Wednesday

How to do a Book Launch, 12 Steps Plus 1

Today's my big day!!! Well, yes, it is my birthday (I'm a whopping 38 now), but the bigger news is that it's launch day for my new book, Sick & Tired! I've been preparing for this for weeks, maybe months, and did a lot of research on how to do a great book launch. The following is my compiled list of what I personally chose to do, out of the many ideas from Michael Hyatt, my publisher (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) and other sources of expertise.

Stamp With Available Now Word Stock Photo

For you, if you're doing your very first launch, don't feel you need to do everything. My list is what I chose out of the many, many ideas out there. You choose what works for you, and what you can afford as far as time and money. Don't feel pressured to do everything. God is ultimately in charge of how your book does, so if He's only given you a small amount of time and/or money, then He will provide through a small launch.

Hopefully this will help you have a resource of ideas to choose from when it's your turn.

Ready? Set? Let's go!

1. Pull 15-30 quotes from your book and post 1 each day for the weeks leading up to your launch (FB and Twitter). I'm paying for a few weeks of SocialOomph.com so I can pre-schedule, have posts rotate on a pre-determined time frame, and post to multiple accounts without me having to remember to do it every day.

2. Send out an e-mail newsletter with an excerpt. I finally got around to figuring out MailChimp. It was worth it-now I don't get spammed, and my newsletter has cool formatting and photos. (If you want to see some samples ideas, sign up for the newsletter at www.kimberlyrae.com and you'll get one every month. =))

3. Do a blog tour--I'm trying to start scheduling for that and boy, it's a doozie of a project to do on your own. I'm not sure if it's going to be worth it. (Update--I ended up letting this one go. It was too stressful and time-consuming. I have a few people that are going to post something near launch day, and am leaving it at that.)

4. Plan a big push for the launch date and ask people to wait to order it until that exact day. Then do some kind of giveaway or promotion so they'll want to order it that exact day (more likely to get on the bestseller list that way). I'm telling people if they order it that date and send me an e-mail letting me know, they'll get entered in a drawing for a giveaway.

5. Some people do a big launch party, but I don't see that as being effective for me in actually selling books to people who wouldn't have bought them already. Doing a book presentation at a library or church is usually quite effective, because once people listen to you, they feel they know you, and everybody wants to have a book by someone they know. =) However, for people who live locally, I don't want them to have to pay shipping, so to accomplish the same purpose without a heap of time and expense, I'm just planning to go to our local TCBY one evening, and will let everyone know that if they want to pick up books, I'll be there between such-and-such a time. (With my health right now, a big party isn't feasible, but this way I get some sugar-free ice cream, and no bad feelings if not that many people show up!)

Kids On Ice Cream Stock Photo

6. Pray!

7. Pray some more! =)

8. Make a book trailer. Animoto.com does short ones for free. You just insert a couple pictures or blocks of text into a chosen theme and they do the rest. You can post this on your website, FB, etc. I highly recommend it. Makes you look like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. =) You can watch mine below.



9. Send out PDF copies to people in advance and ask them to read and send you a review via e-mail. Keep those e-mails, and on the day the book goes live, send them back, asking the people to post their reviews on amazon (I'm hoping this will be more effective then just reminding them to post a review and they don't get around to it because it takes time to write one on the spot). If they posted the review on the specified day, they get a free gift as a thank you.

10. They say that 20% of your marketing efforts end up with 80% of the results. The trick is to find that 20% and run with it, and let the 80% go. If you have people who have stuck with you and supported you, focus on them, asking them to help you spread the word, or just appreciating what they've already done. Mark down the marketing things that were successful and which ones tanked, so you're ready for the next time.

11. Let people know they can do video reviews on amazon. That's a major attention getter. I've only seen it done on one book, but it really stood out to me.

12. Make some kind of product that goes with your book that you can use as a giveaway, or to sell along with your book when you speak or whatever. (I made tote bags to give away. I also did a small companion book that's FREE today on Kindle Laughter for the Sick & Tired, as a free advertisement for Sick & Tired. Hopefully people will like it so much they want more!)



