Writing a book is an exhausting process. No matter how you slice it, writing an entire book takes it out of you. And then, with a big sigh of relief you finally finished your manuscript.
Then there was the edit, re-read, edit, re-read, stared at the screen for countless hours, and edit again until your eyes start to bulge.
At last, with a beautiful book cover in place, a title you agonized over for weeks, and a book description with tight sales copy, you finally hit publish.
Let the royalties flow!
Except they don’t…
You hear nothing but crickets and over the course of a few days not even your mother has hit the “buy now” button. You think “Why isn’t anyone buying my book? Is it not good enough? Am I a terrible writer? Should I give up forever?"
Of course not. It's just that you didn't launch your book. You didn't ceremoniously rocket it out into the world so that everyone noticed it.
It's not too late! Here's what you need to know:
Step #1: The First Action Step: Get Book Reviews
If your book has one or two reviews, great! If not, getting more reviews needs to be your priority. No one will buy a book that has zero social proof in the form of reviews.
How do you do this?
Simple: email outreach. Here is a quick guide on how to do this, complete with an email script you can send out to potential reviewers:
1) Find reviewers that reviewed books like yours on Amazon. Find their Amazon profile page by clicking on their name on the review and checking for an email listing.
2) If they don’t have an email listed, move on to the next one. If an email is present, add it to a spreadsheet for easy tracking.
3) Once you have a good size list, send each person an email like this:
I noticed you did a review for (title of book they reviewed) and I was wondering if you would like to take a peek at my book that I just launched?
(Give them the title and a brief synopsis of your book)
Here is a link to the book’s page so you can check it out for yourself.
If you’re interested, reply to this email and I will send you a free copy of the book in whatever format works for you (PDF, Mobi, EPUB).
Thanks so much for your time,
4) Once you get responses send those folks a copy of your book.
5) Follow up with those that agree to read within about a week, but be mindful that it might take them longer than that to read your book. You can explain the urgency of your request, but be careful not to sound desperate.
6) Thank those who put up a review for you.
Make this review gathering process a priority for your book to garner momentum.
As a bonus: If you feel comfortable, ask those that give a positive review to share the book for you.
Step #2: Schedule Promotions for Your Book
It’s not too late to schedule a few promotions for your book. Promo sites are not the end all be all of book marketing by any means, but they can be a good means of gathering momentum, especially if you are a new author.
These promo sites send book suggestion emails to their audience prompting them to buy your book. These lists are curated towards specific genres and for a fee they will send an email on behalf of your book.
Here are some of the best promo sites out there:
1) BookBub: Competitive, but worth a try to get in with them.
2) BuckBooks: Regarded as one of the best book promo sites that isn’t impossible to get into.
3) Robin Reads: Competitive to enter, but worth it if you can get past the gatekeeper.
4) Book Gorilla: You must book in advance so not great for getting your book out there NOW, but still a good service.
5) Book Runes: A newer service, but less expensive than its counterparts.
6) Bk Knights: A Fiverr Gig, but still regarded as a good promo by many author groups.
Get your book into these promos as quickly as possible to maximize your book’s early potential.
Step #3: Use Your Current Platforms: Be Everywhere
While it’s true you don’t need an author platform to publish your book, it’s a good idea to make sure you have exhausted the following options for your book’s debut:
1) Did you email your list announcing your book?
2) Did you send out a message on Facebook, Twitter, etc.? It’s a good idea to go back through all of your posts from the past few months that you posted about your book and reach out to each person who interacted with you. Send them a private message letting them know the book is out. You might just get a few extra sales this way.
3) Did you run a giveaway for your print book on Goodreads?
4) Have you reached out to other authors? If it is a good fit for their audience, they may consider sharing your book.
5) Book Trailer? Video about your book? This can be as simple as waving a print copy of your book in front of the camera and letting your followers know the book is out.
These options are not exhaustive, but make sure you have fully tapped your own resources.
Step #4: Last but Not Least, Keep Writing
Don’t let the success or failure of your book launch make or break your author career. Keep on writing and get yourself out there.
Continue to update your blog, consider joining Medium, and above all start your next book.
One of the best things you can do to market your books is to write more of them. Don’t get so stuck on the launch and marketing process you don’t start the next book.
More books means more launch practice. Practice makes perfect, but don’t let up. Keep the foot on the gas.
Good luck as you carry out these emergency launch steps, and thanks for reading.