Launching Your Book in 2017

Launching Your Book in 2017

To say that things change fast in the self publishing world is a dramatic understatement. They can change overnight. But that’s a good thing—the market is always improving. Unless, of course, you’re trying to figure out your launch, your marketing plan, and how to work your audience. At that point?

It’s a nightmare.

Thanks to a request from my Indie Author Life Facebook Group, we’re going to talk about how I would launch my first book, Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, if I were doing it right now.

Does this mean you should do that? No. Research, study, and pick what feels right for you.

With five years of experience behind me, I can confidently say I would go forward like this. 

How I Would Launch My Book

  1. I’d set up my mailing list with MailChimp. (Or AWeber or whoever else you want.) Just so it’s available should someone need it. But then . . .
  2. I wouldn’t focus too much on my email list just yet. Not yet. Until I really have something high value to offer and everything set up, I’d focus on writing the books, telling people about it on social media, and setting up a stunning website.
  3. Make sure I had a series with at least four books. This is more bang for the buck—and it optimizes the use of your budding email list. It also gives you room for expansion into more books later, if you want.
  4. Wait until I had two books ready. I know. I know. You probably don’t like this answer, but I would absolutely do this if I were starting from zero again. Here’s why: my focus would be on building my email list. (Because I would want to set myself up for success with later book launches.) So I’d set the first book into the universe, and in the back matter, offer the second book for free to subscribers.
  5. Have a website. When I set up ads or anything else, I want to funnel all people to my website and start taking ownership of their interest and create brand awareness. Basically—I want them to see me, know what my stuff looks like, and remember it enough to come back later.
  6. Set up stunning landing pages. Thrive Themes is the best for this. (It’s a WordPress PlugIn that’s crazy affordable—nothing like Click Funnels $197 PER MONTH rate). If you need help, I can definitely help you sculpt the perfect landing page that converts to sales at least 50% of the time.
  7. Create a high value lead magnet. I feel this is where most email lists fail. To really do its job, a lead magnet needs to be an offer they can’t refuse—like a free second book. Trust me. Additional short stories or prequels can fail horribly. #experiencetalks
  8. Create a trusted launch team. The power of a good launch team cannot be understated. I would pull in any friends, family members, or random people that loved to read into a Facebook group. I’d give them updates, ask them questions, send them funny memes, pictures of my progress, free copies of the book a month before release, and when launch day came, I’d send them a list of tweets, Facebook posts, and pictures they could use to help me spread the word. T-shirts are always nice too, if you have the budget.
  9. Learn how to run successful ads. I mean really make a great Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram ad. They really can drive traffic to your website, and then the stellar landing page and high value Lead Magnet will convert them to customers. A great course (for free) on Facebook ads is with Mark Dawson. Pinterest constantly offers free videos and webinars on their advertising (so upgrade for free to a business account.)
  10. Segment and prepare my email list. If you click over to my fantasy list (you don’t have to subscribe), you’ll see that I give subscribers options so they’re getting the content they want—and only content they want. I would do that from the beginning. (Consequently—if you do subscribe, my first book is free on Amazon and I give my second away!)
  11. Email automation. I’d have automated welcome messages preprogrammed into my mailing list the way I do now.

That’s a lot!

Probably feels like like a firehose. But this post will always be here–so feel free to reference back to it!

If you have any questions, be sure to ask to join my Indie Author Life Facebook Group and post them there, there are lots of people to help, meet, and network with! (I always track the questions too!) And if you want to go more in-depth on this process with your book, then you know where to find me.

 

Do you have any tried-and-true launch strategies?

Managing a Multi Person Project as an Indie

Managing a Multi Person Project as an Indie

The easiest part of creating the Health and Happiness Cookbook was pulling together a team. I already had my people in place! The wildcard ended up being the how it happened and how we communicated. Because my team is the very patient and amazing, everything went beautifully.

These are a few of my observations on the process and how we, as indies, can simplify our collaborative projects.

