By: James Woosley, owner of Free Agent Press
The magic day finally arrives. Your book is in print and in your hands. You flip through and see the beauty of it. You smell the paper and the ink. You suddenly realize that you are a published author!
I have to say, it’s pretty amazing when you see your book come to life. But a book’s purpose is not to sit in your hands. Remember, you gave it a purpose when you started writing, and it’s time to fulfill that purpose. That means you have to sell it.
Sadly, too many authors believe that simply writing the book will bring them fame and fortune and glory. But putting it on Amazon doesn’t mean it will sell. You have to work to sell it. You have to promote it. And if you’re smart, you’ve spent the last few months getting ready to do just that.
A Book Launch
While your talented editor and book designer were taking your text and making the book amazing, you need to be busy preparing for the big day when it launches into the world. Much like a movie premier, you need to build the hype in advance.
Think about it. Do you just go to the theater and get surprised to find a new Star Wars movie is out? No way! You’ve known about it for months. There are trailers, commercials, and a huge media campaign organized well before anyone gets to see the movie (and often before the movie is even finished!).
You need to do the same for your book, even if the scale is much smaller than Hollywood blockbuster standards.
If you don’t have a big following yet, gather your friends, family, and supporters and form a book launch team. Share details about the book, let them read parts or all of it in advance, and equip them to help you get the word out. Make social media graphics they can share to build anticipation for the launch.
If you do have a following, exploit it! Have a huge book launch team and give them insider access. In exchange, they are helping you get the word out. Use the power of social media and networking to reach thousands and maybe even millions of potential readers.
Depending on your topic, there may be an active community of book bloggers willing to read and review your book before the launch. Some of them have huge audiences and the potential to deliver great first day sales for you.
While you may not be buying Super Bowl commercials, you can still get great results with targeted advertising. Using social media, you can identify people who may be interested in your topic. The more specific you can be, the more focused you can target potential buyers. Your ad dollars can be very limited and still be very effective.
A great way to promote the book and gain early sales is to do a pre-sale event. By offering exclusive pricing and/or bonuses before the book is published, you can generate significant sales. A good pre-sale can even go viral, with each buyer recommending it to others. Look at how other authors do this (traditional or self-published) and emulate what fits for your topic and audience.
Think Long Term
A lot of books sell a huge number of copies in the first few weeks, then virtually disappear from existence. Such is the nature of the business. The market is always looking for something new. But you can be successful with a long-term selling strategy if it fits your market and your book. What you can’t do is expect the book to sell itself. You have to work it. Find ways to promote your book. Actively sell it if you’re a speaker. Get on podcasts, blog about it, and keep talking it up. Keep generating reviews and recommendations.
Beyond that, write more books. Each time you’ll grow your audience so that it’s bigger and more engaged for the next launch. Some books are out for years before they are suddenly discovered by an audience. If your book is good and you’ve made the effort to ensure it was professionally published, it still has a chance.
Writing a good book is hard, and that’s the easy part! Still, it’s worth the effort if you do it right.
This is the final post in a four-part series on writing and publishing by James Woosley, owner of Free Agent Press. James is the author of two books and has helped publish more than 100 books as a designer and publisher.
James Woosley is an underachiever—only because he’s constantly expanding his potential by doing something amazing then immediately striving for more—knowing that his mind, body, and spirit have been stretched to a new level of possibilities.
As a business coach, consultant, publisher, and project manager, James helps people and organizations move ideas from the dreaming and planning stages to full implementation. He sets goals, plans strategically, and makes things happen…for himself and those around him.