Writing a book is only half of the challenge. Getting it in the hands of those who could benefit most from it … well that’s a different challenge altogether. And one to which we here at the emPower PR Group say “bring it on!”
While we have very little in common with the cheerleaders from the 2000 teen cheerleading flick, we are cheerleaders in our own right. In fact, marketing has a lot of similarities to cheerleading.
It focuses on the overarching goals and the areas of opportunity and screams direction from the rooftops (and the sidelines).
It can be flashy, much like those pom-poms that my daughter’s dance team used that felt like I was watching a strobe light on repeat. But, in truth, it became something that I could not look away from. It captured my attention (and gave me a headache, but that’s beside the point).
When it works best – and if it’s uber strategic – it can build a strong pyramid of marketing tactics from just about anything and anywhere.
And – probably my favorite similarity – it can generate excitement, focused energy and impact quickly, much like a half-time show. And that, my author friend, is where the launch comes in.
What is a book launch, anyway?
If you’re a part of any author circles, you’ve heard the word “launch” tossed around a bit. And I think it’s smart for us to clarify early on what in the world I’m talking about when mentioning it.
This next sentence is going to go against everything you believe, but trust me when I say this: A book launch and a book release are not synonymous. You may initially think so, but believe me, they aren’t.
Your book release is the day that your book is published. Depending upon your publishing approach, that could mean the day it goes live on Amazon. It could mean the day that the book is up on IngramSpark. It could mean the day that you are able to purchase your bulk author copies. But typically, this is not the day that your book launches.
Instead, when looking at your book launch, I am referencing the day that your book is being promoted to the masses. This is the day that you begin sharing with others that they can purchase your book and you provide them guidance on how to do that. Typically, this effort is methodical, layered with a soft or internal book launch to those who know you, love you, trust you and want to support you (ahem, your launch team) and a hard or external launch to those who could benefit most from your book’s message (positioning you to meet a need to your ideal reader).
You have some control over your book release date. You can ensure that you have your book written, edited and formatted within a specific timeframe. You can collaborate with your publisher and editing team to meet a target release date. However, printing is fickle (and so is Amazon … remind me to tell you about the time I was ready to release a book three weeks before Amazon finally did – and no, I’m no longer bitter!).
However, you have total control over your book launch date. And, when done right, your book launch can be game-changing for you and your book’s success. In fact, your book launch could …
- Help you achieve a best-selling or hot new release accolade (which can be extremely useful in ongoing book promotion).
- Be a door opener for you to connect with influencers and leaders who also reach your target reader.
- Create buzz and assist you in solidifying mentions and interviews through traditional and nontraditional media venues.
- Support future book purchases online through a slew of meaningful reviews, letting both your future ideal readers and Amazon know that your book is worthy of being read, invested in, and promoted.
- Position you with meaningful testimonials, insights and creative marketing opportunities for ongoing book promotion.
- Give you an opportunity to celebrate the freaking awesome accomplishment you have just completed. Don’t ever miss the opportunity to relish in achieving this massive goal! You deserve it.
Here are three tips for successful book launches.
There are actually oodles more, but let’s start with my three favorites. These launch efforts are ones that we utilize in our signature program, The emPowered Author, and they are ones that, when done well, can build a promotional pyramid higher than you’ve ever seen a cheerleading group accomplish.
Book Launch Tip #1: emPower others to join you.
There’s a lot of things you will have to do alone in life. Like have a tonsillectomy (I know this one from experience). Or asking for a pay raise (I prayed my dad could do this on my behalf in my early 20s, but to no avail). And even finding happiness (this is so true because until you decide you want it, you’ll never see it even if it’s sitting right in front of you).
While many things require you, alone, to make it happen, there are many things that don’t. Like walking across the Red River Gorge’s Natural Bridge. As a gal terrified of heights, I became immobilized when I hiked to the top of this beautiful landmark in Kentucky. I was trying to be brave, but my wobbly knees told a different story. I thought to cross the bridge and continue to hike required me to do it alone. But I was wrong. My husband and a dear friend interlocked their arms into mine and, together, we walked across a bridge that I was just sure the next wind would blow us off of. (Hint: It didn’t and because of their support, I got to see some of Kentucky’s most beautiful land!)
Having a baby feels like a solitary act. I mean, you grow a baby in your body and you’re the one that has to evict him or her from their comfy space. But it requires a team to do so. Doulas have made a business of it. Spouses and partners help, too. I know holding my husband’s hand throughout the delivery of all three of our littles was critical. And the nurses and doctors … let’s just say that by our third, I hand picked our nurse team (because I was cool like that … well, actually, because I had so many kiddos they all knew me by name) and together we celebrated a miracle.