Managing a Multi Person Project

Have a Fluid Deadline.

The Cookbook was a new project for me. I wanted it for several reasons: to draw in a new audience. Create a new funnel. Get delicious goodies in my belly. Expand my brand.

But these were new waters.

Having no deadline for finishing the cookbook notched down my stress. A lot. Every project conjures up new challenges. I’d never worked with another creator on a book, nor one requiring such in-depth graphic design. Kimberley and I signed a contract in September, and I started letting my team know about it around then. Giving them a heads up and allowing for flexibility also let things bend.

In the end, we decided to let the cookbook process dictate the schedule. As soon as I had a paperback proof, we initiated our social media marketing plan, announced the project, and set a date two weeks away.

Keep Communication Simple.

There are great apps like Asana that allow for quick project management with many people. (I’ve used Asana before and it’s great!)

But I didn’t want to take the time to learn a new dashboard on an intricate level and ask my team to do the same. So instead I kept it simple with group emails and Skype calls. This made me the middle man for most of it, but more on that later.

For this project, it worked. If I were to add any more people/elements, I’d probably do Asana.

One Coordinator.

Because the Health and Happiness Cookbook is published under my imprint THHS Publishing and incorporates/originates from my Chick Lit series, I was the Decision Maker. The Answerer of All Questions. The One Who Kept Things Going.

I already had the needed contacts and skills in place to pull this together, and I underestimated my ability to do it. While Kim created delicious recipes, I coordinated book sizes, typesetting format, ISBN allocation, and social media marketing plans. Having everything go through one person (me) meant the margin for error or missed things came out surprisingly low.

(Don’t worry. I totally messed up the plenty of things!)

Skype Calls.

Sometimes there was just too much discussion to merit an email, so I’d dedicate one day/afternoon/nap time to the cookbook and I make Skype calls to everyone. My graphic designer Jenny, my typesetter Chris Bell, my ebook formatter Kella Campbell, Kimberley herself, etc. Having only the cookbook on my mind in that time frame helped a lot too.

Being able to speak about the project and my plans for it face-to-face really simplified and streamlined it for me. Then, when we sent emails, it was quick reference stuff that was easily dealt with.

Establish Expectations.

My team is my team because they’re experts at what they do, so I gave them free reign to control their niche. I’d tell them the end game and let them get there with feedback and collaboration.

It worked beautifully.

Be Open to Feedback.

It’s not always easy to hear that I can’t do everything and do it well, but it’s the reigning truth. Kimberley knows the baking/cooking/food blogging/recipe world far better than I do, so getting her input on layouts, final pictures, recipes, presentation, etc. was crucial to creating a cookbook that fit my niche, her niche, and would sell on its own. Jenny had professional ideas for the photos that ended up making a better cookbook, and Chris knew the best structure and font layout for the interior paperback.

Which meant I listened, questioned, and ultimately, agreed. Although tempting, as an entrepreneur, to be the all for my business, setting aside my pride and listening to my team helped everything come together.

Have a Contract.

Not only to protect yourself, but everyone else.

Kimberley and I worked out the details of us collaborating on this project before we ever stepped into it (although she was super excited and started brainstorming recipes ASAP!) There’s a lot to keep track of during a project like this, so having everything like royalties, timing, deadlines, and the end state established beforehand gives you a mutually-agreed upon place to retreat back and see what was decided.

Mutual Meeting Place for Documents

For this, I used Google Drive.

I did a separate shared folder for just the cookbook and invited all concerned into it. I organized it by recipe, photos, promotion, and more. We used a spreadsheet to coordinate to do lists so everyone could see the process. (Kim included! This was a whole new world for her.)

It was nice to have a place to put #allthethings. Then when anyone had a question, they could refer there first, and if still not answered, shoot me an email.

In Conclusion

It’s hard to quantify everything that goes into something this big, but I think working with people you trust, ensuring solid expectations and communications from the beginning, and being flexible to life (I don’t need to tell you about that!) helps all of this go so smoothly.

