By Keely Brooke Keith
My debut novel, The Land Uncharted, was originally signed with a small press. Though they gave a few marketing suggestions, the bulk of the marketing was the author’s responsibility. A few months before my release date, the press disbanded and my contract was cancelled. I read several books on publishing and—with the help of knowledgeable friends—I decided to release the first three books in the Uncharted series myself. Here’s how I prepared for my book launch:
My online platform prior to launch consisted of a Facebook Page, Twitter, and my website. I’m also on Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, Wattpad, Shelfari, LibraryThing, and FictFact, but I posted sparingly on those sites.
I recruited a street team by asking my book-loving friends if they’d be willing to post/tweet about my book release. I made a sign-up using Google Forms and posted it on my website, then put the link on Facebook and several more people signed up. I used Mail Chimp to send my street team publishing updates, give them the first glimpse of the book cover before the reveal, and make sure they had all my social media links.
I had a book promoter set up a cover reveal, and I hosted a scavenger hunt on Facebook on the cover reveal day. I organized a blog tour. I mentioned the book release on my social and book media sites. I submitted my book to reviewers. I got my book listed on every clean book and Christian fiction list I could find. I set up giveaways on Goodreads, LibraryThing, and my Facebook page. Two weeks before the launch, I started a Thunderclap campaign. I also sent an email announcement about the book release, including cover image, blurb, and buy links.
We all define success differently, and my launch was quite successful to me!
So many authors get disappointed after their book release because they thought the launch meant quitting their day job. It doesn’t. I determined from the outset not to define my success by sales figures. I had a few non-sales related goals in mind and I met those goals. Everything else has been a cherry on top, including hitting an Amazon Best Seller list!
If you’re signed: don’t expect your publisher to do all the marketing. Get involved. If you’re indie: Don’t rush a book to market. Hire professionals to do the things best left to professionals (editing and cover design, especially). Learn about metadata and make sure your author name on all your social media, website, etc. is the same as your author name on your book. Set a firm launch date and stick to it no matter how excited you get or how easy it is to hit ‘publish’ on Smashwords or KDP or whatever. And no matter how you are published: always try to promote other authors more than you promote yourself.
Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely Brooke Keith was a tree-climbing, baseball-loving ‘80s kid. She grew up in a family who frequently relocated. By graduation, Keely lived in 8 states and attended 14 schools before settling in Tennessee. Keely is a bass guitarist and plays on worship teams and for Christian artists. When she isn’t writing stories or playing bass, Keely enjoys having coffee with friends, preparing homeschool lessons, and collecting antique textbooks. Keely resides on a hilltop south of Nashville with her husband, Marty, and their daughter.
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