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How Reviews Impact Your Ability to Sell Books During Book Launches

How Reviews Impact Your Ability to Sell Books During Book Launches

Did you know that 88% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations or that 72% of consumers will take action after reading a positive review?

How about the fact that review signals account for approximately 9.8% of total search ranking factors?

With stats like those, it’s not hard to see that reviews aren’t just important for your book launch. They’re essential for a successful writing career.

In fact, here’s how these powerful pieces of social proof can impact your ability to sell books:

  • Positive reviews can increase conversions by eliminating potential doubts and persuading readers to consider purchasing your book—sometimes over another.
  • Both your book and author brand gain credibility and trust as your talent and knowledge become clearer to others through reviews.
  • Loads of social proof can strengthen the perceived value of your book, making people feel more confident when recommending it to family, friends, and peers.
  • Since reviews create fresh user-generated content, boost social conversation, increase long-tail keyword traffic, and are indexed and used for search results, they can give your book a huge boost in search rankings, effectively increasing your discoverability at launch.
  • Amazon uses reviews as a ranking factor, which means that a winning combination of keywords, category choices, and positive reviews can help you compete with other titles in your category for the #1 spot. In turn, this drives downloads and sales, which are two more factors Amazon uses for rankings.
  • The positive buzz reviews generate can prolong enthusiasm for your book and bring in more reviews that churn up more buzz.
  • Favorable endorsements from influencers can attract more people in your target audience and pre-sell them on the idea of adding your masterpiece to their library—digital or otherwise. In fact, people don’t give enough credit to the importance of pre-framing from an authority. If there was one tactic an author could look for as a golden ticket for selling books through reviews, it would be to find endorsements and reviews from those with the greatest level of influence in their genre or niche.
  • Reviews can increase loyalty among existing readers as they feel like they’re part of your brand and that their feedback and opinions matter to you.
  • Reviews and ratings can affect your acceptance into certain advertising programs like ReadingDeals and BookBub, which are powerful tools for reaching highly targeted email lists.

In addition, reviews provide valuable feedback. Although editors are great for guiding you through many of the organizational and technical modifications needed to ensure your book is ready for market, readers can tell you how they connected with it—whether they liked the plot, your characters, and the perspective from which you tell your story. If you’re a fiction author, reviews can help you determine whether your content was helpful, whether you’re writing at the correct level for your target audience, and more. The result is that you have an opportunity to make necessary changes before your launch or update the published manuscript as you receive feedback.

Are you actively running a review campaign? What weird and wonderful results have you seen as a result? We’d love to hear your review stories, so be sure to share them below. You’ll also want to hit the subscribe button so that you keep up to date with our latest posts on reviews, book launches, and more. Don’t forget to download our massive book launch checklist if you haven’t already. Simply click the image below.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.BookMarketingTools.com

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Ep 145: “Million Dollar Book Business”

Ep 145: “Million Dollar Book Business”

Welcome to the 145th episode of The Author Hangout, a podcast designed to help authors, especially self-published and indie authors, with marketing their books and improving their author platform. Authors struggle with various aspects of marketing and we are here to help!

Million Dollar Book Business

In this episode, Shawn shows you the entire setup to turn your book into a million dollar book business. No, it won’t happen over night, but Shawn lays out a solid plan that you can start taking the first steps on today.

Listen to the Show / Podcast

Listen to Stitcher

Episode Resources:

Free guide for authors: Getting Reviews For Your Book

Featured Quotes

“If you were to sell a million dollars of your $3 book and assuming that you get 70% margin on that then you’re going to actually have to sell 476,190 books. Crazy, right? The reality is though is that when you look at the value ladder you are able to enjoy the benefit of those initial set of subscribers that you’ve paid for and acquired. They actually pay for more and more than just the first product.”

“We have not done a great job as authors in really thinking through what exactly do our audience members want. What is the pain that they really desire? What is the desire that they have when they read our fiction books that would make them want to participate in a one day, three day, week long even at some luxury place? What is it that they really want? The reality is that we don’t do a great job at getting the big picture around the real desire and need for our audience. “

Please Leave Us A Review

Just like authors do with their books, we need reviews for our podcast! Reviews for our podcast help other authors to learn about and learn from The Author Hangout. Can you take a moment to leave a review for our podcast? If you don’t know how but are willing to leave a review, please go here to learn how to leave a quick review for our podcast. It will only take a minute, but it will help a lot.

Thank you so much!

How To Listen

There are many ways to listen to the show:

Other Episodes

Get caught up on the other episodes of The Author Hangout that you may have missed:

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The content for this post was sourced from www.BookMarketingTools.com

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Why Giveaways Are Such a Remarkable Book Launch Tactic

Why Giveaways Are Such a Remarkable Book Launch Tactic

When you’re evaluating various tactics for inclusion in your book launch marketing plan, few can rival a juicy giveaway as a means for reaching your goals. In fact, most authors who have implemented this tactic successfully will agree that it’s one of the best ways to attract readers and collect their email addresses.

To put it simply: giveaways (along with contests) are dynamite. All you have to do is light the fuse.

“Listen buddy, I already have to give away advance reader copies to get reviews. Do I really have to give away more free stuff?”

Look, we sympathize with you—especially if you’re an indie author bootstrapping your first launch. The thing is that contests and giveaways can lead to a bucket load of benefits beyond collecting email addresses. While many other book launch tactics are focused on a very narrow set of goals, the goals you can achieve with a single giveaway are much broader. You also achieve them faster.

Generating buzz is what your book launch is all about, so why not take it to the next level? You can implement this tactic fairly cost effectively, and you can set the entire thing up in minutes.

With that said, let’s review some of the key benefits of running a contest or giveaway.

On the surface, freebies appear to be money losers, but here’s the truth:

  • Giveaways create tons of goodwill. Give people free, valuable stuff and you’re golden—they will develop friendly, cooperative, and kind feelings or attitudes toward you. The other aspect to consider is that any time you give bloggers and podcast hosts goodies to give to their audience, you make them look great. It’s a win for all involved.
  • Giveaways and contests can go viral. This means that every time you create a new one, you’re potentially setting your author brand and your new book up for massive exposure.
  • If you’re hoping to generate engagement, this tactic is one way to go. From “likes” and shares to comments and subscriptions, you can use contests and giveaways to encourage interaction and move your followers to the next level of fandom. You need to be careful about how you do this, though, as there are rules and state regulations involved.
  • Along with the all the shares, tweets, and link backs comes a bunch of traffic, which often results in page growth (i.e. more reach, more followers, and more engagement).
  • Depending on how you set up your contest or giveaway, you can grow reviews organically as part of the overall process—and we all know how important this kind of social proof is for a successful book launch.
  • Freebies can accelerate word-of-mouth marketing and boost your reputation. We all want people to say and share nice things about us and our books, but stimulating this kind of response from people is not always as easy as it sounds. It’s not something that usually happens overnight either. However, hosting a giveaway or contest is just one way to speed up this process and get people talking about you more.
  • Believe it or not, contests and giveaways can help sell more books. When consumers get something for nothing, they respond in a variety of surprising ways—many times subconsciously. It’s based on the reciprocity principle whereby the value you give them for free creates a reciprocal relationship. In other words, they feel a sense of connection and responsibility to give back. “Hold on, I’m not giving everyone a prize!” That’s true, but if you set up your giveaway wisely, you can still leverage this tactic to potentially boost sales. Let’s say, for example, you have an awesome grand prize with only one winner. As a way to commiserate with everyone who didn’t win, you can send them an email to that effect with a link to a free copy of your book. This puts your book in their hands. If they like it, they could become lifelong fans and purchase sequels or other books you produce in the same genre. This is especially effective if your book launch is for the second book in a series and you send them the first for free.
  • Giveaways and contests make it extremely easy to build a super targeted, warm list of leads quickly. With the right prize up for grabs, you’ll gain the attention and email addresses of people who are truly interested in your genre and not just the freebie.