Do you have any tips for managing a collaborative project?

Leave them in the comments! I can’t wait to hear from you. Don’t forget to grab your copy of the Health and Happiness Cookbook on May 1st!

7 Reasons I Love Publishing Wide

7 Reasons I Love Publishing Wide

There’s a permanent, ongoing debate about whether exclusivity is dangerous, or whether we should have wide distribution. (Seriously. So. Much. Debate.) This decision is different for everyone, and I respect the fact that different things work for different books and different genres.

For me, I’m most comfortable when I’m wide. All my eggs in Amazon’s temperamental basket? #scary

Let’s chat more.

Why I Love Publishing Wide

1. When my sales are low on one, the cumulative effect of others brings my numbers up.

This is a snapshot of my Draft2Digital board after putting The Network Series up on their website instead of Smashwords. Draft2Digital is my distributor for Nook, iTunes, PageFoundry, etc.

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Many Platforms by @kcrosswriting

While 18 books sold there through May, my sales for KDP went like this:

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Many Platforms by @kcrosswriting

And then Kobo was doing this:

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Many Platforms by @kcrosswriting

When I was exclusive with Amazon, I had just Amazon and couldn’t do much about a slump. While slumps still happen across multiple platforms, a slump on one doesn’t mean that sales have stopped.

2. I don’t receive emails from fans/potential fans asking when they can buy it on Nook/iTunes/KoboTop 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Many Platforms by @kcrosswriting

I didn’t save all the emails I’ve received from fans seeking an ePUB version of the book because it made me feel so guilty, but this is just one example. Of course, I usually sent them the ePUB file, but it goes without saying that very few people are actually going to track down the author to ask. 

Which meant that I was definitely missing sales from people who didn’t track me down to ask.

3. New opportunities (and sometimes reviews) pop up on the other platforms.

Last week I did a post on the promo opportunity that Kobo has given me since uploading directly to them through Kobo Writing LifeIf you haven’t read it, do it now. Basically, my ranking and sales increased exponentially and have been steady selling at 2-3 books per day ever since on just Kobo. It may not seem like much, but that’s a respectable, awesome number for an indie. (Also considering I only have 2 novels available for purchase there).

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Multiple Platforms by @kcrosswriting

Some of you loyalists may remember, but not long after releasing MMSFG over a year ago, the Barnes and Noble Book Blog released this article:Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Many Platforms by @kcrosswriting

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Multiple Platforms by @kcrosswriting

I had 50 sales in 1-2 days thanks to this article. Had I not been on B&N, this would never have come to pass. I wouldn’t have even known about it if a friend hadn’t shared it with me.

Not to mention how awesome that is for a selling point at book signings.

#forthewin

4. Email subscription services are a lot more useful and profitable when you have multiple places to sell the book.

My BookBub ad, for example, would have a much bigger effect on all platforms if I had been selling on more than just Amazon.

And we all know how difficult it is to get on BookBub, right? So I should have made the best of it.

I sold well over 2,000 copies (and had almost 500 “borrows” on KU) when MMSFG was featured on BookBub last October. Awesome, right? Yeah. Because the huge sales spike helped trigger something in Amazon’s algorithms (I think) because they promoted me like crazy. I averaged about 4-5 sales per day (not including borrows on some days).

But now I live in regret.

I could still have had awesome sales on Amazon, gone exclusive after the ad, and still benefited from increased marketing with the “long tail” effect. Not only that, but I would have had higher rankings/sales on other platforms using.

*sigh*

5. Branching into new platforms increases my reach across the globe.

 

I see this mostly with Kobo because they have the easiest dashboard to use in the entire world (with a map that actually shows where the sales are), but I’ve also seen extension with Wattpad. I have readers there who email me asking where they can read more of my stuff because they love my contemporary chick lit story Bon Bons to Yoga Pants so much. A sweet girl from Pakistan has been messaging me, and a few others from various countries.

