Planning A Book Launch
by Greg L. Turnquist
In this day and age, launching a book isn’t something handled by your publisher. You the author are front and center a part of it. That is, unless you want your book to debut dead on arrival. So what can you do?
I’ve actually learned lots of tips and tricks from multiple experts, most notably Dave Chesson from Kindlepreneur.com as well as the Sell More Books Show hosted by Jim Kukral and Bryan Cohen.
The big thing we need on launch day is exposure. We want to get our hot new book in front of as many interested people as possible! Otherwise, it’s like giving a concert to an empty auditorium. There are many approaches. Let’s pick the four that I’m planning to use for my debut novel, Darklight.
Alert your email list
One of the most valuable things we can do it build an email list. It’s something you should have started yesterday, not the day after you launch. On the your book is released, reach out to your email list and let them know. Give them a call to action to get it while it’s hot! Not everyone is going to respond to your call to action, but if you have done things in the past like give your audience a free short story prequel or similar goodie, the odds increase that your audience will dash off to Amazon and snag a copy. (By the way, plan a follow up email, perhaps 1-2 weeks later, asking everyone that grabbed a copy to leave a review).
List your book on free newsletters
I’ve interacted with Virtual Book Tours in the past, and have mixed reactions on their cost vs. outcome. These book tours typically cost between $300-$500 in exchange for 15-30 “stops”. The conversion rate to book sales has not impressed me. But I recently learned that there are a whole fleet of “free” newsletters you can sign up and have your book listed. How is this possible? These newsletters all use “affiliate links” whereby ANY sale completed with Amazon within 24 hours yields them some cash. Their success is based on volume, so they are eager to get your book on the list. And guess what? For a small fee ($10-$15) you can purchase a premium slot. So I’m planning to do list Darklight on at four of these newsletters throughout the month of April. For a list of newsletter prospects, check out Dave Chesson’s list of free and almost-free promo sites. (https://kindlepreneur.com/list-sites-promote-free-amazon-books/)
Another biggie I’ve also tinkered with are ads. Ads are everywhere. It’s the revenue model that has literally put Google into the Top 5 of biggest companies ever. So it goes to show, you can purchase Google ads, Facebook ads, Twitter ads, and more. A natural question is “where do I start?” Since I’m releasing purely on Amazon, I plan to use Amazon Market Services (AMS) ads. That’s because the people already roaming around Amazon are, shall we say, more likely to be in a buying mood than someone surfing Facebook. IMHO, people on FB are more likely looking for a funny cat meme.
With AMS, you do is pick your daily budget, your “cost-per-click” max, and a set of keywords. Pick how long you want this ad campaign to run and you’re set. (If you’re book is being released by someone else, they’ll have to set it up.) I asked my publisher if we could do a 2-week campaign, limited to $20/day. That translates to a maximum of $280, which is way cheaper than the last book tour I saw ($499). I am using AMS’s default rate of $0.25-per-click. (Anyone that clicks one of my ads will never cost me more than a quarter). And thanks to having purchased a copy of KDP Rocket (https://jvz7.com/c/990803/225041), it only took me maybe thirty minutes to put together a spreadsheet of over 1000 keywords. These keywords should connect my book’s ad with people that would enjoy my story
Of course, never forget to let all your followers on social media. While social media has a much worse rate of sales, it doesn’t cost you anything.
That’s a lot of my strategy for launching a book. Do you have some ideas? Please post your own experiences and you could win a free e-book copy of Darklight.
Interview With Greg
Snitch, a young woman who grew up on the streets of Kelmar as a thief, has discovered something terrible. The regime’s evil military ruler has learned the hideout location of the resistance she joined and ordered an all out assault. Combined with the captain of the disbanded royal guard, a political prisoner, a duke’s daughter, and an old advisor, can her team survive and free Kelmar?
What an interesting premise. I am always intrigued by writers and that spark, that original idea. What was the inspiration for Darklight?
When I was a kid, I had this idea about an entire world below ground, underneath the manhole covers of the sewer system. Having read exciting books like Dune and Doctor Strange comic books, my mind started weaving tales of people overcoming a hostile environment while facing extinction.