Bottom line: there’s nothing quite like an exciting, time-sensitive event to drive campaign objectives. If you’re looking for an ideal way to warm up your audience at the same time, then giveaways are it.

Have you seen any surprising benefits from contests or giveaways? Share your hits and misses with us in the comment section below. Also, be sure to stay tuned for more on book launches by subscribing to our blog. You’ll also want to download our free launch checklist below to ensure your campaign is a success.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.BookMarketingTools.com

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How to Create a Review Campaign for Your Book Launch

How to Create a Review Campaign for Your Book Launch

Let’s be honest for a minute.

Generating reviews can be tough. It’s not always easy asking strangers to help you out, which is why some authors resort to buying five-star Amazon reviews from sites like Fiverr.com. Although gaming the system this way could boost your sales rank and attract new readers, it also taints your success. It makes readers suspicious and damages your credibility. You only have to ask self-published authors like John Locke whose review scandal was compared to the likes of Lance Armstrong’s doping debacle when it eventually hit the headlines—and it did hit the headlines. With the illusion of truth broken, there may be no recovering from the fallout with readers—which just isn’t worth it.

Honest, authentic reviews are the result of connecting with readers and either exceeding or failing their expectations. Contrary to what some authors might believe, however, getting reviews isn’t a waiting game. What you need is a system to ensure you’re predictably and steadily bringing in reviews from the moment you hand out your first advance reader copy (ARC).

So, let’s get to it.

Preparing for a Review Campaign

Before you start hitting people up for reviews, there are a few things you need to do in preparation.

  1. Set a timeline for your review campaign. Although you’ll want to create a long-term strategy in the context of your overall book marketing efforts, this timeline needs to be specific to the launch for this particular book. Ideally, you’ll want to start as early as possible and then drive reviews for a few months after launch day (depending on when your launch campaign ends). An early start will allow you to build relationships and contacts so that you’ll obtain the quantity and quality of reviews you need for a successful outcome.
  1. Set review goals. Setting milestones can help keep you motivated, but it’s also important to base your goals on your launch campaign objectives. If your goal is to generate 100 4-5 star reviews by a certain date, then you should use this goal to set a realistic pace for the efforts you need to put in for garnering reviews.
  1. Prepare your ARCs. With the advent of ebooks, it’s more common now for ARCs to be distributed in digital format. Whether you want to send a print copy or ebook will depend on who you’re sending an ARC to for review. Either way, it should include a disclaimer on the cover stating that it’s an Advance Reader Copy. It should also be marked as an uncorrected proof that’s not for sale and incorporate details such as the number of pages, price, and release date.

Here’s an example:

  1. Create a spreadsheet to keep track of your campaign. You’ll want to create columns for the potential reviewer’s name, email address, and website URL. You’ll also want to add columns for the date you sent your review pitch, the person’s answer to your request, the shipping address for those who require printed ARCs, the date you sent the copy, the date the review was published, and the date you sent a thank you note. If you like, you can also include information about your connection to that person (i.e. book blogger, media contact, influencer, family member, friend, street team member, etc.).

Now let’s explore exactly how to get those valuable reviews.

How to Solicit Reviews like a Pro

Although you want to rack up reviews on Amazon, don’t forget that all your distribution platforms need some review love. Depending on your strategy, consider splitting up your campaign tactics to drive reviews to certain platforms. You’ll also want to ensure your book pages on sites like Goodreads garner plenty of attention from reviewers. The key is to keep the flow of reviews consistent.

Here are our top tactics for soliciting reviews in a non-scammy way:

  1. Leverage Your Pool of Insiders

Your list of insiders includes family, friends, colleagues, fellow authors you know well, street team members, and anyone else who has expressed their willingness to lend a hand with your book launch or writing career. Go through this list to find people who would consider the exchange of your book for a review mutually beneficial and then create an email to get them on board with reviewing your book.

Here’s a basic email template you can adapt accordingly. Keep in mind that it should be highly personalized—you’re leveraging an existing relationship, not selling to a stranger.

Email Template (Sent 6-8 weeks before launch)

Subject: Can I send you my new book? 

Hey [Insert name], 

I hope you’re well! [Include other pleasantries that would help create a warm opening] 

Over the last few months, I’ve been working on [insert book name]—my new book about [insert short description]. I’m so excited to announce its release on [insert launch date]. 

The reason I’m emailing is because customer reviews are essential to an author’s success and I would greatly appreciate your help with this. 

Can I send you a free advance copy of my book? My only request is that you leave an honest customer review on [insert launch date]. 

I’d be happy to send a digital or print version. If you want a print copy, just let me know where to send it, and I’ll drop it in the mail. 

Thank so much! 

[Your name]

For those who agree to your request, be sure to send them a reminder or two closer to the time so that they don’t forget to publish their critique on launch day. If you like, you can add a set of instructions to make the reviewing process as easy as possible.

  1. Take Advantage of Your Networks and Writing Platform

If you’re in writing groups, book clubs, author circles, or other online and offline communities, you have an audience. If you’re blogging, using social media, or networking with others in your genre or field, you have an audience. Many of us tend to forget that the simplest way to generate reviews is by asking. Create blog posts with a call to action, write social media posts requesting reviews, and reach out to your networking groups for help. Many people are eager to help those who have been invaluable to their community.

  1. Use a Professional Reviewing Service

The reputation and trustworthiness of well-known services like Kirkus Reviews, Forward Reviews, and Readers’ Favorite can help you level the playing field against traditionally published authors. While these editorial reviews might not result in a significant sales boost, they will help you gain credibility and recognition. In fact, many authors have captured the attention of agents, publishers, filmmakers, and industry influencers by purchasing and publishing a book review through these professional services. To make the most of these reviews, highlight them on your Amazon Author Page and in the Editorial Review section of your book’s Amazon product page.

  1. Include a Call-To-Action in Your Book’s Back Matter

Avid readers tend to devour a new book quickly, but don’t always remember to leave a review. By adding a note to your book’s back matter, you can thank them for reading while encouraging them to provide their feedback. A simple call-to-action like “Want to let others know what you think? Make your opinion known by leaving a review here: [direct link to review page]” will do the trick.

  1. Capitalize on the Influence of Book Bloggers

There’s a special group of people online who love to read and review books—often just for the fun of it. Not only have they created blogs in every genre you can possibly imagine, but they’ve also immersed themselves in social media, book clubs, and online groups to create active and engaged communities of readers. Their reach is considerable, and their influence is just as phenomenal. These people are book bloggers, and they are your new best friends.

By building genuine, meaningful relationships with these individuals and contributing valuable insight to their community, they’re going to be far more likely to review your book and build some buzz around your launch. You can find book bloggers on social media sites using search terms and hashtags like #bookblogger, #bookreview, and #bookreviewer. You can also use online directories like the Best Review Blogs, The Book Blogger List, Story Cartel, and The Indie View.

When searching for book bloggers, make sure you look for reviewers in your genre and that you read any submission guidelines provided. Focus on sites where your target reader is likely to stop by in search of a new book. Be sure to seek out bloggers and submit your ARC well in advance as there’s often a backlog.