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Multiple Platforms by @kcrosswriting

Note: I don’t sell anything through Wattpad, but I do write and reach fans through it, so I consider it a platform. Plus I have amazing, dedicated, loyal fans at Wattpad, and some of them are starting to slip into my YA fantasy series now.

While I’m excited about globally furthering my brand now, when I start translating my books and branching into foreign markets then I will be really excited about it because I’ll need to track it more then and see where I can benefit the best.

6. When Amazon’s Bots Delete Your Life

Just a few articles to skim if you’re in KU. And something to be aware of. Even if sales aren’t stunning on other sites, at least, if Amazon decides to cut you off then you have some readership, right?

Here.

Here.

Here.

Here.

7. Kobo’s New Subscription Model.

No exclusivity required. Click here to my other blog post for the rundown: Kobo Plus: What It Means For Indies.

In Summary:

Being exclusive with Amazon definitely helped me increase sales, make money to work off of for a few months, and see a greater base of Amazon fans. But as a long term strategy I’m finding that multiple platforms are benefitting me much more. I’m not passing judgment or saying that exclusivity is bad: I think everyone should try it once. At least once. See what it does. It works really well for some authors. But also be aware that there are other options out there and success with KDP Select is not the end-all-be-all in this game.

What are your thoughts? 

Have you had good experiences with multiple platforms? Massive slumps like I have? Good things?

 

The Emotional Side of a Book Release

The Emotional Side of a Book Release

There is one thing about publishing that I’ve never been able to come to terms with: the vulnerability of releasing your book.

Releasing a book is like taking a scalpel to my sternum, slicing through my chest, and saying, “Here total stranger, for $3.99 you can have a glimpse into my heart.” Because, inevitably, every author writes pieces of their soul into their work, and if it’s good writing, you can never get away from that. 

#ugh

So let’s talk about the emotional difficulties of releasing that book baby into the world.

The Emotional Reality of Vulnerability

This didn’t become quite real for me until a friend said to me in an innocent, random conversation, “I think we all picture you as Bianca when we read.”

My heart stopped. Not that it was real news, of course. Anyone who has read this blog knows I’m a snarky mess, just like B. All the same, I responded with, “Really? Because that was never the point. I never wanted someone to read the book and see me in it.”

In fact, I tried very hard to take myself out of Bianca in the beginning drafts, but my beta readers called me on it. She was “too perfect” and “boring.”

Duh. Of course she’s perfect. If she has flaws then the world will see me in it, and everyone will know I have a serious Dr Pepper 10 addiction am not perfect although I expect myself to be. 

For some reason, that vulnerability came through extra strong with the release of Antebellum Awakening.

I don’t like to need other people.

But you can’t release a book on your own. You just can’t, and you shouldn’t try. Networking works for a reason: we all need each other. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to rely on others to help my purposes be successful. My inherent skeptic always asks why should they care? Not to mention the phrase of no one will ever care as much about your book as you do.

Like the itchy wool sweater Grandma gives you at Christmas, accepting help from others is uncomfortable for me. While it’s incredibly appreciated, it also makes me incredibly vulnerable.

As you can tell, I don’t like to be vulnerable.

The stakes.

Like a lot of you, I gave up a different career I love (pediatric RN), asked Husband to take full-time care of us financially, and threw my 9-5 into a computer at home. This has to work and it has to (at least a little) work right now.

Before you start throwing comments like ‘give it time’ and ‘success isn’t overnight’ let me reassure you: I get it. I even agree. But while that rolling stone is gaining speed, I can’t tell my cover designer, “Hey, I’ll pay you in two years when I’m actually making money and not just pouring it all into the next book.”

Although Husband is completely supportive, the bill collectors are not. I was incredibly aware that I needed this book to make money. Even just a little. If not to prove to him that this isn’t just some venture, to prove to myself that all my preparation wasn’t in vain, and that I have what it takes.

Release Day

With all those thoughts on my mind, I entered release day overwhelmed, already exhausted, and needing an emotional massage.

