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 

Social Media: What Do Authors Say About its Usefulness?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Authors, do you ever wonder if Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other modes of social media really make a difference in the marketing of your book?

I do. With the June 2019 release of my debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, only a year away, I’m asking this question and many more. So I thought I’d take a few minutes and go to one of my favorite sources, Facebook, to see what others would say. The question I asked was “Which, in your own experience, sells more books. (1) Email newsletter (2) word of mouth or (3) social media? Or something else?” Here’s some answers by authors and readers…

Author Mary Watson Hamilton: At this point in my experience, online ads (Amazon, Bookbub, etc) have shown the biggest sales. Next to that, probably word of mouth.

Author Steve Watkins:  Felt need and discoverability sell books. It’s all about what happens on Amazon search engines. Social media will sell a few hundred books at best only if you’ve worked very hard and very smart with your marketing in the months leading to your launch. Sales over the long haul are all about what people are looking for in their searches. Speaking events will sell books if you’re with the right audience. Everything, of course, begins with solid, compelling text that has a voice.

Reader Rose Zemit: Word of mouth. When some one tell you about a book, I remember it and will likely buy it.

Reader Alaina Bryant Bowers: I’m not a writer but personally I buy more books if I hear someone talking about them, but also from social media.

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Author Sandra Backstrom Godfrey: Blitz. All of the above as opportunity comes across your path. Prayer for guidance.  I have a marketing coach. He believes strongly in attending conferences and conventions.

Author Bonita McCoy: Word of mouth. I’ve bought more books because they were recommended by a friend.

Author Shirley Crowder: Recommendation from a friend by either word of mouth, email, newsletter, or social media.

Author and Publisher Tracy Ruckman: Has to be—must be—a combination. One without the others isn’t as effective. But 2, 1, 3 in order of most effective.

Author Kathy Terry Houser: Word of mouth, social media, advertising. Go to local paper and get them to do a article on you and your book.

And the kicker is, as mentioned by Cathe Swanson, most word of mouth IS social media.

I believe social media is here to stay and as authors, we should make use of it in whatever way we see fit. Whether a little or a lot, it can make a difference in getting your name and book in front of a lot of people at once.

So get social!

Click to tweet: The question I asked was “Which, in your own experience, sells more books. (1) Email newsletter (2) word of mouth or (3) social media? Or something else?” Here’s some answers by authors and readers. #amwriting #socialmedia

Writing Prompt: It’s your turn. Tell us in the comments what sells books to you personally. Is it one of the ways mentioned above? Or do you have another answer? We want to know…

Instagram Your Life

Snap a photo, send it to Instagram—instant sharing!

Instagram’s motto is: Strengthening relationships through shared experiences.

This was the premise for the original version of Instagram, and the younger set loved it! These days, everyone’s getting involved. As a result, Instagram is evolving.

With Instagram’s newest feature called “stories,” you can create a series of photos somewhat like a slideshow. So you can showcase those wedding pics or vacation snapshots in a quick story that will disappear … at the end of the day. Wait a minute—isn’t that kind of like that other platform—Snapchat?

Exactly!

You can snap photos throughout the day and add them to your story. Best vacation ever? Share it with your friends.

Researching your next novel set in Ireland? By all means, share the highlights with your readers. That’s an attention-getter! You may glean a harvest of followers with that one.

Disappearing what? You can shoot a photo and send it to a particular friend. As soon as they look at the photo, it disappears. There’s something a little sneaky about that, but if you’re interested, you’ll find the directions here: How to send disappearing photos in Instagram. Take care what you send, though. Just because it disappears doesn’t mean it’s not out there somewhere…seen by someone.

Instagram is another great way to connect with readers. And let me just say, it’s not another way to advertise your books. It’s a chance to engage readers, and gain their interest and attention by sharing your interests.

Are you a bird watcher? Share your beautiful photos of birds. Love hiking or early morning walks? Snap photos along the way.

Need suggestions? Look up one of your favorite authors and study what they share. One of my favorites inspires me daily with her morning walks in the country (she lives on a farm). Another posts what she’s cooking that day. Two very good suggestions, but don’t just mimic them, make them your own.

So far, I’ve talked about ways to connect with readers in a personal way, which I believe is the best way to make friends. But, what if you want to share your latest and greatest book release? Or a book that’s on sale?

