[ecourse] bestseller book launch - day 4 of 8
How to Guarantee Sales and Reviews on Launch Day (Day 4)
Hey, welcome back to day 4!
I’m really excited for today’s lesson…
While we focused on the “prep work” for our book launch in the previous lessons, today we’re going to talk about practical stuff, like:
- How to assemble a group of people who are eagerly awaiting your book launch
- How to make your book go viral by leveraging crowsourced marketing tactics
- How to make sure thousands of eyeballs see your book on launch day
And much, much more…
Before we hop in, here’s a reminder of the 14 steps of The Bestseller Book Launch Sequence we’ll be talking about throughout this free training course:
The 14 Steps of The Bestseller Book Launch Sequence
*the steps bolded are what we’ll be focusing on today*
Step 1: Create a Book Launch Sequence Working Document
Step 2: Identify Key Players
Step 3: Set Your Launch Date
Step 4: Clarify Your Goal
Step 5: Centralize all Materials for Your Book
Step 6: Create an Early Notification List
Step 7: Create an Ambassador Group
Step 8: Develop Your Influencers Circle
Step 9: Identify Alternative Marketing Channels
Step 10: Build Your High-Converting Book Sales Page
Step 11: Get Your Book Ready for Distribution
Step 12: Notify Ambassadors and Influencers
Step 13: Final Prep and Pre-Launch Marketing
Step 14: Launch
Since we already covered steps 1 through 5 in the previous lesson (sign up to get access to all the lessons here), today we’re going to cover #6, #7, and #8.
These three steps are ESSENTIAL for a successful book launch, and authors or publishers who skip these steps hoping a big budget or the conventional “book signing” approach will work are shooting themselves in the foot.
Book publishing is changing and the old rules don’t apply anymore.
Today, I’m going to show you the NEW RULES of publishing.
So bookmark this page if you need to and get ready to take some detailed notes.
Let’s get to it…
Step 6: Create Your Early Notification List
Your Early Notification List is a group of people who have asked to be notified about your book when it launches.
Believe it or not, no matter who you are or on what topic you’re writing, there will be people who will want to know the exact date and time your book launches so they can buy your book and support you day one.
The key to a killer launch is to make sure you find and connect with as MANY of these people as possible.
Their early buy-in will help you maximize the success of your book launch by driving early sales, which drives early rankings, which will push you to the top of the charts, which will get you more exposure, which will get you MORE sales…and so on and so forth…
It’s a beautiful, compounding spiral of sales that lead to more sales…if you get it right.
And that starts with building an Early Notification List.
What You Need for an Early Notification List:
1. Email Marketing Service (EMS)
This is the piece of software you’ll use to collect and manage email addresses. Mailchimp is free up to 2,000 subscribers and easy to use. An alternative is Aweber, which is relatively inexpensive and works just as well as Mailchimp (some people prefer it).
Alternatively, you could use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool like Contactually to build an early notification list, however collecting and importing emails can be a pain if you don’t have the former Email Marketing Services set up.
I actually use a combination of Mailchimp + Contactually to manage and connect with readers for the various books I publish - your needs may vary though.
2. Email Optin Form
Once you have your Email Marketing Service established, you’ll need to create an optin form. Most Email Marketing Services come with code you can copy-and-paste on your website or a link you can share on social media. Any of these will work. If you want to get fancy, I recommend LeadPages to create a specific lading page for your early Notification list.
An example of an early notification list for COLLABORATE:
3. Email Newsletter
A newsletter is the single best way to sell more books. Period. It’s not mandatory to have an email newsletter, but if you take yourself seriously as an author or publisher, you’ll build an email list. An email newsletter does not have to be complex. Simply sending an email update every couple weeks on the progress of your book or some topic related to your book(s) is a great way to stay in contact with fans, and the BEST way to generate interest in the lead up to your launch
A bonus strategy is to leverage other people’s newsletters…however, this is VERY difficult unless you’ve already started cultivating relationships online for several years (so if you haven’t, start today!)
4. Social Media Profiles
Social media platforms will not replace your email newsletter, but they can improve your marketing reach. The goal of social media shouldn’t be to sell books, but to connect with your fans and build relationships with readers…if you can do that, when your book is getting ready to launch your social media followers will be HAPPY to share your book when it launches.
The true power of social media is this – it compounds the relationship and networking work that you’ve done to prep for your book launch…it doesn’t create results by itself (in most cases) but is a great supplement to other marketing avenues like your email newsletter.
Example of how I used social media to raise more than $12,000 for my latest book COLLABORATE:
The best social media platform to use is the one you’re most comfortable with and the one you engage best with readers. This could include:
You don’t technically need a website, but as with the email newsletter, if you take yourself seriously as an author you ought to have one.
You can create a free website on WordPress.com, but I recommend purchasing a domain (about $12 from a place like Iwantmyname.com), and self-hosting (about $5 / month with bluehost.com or $10/ month with webfaction.com), and then possibly buying a premium theme (about $50 from Themeforest.net) so your website looks as good as the book(s) you’re publishing.
Alternatively, you can use LeadPages to create a book sales page in a few minutes, which can be done without a website (but then you must use the leadpages url, which will look something like yourname.leadpages.net/titleofbook).
How to Build Your Early Notification List
Step 1. Create an Early Notification Optin Page with a compelling Call-to-Action (why should people sign up to be notified about your book?)
Step 2. Send people to this page (from social media, your email list, personal emails, etc.)
Step 3. Periodically stay in contact with this group and make sure to give them updates on launch dates and times (especially 1 week and 1 day out)
How to Create Your Early Notification Optin Page
Here’s how simple a notification list splash page can be:
You can rapidly build landing pages like this using:
- Optimizepress.com (need a self-hosted website)
- Convertpress.com (need a self-hosted website)
- Basic WordPress website with baked-in landing page (what you're seeing right now via Newrainmaker)
The reason something this simple works: you’re only going after early adopters here (which you’ve already identified on your Book Marketing Canvas). The kind of people who are so excited by whatever you do that they’ll be the first in line (to subscribe, buy, share, whatever).
Just to reinforce this concept: this page does not have to be complex. A brief overview of the book and some bullet points is more than enough.
Key Places to Share your Early Notification List:
- Your main email list / newsletter. Send out an email to your email list / newsletter list letting them know your book is in the making and they can get first access by signing up for your Early Notification list (link them to your Early Notification List optin page – see below)
- Social Media / groups you are a part of online. Send out a message on all your social media platforms letting your followers know your book is coming (direct them to the same link)
- Other peoples’ lists and other FB groups you’re a part of.
- At the bottom of blog posts, your personal emails, etc. Add an optin form to the bottom of blog posts, on your home page, on your about page, etc.
Case Study: The 7 Day Startup
Let’s follow along with Dan Norris' The 7 Day Startup:
Using the “Book Marketing Launch Canvas” from the previous section, we identified our target audience as:
- startup founders
The good news: many of these target demographics are present, to some degree, in Dan’s main wpcurve.com newsletter, which numbers over 10,000. This made it an ideal place to start to reach out and ask people if they wanted to be notified when the book launched.
By reaching out to his list, Dan was able to create a list of around 1,500 people who wanted to be notified when the book would launch. Dan put a lot of content out leading up to the launch, which you can see on the resources page.
Because Dan had such a large audience to begin with, this was more than enough to get us started.
But what if you're NOT Dan?
Here's what you do...
How to Build an Audience from SCRATCH
"But Tom, Dan is like super famous and whatnot. I don't have a blog with 10,000 subscribers. How is a dude / dudette like me supposed to build an audience when I have nothing to begin with?!"
Okay, hold your horses.
I get it.
This is the 'ol chicken-and-the-egg question...what comes first - the bestseller or the big email list?
I hear people complain to me all the time about these type of case studies...they say the results that guys like Dan get are anomalies because they have a platform to begin with.
There is some truth to this - Dan has spent thousands of hours building this list. He's put his blood, sweat, and tears into building a massive, responsive platform...he's written hundreds of articles and connected with thousands of people over the course of years. He's created TONS more value than he's captured, and done that consistently for months and years...
You bet your @*! that's going to make a difference with a book launch.
But let's say you're one of those greedy people who hasn't put in the work to build a platform but you still want a bestseller day one (not that there's anything wrong with that)...
What do you do?
Simple - setup an optin with an offer your TARGET READERSHIP can't refuse.
Here's an example: give your book away for free for the first 100 people who sign up to your list / early notification list.
If you have a compelling book and you reach out to the appropriate channels, this will work!
Don't believe me?...
Case Study: Do You Talk Funny?
David Nihill is an entrepreneur, turned standup comic (to overcome his fear of public speaking), turned author of Do You Talk Funny? - a book that shares his 1 year deep-dive into standup comedy and the subsequent lessons-learned from his experience.