I ran a Bookbub ad for my first book, Miss Mabel’s School for Girlsthe day before the release of Antebellum Awakening with the hope to drive up preorder sales. It worked. Preorders doubled, and both books began to climb the charts. MMSFG hit #1 in Kindle Fantasy for about 4-6 hours, then hovered at #4 for most of the next day.

The Emotional Side of a Book Release

 

I went to bed at 0130, ecstatic with that success. An early morning at 0530, and the release day festivities began. Most of my time was spent keeping up with giveaway entries, supporting the bloggers that hosted me, advertising on IG, Twitter, FB, Pinterest, and more, while also maintaining my sanity. It was difficult to NOT check my sales rank or numbers every 30 minutes. I had to force myself to workout, fold the laundry, and run a few (quick) errands.

I was jubilant over MMSFG’s success, but worried about AA. Why had only 30 people purchased so far? Did that include preorders? Should I have published on B&N instead of doing KDP Select?

My brother in law and sister sent me these flowers that brought tears to my eyes. For awhile, I stopped worrying. Seriously, everything would be fine.

The Emotional Side of Publishing a Book

But then my fears started to fester again when my #4 rank slipped to #7. The tidal wave was over, as I knew it would be eventually, but I was still happy about being on the first page. To spare you every gory detail of my whiplash state of mind, it’s fair to say that my emotions hopped around like a bunny on smoldering lava.

By the time 6:30 rolled around, I had a little over 1 L of Dr Pepper 10 running around my veins, more FB notifications than I could keep up with, and couldn’t stop yawning. Husband and I sat down at Salsa Brava for a celebratory dinner.

“The worst is over,” Husband said. “You did it!”

I looked up at him, blinked, and literally fell into mental pieces.

I didn’t cry or anything like that. But I did stare at the top of the table. It took me ten minutes to order because I had to keep re-reading everything on the menu. As a rule I always order water at restaurants, but I drank two glasses of DDP just to keep myself awake enough to eat. Husband asked if I was okay, and I just said, “No. I think I’m just done.”

Stick a fork in me.

The Unvarnished Truth From Yours Truly

Part of the mental snow fall of my brain resulted from Husband’s correct observation: the worst was over. I’d had more success than I planned, my thoughts weren’t racing with oh no! I forgot to answer those interview questions. Did I send Candace the post? Is the banner for the caramels ready?  and I didn’t have to worry anymore about whether I’d make the money back or not. (For those of you wondering: yes. I did make the money back.)

I write this to tell you that it’s my experience only. There’s really no point to this post except to help you understand that releasing a book is so much more than marketing and cover design. For emotion-driven creatives like myself, it’s self-contained emotional war.

I’ve always lived my life on an intensity level that makes many other people roll their eyes. When I go hard, I go really hard, and that’s just what happened with this book release. My success was great, but over 6 weeks of preparation, and the roller coaster ride of highs and lows, came before it.

Now I’m already neck-deep in my next book, Mildred’s Resistancecatching up on Big Bang Theory, and eating WAY too many caramels.

How do you cope with highs and lows of a book release?

 

15 Tips to Own Your First Book Launch

15 Tips to Own Your First Book Launch

As requested, I’m posting my thoughts/strategies on the launch of my very first book Miss Mabel’s School for GirlsDon’t feel obligated to sit and read it all at once. Skim away and pick what you want, or bookmark it for later reference.

*Note: I don’t launch books like this anymore. 9 books later, I’ve taken away a lot of this work and just let it go because I have readership. But this worked for me as a first book release strategy because I needed traction and warm bodies to read.

So we are clear: this is by no means a post to say DO IT THIS WAY. This is simply me telling you what I did and my assessment of whether I’d do it again or not. I firmly believe that every book launch needs to be tailored to the genre, book, and audience.

1. I wrote a good book. At least, in my opinion it’s a good book, with multi-levels of professional edits, an ebook formatter, a typesetter, and a cover designer.