Honestly, I hate to see Instagram go the way of the overstuffed Facebook profiles chock-full of ads. But, there are tasteful ways to get your message out there. I’ve seen some very high-end brands doing this, and if it’s artfully done, you can make a positive impression.

For instance, snap a photo of someone reading your book. Tell a story. Some companies hire storytellers to craft ads and marketing campaigns. Put your writer’s brain to work finding unique ways to market yourself and your books.

Remember the ad, “What’s in your wallet?” Involve friends and family members, and have them show what’s in their book bag, purse, briefcase, suitcase, or on their E-reader. Your latest release is there, of course.

Take the book along on your travels. Post a shot of a beautiful landscape or building with your book in the foreground. Just imagine it!

These are only a few suggestions. I hope you’ll be inspired to create some truly unique scenes. But don’t make it all about your books. Remember, social media is for connecting with people. Most of us are uncomfortable with an in-your-face salesperson pressuring you to buy their product. Don’t be that person. Have fun with Instagram, and don’t forget to visit your friends there.

A few helpful hints about Instagram:

  • Double-click on a friend’s picture to “love” it. You can also click the heart beneath the pic.
  • Click the little speech balloon emblem to comment on the photo (keep it short).
  • Click the paper airplane emblem to send the photo, or share it with a friend.
  • Click the ribbon emblem on the far right to save the photo. You’ll see “Save to collection”—click on that to save. You can also choose to view saved photos.
  • Instagram has some pretty cool filters for your photos, but don’t overdo. Less is definitely more.
  • Same with hashtags. Instagram has its own unique set of hashtags. Google “Instagram hashtags” to find the most popular ones. Just don’t overdo it.
  • Post often. You can post the photos from your phone on both Instagram and Facebook in a single move.
  • Super-simple icons at the bottom of your phone screen make moving around in Instagram easy.
    • Home
    • Search (easy way to find interesting stories)
    • Add photo (from your files)
    • Heart (who has liked your photos)
    • Profile

There are so many more things you can do in Instagram. You’ll find helpful tutorials and articles on the internet if you’re ready to get serious with your Instagram account. The best way to learn is to jump in and start posting. Just remember to add value with what you post. Your friends will ❤ you for it. 🙂

Click to Tweet: #Instagram is a great way to connect with readers. It’s a chance to engage with others, gain their interest and attention by sharing your interests. Instagram Your Life via @InspiredPrompt from @batowens. #socialmedia #marketing

Writing Prompt: Selfies from Marcella’s latest dog-walk adventure made a great story for Instagram, especially when Don Juan, the Great Dane, caught sight of…

Is Twitter a Good Tool for Authors?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Twitter is a part of social media and that, in itself, can be a useful device for authors. With Facebook, you often have local community friends to share your latest writing news and fun or not-so-fun things happening in your life. Instagram is a good place to also gather community friends and family and post photos and memes sharing your books and love for writing and reading. And Pinterest is just plain entertaining. The biggest thing to remember about social media is the word “social.”

Twitter is a bit different. If you go to the “about” page on Twitter.com, you’ll find these words…

Twitter is what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now.

I  find that true in my own experience. If there is something new going on and I want to know about it, I don’t go to Facebook or Instagram or even Pinterest. Twitter is my first stop because it’s all about breaking news and information going viral.

Twitter is simple. You join, set up a profile, and start tweeting. What’s a tweet? Simply a message you share with the world. One important part of this way to communicate is the use of hashtags. Hashtags identify messages on a specific topic.

Go to Twitter, type #write in the search box and it pulls up an avalanche of writing-related tweets. You need to add one to three hashtags per tweet for optimal effect. As a writer, some of my favorites are:

  • #amwriting
  • #amreading
  • #fiction
  • #writing
  • #WriterWednesday
  • #Fridayreads
  • #ACFW

So now you have a super simple introduction to Twitter. How can authors use this happening place to their advantage?

According to a Jeff Goins article I read, Twitter is a “networking event.” I agree. For me, my aim is to find people with similar interests and share information that I think might be helpful to them.

Note I did not say try to sell them everything I can.

The quickest way to be blocked from my Twitter friends is to constantly try to sell something. Or to be a single guy with a “fake” military pic or something romantic for the avatar. I’m not buying.

The Golden Rule works on all social media, just like in real life. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I keep my tweets very specific. I tweet about:

  • Writing
  • Reading/books
  • Acts of kindness
  • Faith-based topics
  • Sports/mainly football

If anyone follows me, this is what they are going to find. Not 10,000 totally unrelated subjects. I’m intentional in my use of social media, except Pinterest. I’m very ecletic on the boards I have but with Pinterest, it works.