Birthing (and launching) a book is another team sport. If you think you can do it alone, guess again. Books aren’t meant to be written in hiding, never to be shared with others. And neither are launches. emPowering other people to join you on the launch journey isn’t just a nicety, it’s a requirement to a successful launch. And let me tell you, they want to be on the journey with you, too! When you emPower them with how they can help you, that’s where the magic happens.
Book Launch Tip #2: emPower others to help you.
There’s nothing worse than wanting to help someone but not knowing how because they won’t tell you what they need. It’s like when I’m not feeling well and I think that telepathically my husband should know what I want for dinner. Or when I don’t get that perfect gift for my birthday because, well, I never told anyone that I’d like it. And what about what happens when you write a book that you want the world to know about, but you, yourself, don’t tell a single soul.
I hate to break it to you, but you aren’t telepathic. Your mouth moves to form words meant to to be shared. And there are people who know you, who love you, and who want you to succeed that would LOVE for you to tell them exactly what you want them to do so they can help you.
When I was writing my book, I leveraged a launch team to help me spread the word. I was nervous about what they would say, but I was more motivated by what they had the power to do. I knew that many of my connections had been following my journey for years and was curious what I had up my sleeve. And I knew many of them wanted to help me be successful in this new endeavor of mine. But what surprised me was how quickly they all assembled and took action when I emPowered them to help me.
Reflect on why you wrote your book (and if you need some help thinking that through, check out this blog for some direction). As you remember what called you to choose a book as a tool for accomplishing your goal, then I want you to reflect on how other people could help you achieve it? Don’t audit your ideas; capture them all. And then pick your top 3 most important. Those, my friend, should be what you emPower your launch team to help you with.
In The emPowered Author program, we provide three very specific things that we ask launch team members to do, and we stick to it by providing any tool they may need to accomplish it. We make it easy for them, and we make it easy for you, too. Because, when you are emPowering others to help you, inviting us in on your launch team efforts can be a way to do that.
Book Launch Tip #3: emPower others to connect you.
When you think about marketing, I’d venture to say you get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. You likely think of “all the things” that you could be doing, should be doing, why in the world aren’t you doing?! It feels overwhelming and confusing. Listen, you aren’t alone. Ninety percent or so of authors we work with go through the same spiraling of emotions and worries, too.
But a mentor of mine gave me some sage advice, and it’s now advice that we bake into our work with authors. When many think of marketing, they think of building relationships with cold leads … with people who haven’t a clue who you are. Yet. But what if you flipped that idea upside down? What if, instead, you used your warm and hot leads (those that already know you and think you’re cool) to reach out on your behalf to your cold leads? Let me explain.
Think about the last time you purchased a book. (That’s not hard for me because I’m in the business of purchasing a slew each month now-a-days, but for you, it may have been a while back.) What pushed you to purchase that copy? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. That’s because I’m 99.9% confident it’s because either you love the author and their work already (Mitch Albom and Jodi Picoult … one day I will meet you all, I know it!) OR someone you trust recommended it.
The book selection that I have been accumulating is due to these two reasons, and the first reason is really impacted by the second. I didn’t even know who Jodi Picoult was until a friend recommended My Sister’s Keeper. Now, I’m on a quest to own every one of her books. And if it weren’t for my highschool, I might not know Mitch Albom exists. Tuesdays With Morrie was beautiful, but his other works have been even better. I can’t imagine my life without his perspective.
The people who need your book are likely just a generation or two away from you right now. There are people who are in your network that believe in your message and would love a copy of your book. AND, there are people in your network who would love to share information about your book to others, recommending you and connecting you along the way. Let them!
Are you ready to launch or re-launch?
If launch day is different from release day, that means that you aren’t really bound by time. Sure, momentum tends to pick up when the book is “new,” but you hold the power to re-launch your book, even months or years after the release day. And when you emPower people to join you, help you and connect you, you are bound to launch to success.
Give me a “L.” Give me an “A.” Give me a “U.” Oh, who am I kidding?! Cheerleading isn’t in my blood, but launching is! Rah-rah! Go team! We’ve got this!
Learn more about The emPowered Author program and see if the emPower PR Group can join you in launching your book.
And, let’s chat! I’d love to learn how the emPower PR Group can help you become an emPowered author!