2. I made the release about the readers. At the heart of things, they are most important. Since readers are the reason I have a job, everything is about them. Except for the writing. That’s all about me.

Okay, it’s all about them.

3. The Power of the Book Bloggers.

I found some book bloggers that I liked, who kept things interesting (I’ve dropped my subscription to a few), and made sure to comment every now and then or support them in whatever way I could.

Turns out, when you’ve got friends that blog about books, and then you release a book, they’ve got your back. Some of them weren’t able to help me, and some didn’t respond to my emails, but they still run awesome blogs.

4I did a blog blast type thing, but I didn’t do a blog blast type thing.

I’m not really sure what you call it. A launch party or book blast or something like that. Basically, I constructed a post (see next item) with Candace at Candace’s Book Blog, and she sent it out to her small army of book bloggers, who then posted it release weekend.

My thoughts on this approach:

1. This definitely got me exposure on release day. I had referrals coming in all day from these book blogs. DID IT INCREASE SALES? There’s no way to tell, really. But I believe it did.

2. The real reason I believe this approach worked is because I went to each and every blog, left a comment to thank the blog host, then clicked the little box that says notify me. All launch weekend long I tracked comments people made on each book blog. Some of those comments I followed up with. If they were another book blog, I’d offer them a review copy.

3. Did I do it for the next book? Not on the same scale, and didn’t even contemplate it for the third book. But now that MMSFG is out garnering, hopefully, her own following, it may or may not be necessary. I think this wouldn’t be as easy with the second book in a series unless I offered the first book for a discounted price when the second book launches.

5. DO WHAT WORKS.

In regards to the post that Candace and I sent out, I was adamant that I would not do character interviews. I never read them. See my rant/post about it here. You know what does work?

Pretty, pretty pictures work.

I spent almost an entire Saturday with my MIL getting giveaway swag ready and then taking the most professional photos we could. I also scoured the internet for awesome images that look like something you’d find in my world and emailed the owners for permission to reuse them.

We are visual people. We like pretty things. So I showed my readers pretty things.

Candace and I did a visual tour of Miss Mabel’s School for Girls and it worked beautifully. Lots of comments on changing it up, and even more people said they were intrigued because of what they saw.

6. Return the love.

I had tons of bloggers and book reviewers help me out by reading, reviewing, and posting a review on launch day. So, as a result, I promoted the brains out of them on my social media, especially on the Facebook page.

I also publicly thanked everyone who helped, which was probably all of you reading this.

7. Rafflecopter didn’t work for me.

For real. I’ve done it in the past and will never do it again. Why?

Because it’s constructed to mostly benefit the person running the giveaway by garnering twitter followers, Facebook likes, and blog posts. It’s not really geared towards normal readers.

I’d say maybe 2% of my readers have a twitter account. 50% have Facebook. And the rest of them, like my grandma (who is, I’ll have you know, one of my biggest flans), don’t want to leave a comment on the blog.

8. I made the giveaway work in my favor while benefitting the readers.

My goal for the giveaway was to make it so anyone could win and Miss Mabel’s would get out there. Not only would that help me meet more people, but it would also increase the likelihood that Miss Mabel’s would bust out on all kinds social media.

Things I did that I’d do again for my giveaway:

– Had a central meeting point on my blog not associated with social media. (Because not everyone has Facebook or twitter, remember?)

– Had a list of straightforward instructions on how to earn entries that’s visible and easy to find.

-Made earning entries easy by simply sharing on social media. 1 share = 1 entry.

– Made myself accessible so they could communicate questions to me at any time: IE- I plastered an email address everywhere.

– Made sure the swag is extra awesome and applicable to the story. It was pretty unique and people seemed to really like that

– I didn’t give away copies of the book in the giveaway because people may not buy it in the hopes to win.

– I made sure the pictures of the swag were as professional as I could manage. I did it with an old kodak, actually. This is important because: the prettier the pictures, the more likely people will share. IT’S WHY PINTEREST WORKS SO WELL!