During my first phone call with David to discuss his book marketing strategy, I asked him an important question I ask every author: "how big is your list?"
David's response (in his thick, Irish accent): "I don't have a list. I don't even know what a list is."
After shaking my head in my mind, I got to work figuring out how to drive traffic and subscribers to David's website.
We decided to make our optin bribe simple and compelling - the first 100 people who sign up get the book for free.
We then shared this in places where it made sense, like David's Udemy course (which was on how to improve your public speaking), various Facebook groups, forums across the internet, etc.
We ended up building David's list to OVER 300 people before launch (and launched the book for free on Amazon for 3 days - which meant everyone who signed up got what they signed up for).
If you have absolutely no audience to start with, this is the most effective way I've seen to rapidly build a list around your book launch...
Bottom Line on Building an Early Notification List
If you don’t have a big list, you’ll need to reach out to other audiences and source people from other groups and blogs. The most effective way to do this is through guest posting and drawing people back to your Early Notification List signup page. That’s how Dan originally built his audience.
But this isn't necessarily feasible for authors (especially fiction authors).
The alternative way is to create a SUPER compelling optin bribe (free book is a good one), and then promote on sites and in places where your TARGET READER hangs out (see your BOOK MARKETING CANVAS for more info on this).
Step 7: Assemble Your Ambassador Group
Once you’ve assembled your Early Notification List, it’s time to reach out to these same people and ask if any of them would like to become ambassadors.
What is an Ambassador?
An ambassador is someone who will review and share your book when it launches, generally in exchange for early access to the book (or bonuses, or direct access to you, or some other perk).
Notable authors who have used this same technique to launch themselves to the top of the charts include Seth Godin, Pat Flynn, Chris Ducker, Tim Ferriss, Jeff Goins, Dan Norris, Charlie Hoehn, Natalie Sisson…just to name a few.
The point is: anyone who is reaching the top of the charts these days is creating a group like this to be the spearhead for their marketing effort.
How do I Create an Ambassador Group?
First, you need to lead people from your Early Notification list to your Ambassador Optin Page.
Next, you must engage with these Ambassadors, the best way to do this is through a collaborative platform like a Facebook Page.
How to Create an Ambassador Optin Page
Here’s a simple example of an ambassador optin page:
This can be even simpler than the early notification page because these people are familiar with your book already.
All you want to do with this optin is let people know that you’ll be asking a favor (to review and share your book) in exchange for X (direct access to you, possibly early access to the book, maybe bonuses, etc.).
How to Engage with Your Ambassadors
After you’ve received confirmation from a fan or supporter that he or she wants to be a part of your ambassador group, the next step is to create an environment where you can engage with him or her on a daily basis.
One of the most effective ways to lead your Ambassadors is through a private Facebook Group.
- It’s a popular platform. Facebook has millions (billions?) of users. Most people are on Facebook or at least know what it is and trust it enough to get an account.
- It’s free. No need to pay money to run a free group on Facebook.
- It’s effective. Facebook groups allow you to notify individuals directly, speak to the entire group of Ambassadors, answer questions in real time, share documents, websites, and more.
Here are technical instructions on how to start your Facebook Group.
How to Lead Your Ambassador Group
Ambassadors are NOT just fans.
These are your SUPER fans – you’re top 3% of supporters.
These are the people whose success is tied directly to your success – they want you to succeed, sometimes more than you do.
The best way to lead these amazing people is to let them lead themselves – but to provide them will all the resources and support they need to succeed.
This means showing up daily, engaging with your ambassadors, and giving them whatever they need to share and spread the word about your book.
This could be:
- Inside look at the writing of your book
- “Ask me Anything” – give your ambassadors the chance to ask you questions about your writing, book creation, marketing, and anything else they want
- Sharing marketing copy, clicktotweets, and anything else to make Ambassadors more successful when it comes to marketing and sharing your book
Step 8: Develop Your Influencers Circle
Like ambassadors, influencers are key to your book launch success.
What’s an influencer?
An influencer is anyone with an audience of passionate readers, viewers, or followers.
There’s no official number associated with how big an audience has to be to make someone an influencer (as in: minimum 1,000 subscribers, for example). Instead, it’s all about INFLUENCE and ENGAGEMENT.
Oftentimes, those with smaller lists have more passionate fans and can create better results (more book sales, more sharing) than larger sites with less engagement.
