The Most Important Book Release Marketing Secret

by Karen Sargent

When I signed my first publishing contract, I was elated…and petrified. My forever dream of seeing my name on a book cover was coming true!

What could be more exciting for a wanna-be author? The answer is easy. Nothing!

And what could be more terrifying? That answer is easy, too. What if no one buys my book? After all, why would they? I’m an invisible, no-name, insignificant author.

Then, two weeks after I signed my contract, I accidentally discovered the most important book marketing secret. I’m going to share it with you, but before I do, I must ask a few questions.

Let’s pretend your new book releases tomorrow. Who will buy it? Think of five people who will—without a doubt—pay money to read your book. Write down their names, or at least say their names aloud. This is important, so take a few seconds. I’ll wait…

(Don’t read on until you have your list!)

Now that you’ve identified your five people, let’s see who they are.

Is your mom on the list? How about your dad? Cross them off.

Did Grandma and Grandpa make the list? An aunt or an uncle? Cross them off, too.

How about your brother or sister or son or daughter or cousin? Yep. They have to go. In fact, let’s remove anyone related to you.

Mark off your best friend, your neighbor, and your co-worker. Delete anyone in your church or your writing group or your community.

Is anyone left? Do they know you by your first name? Then take them off the list, too.

And now your list is blank. But don’t worry. We’re getting to the good stuff.

Why are you certain those five people will purchase your new release? What is the common denominator?

Those people care about you. They have a connection with you, and they’d be happy to buy your book—even if it’s a bad book.

So here’s the important secret. Book marketing is not about selling books. It’s about building a relationship. Remember the famous line from the movie Field of Dreams? “If you build it, they will come.” If you build a relationship with readers, book sales will come. It’s a 100% guaranteed book marketing strategy. Here’s how I know.

When it was time to query agents, my online presence was lacking. I felt unqualified to start an author website or a writing blog. But, I had two decades of mom experience, and the target audience for my book included moms, so I started a mom blog instead.

By the time I signed my book contract, I’d been blogging for three months and had about 100 followers (who had no idea I had written a book). I couldn’t wait to share my news, so I made a video and posted it to my blog.

My blog followers went CRAZY! By the next day, the video had 1,500 views, my blog followers tripled, and I couldn’t keep up with Facebook friend requests.

What if I hadn’t started that mom blog three months before my contract offer? Who would have cared that a publisher wanted my book? (My mom, my husband, my best friend…) Instead, my publishing journey was crowded with friends who couldn’t wait for Waiting for Butterflies.

There’s more. I revealed my book cover the same day my book was available for pre-order on Amazon, and guess what? More CRAZY. That day is still my second highest book sale day. Once the book released, Facebook friends posted pictures with their copy of Butterflies, along with their reactions once they finished reading, and I hadn’t even asked them to! With each post, I watched Amazon sales increase.

Relationship. If you build it, sales will come. So how do you build it?

Obviously, my Mom blog was a serendipitous beginning (thanks to my severe case of imposter syndrome) that turned out to be a smart accident. If you’re thinking about starting a writing blog or a book review blog, is there a different approach that would target your audience more directly?

Blogging isn’t the only way to build relationships. I cherish the friends I’ve made by interacting on others’ websites, in Facebook groups, and on book launch teams. So if you’re in the habit of stalking those communities, introduce yourself. We’ve been waiting for you!

If building relationships is the most important secret about book marketing, here’s the most important secret about how to do it. You must be genuine. If you have an ulterior motive, it will show.

A rewarding relationship with readers is built just like every other meaningful relationship you have: Give more than is expected. Give without expecting anything in return. When the relationship comes first, book sales follow.

Click to Tweet: “Give without expecting anything in return. When relationship comes first, book sales follow.” ~ Karen Sargent @Inspired Prompt #writetip #marketing

Writing Prompt: Bree didn’t hear him walk up behind her, but she knew he was there.


