You’ll know how to write a Blockbuster.
But what about launching it? Imagine this:
You’ve completed your book.
After all that hard work, you finally have a finished product.
And you’re excited to launch it!
But nothing happens after the launch.
It’s enough to demoralize the strongest among us.
All of those months of hard work, focus, and determination — for naught?
Ease up on yourself for just a moment, because the success of your book really depends on two factors:
- How well you write it (covered in Part 1), and
- How well you promote it
Some writers feel they’re above self-promotion. They think that if they write a great book, it will grow arms and legs and go around promoting itself. They think they can rely on word of mouth alone.
But you’re smart enough to know better.
And because you’re smart, you’ll have a marketing plan in place before you even start writing.
Here’s how to publish a book that’s a blockbuster success.
Write a Blockbuster and Publish it
Tip #1: Build Your Influencer “Hit List”
Your hit list is a list of influencers you’ll approach to help your book reach a wider audience.
But first, you have to know who they are. Here’s how you can find out.
In Part 1, which showed how to write a blockbuster, we used the example of a book on tiny houses. Let’s use that example again.
First, open a Google spreadsheet.
Then, run a quick Google and Amazon search of your topic keywords.
Who are the top authors? Who runs the popular blogs? Who are the experts? Who gets tons of engagement on their sites and social media?
Let’s take a look at the successful authors in the tiny house niche. For simplicity, we’ll use the total number of Amazon reviews as our metric of popularity.
The #1 bestselling tiny house book is by Ryan Mitchell. When you search for his name on Google, you’ll see Ryan has his own website and Twitter account. He doesn’t seem to be on Facebook, but two out of three ain’t bad.
To gauge his popularity, look at the overall engagement on his site and social media platforms. Does his audience leave a lot of comments? Does he have many followers? Do they share his content on social media?
The relevant data to put on your Google spreadsheet are:
- Average # of website comments
- Average # of website social shares
- Average # of Twitter Followers
Repeat this process for the other authors you find through your Amazon research.
Next, find out who the top bloggers are. Simply Google “tiny house blog” or “tiny house blogger” and follow the steps above to measure their level of influence.
Now that you have a decent list of influencers, reach out to the top five and introduce yourself on email.
As long as you work diligently, most of them will be happy to help a fellow writer.
Tip #2: Get Endorsements from Your Influencers
Ever notice that top authors get glowing praise and endorsements from other successful authors?
This is no accident.
In fact, this is why you’re strategically building your own “hit list.” You’re going to ask these authors and influencers to endorse your book.
You see, humans instinctively crave what’s called “social proof.” And, nothing screams social proof like a successful, well-known person singing your praises.
It’s almost like a cheat code for book launch success.
Ultimately, you’re asking them to vouch for you to their audience and the rest of the world. This is no small favor; so make sure you deserve it.
Pro Tip: You might offer to feature your influencers in your book with a link back to their site. When you feature them, you strengthen the connection they feel to the book, and they, in turn, will be more likely to giving you their endorsement.
Tip #3: Map Out Promotions in Advance
Every successful book marketing strategy must have a clear roadmap of the promotions they plan.
Just like a political campaign has a clear schedule of the candidate’s speeches, TV ads, interviews, and debates all leading to Election Day.
Because make no mistake; your book launch is Election Day.
Your readers are the voters who’ll decide whether or not you get to “take office” as a blockbuster author.
Here are a few examples of effective “campaign tactics” to use:
- Guest posting on other blogs
- Podcast interviews
- Email updates
- Social media sharing and real-time feedback
You need to map out the tactics on a timeline.
For instance, you need to get guest posts confirmed at least thirty days ahead of time. (They’re more complicated than the rest.)
Conversely, social media sharing can be deployed much closer to launch day, because they are not so time-consuming.
Your trusty roadmap will help you avoid tons of wrong turns, pitfalls, and wasted effort on your campaign trail.