  1. Let People Know You Included Them

If you’ve mentioned, featured, or quoted someone in your book, let that person know. Besides potentially generating a review, you might get some free exposure out of the deal—especially if you have similar audiences.

Here’s a template you can personalize for your own use:

Subject: You’re in my book! 

Hey [insert name], 

I’m just emailing to let you know that I’ve published a book about [insert short book description] and you’re in it! 

[Explain how the person is featured, which quote you used, etc.] 

If you want to check it out, you can grab a free copy here: [insert download link] 

If you enjoy it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon—it’s always appreciated. 

Have a great day! 

[Your name]

Again, you can include instructions on how to leave a review or other bits of information that might be relevant to their inclusion in your book.

  1. Create a Free Promo

A free promotion during your launch period is not only a great way to encourage downloads, but it’s also an amazing tool for garnering reviews organically. An increase in readers means you have a greater chance of collecting reviews. Combine this with tactic #3, and you’ll be rolling in the praise. Simply enroll your book in a free promo with Amazon’s KDP Select feature and then promote your freebie across all marketing channels, including book promotion sites like ReadingDeals and BookBub.

  1. Give a Public Shout Out to Specific Reviewers

By publicly thanking specific people who have already taken action and left a review, you can inspire others in your network to take action too. It also translates to more goodwill for you and your book. Simply create a social media post along the following lines:

[Book name] is climbing up the ranks on Amazon and is now at #[insert ranking] in its category! 

A special thanks to [insert list of reviewer names] for making it happen with your awesome reviews. You guys ROCK!

When more people review your book as a result of this, make sure you create a second post that thanks them too. You’ll be surprised by how effective this tactic can be.

If there’s one takeaway from this post, it should be that you need to be proactive when seeking out reviews. The wheels of e-commerce run on positive reviews, which is why there’s zero room for a passive approach. If it seems overwhelming, start small. The ultimate goal is to create some form of social proof so that “cold” readers landing on your product page for the first time can see your book is relevant and worth the investment.

What’s your secret to generating great reviews for your books? Share your tips and tactics with us in the comment section. Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more on book launches, reviews, and other book-related goodness before grabbing a copy of our book launch checklist below.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.BookMarketingTools.com

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How to Create a Giveaway Campaign for Your Book Launch

How to Create a Giveaway Campaign for Your Book Launch

If you’ve seen any giveaways or contests online, you’ll notice that some are more complex than others. The reality is that the setup process doesn’t have to be difficult no matter how complex your campaign is.

In fact, we have an easy 7-step process to prove it.

Step 1: Secure Your Giveaway Software

While you can go through the painstaking process of setting everything up manually with landing pages, email integrations, and a whole lot of hassle, we’ll refer you to the famous words of Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins: “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Fortunately, there are multiple technology options that make the process of setting up and hosting contests or giveaways a piece of cake for small businesses and authors just like you. What you will find is that you can generally split them into two categories.

Category 1: These include solutions like LibraryThing Member Giveaways, Goodreads Giveaways, and Amazon Giveaways. LibraryThing and Goodreads will only allow you to give away copies of your book. While the former lets you distribute book copies in multiple formats, the latter only permits print copies (which you’ll need to purchase through a print-on-demand service like CreateSpace). Amazon, on the other hand, lets you give away any product on its site, but you must pay for it—even if it’s your own book.

There is another catch: these solutions do not disclose the email addresses of entrants. To this point, they don’t sound so great, but they can be powerful tools if your objectives are to grow your reader following on these sites, drive reviews, and generate awareness for your book. If your objective is to grow your book launch email list, then you’ll want to try one of the software solutions in category 2.

Category 2: These include solutions like Rafflecopter, KingSumo, and Gleam. Features and pricing options vary, but the great thing about all of these tools is that they allow you to create well-designed giveaways in minutes. You have a lot more control over your campaign, and you can capture precious email addresses for your email campaigning efforts.

Choosing software will depend on your objective and budget. If you have the means to play around, give them all a spin to see what works best for you.

Step 2: Pick a Prize

Mediocre, irrelevant prizes won’t create excitement or attract qualified leads. You need to think outside of the box on this one—be imaginative and original. Everyone wants an Amazon gift card, but all that will accomplish is an email list full of entrants who aren’t particularly interested in your book or genre. Therefore, your prize needs to be a highly desirable, related to your book, and aimed at attracting members of your target readership.

Here are some ideas to get the cogs turning:

  • Signed book copies (this is especially awesome if you manage to find rare or first-edition copies)
  • Digital book copies
  • Book bundles
  • Gift cards or tickets
  • Electronic devices like Kindles and iPads loaded with ebooks (this idea might be as overdone and bland as Amazon gift cards, but there are certain circumstances where it could be highly relevant to your book and audience)
  • Skype calls with you
  • In-person meet-and-greets
  • A chance to name a character
  • Themed gift baskets
  • Book-related trinkets (e.g. themed ornaments, one-of-a-kind finds, etc.)
  • Book-related printable items (e.g. paper crafts, recipe cards, etc.)
  • Relevant subscriptions
  • Branded merchandise
  • Bookends
  • A two-night stay at a hotel in one of your book’s locations

Let’s put some of these ideas into context for your genre:

Paranormal romance – give away tickets to a ghost tour

Historical romance – give away jewelry that looks like it came from that time period

Sci-fi – give away cool movie props you find on eBay

Mystery or crime – give away tickets to a murder mystery dinner

Western – give away a gift basket with classic western movies, a blanket, and snacks (or you know, cowboy boots and a hat)

Cookbook – give away kitchen utensils, aprons, or other useful cooking gadgets

Diet book – give away a subscription to a healthy meal delivery service

Workout book – give away a workout bag, gym clothes, or lessons with a personal trainer

Career guide – give away a briefcase, yearly planner, or a few hours of your coaching

Your prize doesn’t have to be huge, but it should be irresistible. Just make sure you give away something your target readers want to win and you won’t have any problem gathering entries.

Step 3: Establish Your Giveaway’s Duration

There are mixed feelings about this aspect of setting up contests and giveaways. While sites like Goodreads recommend that you run your campaign for at least a month, others have found success with a succession of short, quick giveaways. A good place to start when you’re unsure is around 30 days. What you do want to do is consider the value of your prize. Prizes with higher price tags can stand to run much longer than a simple book giveaway. After all, you want to have as much impact as possible if you’re spending a fair amount on prizes.

Step 4: Create Contest Rules

All contests and sweepstakes must have official rules that are easy to find. Thankfully, most giveaway tools will provide a fill-in-the-blank type template you can adapt for your own use. Just in case you want to compare, here’s what your rules must do:

  • State “NO PURCHASE NECESSARY”
  • Detail the name and address of the sponsor and promoter
  • Describe the number of prizes, the prize(s), the odds of winning, and the retail value
  • Include eligibility requirements (age, residence, etc.)
  • State the legal jurisdiction in which the giveaway will be regulated
  • Provide the opening and termination date of the campaign, as well as the date the winner(s) will be announced
  • Explain entry procedures (i.e. an email address submission via the giveaway entry form)
  • Detail how winners will be selected, as well as when and where a list of winners can be obtained
  • State whether all prizes offered will be awarded and how prizes not claimed will be distributed or re-awarded
  • Declare your right to obtain the names of winners, as well as your right to publicize their names and likeness
  • Explain how errors, disputes, and technical failures will be handled (e.g. duplicate entries will be deleted)
  • Include a liability release (i.e. you are not responsible in the event that the giveaway or prize negatively affects the winner)
  • How you will verify the winner
  • State “VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW”

If you’re running a contest, you’ll also need to disclose where you’ll be collecting materials such as photos, artwork, and essays from entrants, as well as how they’ll be used and returned (if applicable). Seek legal advice if you’re unsure or have a concern about anything related to the rules and regulations of running a giveaway campaign.

