay the foundation for releasing Desert Heat.

Six Months Ahead

- Blurb for Desert Heat in the back of my first book.

- Talked about the revision process for Desert Heat (DH) on social media as I was going through it.

Three Months Ahead

- Talked up the final editing process for DH

- Started sharing small excerpts via newsletter & blog

- Announced a free sample & giveaway opportunities to come in Dec.

Two Months Ahead

- Circulated first three chapters of DH free on web sites & through social media

- Offered a three-week giveaway on Goodreads for 8 advance reader copies of DH

Six Weeks Ahead

- Set a firm release date of January 21, 2011

- Started more twitter marketing of my first book, as well as the sample chapters of DH

- Shared progress reports on the final cover art & formatting progress via social media

- Traded business cards & bookmarks with another author to mail out with print copies

Three Weeks Ahead

- Sent out ARC’s for potential review to GR winners and friends

- Shared short excerpts & progress reports via social media

- Kept promoting both books via social media

- Traded back-of-the-book blurbs for DH with an author friend

One Week to Release

- Announced the uploads of electronic files

- Started separate contests for Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and my blog for signed copies of DH (to last all week)

- Promoted my books along with others through social media outlets at least once daily

The Big Day

From what I’ve seen watching other authors, gimmicks, expensive contest prizes, and multi-media don’t really have much of an impact on sales for release day (and whether they have long-term sales impact is debatable). My strategy is to keep it simple – a blog post announcing the release populated through all social networks to be shared by those in your network. I post the cover, links to where people can buy the book, and a nice long excerpt that isn’t included in any of the sample chapters online. I also post individual links for kindle, nook & paperback versions throughout the day on various networks, and deal with any issues that pop up (like formatting that always seems to go awry no matter how many times I go over it before posting). I considered posting a press release on my business site, but ran out of time – I may try that for the next launch.

You may be wondering why, if everything was so organized I was in a frantic state just before the release. Part of it is that unlike a lot of writers, I don’t stop writing just because I have a book coming out, so the release workload is added to my normal schedule. I also tend to butt right up against deadlines (always have), so my natural inclinations work against me there. If you avoid those two things, your book launch will probably be much calmer than mine.

I have more ideas to wade through that I may implement for my next novel release around July/August this year, as well as for a few short story releases under a pen name between now and then. What’s good for one may not work for the other, so I plan to do a lot more experimentation along the way. I think that’s really the key to orchestrating a successful book release – experimentation and being open to new ideas.

For a more detailed report on the actual release day for Desert Heat, please visit my publishing/marketing blog, Beyond the Words. http://bookbiz.jamiedebree.com/2011/01/27/post-release-report-for-desert-heat.aspx

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Thanks for sharing your expertise, Jamie. I can tell that you have put considerable thought into this process. I know that, personally, I
have learned a lot today.

If you have comments on Jamie's post, she will be checking in periodically and may be able to respond. So feel free.

All the best!

John

9 comments:

  1. Hey, those are some good tips! I need to keep them in mind for later down the road when I get my book done, polished, and hunting down an agent who will say, YES! I like to plan ahead as much as I can, but procrastination has always been my closest and dearest friend! Definitely learned something today. Thank you very much for doing this post! -_^


    Rain

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  2. Thanks Rain. :-) I hope some of these do help you down the road, but you should know that some may not apply to a traditional book release due to publisher restrictions - you'll need to be creative in tweaking them to fit. Just something to keep in mind.

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  3. That's great how you have a schedule worked out. I suspect I'll get more organised as I release more books. My first book is being handled by a publisher, so that does change some things, because a few things are out of my control. Not true for book #2, so I'll definitely be trying out some of your ideas!

    Thanks for sharing your methods!

    India Drummond

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  4. You're welcome, India. I was far more organized this time than last, and suspect that next time will be better yet. It's just like anything, really...practice makes perfect. ;-)

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  5. Excellent post. I'm learning a bit late how important book buzz is. :) Six months out... wow! Thanks for the run down.

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  6. Great advice, Jamie. I've done some of this, but I only decided to "go indie" in October or so... I'm playing catch up a little. Still, I think I've hyped "Ravenmarked" as much as possible. We'll see what Tuesday brings... :)

    Thanks for this post!

    Amy

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  7. Don't feel bad Reena...I had no clue what I was doing with my first book, but the beauty of it all is you can always catch up and learn as you go. Missed it on the last release? Catch it on the next. :-)

    I hear you there, Amy...there comes a point when you just sort of have to sit back and say, "I've done what I can, now let's see what happens." I hope your book launch goes spectacularly well - let me know if there's anything I can do!

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  8. This is awesome info!

    Looks I need to get going on promo for my next due out in April!

    WRP

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