Whew, well, are you excited or overwhelmed? I find the list daunting to say the least, but that's why I've been working on this for weeks, a little here and there, so it's fun rather than stressful.

Now it's your turn. If you have questions, opinions, or ideas to add, have at it!

Oh, one more idea. I found out about Rafflecopter, a way to do a giveaway to reward people for spreading the word about your book. I'm going to add that here and see how successful it is. Click on any of the options and it puts your name in a certain number of times toward a giveaway. Cool, huh? Here goes!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Should You Ask God for Success for your Writing?

One week till my launch day for Sick & Tired. Next week I'll be posting on how to do a launch, and share the stuff I've done in preparation for this book to come out. Today, however, I went back to revisit an important post I wrote before my first book, Stolen Woman, was released. I self-published it, and was nervous, and of course I wanted it to do great, but I wondered if that was okay or if I was being selfish.
 
We writers who want to glorify God sometimes wonder about marketing and promotion. Is there a way to market our work without being self-promoting? Is it okay to want the book to do well?

Man Reaches Target Stock Photo

This post reminded me how to think rightly about this whole launch and success and how to approach thinking about my writing in general. I think it will help you too, so I'm sharing it with you today. At the end, I'll let you know what happened with that book...

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Well, as the days count down for the book's publication date, I find myself wrestling with my prayers.  Should I pray that the book is successful?  Should I ask God to sell a certain number of copies?

As I've been thinking through it, I decided that yes, I should ask for success--but only if I recognize that true success may not mean what I tend to think.

My self wants to think of true success as a book that goes big, sells thousands of copies, makes a heap of money, and gets me set on the road to a great-selling sequel.

Business Lady Stock Photo

But God doesn't see things the way man (or woman) sees. God's definition of success might be far different.  God may know that the world's success would end up hurting my family, or a lot of money would end up with me relying on myself instead of God.  I think that God's definition of real success would mean that I obey Him, that my book honors Him, that it goes out and accomplishes whatever purpose He has for it (and that purpose may be big or small in my own eyes), and that it draws me and others closer to Him.

I want God to use this to help rescue trafficked women and children.  I want God to take my book and use it show missions to teens in a non-boring linear biographical-type way.  I want God to sell enough copies that we can make a huge house payment and support missionaries and help people--and go out for pizza once in awhile!

But more than all that...I want whatever God wants with it.  If an offering is a true offering, it is given without any stipulations on its use.  So, as difficult as it feels, I pray God takes this book and does whatever He wants with it.  If it would not be good for me to be successful by the world's definition, then I pray that He keeps me from success--and don't think I'm super-spiritual writing that.  It's my way of committing "out loud" that I want what God wants more than what I want (even though I admit my flesh wants to beg and plead and whine to get God to bless this!).

Why?  Because ultimately, God knows best.  There are factors I can't even imagine that go into His decisions, and as He sees the beginning from the end, He should be the one allowed to make the decisions.  All I have is now, and my perspective is very affected by what seems best to me at this very moment--not what would be best from a lifetime perspective, much less an eternal perspective.

So here it is, in writing, that my book is an offering to God, and He can sell ten copies or a thousand copies or a million copies, and I will praise Him.  I'll work hard on my end of things, and the rest is all up to Him.

Whew, that felt hard, but good.  Like walking an extra mile on the treadmill--except I won't wake up with sore muscles tomorrow because of it!

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So did God give "success"? Here were the things I hoped for, and what has happened since that book's release in 2011:

I want God to use this to help rescue trafficked women and children. 
Because of the book, I've been able to start a speaking ministry. I train people about human trafficking--not just about the problem but how they can be part of the solution. Many people have become involved.


I want God to take my book and use it show missions to teens in a non-boring linear biographical-type way.  
I had a teenager write to me and say, "your book changed my life."

