I spent the last week basking in the glow of two great book launches that took place at Chapters Moncton and Chapters Ottawa (Canada). I rarely take time to celebrate my success--I usually just move the goal post farther down the field and keep on working--but in this case I took the week to really reflect on the launches and to figure out what to do next to keep the momentum of book sales going strong.
Let me start by saying that I had no idea just how much I would enjoy the book signings. Most of the blogs and tip sheets I'd read gave the impression that it would be an uncomfortable selling job--a hard task for authors used to working in solitary confinement day after day. But I prepared for the worst and hoped for the best and ended up having an amazing time selling lots of books and loving every minute connecting with friends and fans who came to the events. I was actually quite humbled by the whole experience.
Now on to the next chapter...what do I do now? I spent so much time planning (and worrying) about the launches that I'd failed to see beyond them and how to keep up the marketing momentum. If there's one thing I know to be true, it's that books do not sell themselves. You need a strategic marketing plan--one that's well-researched, well-timed, and with a realistic budget. I spent some time mapping out my ideas and came up with the following après book-launch promotions, which I think could be helpful to a lot of new authors:
1. Blog Tour: A few months ago I did some research that led me to believe that a blog tour would be a big waste of time. However, I recently spoke with a publicist at Smith Publicity and she told me to absolutely go for it, especially since I write fiction, which lends itself well to this type of marketing. It takes about 4-6 weeks to organize a tour, but she convinced me that it would help to build buzz even if it didn't convert immediately into book sales. Check out this BookBaby blog for tips on setting up a virtual book tour.
Cost: free plus book giveaways
2. BookBub: This online company offers a 'daily deal' email for digital books, sent every day to its over one millions subscribers. Publishers offer amazing deals to get their titles discovered and pay a small advertising fee to BookBub to promote the book as either free or deeply discounted with amazing results. The company claims that a free book earns an average 14,200 downloads and a $0.99 book achieves and average 1,130 sales.
Cost: $140-$280 for a fiction book
3. Book Club: With the approaching winter months as people are hunkering down for hibernation, it's a great time to pitch your book as a perfect book club read. Offer a Q&A, video clips by the author, and use #bookclub in social media posts. Also, create a dedicated book club page on your website.
C'est tout...keep on carryin' on, folks!
Stacey D. Atkinson is the author of the newly released novel Stuck, which she published via her independent company Mirror Image Publishing.