9. Leaned on my author buddies.

My writing friends  were amazing at my launch. They promoted their brainz out. Really. All of you guys who hosted me on your blog, or bought my book, or read it? Awesome. Seriously. Without all the people who I reached out to, or reached out to me, this post would not be happening.

10. I gave away free advance copies to anyone who wanted one.

There are differing opinions on why we shouldn’t give our books away for free. I see the argument for and against. But I decided to @#$^*@# with that and gave away like it was the apocalypse.

I’ll do this in more controlled methods for later books. Exposure was key. I felt it worked because:

1. I feel it garnered a lot of loyalty and excitement.

2. I sent the PDF to people I didn’t know but someone else said, hey, they love to read! Send it to them! That way I knew I could trust the feedback to not be family-tainted.

3. MMSFG garnered a lot of reviews (we hit almost 40 the first two weeks) not just because posting a review earned you slips for the giveaway, but also because of the advance copies that went out. I told people that I sent it to, ‘Send it to one or two friends that you absolutely trust and tell them I’ll give them the advance copy if they agree to read it and review it for launch weekend.’

Most people were more than happy to do that. I got plenty of reviews the first week from people I didn’t know in Alaska, Arizona, and other places. I also made it very clear that I never interact with people regarding their review, and I wanted them to post an honest response.

#theawesomenessofnetworking

DOWNSIDES:

1. Not everyone posted a review as promised, which is fine. It’s not something I can, nor want, to control. I don’t really care enough to try. 

2. A needed sense of organization, which I don’t, so I had many headaches.

3. I plan to give away advanced copies again, but NOT to the extent I did for the first book. Now that the first book is out, I’ll use the super-stars that popped up with this launch to help me with the next one, and will likely be more selective.

11. Goodreads

As a general rule, I’m wary of Goodreads. Love it. Use it to some extent. But as an author I’m vewy, vewy, wary. However, it’s an engine with a lot of power for a book release.

What I’ll do again:

1. Post a giveaway that ends the day before the launch. Then send the books on launch day. Two of the readers that won the Goodreads copy of Miss Mabel’s posted reviews. It also got it out on the TBR lists so that when it was available it was already “out there” and people have at least seen the cover.

2. Give away several copies: I gave away 5 and had almost 1200 people requesting on the first giveaway. I’m a week into another month long giveaway on Goodreads and already 350 people are requesting it.

I’ve also found that Goodreads tends to act “as it’s own entity” with people that I don’t know on any other social media, so I’ve let Goodreads do it’s own work and that has worked well so far.

12. I did other stuff.

The post on the progression of my book cover went over really well with readers because they had no idea what goes into the behind-the-scences stuff, so I blasted that a day before the giveaway started to garner more interest and anticipation. It’s one of the highest visited posts I’ve ever had.

I also did interviews that really had not much to do with anything but were far more interesting than ‘what’s your writing process?’

13. Had a goal to always be associated with good things

No matter what, I want people to see my name, my brand, my book, my story, my whatever, and think good things.

Bottom line. Period.

14. I made everything easy to find.

The ‘buy’ links are front and center on the book page. It’s also simple, easy to navigate, and gorgeous!

It took me about three months and 15 different attempts to get the website just how I wanted it and I’m so glad I took the time.

15. I made the subscription option a priority in the giveaway.

My main motivation for giveaway was to get subscribers. I made it so that subscribing to the website would earn them as many entries as buying the book.

Those subscribers will be the backbone of my future book releases. And I give them exclusive free stuff, like free audiobooks and the book, Short Stories from Miss Mabel’s for free.

Are your minds slush yet?

Mine is. I need a chai. I always need more chai.

In conclusion: I think for that first book, focusing on your reader is key. Make it easy. Give yourself space to find people, and focus on exposure. (I know people will differ in opinion and that’s totally fine). For me, I took the focus off royalties and placed it on visibility.

Still going strong 9 books later. #justsayin

Post your thoughts or your first book launch strategies in the comments! I want to hear new and better ones!