I want God to sell enough copies that we can make a huge house payment and support missionaries and help people--and go out for pizza once in awhile!
Over 6,000 books have been sold of the Stolen Series thus far, and they keep selling. We've made enough money from them to start putting our kids in Christian school, add to our missions giving, do improvements on our house, and yes, get pizza quite a few times!

However, the most important thing has been that God has used the books for His purpose. I've been amazed at what He has done. Now I pray He will bless the Sick & Tired series and give it His kind of success, whatever that means. I pray He will get His message of hope out to those who need it.

I love being part of God's work! It gives significance and purpose to what we do, and like the 5 loaves and 2 fish, no matter how small our work may seem, He can use it to feed multitudes!

Have you seen God do that with something you wrote? Add your story below:

Next Week: How To Do a Book Launch
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Book Signing at Chick-Fil-A--an even bigger fiasco!

I love Chick-Fil-A.  I love their ethics; I love their Diet Lemonade.

So I was really excited about the opportunity to do a book signing at the Chick-Fil-A nearest our house--about 45 minutes away.  I had set things up at least a month in advance with the Marketing Director, had brought promotional materials three weeks ahead of time, and the night of the signing I showed up ready to sell lots of books.

I was ready.  They were not.

I walked in with my banner and approached the counter.  "Hi!  Can I speak with whoever's in charge tonight?"

A very nice guy who looked like he was still in college came over with that "Can I help you?" face on.  I looked around, looked at him, then said something like, "I'm scheduled to do a book signing here tonight . . .(his eyebrows went up) . . .and . . . (his eyes went wide) . . . I bet you had no idea I was coming."

Poor guy.  I waited uncomfortably while he called the marketing person, talked with the staff that was there, etc.  I was quite ready to leave--it looked like it was their slowest night anyway, and I'm guessing the promotional materials never made it out of somebody's office.  Quite surprising.  I am definitely not criticizing Chick-Fil-A.  I still think they're awesome; this was just a glitch somewhere.

Anyway, just as I went up and offered again to reschedule (anything to get out of this uncomfortable situation!), they started setting up a table for me.  I really didn't want to stay if it hadn't been promoted, but then the manager guy said some people had called in about it, so I didn't want to leave if people were expecting me to be there.

What to do?

Eat free food.  That was a great start.  They were very nice and gave me my supper for free, and some Diet Lemonade, which if you've ever been to a book signing, you know it's a great thing to have a drink of something in your hand to make you not look quite so bored sitting there waiting for someone to show up.

I sold 2 books.  Uugh.  It's embarrassing admitting that to you!  Blame it on the glitch, the major storm that came through, maybe my book stinks, who knows?  I did get to talk to some really great people (like a commander on the police force who has actually gone in and dealt with trafficking groups, who just "happened" to be there eating supper that night--pretty cool!), and like I said I love the Lemonade, so the evening wasn't wasted.

About halfway through, the manager guy left for awhile.  He came back in totally soaked.  One of the ladies said, "It wasn't raining when you went out there, was it?"

"No."  He smiled.

The lady looked over at me.  "Well, your name's on the marquee now!"



Poor guy again!  I didn't mean for him to get all soaked on my account. Though I have to say it was pretty neat having my name on a sign for all the world to see (or at least all the people driving through the pouring rain not wanting to stop and buy my book.  ha ha).

What did I learn from this fiasco? Double-check things before you show up! And if you are going to have a fiasco of a book signing, you might as well do it in a place where people are nice and feed you. =)

The thing I find funniest about the whole situation is that the photo above is a great marketing tool for me. I post it sometimes and people think it's really cool that my name is up on the sign at Chick-Fil-A, like I'm a great writer or something. Looks can be deceiving! =)

What about you? Have you had any book signings yet? Have I scared you away from every having book signings? ha ha Share your story below!

Related Posts: My First Book Signing-a Fiasco!

Next Week: Should You Pray for Success for Your Writing?
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