The D-I-Y book launch with Sarah Hall


Click here to download Sarah’s presentation, or just read on:

Have you finished your heart-breaking work of staggering genius? Or nearly finished it? Or think you maybe at least know where it’s going? Then now’s the time to prepare your d-i-y book launch. Here’s how Sarah suggests we do it:

    1. It might cost money, say around $500. Things you might need to purchase include:
      1. Cover graphics
      2. A website
      3. A blog tour with payed publicity spots
      4. Advertising to grow your audience and your email list…
      5. And an editor – your words deserve good editing!
    2. If you don’t have a good-looking product (book) it won’t sell, so take your book out for a coffee
      1. $25 might buy you a completed cover online
      2. $5 might buy you a great cover image (but you still need a cover designer to create good graphics)
      3. Try using FIVER to get more help for $5, but make sure what you pay for is good quality.
      4. $25 might buy you an expert head-shot (the audience wants to know you’re real)
    3. If you don’t advertise, no one will know your book is out there
      1. Maybe pay to put your book cover advertisement on a books site or blog
        1. Advertising might include more than the book cover.
        2. Try to evoke emotion with a good advertising image.
      2. $10 might place your ad on your facebook page or on twitter.
    4. If people can’t find you, they won’t look for you
      1. Get a website – your name, not your book’s name
      2. Include newsletter signup on your web page (e.g. mailchimp, which is free if your list isn’t too long)
      3. Include a schedule of upcoming releases
      4. Include information “about the author” (and that headshot)
    5. Communicate!
      1. Use the newsletter to communicate with readers. Encourage more people to sign up for it.
      2. Get a newsletter ready to send out on launch day.
      3. While you’re doing that, write some blog posts ready for a blog tour.
      4. Try joining in kindle contests with other authors to get more newsletter signups
      5. More isn’t always better. Target where you get those signups from.
    6. Do a blog tour, but don’t d-i-y – it’s a huge amount of work.
      1. Choose someone who runs tours in your genre. Find them by looking at other book tours to see who’s running them.
        1. Make sure they have hosts that support your genre
        2. Make sure they’re in your price range – low cost is $50-$75, high end could be $100-$300!
        3. Check just what services they will offer
        4. Check which authors they represent
      2. Don’t give away your book before it launches. Maybe give away previous books or short stories during the tour
      3. Do give away ARC copies to people who might post reviews on the release date
        1. Bloggers who like your kind of book
        2. Authors who might give you advertising quotes
      4. Netgalley costs around $300 a year of $75 a book. It can help you get reviews and generate buzz.
    7. Get some publicity spots
      1. Might pay per click, $40 for 65 clicks in a month. Not all clicks turn into sales of course,
      2. Don’t forget traditional media. NPR might do a spot. You have to contact them
      3. Don’t forget to have and use those good graphics to advertise on your site, other sites, facebook, twitter….
    8. Use social Media!
      1. Meet other people. Follow other people. Find your niche.
      2. Facebook ads are around $10 per day
        1. Can be very targeted, e.g. aim at people who read X, listen to Y, go to Z…
      3. Put a quote, a link to your Amazon page, maybe part of the blurb in your ad.
      4. Pay per click might be 14¢ per click, $35 for 261 clicks.
      5. Twitter – retweet every mention of you. Generate followers by retweeting other people too.
    9. Use Amazon
      1. Use that headshot again on your author page.
      2. Find good keywords to go with your title
      3. Repeat the keywords in your blurb and back cover copy
      4. List the keywords with your book, and look for different keywords (e.g. biker as well as motorcycle)
      5. Choose small (<1,000 books) categories so you can be top in your category – moves you up Amazon’s lists. But choose relevant categories too. No good being a top-selling cookbook if you’re trying to sell a novel.
      6. Use to see what books are like your book (but you need some sales first)… or what books are like the book you’ve decided is like your book. (Try typing in something famous – you’ll be intrigued by the result.)
      7. Use to track your sales.
    10. Launch day tips!
      1. Take the day off work
      2. Retweet everything
      3. Thank everyone who tweets for you
      4. Share everything to your facebook page
      5. Remember to send out your newsletter
      6. Anxiously check your sales ranking every five minutes.
    11. Then maintain your sales
      1. Send more newsletters
      2. Build your email list through contests and giveaways
      3. Stay active in your facebook and twitter communities
      4. Create a great team of supporters

Someone asked if it was possible for an author to make a profit after paying for all these resources. Sarah suggested three books might be a break-even point; maybe five would be the point where you’re making a profit. So WRITE MORE and get to the magic five!

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