Karen Sargent is an award-winning author whose debut novel, WAITING FOR BUTTERFLIES, was the 2017 IAN Book of the Year. She writes “stories that stir the soul” with characters whose imperfect faith collides with real-life conflicts. She also blogs at The MOM Journey, where moms aren’t perfect and that’s perfectly okay. Her writing has been featured in Guidepost’s Angels on Earth magazine and Chicken Soup for the Soul, as well as online at Writer’s Digest. A newly retired English teacher, Karen gets her “teaching fix” by coaching and encouraging new writers and presenting workshops at writer’s guilds and conferences. She is a member of ACFW, WFWA, the Missouri Writers’ Guild, and the SEMO Writers’ Guild. Visit her at KarenSargentBooks.com.


Waiting for Butterflies

Longing for her family after her sudden death, Maggie becomes a lingering spirit and returns home where she helplessly witnesses her family’s downward spiral in the aftermath of her passing. Her husband is haunted by past mistakes and struggles to redeem himself. Her teenage daughter silently drowns in her own guilt, secretly believing she caused her mother’s death. Only her five-year-old, full of innocence, can sense her presence. Although limited by their grief and lack of faith, Maggie is determined to keep a sacred promise and save her family before her second chance runs out. A tender portrait of a mother whose love reaches beyond possible, Waiting for Butterflies will embrace your heart and not let go.

LINKS:
Website: http://www.karensargentbooks.com
Blog: http://www.karensargentbooks.com/blog/
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/KarenSargentAuthor
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KarenSargentBks

Blog Tours

by Harriet Michael

Sounds exciting, right? But what exactly are blog tours and how are they helpful to a writer?

What is a blog tour?

A blog tour is a collection of blogs that agree to write a post about you or information (often about your new book.) This usually happens in a set amount of time, like a week or two with each blog appearance scheduled for a different day. Ideally, you or your new book will be the focus of a blog post every day or every few days for 10-14 days. Often, bloggers willing to participate in blog tours agree to read your book and also post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, or some other site.

How is a blog tour beneficial?

The main benefit of a blog tour is online exposure, though a secondary benefit is attaining those much desired, hard to come by reviews of your book. The effect of blog tours on book sales is minimal but to me, the reviews are worth their weight in gold. Blog tours are often utilized as part of a book launch when an author has a new book, but older books can also benefit from tours.

Arranging a Blog Tour

So, this all sounds interesting, how do you get your book into a tour? There are many options available. If you do an internet search you may find organized tours that you can participate in. Or you might want to arrange a tour of your own by asking blogger friends if they would be willing to spotlight your book. Organized tours usually cost to participate in and I strongly suggest if you arrange your own blog tour that you offer some gift of gratitude to your blogger friends who agree to spotlight you—at the very least a free e-book copy to the blogger. This makes it easier for her to also review your book.

My Experience

I have participated in blog tours through Celebrate Lit. They are an organized tour where bloggers agree to participate. Fellow Inspired Prompt contributor, Shirley Crowder is a participating blogger with Celebrate Lit. I enjoyed my blog tour experience. The exposure was nice and the Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble reviews priceless! It did have a cost, though. My publisher was able to get a discounted price and I was able to split the cost because my book had a co-writer. Given all of that, I felt it was well worth it but if I’d had to bear the whole cost myself, I probably would have tried to arrange my own blog tour rather than go the organized route.

Writing Prompt: Write a brief (1-2 paragraph) summary of a book you would like to have spotlighted on a blog tour.

Click-to-Tweet: The main benefit of a blog tour is online exposure, though a secondary benefit is attaining those much desired, hard to come by reviews of your book.

Five Strategies to a Successful Launch Team

A launch team can be a great asset for an author. They provide the author with early reviews, a way of spreading the word about his book to a variety of social circles, and they give the author more leverage on social media. They are his peeps.

Launch teams are a must.

Great launch teams.

Great launch teams shout from the mountain tops.

But what happens when an author is unclear about his goals for the launch? Well, things can get messy quick. Instead of the launch team being a group of positive supporters, they can become another obstacle for the author to overcome.

In order to avoid a break down in launch team etiquette, here are five strategies to put into place before the launch team ever gets started.