Tip #4: Collect Your Readers in Advance
The smartest, most successful marketers know the power of having an email list.
With a highly engaged email list, you can easily build a strong buzz in the weeks leading up to launch day.
And what’s great is you don’t even need a massive list for this to work.
Even a few hundred subscribers, if passionate about tiny houses, are more valuable than thousands of lukewarm folks.
Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never built an email list. It’s easier than it sounds.
Which leads us to why you should…
Tip #5 – Give Stuff Away
People love free stuff, especially free stuff they value.
But here’s something even more interesting: When you give away value, you trigger a powerful part of human nature: reciprocity.
In other words, when someone gives us something, most of us (unless we’re sociopaths) instinctively want to repay the favor.
So ask yourself, what information from your research can be distilled into brief, value-packed resources? These resources make for fantastic giveaways.
Here are a few giveaway ideas for a tiny house book:
- Curated guide to the best tiny house building resources
- Expert interviews (builders, designers, tiny house owners)
- Advance (free) copies of the book
- Checklists for building a tiny house
- Infographics on benefits and savings
- Cheat sheet for sourcing quality materials
- Guide to hiring experienced contractors
- Tiny house savings calculator
You must create two separate giveaways. This is important.Here’s why:
The goal of the first giveaway is to build trust and authority in the eyes of your readers. So you’ll offer the first giveaway immediately, when people sign up to your email list.
But you won’t share the second, more valuable giveaway until launch day, when along with the free bonus, you can also send readers a reminder to click over to Amazon and buy your book.
Remember, people get busy, life gets crazy, and things slip through the cracks.
Your two-giveaway strategy will help you overcome short attention spans and trigger readers to take action when your book launches.
You can also use your email list to send updates that continue to build awareness and excitement about your book.
Speaking of which, it’s a good idea to…
Tip #6: Share Milestones Early and Often
Share compelling images of your book journey on social media to make people notice your book. They’ll comment. They’ll cheer you on. They might even share it with their friends.
Readers and followers will cheer you on because they feel included, a part of something that’s growing.
This is how the most successful authors build their community of raving fans. This is how your book will spread like wildfire.
Here’s what I shared on social media and with my email list prior to launch:
- Pictures of the Initial Mind Map
- Pictures of Cover Ideas
- Pictures of Real Readers With the Book in Hand
- Pictures and Screenshots of Early Reviews
Now ask yourself: where do all the tiny house aficionados hang out online?
Facebook groups? Twitter? Forums? Blogs? Awesome.
Get in there and introduce yourself, participate in the communities, and share your books progress.
As a cool side benefit, you’ll probably become an inspiration to many of these people as you lead by example.
Tip #7: Make a Paperback Version
We live in an age of instant digital gratification.
Though everyone and their mother owns a Kindle or smartphone, a ton of people still love—even prefer—paperbacks to digital books.
That’s why it’s in your best interest to create a paperback version, ensuring your book reaches the widest audience possible.
As an aside, throughout my launch, people condescended to me saying, “Oh, so you wrote an ebook? That’s nice.”
When I shook my head and said, “Nope, there’s a paperback version as well,” you should have seen their eyes light up.
They now saw me as a legit author, with a legit book and a legit shot at success. What’s more, they actually wanted to read my book before even knowing what it was about.
It’s super simple to get your paperbacks printed; just use CreateSpace.
Tip #8: Get In Front of Thousands of Readers
Traditional publishers send their top authors on book tours all the time.
Big-name authors pop up on press junkets everywhere you look: talk shows, radio interviews, speaking gigs etc.
But what if you have neither the money for a huge book tour, nor the connections to get invited to talk shows?
Fortunately, the Internet has made it possible to get in front of huge audiences even when you lack these resources.
Enter guest posting.
In essence, guest posting gives you exclusive access to a popular site’s large, engaged audience.
This is exactly why you targeted the influencers in your “hit list.” By having the relationship in place, pitching a guest post becomes much, much easier.