So, did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?
Not really. I’d always been into computers, even at a very young age, which is why I became a software developer.
Computers, huh. I’m lucky if I can get my word processor program to work without crashing the whole system 🙂
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When a friend introduced me to Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, I became an instant Sci-Fi fan. I read everything I could find. And then one day, this idea of a world in the Earth’s distant future, formed in my mind.
As much as we all love creating new stories, I know there are things about the writing process that we don’t like as much. What part do you dread?
Editing. Going back for the nth time and making another sweep is tiresome, and I hate STILL spotting mistakes.
We can all learn from each other no matter how long we’ve been at it. Or how new you are to the craft, I believe you can bring something to other writers. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?
Find someone that has been through the publishing process and is willing to sit down and critique your story. This is someone that will have been through multiple editors and has learned a thing or two about publishable content. Their advice will be much better than asking your best bud to tell you whether or not your story is any good. (HINT: Your friends will feel pressured to be nice and say “It’s great” even if it’s not.)
That’s great advice!
I believe we also learn intuitively from what we read. In and out of our beloved genres. What are you currently reading?
Frag Space by Mars Dorian. It’s an ARC for a friend of mine that lives in Berlin. I’m impressed because this guy writes 3000-5000 works a day
As my readers already know, I set the stage for my writing sessions with music. What about you? What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?
Anything by Rush as well as the soundtrack from Tron: Legacy
And do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?
Either when I’m on a writing date with my wife, or at night, when everyone else is asleep.
I know this is individual to each writer as everyone’s creative process is their own. But for curiosity’s sake…how long does it take you to write a book?
It usually takes me about 4-5 months to write a tech book, but it has taken me eight years to write Darklight.
One more for curiosity’s sake…would you share something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb? Give us a peek behind the curtain?
An old Sci-Fi film that has strongly inspired me was Forbidden Planet, from the 1950s. It showed what happens when society attains too much power. This concept underpins the back story of my novel. While the people in the novel live in a medieval existence, society once reached high heights, until something terrible happened. I plan to show this through the trilogy I’m aiming to write, with Darklight being the start.
Do you have any current projects your working on? Care to share?
When I finished Darklight, I had all kinds of ideas for a sequel. I wanted the main character thrown into new challenges, so I started drafting Neophyte. What would you do if you had to defend the Earth but had no training?
Snitch moved as fast as she could in the dark toward the southern edge of the city-state of Kelmar, desperate to not draw attention to herself. Fortunately, rain had caused a haze to fall.
He was coming. Snitch couldn’t believe it. She had to get this information back to the Undergrounders if they were to have any chance to escape.
Her knowledge of this part of the city told her to keep a sharp lookout for rival gangs; gangs that had risen to fill the power vacuum left behind when Melicose purged Kelmar’s palace of all of its nobility.
As she exited an alley, a gust of wind made her clutch the edge of her coat and pull it tight. Steeling herself, she pressed on.
Melicose was coming, according to one of her contacts. What were they going to do?
She approached a familiar corner and slowed when she recognized members of the Raiders. Glancing back, she gulped. Too late to find another route.
“Snitch,” Marlon boomed. “What are you doing here?”
He was the Raiders’ second lieutenant or something. She couldn’t keep track of the ever-changing titles.
“I didn’t know you guys had moved into this block.” Her lips pressed flat as she shifted her weight between her feet. “I was trying to stay off your turf.”
Tall and dark, he crept closer, eyeing her. The others drifted in behind him. “You haven’t answered my question.”
Snitch knew Marlon wouldn’t take kindly to any sort of brush off. She’d heard enough stories of people crossing street gangs, and the last thing she wanted was to become another story.
More About the Author
Greg has read Sci-Fi since he was a kid including Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Bret Saberhagen, and Lester del Rey. Years ago, the idea of a futuristic world reduced to a medieval existence began to bounce around in his head. He also loves slinging code as a software geek, and has written several non-fiction books. He lives in Middle Tennessee with his wife and family.
Connect With Greg and his Books
Greg has generously offered a GIVEAWAY to one (1) winner. A free e-copy of Darklight! Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below: