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When should you start promoting your book? (Answer: Six months before it’s published)

A simple and effective guide to promoting your book

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If you are a first time author then it might surprise you to learn that the marketing of your book starts as early on as 6 months prior to launch – but getting a head start on the promotion is really smart.

As a boutique publisher, Make Your Mark Global encourages all it’s authors to begin sharing teasers about their upcoming books as long as 6 months before the planned launch date, to build momentum and a relationship with your readers.

In essence, marketing is ALL about relationship building, so as an author you can think of book promo work as a way to let your fans and followers get to know you better. 

The more they know about your book – the more they will know if it’s for them.  And also the better they know you – the more faith they will have that your book will be worth their time and money.

In those 6 months before the launch of your book, you want to begin growing your list of email subscribers.  These people who are subscribed to regularly read your online content, such as your blog for example, are the ideal audience to be primed and ready for your book on launch day.

What sort of content should you send in that 6-month period?

As your chapters are getting written, you might like to reuse small excerpts to create blog posts that spin off from the subject matter of that chapter, and quote cards that work well on any social media platform.

At MYMG, we love to create pretty quote cards, using the colors and fonts from the book cover, that share a sentence or two from each chapter.  These are a great way to pique curiosity in our followers, and these cards are easily shareable.

A quote card from our book, Magic and Miracles.

Update your email footer and social media profiles

If this isn’t your first book, then you may already have your books (to date) mentioned or linked in your social media ‘about’ sections, and you might have added these to your email footer too.

Well, there is no rule to say you can’t mention ‘author of the upcoming book X’ to those places too.

Start planning for your first reviews

When you do officially launch, ideally you want to have some testimonials go up on sites like Amazon as early as possible.  Testimonials play a big role in new readers with no prior knowledge of you, deciding whether to read your book or not.  So having testimonials up early can make or break your launch period.

Our top tip here is to arrange a small group of trusted friends and top fans to read an advanced copy, perhaps a month or so before your launch.  Then on launch day, send them a reminder email to post their reviews ASAP.  They have already read your book, and it’s fresh in their minds, so their reviews will be relevant, and in great time for that launch period.

Everything is social media content!

Many people overthink the content they put out on social media.  This overthinking generally leads to inaction.  So there are two messages in this section.

Firstly, don’t overthink your social media posts.  Fun and light is great, and you don’t need to create an essay each time you want to post.  And secondly, keep those fun and light posts regular.

A lot of authors worry that they will talk about their book too much on social, becoming a bit of a bore.  But what you need to understand about social is that these days, the algorithms are ruling over what your followers see.  Nobody is going to see 100% of your posts – not even close.  So in reality you need to post a lot more than you think you do.

So don’t be shy – post all your small victories and milestones. 

Getting interviewed about your upcoming book? This is a behind the scenes snap of author Lucy Vittrup talking about her chapter in Manifesting Love – An ideal teaser for social media!

Getting a chapter edited?  Take a selfie of you waiting nervously for those edits. 

Getting your cover design worked on?  Share some exclusive sneak peeks of your cover as a work in progress.  And ask your fans for feedback – people love to feel involved!

What to do on launch day

Launch day is here!  You should definitely celebrate at home with your loved ones – all your hard work has paid off!  But what else should you be doing on launch day?

Remember above we talked about you growing your list of email subscribers in that 6 months to launch period?  Launch day is the day to send an exciting email blast out to everybody, with a direct link to buy your book.

If you have managed to grow a good email following, letting them all know to buy the book on the same day, launch day, can make a big difference to how highly you rank on the Amazon charts.

The Amazon book charts run on an algorithm, and your position will be updated hourly.  If you succeed in getting a flurry of sales in that first 24-hour window you can achieve a good position here.  And of course the higher you are in the charts, the more your book will be shown to people who weren’t directly searching for you, but were looking for a book on that topic.  This is excellent free marketing!

Of course, launch day is also the time to post on all your social media channels, and update your social media profile headers from ‘coming soon’ to ‘available now’.

Keeping the momentum going post launch

Of course, launch isn’t the end, just another beginning!  Now you want to be thinking about keeping up the momentum you built during your launch, and making sure your readers remember you.

They might only buy your book once, but consider how many friends they might recommend your book to if you stay in their field of vision.  And of course, if you ask them to, then there is much more chance of them leaving you a review too.

Apart from the standard – asking for reviews and suggesting they share your book with a friend – there are some more creative ways to keep your crowd engaged.

Social media giveaways are really easy to arrange, give new people a chance to notice you, and remind your existing fans of who you are.

Check out this article from Social Media Examiner on how to run an Instagram giveaway. 

Do you have a social medial calendar?  Planning what you are going to post and when can be a huge help when it comes to not missing important dates in the year.

Of course there are the seasonal dates to consider – like promoting your book as an ideal gift in the lead up to the Holidays.  But it’s also worth plotting out some promo around dates that are relevant to the niche or topic of your book.

For example, if your book is related to mental health in some way, then take a look on Google for relevant dates such as World Mental Health Day (October 10) and share several posts on that date.  Some quotes from your book mixed in with some testimonials would be ideal.  Don’t forget to use the correct hashtag for the occasion.

For another example, if there is a pet mentioned in your book somewhere, fictional or non-fictional, then give them a shout out on both National Pet Day (April 11) and World Animal Day (Oct 4) – there is a day in the calendar now to celebrate so many things, so you can really get creative here and have some fun!

This should give you plenty of positive things to be focusing on all through the lifespan of your book, from the pre-launch phase to keeping your sales going long after your book has started to make it’s mark in the world.

Promotion isn’t something to shy away from – it can be creative and fun, and will truly make a difference to the success of your book.

If you are a new author wanting to learn more about the publishing process then check out our free online training – The Publishing Essentials Mini-Series here!

Originally published on Make Your Mark Global, August 26, 2020: http://makeyourmarkglobal.com/when-should-you-start-promoting-your-book-answer-six-months-before-its-published/

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