Subject Line: Guest Post Idea on X Topic
Mike Harrington here, I’ve been reading your site for some time. I especially enjoyed this piece (link), as I learned XX from it.
I’m currently writing a book around topic XX, to be published on Amazon in a few months’ time.
I figured, with all of the great content I’m curating, it might make for a valuable guest post for your readers as well.
Here are some of the concepts I’m working on…
Here are some of the tangible takeaways…
If you think one of my ideas would be a fit for (site name), great! If not, I totally understand.
It never hurts to ask, right?
Pro Tip #1: Always check for published guidelines regarding guest posts. Follow the instructions, and your pitch will stand out from the amateurs’.
Pro Tip #2: Be strategic. Try to stagger the publishing dates of your guest posts. Earlier posts build your email list while later posts send a flood of readers to buy your book on launch day.
Tip #9: Hit the Podcast Circuit
The web has a fantastic alternative to radio talk shows: podcasts.
Podcasts are the next generation of radio for listeners on the go. Great podcasts provide both entertainment and valuable information on demand, all in a convenient audio download.
So, how many of the folks on your hit list also run podcasts?
Those who don’t host their own podcast likely know folks who do. Don’t be shy. Ask for an introduction.
Still need a few more podcast leads? Google “your topic + podcast” in the search bar and the most popular shows will come up.
Remember, as long as what you’ve created is of value to listeners, you’ll make a fantastic guest.
Podcasts, just like talk shows, need a steady stream of quality guests. Just as you did with the guest post, politely ask the host to publish the episode as close to your launch day as possible.
Tip #10: Get an Avalanche of Reviews
Believe it or not, getting reviews for your book is the easiest part.
You’ve been whip-smart. You’ve been strategic. You’ve followed a marketing roadmap from the start.
By this point, you’ll have built up so much goodwill and authority that readers will be falling all over themselves to leave reviews. See how reciprocity works?
Ask for your reviews early—and often. Your email list, early readers, influencers, and friends are the perfect place to start. From there you can move on to Facebook groups and other communities you’re a part of.
Here’s the exact script I used to ask for reviews:
First off thank you so much for reading my book, “Free Your Fear.”
Without all of your support and enthusiasm, none of this would have been possible.
Mind if I ask a small favor? I’d love to hear your honest thoughts and feedback on the book.
If you head to the Amazon page and leave a brief review, I’d really appreciate it. It’ll only take a few minutes of your time, and it would help the book reach an even bigger audience.
Once again, thanks for all your encouragement along the way. It means a lot to me.
I got some stellar reviews with this script.
Ask for reviews confidently. You’ve shared tons of value along the way; now you’re asking for a small favor.
Don’t be afraid to ask more than once, either. People do want to see you succeed, but they also get insanely busy. Pros always follow up.
Will You Go the Distance?
Will you write a blockbuster and publish it?
How far will your book go?
Will you dig in, work your butt off, and give your book a fighting chance at blockbuster success?
Imagine the excitement of watching your book rise to the top of the bestselling charts.
After all the hard work you put into it, people are buying and reading your book. They may even love it!
Positive reviews are pouring in. And now, people are approaching you for interviews and speaking engagements. Now, you’re the influencer people reach out to.
And all those other writers that were too lazy or afraid to promote their work? You’ll leave ’em in the dust.
But you can’t leave things to chance. Promise me that you’ll work to write and promote your work.
You can do this. I’m living proof.
Now go out and execute your game plan. Work hard, work smart, and the results will come.
It’ll only be a matter of time until you can celebrate your bestselling victory.
After all, you’ve earned it.
About the author:
Mike Harrington is on a mission to inspire smart entrepreneurs to write their first book. He’s a six-figure corporate dropout turned entrepreneur and bestselling author, who’ll show you how writing your book is like a business card on steroids. Download his 13-step infographic on self-publishing success here.
Get the whole story: Read How to Write a Blockbuster – Part 1