Step 5: Create Your Giveaway Page

Designing your page is often as simple as adding your copy and uploading eye-catching background and prize images. Depending on the software you’re using, there may be restrictions in terms of character counts and image sizes. Be sure to check out the available design features before you write any copy or create your imagery.

When you’re crafting your giveaway message, make sure that it includes a head-turning headline. “Win 10 Sci-Fi Books!” is not as enticing as “Win Classic Sci-fi Book Bundle Worth $150!” You’re unlikely to have much space to work with a long pitch, so keep your contest description short but powerfully tempting. If you’re collecting email addresses to send additional correspondence, you need to make that clear. KingSumo’s giveaway plugin, for example, contains the following copy by default:

“Enter sweepstakes to receive exclusive offers from [your brand]. Unsubscribe anytime.”

The link to the giveaway’s official rules is then placed directly after it. If your software does not make it clear that the entrant is simultaneously subscribing to something, write it into your copy.

Step 6: Promote Your Giveaway

It’s time to drum up some attention and put your giveaway in front of as many of your target readers as possible. This means hard-core promotion across all platforms including your email list, social media platforms, blog, and website. In addition, you’ll want to reach out to book bloggers and podcast hosts, call in favors from friends, family, and others in your network, and set up a few paid ads (if you have the budget). Keep in mind this is a time-sensitive event, so you’ll want to set enough time aside to focus your attention on promoting your giveaway for its duration.

Step 7: Close the Giveaway and Announce the Winner(s)

When the stipulated date and time arrives, randomly select the winner(s) from your entrant pool using your software’s picker. Make the announcement and then email the winners to make contact and gain any additional information you require for verification, delivery, or tax purposes.

See, it wasn’t that difficult.

On a final note, don’t forget to track your progress. Besides tallying up entries, you’ll want to monitor the impact your giveaway is having on your reviews, your social page growth, your email list, and more. Unfortunately, you can’t change your giveaway once it’s published and people have started entering, but you can judge a few things by your target audiences’ response to it. If they’re sharing your giveaway, commenting on it, and linking back then you know you have a winner.

Have you seen any cool and inspirational contest or giveaway ideas for a book launch? We’d love to hear the, so feel free to share them with us in the comment section below. Before you head on out of here, subscribe to our blog for more on book launches and then click on the banner to download our 198-point book launch success checklist for your next campaign.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.BookMarketingTools.com

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The Legalities of Running a Giveaway or Contest During Your Book Launch

The Legalities of Running a Giveaway or Contest During Your Book Launch

Disclaimer: This post contains general information about the legalities of contests and giveaways. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. If you are concerned about a specific legal issue, please seek advice from a lawyer qualified in the relevant jurisdiction.

Thinking about running a giveaway or contest to help promote your book launch?

While these tactics are incredibly powerful, you should know that there are federal and state laws governing these types of promotion. There are also potential tax considerations.

Believe it or not, a surprisingly large portion of the contests and giveaways you see floating around online these days are actually classified as illegal lotteries. Non-compliance exposes the creators to potential liability, which can include fines and criminal prosecution. To avoid putting yourself in the same position, it’s important to understand the difference between contests, sweepstakes, and lotteries, as well as the three factors considered when determining if a giveaway is, in fact, an illegal lottery.

Contests: The winner is judged and chosen based on their submission or performance. Criteria can include things like the best photo, most likes, funniest video, etc.

Sweepstakes: The prize is awarded based on the luck of the draw. Entry is free, and the winner is chosen at random.

Lotteries: Like sweepstakes, the prize is awarded based on the luck of the draw. Unlike sweepstakes, entrants are required to buy their chance to win. Lotteries are highly regulated and prohibitively expensive to run. In most countries, they’re run exclusively by the government.

Definitions may vary from country to country, so it’s crucial to make sure you understand laws governing the countries in which you wish to host a giveaway. In Canada and some European countries, for example, most giveaways would be called contests since winners must be chosen based on specific criteria.

How can a sweepstake be misconstrued as an illegal lottery?

Well, there are three factors the law considers: 1) prize, 2) chance, and 3) consideration.

Prize: anything of value awarded to the winner(s)

Chance: the process of randomly selecting the winner(s)

Consideration: the entrant’s money, effort, or time

For sweepstakes to remain legal, there must be no consideration. In other words, entry should be free (no burden should be put on the entrant). Yes, that does mean giveaways requiring folks to complete certain actions could be viewed as illegal lotteries—even if the initial entry is free and the host provides additional ways to enter that are optional. It’s also important to note that sweepstakes may not have any means of entry that creates a greater or less than equal probability of winning.

Here’s the thing: the laws that govern this type of promotion haven’t yet caught up to the rapid speed at which technology is developing. We’re all navigating new territory here (especially when it comes to the definition of “consideration”), which is why you’ll see plenty of people implementing this tactic while not knowing they’re possibly using it illegally. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and always make sure that your sweepstakes have an option for free entry. You should also only allow entry to those who are 18 years and older, or you’ll have to deal with a whole new set of complex laws for minors.

What about taxes?

In terms of potential tax implications, you must report winnings with a value of $600 or more to the Internal Revenue Service if the winner is subject to U.S. taxes. A Form 1099 will be required, which means you’ll need to collect a name, address, and social security number from the winner. In cases where this is applicable, it’s crucial to make entrants aware of the prize value and that they will be responsible for any taxes that may result from winning. Since these matters are sensitive, you should maintain the highest level of professionalism when asking for and handling personal details.

In addition to what the law states regarding contests and giveaways, you’ll need to ensure you abide by the rules of any sites and services you’ll be using to create and promote your giveaway. Be sure to research the applicable rules thoroughly before deciding on a course of action for setting up your giveaway campaign. Facebook is particularly strict about how you run contests and giveaways on their site.

This information isn’t meant to scare you by any means. It’s simply meant to make you aware that there are legal implications involved and that implementing this tactic isn’t as simple as throwing up a blog post. So, now that you’re armed with a basic understanding of what constitutes a contest or sweepstake, go ahead and dive right into planning your campaign the right way.

Do you have a question about running a contest or giveaway? Drop it in the comment section and we’ll try our best to get you an answer. Be sure to subscribe for future posts on similar topics, as well as download our free book launch success checklist to make sure you’re implementing a strategic campaign the right way.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.BookMarketingTools.com

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Online Book Tours and Why You Should Do Them

Online Book Tours and Why You Should Do Them

When you imagine a book tour, you might picture authors trekking from city to city, entertaining crowds of avid readers with special readings or signing copies of their latest book until their fingers bleed and their shoulders require icepacks. Isn’t that the dream?

For some it might be (because books are selling and they have a massive fan base). For others it’s a nightmare. Then there are those who fear being faced with a handful of zip-fronted sportswear wearing readers who aren’t even part of their YA target audience—or being faced by no one at all.

Fortunately, there’s an innovative alternative: virtual book tours. This tactic isn’t only being praised for its efficiency, but it’s also being applauded by indie authors for its economical approach to reaching multiple communities while having just as much impact as its offline version. After all, our budgets aren’t bottomless and live tours aren’t always sponsored.

What exactly is an online book tour?