  • Make a list of supporters

Make a list of potential Launch Team members who you think will follow through on their commitment to you and who are enthusiastic and positive about your work. This list doesn’t have to be long. It is better to go for quality over quantity. You want those on your list to include friends and family who are cheering for your success and super fans who have been following your writing career.

You may also want to think of any influencers you may know, or people located in other parts of the country or the world. This will automatically add new social circles to your launch and broaden your reach to potential readers.

  • Set your Goals

Before you contact anyone on your list, sit down and set some clear goals for your team. What is it that you need your team to do?

Is your focus on getting them to leave reviews, or do you want them to concentrate more on their social media contacts? Or is your focus more on handing out swag and word of mouth marketing? Whatever your focus is, be sure to communicate it concisely to your team.

  •  Set up social media copy

Since you are enlisting the help of others, you want to make it as easy as possible for them. So, you need to provide the social media copy for your launch team. This will entail both memes with your book cover on it and interesting pictures that play on some aspect of the story. This gives your launch team a variety of choices and keeps the interest of their social media friends from waning.

You will also want to provide the copy to go along with the pictures. Use a quote from one of your characters or vibrant description of a place in your book. Think outside the box on this one.

  • Make a calendar

To keep everyone on the same page, use your goals to create a calendar of events. When does the book need to be read by? Have that on the calendar. When should the launch team post reviews? Again, have that on a calendar. By putting everything in one place, you not only keep everyone in step, but it acts as a reminder of what should be happening and when.

The less your team members have to plan and do for themselves, the more likely they are to follow through and help you spread the word. You want to make it as fun and easy as possible for your people.

Say thank you to your launch team.

Always say Thank You. It means so much.

  • Plan to say “Thank You”

Be sure to include in your planning a way to say thank you to your team. If everyone does what is asked, they will have given you many hours of their time and lots of their energy.

So, work into your calendar of events, some giveaways for your team. Make them unique and special. Maybe a tee-shirt with a cool launch team name on it like “The Dream Team” or maybe a mug that says, “llama tell you about my Launch Team”. Be creative but make it something meaningful to your people.

Launch teams are a valuable set of people who can help an author achieve success. These strategies should help to pave the road to a happy partnership in this adventure of writing. If used wisely, launch team members can become an author’s number one source of encouragement and information.

Click-to-Tweet: #HowTo #BookLaunch – A launch team can provide the author with early reviews, a way of spreading the word about his book to a variety of social circles, and they give the author more leverage on social media.

Prompt: Jan sat her dinning room table with the pen and paper in her hand. Who was she going to ask to be on her launch team? She hated to impose, but …

Bio head shot for Inspiration Blog - 2017Bonita Y. McCoy hails from the Great State of Alabama where she lives on a five-acre farm with two cows, two dogs, two cats, and one husband who she’s had for over thirty years. She is a mother to three grown sons and two beautiful daughters-in-law, one who joined the family from Japan. She loves God, and she loves to write. Her blog, articles, and novels are an expression of both these passions.

Drop by and visit her Facebook Author’s Page or Instagram page or visit her website bonitaymccoy.com where you can find her books, blog, and all the other things she might be doing.

No Room In His Heart  NoRoomInHisHeart_Final_ebook

On Amazon

Truth Be Told     TruthBeTold_Cover_rev7-19_ebook

On Amazon 

Marketing Ideas for Your Book Release

By Jennifer Hallmark

June 17th, 2019.

The time had arrived. My debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, would be released into the world. A book baby that was years in the making. Was I totally prepared for the marketing that would follow?

Uh, no.

Now before you say anything negative, I had prepared somewhat. But when it’s a brand-new, never-done-before, kind of something, preparation is scattered at best.

What do I mean?

Marketing seems to change every day. One day, an idea may help, the next day, it may not. I thought I’d share five resources/ideas I tried and my thoughts on how they helped me.

(1) Blog tour-I started with a two-week blog tour on release day, then two months later had a week-long review tour set up by Paige Boggs. I’m also planning a one-week tour the first week of December to hopefully add Christmas sales.

