- Do your research. Find out if there is a market for your book. Define the target audience. When you start your book marketing, it will be much easier to create the right messaging when you have a clearly defined audience.
- Build your tribe. Your tribe of fans will follow you to see what’s next and refer their friends. Make it easy for people to join your tribe. Include a sign-up for your mailing list on your website in a prominent place. Add a note at the end of your book asking your readers to join your tribe – whether that’s signing up for your mailing list or following you on social media.
- Say yes to every media opportunity. Every opportunity is a step leading to bigger opportunities. Write articles, send out review copies, agree to podcast interviews.
Note: This was originally written for in-person book launch parties. Things have changed and I’ve updated with information in italics for a virtual book launch party.
Time to celebrate the launch of your book! It’s fun and exciting to host a party and invite your friends. This is a big accomplishment. Here are some things to consider to make this a successful book launch party.
Where will the party be? If you can arrange to have it somewhere that is likely to attract more readers, that would be ideal. Consider your local library or local bookstores.
Updated for virtual event: plan a Zoom or Facebook Live party and invite your friends, email list, and share it on social media.
Who is Invited?
The more the merrier! Of course you’re going to invite your family and friends. Don’t forget your business associates. If you’re having the party at a library or bookstore, prepare fliers to be posted at these locations at least a week in advance so the general public can attend. Then post it on social media so a larger audience is aware and invited to come.
Updated for virtual event: now you can invite everyone online!
Refreshments don’t need to be elaborate. But a few treats and drinks will keep people around longer which may mean they are more likely to purchase your book – or additional copies for friends.
Updated for virtual event: invite your attendees to a virtual refreshment. Perhaps post a photo of your favorite drink and invite them to do the same. You could have some fun engagement this way.
Books and Book Signing
Remember to bring enough books. It’s better to have too many than to run out. How will you sign the book? Decide that in advance. And if you’re going to write the buyer’s name, be sure to ask how to spell it.
Updated for virtual event: having physical books and signing them is not an option here. However, you might have some postcards or bookmarks made up, sign them, and run a contest. Winners get a signed postcard or bookmark sent to them.
Tell a story
Keep it brief. You might share a short story about the process of writing your book or about who you dedicated the book to. Remember to thank those who came to the party. Talk to your guests individually. If possible, try to speak to each person who attended to thank them for coming. They will appreciate your personal interest.
Updated for virtual event: here’s one thing that doesn’t change much. You’ll now be doing it on camera instead of in person.
Remember to send thank you notes to anyone who helped with the book launch party and to the venue if you held it at a library or bookstore. Focus on building relationships, rather than selling books, for the most successful book launch. Those relationships may lead to future book sales.
Updated for virtual event: thank everyone during the event who joins you for your virtual book party.
- Social media headers. Change your social media headers, like those on Twitter and your Facebook page, to show your book cover and release date. If it’s available for pre-order, include that information. You can easily create social media headers using Canva.com.
- Book trailers. Create a short video about your book as a book trailer and share on social media. As an example of a book trailer for a nonfiction book, here’s one we created for a client
- Have a fun Q & A event on your Facebook page. Announce the event on social media and then do a live video where you can answer questions about the book.
- Bookmarks and other swag. These are especially fun for a book launch party. Get creative. You can get posters and postcards printed up too.
- Book excerpts. Be sure to share short book excerpts on social media to pique your potential reader’s interest in buying your book.
Remember, for a successful book release you need to start your book promotion even before the book is available for purchase. What are you waiting for? If you’d like to discuss strategies for your book release with a book marketing expert, book a consultation with me.
It takes time and effort to find the right media contacts. Know what a journalist writes about before reaching out to them. If you your book is about managing finances, you don’t want to reach out to the beauty editor of a women’s magazine.
There are several ways to find the right media contacts.
LinkedIn is a great place to find media contacts.
Find media companies and then look at the People section or Employees section to find media persons to connect with. As an example, here’s the People section for the Chicago Tribune.
Visit their LinkedIn profile to learn more about them and see how else you can connect with them. You may find that you have mutual connections or are in some of the same groups. You can now connect with them with a note saying something like, “I see we are both in [NAME OF GROUP] here on LinkedIn. I’d like to connect and learn more about what you do” or “We have several mutual connections and I’d like to add you to my professional network.” Better yet, ask one of those mutual connections for an introduction.
Check their profile section “Contact info”. Often, you’ll find their Twitter handle there or other way to contact them as well. Once you’ve connected, start a dialogue and develop a relationship before pitching to them.
Once you find media contacts on Twitter, create a list and add them to your Twitter list. You’ll be able to quickly find all those contacts in one place. See what they are tweeting about and see if it ties in with your story. You can use the @ symbol and tweet to them to try to get their attention. You may or may not get a response.
Search the internet for media contacts. This can be time consuming and tedious. Be sure to keep a spreadsheet so you don’t have to go search again once you’ve found contact information for media persons.
Search for local area newspapers, radio, TV, etc. In the Contact section of their website you’ll often find a list of editors, media contacts, journalists, etc. Make sure you’re contacting the right person for your topic.
Help A Reporter Out
Sign up for HARO (Help A Reporter Out) as a source. You’ll receive emails with opportunities to respond to requests from journalists on a variety of topics. It’s a marvelous PR opportunity.
Be quick to respond for the best chance of being chosen as a source for a reporter. Several clients have used HARO and been included in round-up posts in various online articles. These articles can be promoted on social media—and it’s a great way to connect with others who write about similar topics that were included in the round-up posts.
Have you wondered when and how to follow up when you’ve sent a media pitch? Here are a few tips on how to follow up.
- Don’t email or call “just checking to see if you got my email…“ Media persons receive hundreds of emails a day and who knows how many phone calls. They don’t need one more cluttering up their inbox or voicemail. If you decide to send a follow up email, forward your original one with something added. You want to provide additional information and not just resend what you’ve already sent. Have you created an infographic to accompany your pitch? You could send that. Perhaps you’ve found another source or two who have agreed to be interviewed on the topic or additional statistics and you can send that additional information along.
- Journalists are very busy, but they also need good stories. If you have a great pitch and want to follow up with a phone call, make sure you have practiced the message you want to leave – because you’ll probably get their voicemail. Write it up and practice it aloud so when you leave the message you sound confident and at ease, and don’t forget anything. Keep it brief.
- You want to build relationships with media persons. So always be respectful of their time. When you do connect with one, especially if they run with your pitch, be sure to thank them for their time. Send a follow up thank you email or if you have their address, send a thank you card in the mail. You’ll stand out and be remembered the next time you contact them.