Questions to Ask as You Assemble your Influencer Circle:
- Does this person command the respect of his or her peers and audience?
- Does this person have an audience or work in an industry compatible with the message of my book?
- Would my book resonate with this influencer and his or her audience?
It’s important to make sure that influence and message compatibility are both taken into consideration.
It’s not only about who you know, but about how they line up with you and the message of the book.
How to Prioritize your Influencers Circle
Once you’ve listed off every person you can think of who might be interested in your book for their audience, you then want to prioritize them.
3 criteria worth considering:
- List size
- Chance of a share
Most of these will be estimates or based on your gut instinct. The goal here is to figure out who you should focus your attention on.
Obviously, it would be great if the Dali Lama would share your book, but what are the chances? Better to focus on someone with a smaller audience who is more likely to share, then someone with a massive audience (but no chance of sharing).
At this point, we don’t want to reach out to Influencers – we’ll be doing that later – but we do want to have our list organized and ready to go when we do share our book with them.
2 Psychological Reasons You Need an Influencers Circle
Your Influencers Circle is not an option if you want a big book launch.
Even people with massive audiences (1 million+) benefit from leveraging an Influencers Circle. Here are the two most important psychological reasons this is the case:
- Social Proof. Influencers command the respect of followers and peers. Getting their validation adds social proof to your work, which increases trust (which ultimately means more people will want to read what you’ve written). And while testimonials are great, it’s much more powerful to have the author of said testimonial actually share your book with their audience, because they now have skin in the game.
- Mere-Exposure Effect. Fact: the more often we see something, the more we like it. This is true with peoples faces (that’s why I think I’m so handsome) as much as it’s true with products and services. Getting influencers to share your book increases the chance that the same person will see the same book more than once, subconsciously increasing their desire for it.
And while not a psychological reason, Influencers can multiply your readership.
After all, you’re now accessing a brand new group, many of whom may not have been in your audience to begin with, so the more people who share your work, the better. It also doesn’t hurt the influencer’s reputation to be associated with a great project, particularly if it’s a success.
Case Study: The 7 Day Startup
Luckily, Dan had already built up a sizeable group of influencers who were in his niche / industry – men and women who ran companies or wrote about startups and small businesses; audiences that would certainly resonate with his message. Dan makes a strong effort to help others so he doesn’t mind asking for help when he needs it.
To create our list, we created a collaborative spreadsheet (we used Hackpad but Google Docs, Evernote, or OneNote are just as capable), and started brainstorming everyone in Dan’s network.
Once the list was created, we organized it by using the following criteria:
- Friend who will share
- Friend who may share
- Acquaintance – may share
- Cold email – long shot
We prioritized the friends Dan had and made sure to email them a free copy of the book before launch. For acquaintances and cold emails, we waited till launch week to offer a copy of the free book. Those who said yes we engaged the following week to ask to share. Those who did not respond, we followed up again to see if they wanted a free copy of the book.
Here’s an example of the type of email we sent to friends:
Hey man, how’s it going? Was good to catch up in Sydney. I’m down there again this weekend actually at WordCamp but I’m in and out.
I’m coming out with a book next week.
It’s called The 7 Day Startup.
Here’s a link to the advance copy before it releases. Please don’t share it, it will be released on Amazon on Monday.
I would value your feedback if you get the chance, although I know it’s late notice. I know you like to read. If you like it, it would be cool to have some shares next week when it launches, but only if you think it’s good for your audience of course.
It will be free and I’ve also put together a huge list of related resources that are also free (still working on this page). I think Amazon will only let me keep it free for a week but after that I’ll make it whatever the minimum is.
Thanks so much, let me know if I can help you with anything. I mention you in the book and the acknowledgements.
Here's an important thing to note about Influencers...
You don't need all of them to say yes to supporting you. Even just a few Influencers in your niche can go a LONG way toward spreading your book. That's why I encourage you to start with a list of at least 100 people in your niche whose reach would make an impact on your book...then systematically reach out to them to get them on board to support you before the book goes live.
Wrapping up + Next Lesson
Now that you’ve assembled your Early Notification List, created your Ambassador Group, and developed your Influencers Circle, it’s time to prepare the rest of your launch.
In the next couple lessons, I’m going to show you how to:
- Create your high-converting book sales page
- Develop alternative marketing and sales channels for your book (to help your book stand out in a noisy crowd)
- Prep for your bestselling launch…
But FIRST, I need you to do the following...