Much like traditional book tours, virtual tours consist of multiple tour stops—they simply happen online and across multiple platforms. Generally, a tour lasts two to three weeks with a tour stop taking place every day or every few days.

Depending on an author’s strategy and goals, a tour may be shorter or longer. For example, a shorter tour of five to seven days aims to boost a book’s sales rank on Amazon within a short timeframe whereas an extended tour that lasts several weeks to a few months aims to build continuous exposure, brand awareness, and name recognition.

These tour stops can take place on both your platforms (including websites, social media platforms, and email lists) and on the platforms of others. At each stop, original content relevant to the book, genre, or topic is either published to your owned platform or provided to a participating host. If you’re being hosted by someone else, you can then promote the stop to your own audience, effectively maximizing your publicity.

To get started with a book tour, you do not need a large audience. You simply need to leverage your available resources to prime your readers for a boost in support during each event.

What Constitutes an Online Book Tour?

Virtual tours consist of a number of different content formats, including:

  • Guest blog posts
  • Articles for your blog
  • Interviews
  • Emails
  • Radio and podcast appearances
  • Youtube videos
  • Book reviews
  • Book giveaways
  • Social media contests
  • Webinars
  • Book excerpts
  • Live chats in both video and text format (e.g. Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, Facebook Events, Twitter Chats, etc.)

The goal is to obtain as much coverage of your book release as possible while remaining relevant to both yours and your host’s audience. While you can hire a publicity professional or book tour service to help implement this tactic, you can also save your hard-earned cash and do it on your own.

Why Bother with Virtual Book Tours?

While offline events are still awesome, here’s why virtual versions have the edge:

  1. Perhaps the most appealing benefit is that authors gain the ability to reach many more readers than they could reach on their own. Unlike live appearances where attendance tends to be confined to your existing community of readers, tour hosts have well-established communities teeming with target readers who might not know you yet. The content you provide to your hosts gives their audiences a chance to sample your work and share it with others, thereby amplifying your exposure.
  1. Tours increase sales. This means that shorter, concentrated campaigns can send your book blazing up the charts.
  1. In addition to the financial efficiency of online tours, they’re also far less time-consuming and tiring. With no travel involved, you can continue building your book business from the comfort of your own home.
  1. Besides growing your online fan base, virtual tours can help grow your blog and email subscriber list as new people discover your website. You can also build a relevant call to action into your blog post content or your author bio.
  1. You’ll have a prime opportunity to build valuable relationships with bloggers and key influencers in your genre or niche. As a bonus, hosting you is perceived as an endorsement, which ups your credibility game.
  1. You gain additional reviews from book bloggers who receive ARCs.
  1. You get to interact directly with new readers and potential buyers through Q&As, blog comments, social media chats, and more.
  1. The exposure you receive can lead to speaking invitations, additional guest post requests and interviews, and even media opportunities.
  1. Virtual tours create high-quality links to your book sales pages, websites, and social media profiles. These links are valuable for search engine optimization purposes, which means you’ll be able to drive targeted traffic to your web properties for months (or even years) after your book’s launch.

As you can no doubt tell, virtual tours are worth it. You’ll build buzz, get people sharing your content, grow your platform, enhance your reputation, sell books during and after your launch, and so much more. What about the hosts? Well, they do it for the free content.

In the coming days, we’ll map out exactly how to build your own online book tour. In the meantime, let us know if you’ve been involved in a book tour or seen something really unique other authors are doing to promote their newly released books. Be sure to also click on the banner below to download our 198-point book launch success checklist for your next book campaign.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.BookMarketingTools.com

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How to Set Up Your Own Online Book Tour

How to Set Up Your Own Online Book Tour

Whether you’re launching for the first time or hoping to drum up support for a published book, virtual tours can be incredible for building buzz, encouraging people to share your content, growing your platform, enhancing your reputation, selling books, and much more. Before you reap the rewards, however, you must first plan.

Since book bloggers and podcast hosts will be counting on you to deliver content and show up to interviews during the tour, it’s crucial to be well organized. That means scheduling and preparing content well ahead of time, as well as ensuring your digital assets are up to scratch. You’ll want to start at least 3-4 months ahead of launch day so that you have plenty of time to connect with hosts, create content, and manage the entire process without being rushed.

Besides checking your author website, book sales page, retail product page, and social media accounts, make certain your media kit contains a short and long bio, a high resolution profile photo, a high resolution book cover, a list of potential interview questions, and links to all relevant profiles.

When your assets are in order, begin building your virtual book tour using the following steps:

Step 1: Decide on Tour Length and Dates

Tour lengths are generally two to three weeks long. However, they can be extended or shortened based on your goals, availability, and the length of your book launch campaign. Ideally, you’ll want to pick tour start and ends dates with your launch day in mind. Having content and interviews published on release day will be crucial for generating visibility and buzz at the right time.

Step 2: Research Prospective Hosts

Compile a list of potential tour stops (i.e. book blogs, podcasts, and radio programs) that fit your genre, niche, subject matter, and target audience best. Research the hosts, research their content, and then gather any relevant contact information. If there are any specific or special events (e.g. author spotlights) that could work well for your campaign, be sure to note those down, too. You want to be familiar with both the hosts and their platforms when you pitch. Keep in mind that some will decline your request, so always look for more opportunities than you’ll actually need.

Step 3: Start Interacting with Potential Hosts and Audiences

Once you’ve identified your target tour stops, start engaging with hosts and their audiences by posting comments, sharing their content, and linking to them on social media. Early interaction can help raise your profile, and you’re far more likely to be accepted if you pitch to a warm lead than a cold one. During this time, you’ll also want to start pumping up your own audience so that they’re ready to support you all the way.

Step 4: Outline Your Goals

What do you want to achieve during your book launch? Every blog post, interview, or virtual appearance should tie into those goals and contain a relevant call to action for readers, listeners, and viewers.

Step 5: Brainstorm Content Ideas

Armed with a list of your goals, start writing down a few guest post concepts. It’s important to note that this tactic is not just about promoting your book. You want to provide value, education, and entertainment to both yours and your host’s audiences. The easiest way to brainstorm ideas is to take lessons and story elements from your book and then repackage them for individual tour stops. If you’re a non-fiction author this might include sharing a few key tips from your book. If you’re a fiction author, this might include discussing main themes or interesting topics that run throughout your story.

Step 6: Craft Your Pitches

Each email pitch should be personalized for the particular host you’re targeting. Besides including basic details about your book, tour dates, and how you might contribute, you should mention that you’re familiar with their content and explain why you’d be a good fit for their audience. Let them know what to do if their answer is “yes.” Be sure to keep your pitch short and sweet. Bloggers are busy people, so they’re more likely to read and respond to a few concise paragraphs than an email containing your entire life story.

Here’s a template to help you craft your own persuasive pitch:

Subject: Guest post? [Change subject line based in the type of content you’re offering] 

Hi [insert blogger’s name], 

[Insert your author name] here. You may have seen me hanging around the comment section of [insert name of blog, podcast, or social media channel]. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your content and getting to know members of your community. 

I’m the author of [insert your book’s name]. It’s about [insert exciting 1-2 line book description], which is something I believe will truly resonate with your audience. 

I’m scheduling a virtual book tour from [insert tour start date] to [insert tour end date] and would love to make [insert name of blog, podcast, or social media channel] a “stop” if you’re interested. While I have an idea for a guest post on [insert topic], I’m open to interviews, reader Q&As, social media chats, reviews, giveaways, and more. 

You can view a sample of my writing here: [insert relevant link]. I’d also be happy to send you a digital copy of my book to help you decide whether this is a good fit for you. 

