How to plan a successful book launch campaign

I’m currently in the middle of planning for a big book launch for a client.  Our goals for the launch are to hit both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller lists.

This isn’t the first time for me.  In fact, I headed up two launch campaigns earlier this year that both debuted at #2 on the NYT best seller list and #1 on the Wall Street Journal best seller list.  At one point in March, I had five clients on the NYT lists at the same time.

However, even with those successful launches under my belt, the stress is the same for this new one.  My client doesn’t care about the other authors I’ve helped.  This client wants their book on the list too!

So, since it’s fresh on my mind, I want share with you the launch framework I use for every book campaign I run.  This is the exact framework I used to plan out the launch of the NYT and WSJ best seller campaigns I ran earlier this year.

The reason I’m sharing this with you today is because launching a book is hard.  It’s hard to know what to spend your time on.  There’s a million and one different things you can do to launch a book, and I’ve found starting with a solid framework helps make it easier to come up with a solid plan of action.

The Out:think Book Launch Framework is made up of three parts:

1. Sell to Fans.  How can you sell as many books as possible to people you are directly connected to?

Fans are people that are on your email list, read your blog, connected to you on social media, etc.  Maybe they’ve read one of your previous books.  Maybe they’re an avid reader of your blog.  No matter how they came into your platform, they are the readers you have direct connection to.

The first part of the framework is to come up with a plan to sell as many books as possible to your fans.

This, of course, can look lots of different ways.  Here’s two ideas to get you started:

  • Do a giveaway.  If they buy your book by a certain date, can you give away something for free?  Maybe it’s previous books.  Maybe it’s additional videos and downloads.  Focus on giving away valuable content to anyone that buys the book.  Here’s a page I setup for my book, Your First 1000 Copies.
  • Email campaign.  Send a series of emails promoting the new book.  Don’t just invite people to buy, give away new content and information in each email.  Share excerpts of the book, make videos, etc.  Send a lot of emails.  I recommend somewhere between 5 and 10 emails sent over a 2 to 3 week period.

The goals of this first part of the framework are to a) make sure everyone knows you have a new book available and b) make it really hard for them to say “no” to buying it.

2. Invite Fans to Share.  How can you make it really easy and fun for your fans to share the book?

People always share thngs they love, but they also don’t have a lot of time. Your goal is to make a very short, clear path for people to get involved with the book launch and share it with their network.

Remember, it’s really hard to get 10,000 followers on Twitter, but it’s a lot easier to get 10 people with 1000 followers each to share something.  This is the goal of part two of the framework.

Here’s some ideas:

  • Create links that allow people to immediately share on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
  • Share fun and creative images based on the ideas in the book.  PSAs, infographics, quotes and cartoons are great examples.
  • Start a “street team” and invite people to be a part of promoting the book.
  • Provide links and copy that people can copy/paste directly into emails and social media.

Overall, make it really fun and easy for people to tell other people about your book.

3. Engage Influencers.  How can you get influencers to help spread the word on their platforms?

If fans are people that will buy your book, influencers are people that will get other people to buy your book.  This topic alone could take up a whole week’s worth of workshop training, but, in general, now is the time to invite your colleagues with platforms of their own to help promote the book.

Remember the Empathy and Assumptions sections of chapter 4 in Your First 1000 Copies!  Look for ways to help get other people what they need first.  Podcasts need interesting guests… can you be an interesting guest?  Blogs need interesting content… can you provide interesting content?

If you have been doing the work to connect with influencers, promoting their work and looking for ways to help them, this can be the easiest part of the campaign!

That’s it in a nutshell… the Out:think Book Launch Framework is simply this:

  • Sell to Fans
  • Invite Fans to Share
  • Engage Influencers

Use this framework to plan your own book launch and you’ll be well on your way to a successful campaign!

Once again, I know this is a huge topic that’s bound to generate a lot of questions so you can ask your questions in the comments section.  I’ll personally answer every one.

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