  • My thoughts: It helped my sales somewhat, but being on seventeen blogs in fourteen days was too many. I survived, but emerged worn out. The review tour was helpful in that it reached a lot of different people.

(2) Facebook party-I shared a Facebook party (set up by Paige Boggs) with another Lighthouse author Hope Bolinger a week after the release. Hope and I both enjoyed it and I sold several books, mostly e-books. Plus made some new friends…

  • My thoughts: I would definitely do this again.  It was a high-energy, fun party. And sharing it with Hope made it even more fun…

(3) Jessie’s Hope Book Launch Celebration-I held a celebration at our church fellowship hall and invited all my friends and family to share the joy with me.

  • My thoughts: I really had a blast. Over fifty people dropped by, and I sold quite a few paperback books. Worth every penny I spent on it for the encouragement I received that day.

(4) Book signings and speaking engagements-I had a library book signing, spoke at two book clubs, and addressed a women’s church group. I also had a book signing at Coldwater Books during the Helen Keller Festival. I have another bookstore signing planned in a few weeks.

  • My thoughts: Speaking is nerve-wracking, but I made it through okay. I sold over forty books at these events and it was a good experience.

(5) Ads-I purchased Book Bub ads and Facebook ads. I also tried Goodreads ads.

  • My thoughts: I had a lot of looks on Book Bub and really moved my book when it was offered for free for a week. I would have done better if I’d had another book to sell with it. I had several clicks on my ad on Facebook and sold a few. Goodreads had a lot of views, but no clicks. They’re in the process of redoing their ads so maybe it will be for the better. I changed my ad often as an experiment and moved more books with a quote from my book than with the tagline.

I would suggest you try all of these (maybe in moderation) and see what you think. I’m learning new things every day about marketing and tweaking my social media and email newsletter also. Spending money on an email newsletter has been a good investment for me also. I’d highly suggest it before your book finds its way into the world. Try some of these ideas and see your book release go to another level…

Click to tweet: Marketing ideas for your book release. Are you ready to launch a book? #marketing #bookrelease

Writing Prompt: Go to Pinterest and check out book release party ideas. There are so many. Here’s my board.

How to Survive a Book Release

I’ve carried it in my heart for months, even years. I’ve gone through travail to bring about its birth. And now, it’s time.

Am I really ready for this?

Will I survive the release?

Oh, what fun and excitement surrounds the release of a book. That is, if you call taut nerves, almost overwhelming nausea, and gut-wrenching anxiety fun. It’s all part of the routine. Kind of like strapping yourself into a monster rollercoaster you’ve never ridden before. You have no idea where it’s going to take you, or what twists and turns you’ll endure along the way.

So, are you ready? No?

That’s why we’re here. In order to have a great book release, you need help. This month at Inspired Prompt, we hope to give you ideas and point you in the right direction to get that help.

The Inspired Prompt crew and contributors have been there (and done that), either with our own releases, or helping other authors. We’ve served on numerous teams, written reviews, and held the hands of the releasing authors. We know the drill and have learned some lessons along the way. Lessons we will now share with you, dear readers.

  • Speaking engagements – how important are they? What do you talk about? How do you find them?
  • Setting up a “street team” – your encouragers who come alongside and add their strength to yours in the marketing process.
  • Utilizing Facebook parties and Facebook Live
  • The benefits and importance of Blog Tours
  • Marketing Resources
  • Working with traditional publishers
  • Dealing with sales tax

Our toolbox is fully packed for November. I hope you’ll join us on Mondays and Fridays for our regular posts. Please send us your comments and suggestions.

The crew and I are so thankful for you, our readers. Our prayer is that you will be inspired and encouraged and that your eyes will be opened to new possibilities along the “write road.”


Writing Prompt: Write an opening paragraph for a new story using these three words: birdsong, autumn, concrete. Have fun!

Click-to-Tweet: Are you ready for your book’s release? In #November @InspiredPrompt provides writers with great ideas, suggestions, and how-to’s to help make it a success. #BookRelease