Thanks so much for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you! 

[Insert name]

[Insert contact details]

Once the person responds, you can then start working out the finer details of the event with them.

Step 7: Add Confirmed Dates to Your Schedule

As positive responses arrive, you’ll want to start adding relevant dates, interview times, guest post deadlines, and other critical details to your calendar. Also note down when you’ll need to send supporting content such as your media kit and advance reader copy. If a giveaway is involved, determine when you’ll need to ship prizes. Lastly, don’t forget to add tour stops on your own platforms to your calendar.

Step 8: Prepare Your Blog Content and Guest Posts

This is your opportunity to shine in front of people who may never have had a taste of your work before now. Make sure you write killer content that’s sure to showcase you and your book in the best possible way. Be sure to take your time, work according to any guidelines provided, and include relevant links and calls to action. Whatever you do, don’t forget to proofread.

Step 9: Double Check Everything

From checking links and product pages to verifying dates and topics, you should ensure everything is working and correct. You do not want to embarrass yourself or your tour stop host by failing to show up for an interview or using the wrong links.

Step 10: Promote Your Virtual Book Tour

Promotion is not your host’s job alone. You need to be in the trenches, working hard to spread the word as far as wide as you can across all of your promotional channels. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Write social media posts
  • Share all tour stop guest post and interview links
  • Write a promotional blog post for your own blog
  • Write an email to your current list
  • Add tour date information to your author newsletter
  • Create a page on your website with your tour schedule
  • Encourage your street team to participate
  • Get friends and family involved in sharing the content
  • Create fun video content inviting people to join

Step 11: Follow Up

In addition to thanking your hosts and possibly sending a small gift, follow up by frequently revisiting stops throughout your tour and afterwards to address any reader questions and respond to comments. You’ll also need to send prizes to any giveaway winners as soon as humanly possible. Being courteous and doing what you can to ensure the entire tour runs smoothly will instill trust, effectively creating further opportunities for you to tour again in the future.

Step 12: Evaluate Your Tour

How well did you do? Were there things you could improve? Were there tactics that worked so well, you should include them in future launches? Taking time to assess where and how you made the most impact will help you create a roadmap for creating a successful blog tour for every book you launch.

It should be clear by now that blog tours are a triple threat. They benefit hosts, they benefit readers, and they benefit you. They’re a terrific tool every author should add to their arsenal of marketing tactics, especially during a book launch. Don’t forget that readers seeing you on multiple related platforms writing and answering questions as an expert will send a strong message and have a positive impact on your author brand and book.

What do you think is the most important part of planning an online book tour? Share your thoughts in the comment box. If you’re launching a book of your own, be sure to gain a head start by downloading a copy of our free book launch success checklist below. 

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The content for this post was sourced from www.BookMarketingTools.com

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A Step-By-Step Indie Authors Guide for Attracting Media Attention

A Step-By-Step Indie Authors Guide for Attracting Media Attention

Hire a publicist.

The end.

Okay, so we’re just kidding.

Have you seen how much those guys charge, though? Tonight’s dinner might just be the last time you eat for a while.

On a more serious note, good publicists are worth their weight in gold. They have the connections to get you top-tier media attention from major newspapers, news websites, magazines, bloggers, TV producers, podcast hosts, and more. They know how to reach the right people, and they know how to pitch. While many will offer á la carte services that are a little less eye-popping in terms of pricing, others will require a monthly retainer. If you have that kind of money to invest, definitely go ahead and do it. Just be sure to do your due diligence and hire a publicist who is a right fit for you and your book. As in any professional occupation, there are good ones and bad ones.

However, if you’re like most indie authors who can’t afford the razzle-dazzle of today’s publicity masterminds, there is an option for you. It’s called DIYing your own publicity campaign, and it’s not as scary as it sounds.

Like most of what you do in book launch planning and execution, you must start several months before your launch date. Depending on the media outlets you target, you’ll find that programming and written content pieces aren’t always last minute efforts. While there might be opportunities for breaking news coverage, there’s generally a ton of content planning involved—which is why you want to reach out and grab a slot for an interview as early as possible.

Now let’s get down to the finer details of constructing and implementing an attention-worthy campaign.

Step 1: Find Potential Media Contacts

The first thing you need to do is build a list of relevant, niche-driven media contacts (including reporters, editors, producers, talent bookers, etc.) who might be interested in your book’s publication or the contribution you could make to their story. Ideally, you’ll search for publications, broadcasters, and TV shows that publish content on your subject matter or within your area of expertise.

How do you find potential media contacts?

Start by identifying newspapers (daily and monthly), radio and TV stations (mainstream and college), industry journals, newsletters, and podcasts that serve members of your target audience. Scour through them for articles and episodes relevant to you and your book, and then search for the content producer or writer’s name and contact information. You can usually find email addresses in their bios, on their social media pages, and on their websites. The key here is targeting—finding the right people who would be interested in your pitch.

Another great place to find media leads is HARO (Help a Reporter Out). It’s a massive online database that allows you to list yourself as a source for journalists and respond to an array of daily queries. Big name networks and publications like Fox News, ABC, Time, WSJ, Chicago Tribune, and The New York Times use HARO to find guest experts and interviewees. In fact, Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing attributes 90% of their media success to HARO. When queries roll in, they contact authors who would be ideal for a particular story. They then help them pitch, which effectively eliminates the expense that goes along with hiring a publicist and the disappointment that often goes along with cold-pitching.

As you find media prospects, be sure to create a spreadsheet to help you keep track of their information and the types of content they cover. To make things easier, you can simply add an additional page to the spreadsheet you already have for your reviewer list.

Step 2: Create a Classic Press Kit

A huge part of preparing for a successful publicity campaign lies in the creation of resources like a press kit. This useful tool allows you to share information quickly and efficiently with journalists, book bloggers, editors, retailers, and anyone else who might be interested. Its purpose is to store key information and brand assets in one place so that anyone researching you doesn’t have to waste several frustrating hours sifting through multiple websites, links, and resources to find what they need and piece things together.

Although you should have a print version available for author conferences and book events where there might be a chance to connect with those in the media, it’s easiest to host a press kit page (often referred to as a media room) on your website. You can then use one simple URL to direct people to your author and book resources. You can also add this link to your email signature, business cards, and other collateral to promote yourself as an author.

An often overlooked benefit of creating an online press kit is the search engine juice all the extra content gives you. Google will index this page, ensuring you gain additional SEO leverage when you need it most. Ultimately, it’s an excellent tool for helping you put your best marketing materials into the hands of those who can help you secure valuable media coverage.

What should go into your press kit?

