Monday, 5 August 2013

Book Release Strategy: 7 Tips On How To Build Buzz

After the often more solitary process of writing your book, engaging your readers before the book release and seeing their excitement build can be a well needed energy boost to get your new title across the finish line. This holds especially true for self-published authors who often do not have a retinue of energetic editors, publishing experts and professional marketers at their back. 

Please note that the following tips apply mostly to e-book publishing.

1. Offer a reading sample for a first look

Get your readers talking about your book before release by teasing your new title with a short excerpt. You can make a sample chapter available via your blog or website. Try to make the e-book-sample available in all file formats that your final book will also be available in; e.g.: epub, kindle, pdf, rtf. You can find information on file formats on the book detail pages of different online vendors. Also, don't forget to include information on how to navigate to your website and social media platforms at the end of your sample for an integrated experience.

2. Organise an author Q&A session

Author Q&As can take place on twitter through a custom #hashtag, on your facebook page and in several other formats. It is important that you clearly advertise date and time for several time zones if you are planning a virtual, live Q&A. You can also organise a Q&A where you ask your readers to submit questions to an email address or on a social media platform. These types of Q&As can last a week or more with you promising to publish answers to the best questions each day of a week or even each week for a month. Finally for face-to-face Q&A meets make sure location and directions are easily accessible on your blog or website, if it is organised for a venue.
This is more relevant for authors who are releasing their second book. It can be hard to pull of pre-release Q&As for a debut novel. If you are releasing your first book you might, however, think about organising a virtual Q&A/fan meet between the three to six months mark after your book release. 

3. Make extras available step-by-step 

Nowadays it is important that your book is backed by an online platform (blog or website) which allows you to give your readers an additional experience beyond the book. In the run up to your book release you can reveal new elements with additional information on your new book on a week-by-week or day-by-day basis. The time cadence is entirely up to you, but it gives your readers something new to discover in fixed intervals while they are waiting for your book to come out.

If you are publishing non-fiction, these installments might be blog entries which expand upon the topic you wrote about. If you are writing fiction,  your website or blog should give your readers access to extras which give additional insights into your story, e.g.: first chapter of Book # 2 in a series, take-outs, bonus scenes or maybe notes on the history of your world if you are in the sci-fi or fantasy genre. 

4. Get active on social media and messaging boards

Start to get in on discussions on messaging boards for your genre. This is like research into your own genre and can make you aware of current trends. Participating in messaging boards not only gives you access to potential future readers of your books, but it also gives you insight into what readers of your genre value in the type of books you write.

5. Do a raffle for a number of free copies of your book

You can organise a raffle or quiz with a predetermined number of people having the opportunity to win your book for free for the release date. I would see this as an activity, you could plan for the last month or one which coincides with the pre-order start date of your book, if you have that option.

6. Ask subscription services, genre blogs and book clubs to promote your book

See if writer platforms like Writer's Digest are looking for articles for their newsletter, approach book review blogs or websites in your genre ( with the information on your new book and let book clubs (e.g.: on in your genre in on the upcoming new addition. This is going to be a more time consuming step as it requires research, persistence and patience. However, if you come this far you should already be a pro on tackling tough challenges.

This is actually something that should be kept until shortly after your book release, because if someone comes back on your inquiries they usually want to know where your book is available. If you have the url or information available ahead of time and want to give admins a good lead time, then you might want approach them a week or two before the release date of your book.

7. Create a #hashtag on twitter for your book

The idea of building buzz pre-release is to get your readers talking about your new book as well as making an effort as an author to interact with them. In order to do that you need a platform and even better, if it is one connected to your book universe. One of the simplest ways to do this is by creating a unique #hashtag on twitter and then actively joining into the discussion with fans. 

Another possibility is to open a dedicated facebook page for your book. Similar to the twitter #hashtag, you should here also make sure that you answer inquiries by fans. Most importantly, try as much as possible to give the interactions a personal touch either by pointing out great comments or by answering question by name. Additionally, ask questions yourself or challenge your readers with a poll to keep them engaged.

That's it for today. Of course, this is only the tip of the ice berg in terms of what you can do, but if you tackle these basics you can get off to a great start.

Thanks for giving this a read and I wish you all the best with your next book release. If you have any other great ideas I would love to hear about them in the comments below.

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