I am a member of The Bay Area Independent Publishers Association, (BAIPA). Our June meeting we had a panel followed by a workshop focused on what works to successfully launch and sell lots of books. What stood out is the need to organize the process. Having a system, tracking actions and reactions was a theme that each of the authors, publishers, illuminated.
It Takes a Team
I’m currently working on a project that has many moving parts. It’s complex and complicated. Knowing what to do and when to do it can be challenging. This project like the books the panelists have published is being completed by a team of experts. One person working alone will miss many aspects that are needed to produce a well edited, well-designed, and marketed book.
Writing is usually a solitary process up until the time and editor looks it over. There are many types of editors. A developmental editor looks at the structure of your writing. Copy editors look at grammar and the flow of ideas in your work and the accuracy of information. A copy editor also make sure that you are consistent in the voice your style throughout your manuscript. A proofreader is someone who goes over your manuscript after it has been laid out by the designer. You may not need all of these different types of editors however every person will see something different and will catch mistakes that others don’t see. You can also benefit from having beta readers look over your manuscript and giving you feedback as well as catching any lingering errors that might have been missed.
Building Your Platform
Once the book is completed and ready for publication, there is still more work to do. While the creative part of the work is going on as well as their editing process, it’s a perfect time to be working on your author platform.
This might sound like a lot of work because it is. Getting help in the areas where you are not an expert makes sense. Budgeting your time as well as your resources will help you succeed. All of the authors/publishers said they would all began their marketing campaigns earlier than you might think.
Make a Plan
Make a plan, get help, and start building your audience well in advance of your publication date. There are lots of steps, you don’t have to do everything yourself.
Blurbs and Book Reviews
Lining up blurbs about your book is something you can do once you have your manuscript in reasonable shape. Requesting comments from experts in your genre is a smart thing to do. Having a well-known person giving you an endorsement can go a long way in encouraging prospective buyers to purchase your book. Be bold, courteous and direct in your request.
You also want to request book reviews. Book reviews by readers have value, and let your readers know you would like them to post their reviews to Amazon and to Goodreads. These are two places where readers will look for information to help them choose which books to purchase.
Make sure your author profile on Amazon is interesting and complete. The same goes for your profile on Goodreads. Use your website as your marketing hub. Have links to your social profiles, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. You’ll need a good headshot, and by that I highly recommend having a professional photographer capture you just the way you want to appear. Use that headshot in your profiles, on your website, and make it available as a downloadable JPEG from your website.
Word of Mouth
Make a list of all the local venues where you can conduct book readings, including service groups, book clubs, and local radio shows and make inquiries about when you can speak. If there is a non-profit group whose mission is aligned with the theme of your book, consider partnering with them to do an event. There may also be other groups that would be interested in partnering with you so that you share your book with their audience.
Track Your Actions
These are just the highlights of what I learned at BAIPA this month. It may sound like a lot to do, because it is. If you break it into small steps, it’s easier to do. Put all your ideas into a spreadsheet. That way you can track what you’re doing and if you have a team working with you, you can all see what needs to happen and who is responsible for each action. Collaborating really make sense when publishing a book. In fact, you could take that spreadsheet and upload it to Google Docs so your team can all work on it with you.
If all of this sounds overwhelming, let’s talk. I can help you organize your marketing and keep you out of overwhelm.
Marketing is a conversation.