Resources typically include the following:

  • Professional headshots: Besides providing an assortment of downloadable high-resolution and low-resolution profile pictures for use in online and print media, make sure you provide both color and black and white options. While a casual look is fine, the latest Speedo or bikini pic from your holiday on the beach is not. Your photos are a critical part of your toolkit, so consider asking an experienced photographer to help you out with a few decent images.
  • Well-written, interesting bios: To ensure you cover all your bases, you’ll want to craft a short (50-100 words), medium (100-200 words), and full-length (500+ words) version so that reporters can use directly from your copy or gather the information they need for their story. Bios cover everything from your name, location, job, and family background to hobbies, qualifications, previous publications, and other media appearances. Rather than a boring rundown of your life since the day you were born to the day you became an author, write with personality and make your bio memorable with interesting facts. It doesn’t have to be clever, but it does need to help you stand out and make the right impression.
  • Contact information: How can people get in touch with you? Although you don’t want to give out your home number, be sure to include an email address, links to your social media platforms, and information for any representatives (such as an agent). If you have an office number and don’t mind sharing it, then go ahead and add it, too.
  • A sample Q&A: The reality is that you’ll be asked the same questions frequently. To save both you and reporters time and energy, create a list of possible interview questions and then answer each of them within a short paragraph or two. A sample Q&A usually contains garden-variety questions about your background, book, inspiration, and future projects, as well as more complex questions about how you came up with your book idea, why you wrote the book, whether it sheds new light on a particular issue, what led you down the path of self-publishing, and your experiences in authorship. Start jotting down FAQs you already encounter to help kick-start your list.
  • A list of interview topics: In addition to a list of Q&As, provide a list of interview topics that you can speak about comfortably. This gives reporters and show hosts a better idea of where your expertise lies and what they can potentially ask you. Try to be very specific so that you won’t be asked questions you can’t answer. You might, for example, be in the health and wellness space, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re clued up on every corner of the market. The same goes for topics you’ve touched on in your fiction book. Written historical fiction? Which period? Be clear about where your level of knowledge lies so that you’re not thrust into an embarrassing moment during a live broadcast.
  • A high-resolution book cover image: Your book cover image may be used for multiple purposes during a publicity campaign, so make sure it’s a clear, high-quality image media members can easily download.
  • A sell sheet: This one-page sheet deals with specific information about your book, including its title, blurb, number of pages, ISBN, date of release, available formats, publisher information, price, and where people can buy it. Although they’re not essential, you can also include a book cover image and several review excerpts.
  • Excerpts and sample chapters: Journalists or guest researchers will often request a sample of your work. Including a PDF with a sample chapter gives them quick and convenient access without the constant back and forth. After all, your job is to make their job as easy as possible. Keep in mind that if your book is enrolled in KDP, you are limited by how much content you can make available for free. In this case, consider adding an excerpt to your press kit and offering an ARC to those who will be reviewing or using your work extensively.
  • Editorial reviews, testimonials, and other endorsements: Much like potential book buyers, journalists could be persuaded by social proof within your press kit. Reviews are especially impactful if they’re from people with authority in your genre or field of expertise. Ultimately, you want to position yourself as a valid source of information and worthy of some good ol’ traditional media coverage.
  • A press release: See step 4 where we cover press releases in depth.
  • A list of previously published books: If you have any.
  • A list of relevant awards: Any proof that you’re a great writer can be influential, so be sure to ramp up your credibility with any awards or recognition you’ve won over the years.
  • A list of previous and upcoming appearances: Have you taken part in any major speaking engagements that could increase your authority? Do you have additional events such as book signings and readings on your schedule? There’s a possibility you could gain coverage for an event, so make sure you keep an updated list in your press kit.
  • Links to any useful video and audio content, as well as transcripts, featuring you or your book: This kind of material can be useful for background info, and serves as great fodder for bulking up a story.
  • A book trailer: This addition is optional. It simply gives anyone interviewing you another piece of captivating content to share with their audience.

A good press kit doesn’t have to be overly elaborate in its design. Journalists are judging you on your words, not your ability to create a beautiful web page or PDF.

One last thing to remember when crafting your press kit copy is to write with media as your audience in mind. What information do they need? What will appeal to them? While a press kit is about you, it’s also SO NOT about you.

Step 3: Brainstorm Hooks and Pitch Ideas

We’re about to rip your heart out so brace yourself.

You ready?

The media doesn’t care about your book launch.

It’s sad, but it’s true. Books are launched every day, so your particular launch is not news in itself (unless you’re J.K. Rowling or Neil Gaiman). What the media does care about is their audience—what educates, entertains, and inspires their readers. Of course they want story ideas, but they just don’t want them to be solely about your book. To solve this problem, you have to get clever and wily by pitching your book to them in terms of a special interest piece.

How do you do that?

You brainstorm hooks and pitch ideas based on the reporter’s niche and audience needs. A hook is a unique and intriguing element in your book that you can tie to a topic of interest, an opinion, a crisis, or a movement. For non-fiction authors, these hooks are usually no-brainers because the book deals with a topic that is easily defined and articulated. For example, you may have written a home décor book that touches on little known decorating facts, secrets, and tips. Without much thought, you’ve probably got several good angles you can pitch to home and garden magazines, podcasts, TV shows, and more.

If you’re a fiction author, you need something a little stronger. What deep, fascinating, or common issues do you tackle in your storyline? Let’s say, for example, you’ve written a romance with a hero who’s suffering from PTSD after serving in Iraq. You’ve researched PTSD, you’ve dug into psychological and physiological reactions that often accompany the disorder, and you’ve studied the impact it can have on a relationship—all for the sake of writing a realistic, emotion-driven novel your fans will love.

How do you then serve this to the media? Well, you could center your pitches around life after war, the subtle signs of PTSD few people know about, how sufferers might try to hide it, the struggle with finding healthcare, or even the toll it takes on army wives and girlfriends. You don’t necessarily need to tie your characters and the problems they’re going through to your pitch; you could tie in the location, setting, or period in time (e.g. what’s it’s like to keep love alive in a war-torn country).

The key is to not make your pitch explicitly about your book. Yes, there might be journalists and program producers who are specifically seeking to fill their slots with stories about authors and their books, but they are few and far between. You’re likely to have better luck being a source for a story if you can offer details of your book or expertise that fit into their current programming needs, especially if you have a distinctive take on the topic. Keep in mind that a publicity campaign isn’t only about selling copies of your new book. It’s also about reputation building and validation.

Step 4: Write a Compelling Press Release

This is a release for your book’s launch, but as we mentioned, your book’s launch is not news in itself. You need to leverage one of the off-beat hooks you’ve created to capture the reader’s imagination and make them care—make them feel what you feel about the topic. They should believe that reading your book is the next logical step.

When it comes to writing a compelling press release, there are some hard and fast rules you should always follow:

  • Keep it succinct and newsworthy
  • Use formal language
  • Speak to your target audience (the media)
  • Focus on what journalists are looking for versus what you want to tell them
  • Write no more than one page
  • Start with the biggest news first, working to the least important detail (people tend to give you a diminishing amount of attention, so you need to keep them reading)
  • Use an arresting headline that makes an intriguing, bold, or unusual claim

If you’re a non-fiction author, think about leading with the main problem and its solution. How does your book help the reader? You can then explain how your book supports this premise, revealing key pieces of information or research that help make your case. Instead of “John Doe Releases New Internet Marketing Book,” it becomes a story about “Success Secrets from Filthy Rich Internet Marketers Who Were Once Flat Broke.” In some instances, it’s even about what you do. While Rachel Ray launched The Book of Burger with a food truck and free burgers as the focus of her press release, Derek Murphy hired a castle with several other writers for Nanowrimo that got him featured by CNN.

If you’re a fiction author, on the other hand, you’ll want to lead with an emotional angle. Paint a picture of the kind of story the media might like to cover. Instead of “Jane Doe Published New Coming of Age Novel,” make it a story about “How New YA Novel Could Help Teens Overcome Conflict in Identity.” Bullying, peer pressure, questions of belief, anxiety, and similar topics all become part of the bigger picture, allowing you to appeal to the media from several different angles. The key is to write a press release that helps the reporter understand the emotions they’ll experience when reading the book.

Besides securitizing some of the press releases in the press kit examples we shared, search online for examples written for your genre or on the topic you’re tackling. You’ll also be able to find plenty of downloadable templates to ensure you get the structure of your press release right.

