Last week I wrote of my rather haphazard view of book launching for my first two novels: ‘The tale of a new writer – Planning (or not) for a book launch’. I have to admit it was less a launch plan and more ‘launch and hope’, not a good strategy. So here’s what I’m doing this time around that I hope will make a difference for my latest novel ‘Bleak’:
1) Load up onto Amazon at least a month prior to the official launch day with the aim of getting some reviews before it goes public, a) from early readers and b) review swaps from facebook writers groups I’m a member of.
2) Pay more attention to the book blurb that appears on Amazon, after all this is my shop window. I need to give it impact both in terms of how it looks and sounds. Which for me means understanding enough HTML to create the look I want. I need to include a few of enticing reviews (hopefully gained from 1). I also need to do my keyword research, pick the most appropriate ones for my book and make sure these crop up in my blurb.
3) I have waiting to go a collection of short stories which I aim to release for a modest fee ($99 or equivalent), which I had intended to use to promote one of my other books, by including the first two chapters at the end of the collection. I will now change that to my new book. I am also working on a prequel novella to ‘Bleak’ which will be free. There are still things I need to work out around these two ideas:
- Timing – If I release these before ‘Bleak’ is available is that building expectation or will that just be frustrating for potential readers and even put them off? But if I have a pre-launch phase in which the book is available, just not being actively marketed, does that ‘muddy’ the launch?
- Should I give the short stories away for free as well? I admit I’m reluctant to give too much of my hard work away for no return, but if it helps sales of my novels then perhaps it’s worth it? But then I know myself I am not attracted to a publication that’s free, just because it’s free. It has to be something I want to read.
- Can I put the novella (and perhaps the short stories) on Amazon for free from day 1? How does this work?
4) I will be using the group ‘BooksGoSocial’ of which I am a member and paying for a social media campaign as they have a reach in the hundreds of thousands. What I have yet to work out is how to make the most of that exposure/integrate it with my other activities.
5) I need to target my main potential audience i.e. science fiction readers. I am aware that in the past I have taken a ‘blunderbuss’ approach more in the hope that I hit those potential readers, than actually targeting them. Even in this blog I focus on writers and writing as much (maybe more) as on science and science fiction. Perhaps I need to change that balance? Although I do think both are important.
6) In 1) I mention getting some reviews, and there I was talking about on Amazon, Goodreads etc. I think my biggest challenge will be trying to get some reviews in the sorts of places science fiction readers look. And I must admit I’m not sure how to do that, or where to look. My own hunting for new science fiction is a bit haphazard. I obviously look at authors I know; I’ll trawl Amazon for something that takes my eye; Friends will recommend books; More recently I have joined a couple of groups on facebook where there are recommendations (again BooksGoSocial for one). Perhaps I should look for some sci-fi oriented groups.
So as you can see, I am making more of an effort with the up and coming launch. And I need to, despite getting good feedback on my books, the sales have hardly been overwhelming. So, whatever I do it has to be an improvement. But also as you can see I still have things to work out. I’ll keep you posted.
As always, ideas and suggestions are welcome.