Turns out I’m not alone in trying to navigate a book launch during this pandemic. Not by a long shot. Duh. And since a few of you have reached out asking for tips, I though I’d compiled what I’ve learned so far.
Please keep in mind this list is just what I’ve been looking into for myself and is probably nowhere near complete. If you have ideas I haven’t considered, I hope you’ll share them in the comments below.
Okay, here goes:
1. Personal Emails
Your number one resource is your existing network. You have friends. They have friends. The promotional effort I have found most effective is to reach out, personally, one at a time, to family and friends and simply ask them to buy my book. This is a lot of work. But hey, what else you gunna do?
- make it personal (seriously – 1 person at a time)
- keep it upbeat (aka don’t whine)
- be specific (you have to ask them to buy your book)
- include a link to blurbs or good reviews if you have them
- include a link to where they can buy your book
- ask them to help you spread the word
- if you can afford to, consider offering to buy them a copy (especially if you know they’re strapped for cash)
This last one leads me to:
If you follow the blog, you know I’m currently running a promotion of my book wherein anyone who buys (or has bought my book) can get a copy sent to a friend for free. More details here.
This is not without its cost, but I decided it was worthwhile for two reasons. First, it’s an investment in my sales numbers which is an investment in my future book deals. Second, it is getting the book out into the hands of readers. Which is, ultimately, the main goal here.
You can also host giveaways through Goodreads. The nice thing about that platform is that when someone enters the giveaway for your book the title is automatically added to their “Want To Read” list, which will remind them, even if they don’t win, to pick up your book.
3. Podcast Interviews
There are so many awesome literary podcasts out there. Seriously, just google “literary podcast” or maybe something more specific like “romance podcast” or “mystery novel podcast.” They’re out there. And listenership is up, from what I hear.
But how to get on their radar? How to get invited?
Again, I say, make it personal:
- Do your homework and listen to at least a few episodes.
- Write a personalized email about why you’re a good fit for their show.
- Address that email to the actual host, by name.
- Offer to send them an ARC or galley.
- Include a link to good reviews or blurbs.
- Follow up (with the understanding that they’re probably inundated right now, respectfully keep following up until they say either yes or no)
To get on the Otherppl podcast I wrote Brad an email listing all the reasons I thought we’d have a good conversation. I’ve been a fan for a long time, so I had a pretty extensive list.
4. Partner With A Local Business
I’ve only just started looking into this one, but my thinking is this: there are businesses out there that have a standing client base stuck at home. Maybe they’d like some reading material with their delivery of wine/tacos/toilet paper.
Again, still thinking this one through, but if you can tie your book to say, Mexican food, you could reach out to your local Mexican restaurant and ask them if they would be interested in running a promotional deal wherein customers who order $40 or more get a copy of your book for $4.
Or something. Still working out the details, but I did pitch the idea to a local wine shop here. I’ll let you know how it develops.
This is not sales advice. This is just me saying – stay strong. This will pass. We will get back out into the world and do readings and festivals and all of those fun authorial things.
In the meantime, try a few of these ideas and share with the rest of us if you’ve had any others. We’re all in this together.