A standard press release always includes the following:

  • An attention-grabbing headline around 20 words in length
  • A supporting sub-headline (optional)
  • The location (city, state, country)
  • The date of the press release
  • A compelling intro
  • A weighty, interesting, and impactful author quote
  • A paragraph or two that includes crucial book information (who’s it for, what it’s about, where to buy it, listing links, etc.)
  • A brief author bio
  • Contact details include a website address, phone number, social media links, and how to get review copies
  • Book-related hashtags (optional)

Press releases also begin with the line “For Immediate Release,” and end with three hashtags (###). In addition to adding them to your press kit, consider distributing them through free and paid distribution sites like PRWeb.

Step 5: Write a Pitch Email Tailored to the Individual You’re Targeting

Crafting a pitch that catches a journalist’s attention requires some skill. Journalists are often knee-deep in articles, deadlines, and pitches, which is why your email needs to be short and compelling. A generic, run-of-the-mill pitch email is a no-no, as is CC’ing. You must customize each pitch for the person you’re emailing.

Here are a few tips to help you nail a good pitch email every time:

  • Keep it brief and conversational. Personalization, brevity, and a friendly tone are essential for good outreach. Most reporters would rather read two to three lines explaining what your book is about than a text-heavy email that drains their time. You also only want to provide enough detail so that they grasp the scope of the story while leaving them wanting to know more.
  • Make sure it’s the right time. If the person has just covered a specific topic, now is not the time to pitch them on a similar idea unless you can make it a good follow-up piece. Brownie points if you can relate your pitch to a human interest story or current event.
  • Build familiarity with your target. Show the person you’re contacting that you’re not pitching at random, that you read, watch, or listen to their work, and that you understand their niche, tone, and style.
  • Make the purpose of your email clear. Don’t beat around the bush or you’ll quickly find yourself in the trash folder.
  • Express why your pitch is relevant to the reporter’s audience. Help them understand the impact and urgency of your story. How can you entertain their audience or solve a problem for them?
  • Provide value. Explain how you can help the reporter as a potential source.
  • End your email with action steps. Let them know what they should do, how to contact you, and where they can find more information. Invite them to check out your media room or website for more information.
  • Don’t include attachments. Besides the safety aspect, attachments can slow down loading times. If more information is required, you will be asked.

Be sure to include any unique information that might set your pitch and book apart from the rest.

Step 6: Send Only One Follow-Up If Necessary

We’re not going to lie. Most media contacts won’t respond to your pitch if they pass on it. They simply don’t have the time, but the lack of response doesn’t always mean they’ve rejected your idea. In cases where they have enough information to go on, they might simply publish an article without further input. If you’ve sent a press release, they might just publish it as is. This silent approach is often disconcerting to authors who are pitching for the first time, but it’s a common part of the process.

When they do respond positively, it’s a great opportunity to not only provide them with any additional information and materials they need, but it’s also a good way to keep the dialogue going and build on your budding relationship.

The one thing you don’t want to do is send multiple follow-up emails in response to no response. One follow-up is enough to bump you in their inboxes and remind them of your idea without annoying them or burning bridges while you’re at it.

Step 7: Start Scheduling and Preparing for Interviews

As interview confirmations hit your inbox, be sure to add them to your calendar so that there are no missed connections. Find out from the interviewer if they require any additional resources such as a tailored intro for a specific audience, a copy of your book, or links to special launch offers.

You’ll also want to prepare yourself for your interview by obtaining a list of questions before the scheduled date. Make a list of key points, stories, or statistics that might come up so that you’re ready if the interview takes a different direction.

Step 8: Promote Your Appearances

To maximize their impact, promote your appearances, reviews, or article mentions by sharing them across social media platforms, in your author newsletter, and as part of your media kit. Comment on the interview, being careful to include the name of the journalist, host, publication, podcast, radio, or TV show.  The media are doing you a favor, so it’s your job to do your part in amplifying the feature’s exposure. If you can, coordinate other book launch marketing activities with the release of those articles or appearances.

Step 9: Send a Thank You Note or Gift

One branch of a successful publicity campaign is building and maintaining relationships and goodwill with the people who have helped raise your profile through the articles they’ve written, through the podcasts they’ve streamed, and through the live TV shows they’ve broadcast. A sincere show of gratitude goes a long way in fostering positive feelings towards you and your work, keeping doors open for future publicity activities.

Keeping the Publicity Machine Alive

Fortunately, setting the groundwork for good PR is a one-off task. As soon as you have a press kit in place, you simply need to keep it current with your new books and achievements.  The more taxing task is ensuring the publicity machine stays alive through strategic networking, relationship building, and continuous media outreach. Don’t let your book releases be the only time you stretch your PR muscles.

What marketing tactics have helped you spread the word about your book or authorship? Let us know in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more on book launches and book marketing. If you’re looking to pick up more book launch tips, download a free copy of our ultimate book launch checklist.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.BookMarketingTools.com

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5 Things You’ll Gain from a Book Launch Publicity Campaign

5 Things You’ll Gain from a Book Launch Publicity Campaign

For a newly-minted author with almost no clout, media coverage from TV, radio, magazine, and newspaper sources seems fanciful. After all, who would want to interview no-name little old you with a self-published book and no media connections?

Lots of people, that’s who.

Far too many authors miss the opportunities media sources offer because they don’t know how to pitch to journalists or they believe no one will be interested in their relatively unknown work. The reality is that authors are in high demand as guest experts.

Publishing a book automatically gives you a massive credibility boost. It sends the message that you possess a certain level of expertise on a particular topic or in a particular genre. Besides allowing you to leverage that credibility to connect with new audiences and attract readers to your book, securing a few meaningful interviews during your launch only enhances what you’ve already accomplished.

Media attention is beneficial far beyond that, though.

1. Be seen as an authority in your niche

Features, story contributions, and interviews take your exposure, authority, and identity to a whole new level. You’ll not only be able to build your personal brand, but you’ll also be able to raise your profile as an expert in your genre or area of knowledge. Consider how a “Featured On” or “Appeared On” section would look on your website and as part of your sales copy. Social proof? Yes, please!

2. Appear alongside people with power

Your authority is only amplified by the reputations of the journalists who write about you, the hosts who talk about you, and the trusted experts who appear alongside you in articles and interviews.

Rubbing shoulders with a few influencers couldn’t hurt, right?

3. Get ahead of other authors in your genre

Great publicity sets you apart, effectively improving your competitiveness within your market or genre. The more media appearances you make, the more successful you appear—which means you probably know your stuff (and on goes the cycle of credibility and trust building).

4. Increase future publicity opportunities

The viral nature of publicity opens opportunities to spread your message even further. Unlike ads, publicity regenerates itself. One interview can lead to another and another, potentially turning you into a household name before you know it. Think BIG. Think beyond local publications and broadcasts.

5. Form strategic connections

Publicity not only fans the flames of your fame, but it also helps form strategic alliances with program producers, journalists, hosts, and more. Instead of begging for a little media love in future, you’ll have people waiting with pens, recorders, and cameras in hand to get the inside scoop on your next book.

Although you might be focusing on the short-term goals of launching and publicizing your book, you’ll feel the long-term effects of a good publicity campaign for years to come. It’ll also make future campaigns so much easier to implement. And let’s not forget that it’s virtually free.

Are you thinking about running a publicity campaign during your launch or have you left this tactic on the side-lines? Let us know your thoughts on this topic in the comment sections. Don’t forget to also grab a free copy of our book launch success checklist by clicking the image below.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.BookMarketingTools.com

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