Because of my intentional topics, I’ve found my messages often shared or myself added to lists. Both are positive and help spread word about yourself and subjects of interests you enjoy. People trust you and then and only then can you occasionally mention a book or products you have to offer and make a sale.

That part is the same on all social media.

I’ve barely scratched the surface here but if you want to know more about Twitter, go to Edie Melson’s blog and type in Twitter in the search box. She has a slew of interesting articles filled with helpful information.

Or better yet, follow Edie on Twitter. Tell her I sent you 😊

Click to tweet:  If there is something new going on and I want to know about it, I don’t go to Facebook or Instagram or even Pinterest. Twitter is my first stop because it’s all about breaking news and information going viral. #write #Twitter

Writing Prompt: Jill grabbed her phone and started to chunk it out the window. But it wouldn’t help. She wanted the book she’d written to go viral on Twitter but instead…

Authors and Facebook

by Shirley Crowder

I was very late joining the Facebook (FB) bandwagon. I had to have some of the youth in my church help me set up my account and teach me how to use it! So, I am by no means a FB expert, yet I know a few things that may help you, and thankfully, I have great friends who are willing to share their knowledge with you via me!

I love the way so many Christian writers are eager to help each other, which points to disciple-making—but that’s a topic for a different article!

Help your author friends publicize their books and blogs and they will do the same for you!

technology-2847357_1280After deciding whether you want to create a FB account, you need to determine if you want to use one account for personal and writing author posts, or, if you want to separate those. I only have one FB account. My friend, Harriet E. Michael, with whom I do a lot of co-writing, has both personal and author accounts. Everything you find online says an author needs an author account. If you are uncertain, contact some of the authors you know and talk through why they do or do not have an author account. The foundation you must remember as a Christian author—non-fiction or fiction—is that everything you say in books, blogs, social media reflects on Jesus Christ.

Click to Tweet: As a Christian author—non-fiction or fiction—glorifying God in and through everything you say in books, blogs, and social media is imperative. @InspiredPrompt #socialmedia #author

Prayerfully consider everything you post through the lens of God’s Word so that you do not reflect Him badly.

Prayerfully consider what image you want to portray and design your FB page and posts in line with that image.

Don’t forget to ask your friends and followers to pray for you as you write!

Here are some things I hope will be helpful—not that I do all of them!

For Consideration

Friends and Followers and Reactions. Be careful that you know those whom you friend on FB. In the same way, be careful about whom you follow or what posts to which you react.

What is the best day/time to post? You can do research online, however, my friends and followers don’t react and comment when the “experts” say they will. Do some tests and discover your own best time-slot.

Guests posts/bloggers. Ask fellow authors to write a post for your blog and share it through your social media. Use this as a way to introduce their followers to you.

Enlist a couple of friends who follow you on FB and ask them to let you know immediately if they find any typos, etc. I have many friends who help me with this! Sometimes we are so familiar with what we type or are doing it so quickly we do not catch our errors.

Ask your FB friends to share your posts. Don’t be afraid to study and write about a subject on which you are clueless (i.e. me writing this article).

Try to keep up with how FB changes will affect you as an author. This is where joining Christian writers’ groups will help. There are always some who understand these things better than me and are able to give me the “bottom line” of what I need to know.

FB Live. I have several friends who use FB Live. Author Ruth Buchanan attended a “social media” workshop and was told, “Just do it!” Ruth learned to schedule the FB live event in advance and advertise, and ask people to leave comments. And, to keep it short (2-3 minutes).

FB Ads. I suggest you look at other FB ads to glean some good ideas. The results for those whom I have heard from who have used FB ads are mixed—everything from “total waste of time and money” to “excellent results, will definitely be posting more ads.” Harriet and I have used FB ads with limited results, and we will likely use them again. Author friend Lisa Mayer has used them in the past and commented that she’s had “some mild success, but they did not get many reviews.” Another friend was very frustrated because “there was very little guidance” on how to set up the ads and how they work. Consider earmarking money for advertising through various venues.

Writing Prompt: Outline a plan for announcing a new book on Facebook. Begin writing FB posts to fit into that plan.

Click to Tweet: As a Christian author—non-fiction or fiction—glorifying God in and through everything you say in books, blogs, and social media is imperative.