Your Turn - Respond Below!
-> In the comments below, let me know your BIGGEST TAKEAWAY from this lesson.
- What do you think of the early notification list, ambassador group, and influencers circle?
- How could this change the way you launch your book?
Also, let me know what questions you have about this stuff!
I'm here to help you launch your book, so don't hesitate to ask questions (if you have a question, then other people have the same question, so ask it!!).
My head is going to explode Tom! So much valuable content for launching successfully. You helped make the process completely understandable. Biggest takeaway was the Ambassador's Group. Wasn't familiar with it till today so thanks a million! It will be my roadmap to launch.
Mark, thanks so much.
Glad you found this useful. Looking forward to talking more about your book soon!
Biggest takeaway: Optin list. This has been a challenge for me. Give away book for free to those who opt in ...
Dave, that definitely works.
You just give away digital (i.e. PDF copies) of the book, not actual paperbacks?
Depends. Yes you can do just digital. Or spend a bit more for physical print sharing with influencers.
Biggest takeaway = Realizing the potential impact from early notification and ambassador lists. Influencers take it up to the next level.
Question: How early in the process should I start building my early notification/ambassador lists? Too late mutes impact but too early seems like it also could reduce engagement. What's the Goldilocks "just right" timing on this?
Howard - GREAT question.
I'd say 30 - 60 days is a sweet spot for Ambassadors.
Over 60 days and you'll lose people...they'll forget why they joined. Less than 30 and you don't have enough time to use them for prelaunch activities (sharing your early notification list, sharing social media posts, blog posts, podcast interviews, etc.)
For Early Notification list.
As early as possible...even if that's 6 months out. Doesn't hurt to grow that list - you won't necessarily need to engage it much (perhaps once a month with a status update on progress, merely to keep the list "warm").
Without a list you can't do early notifications so reaching out to people you know and trust to be influencers and ambassadors for your work is great. I certainly plan on trying it. I also will be asking certain people (that I truly know) to write a review to get the ball rolling for others to do so also. Getting reviews can be hard - I know I don't leave many because I download a book, stick it in a folder, and don't read it for a while.
Virginia, you can definitely get early notification subscribers simply by having a compelling sales page and call-to-action (we'll talk about a high-converting sales page in the next less)...and then sending people to this page (through promotional outreach via blogging, podcasting, guest blogging, FB / Social media sharing, listing sites, groups, etc. - all the various marketing channels that are out there).
Let me know if you need more clarity on that.
Thank you for going over what to do in the event that you're a relative nobody in the game. That's where I'm at -- but definitely not where I want to be.
You won't be if you keep working at it Grace. I started from nothing, and I'm no rockstar yet...but I have enough of an audience now to support my creative work.
Focus on overdelivering for the first 100 and the first 1,000 and you can't go wrong.
Love this - "Focus on overdelivering for the first 100 and the first 1,000 and you can’t go wrong." Thanks for the reminder Tom!
Thanks Tracy ;D
I do almost exactly what you advise Tom.
My biggest takeaway:
It doesn't work for me very well, because I do it part-time.
It's a lot of hustle additional to the usual stuff
-9 to 5
-writing and editing about 2 hours a day
I see only one thing to be eliminated from the above list. But it's not so easy to build full-time income with part time activity.
Michal, good input.
It's true - it takes time.
It takes time to write a book (a good one), it takes time to publish a book (successfully).
It takes time to build a business, start a movement, whatever.
Good things - worthwhile things - take time.
I don't ever espouse the idea that you can do this stuff over night (unless you have already spent 10+ years building a platform)...but there are ways to go about it more efficiently and more effectively.
I wonder if you wouldn't have more success refining your platform and focusing on a specific type or topic for your books...it seems you write on a vast area of topics, and b/c they're nonfiction, that doesn't help you get a following (nobody really cares about the generalist anymore - not when it comes to advice or training, right?).
I get your point Tom, Steve Scott repeats to me the same all the time. But a narrow niche is too chocking for me. My vision is grander than a single niche.
I accept the cost of this approach. I know it will take longer. I'm just passionate aboute the life in general, not only fitness or time management.
And when I get new "real fans" they buy everything nonetheless (or maybe because of that?)
All in all, I'm in the middle of writing a series about success, 7 books. I want to publish them all this year after the book about Kindle Gold Rush.
Very cool. If you're publishing a series, maybe you should consider crowdfunding...I have no doubt you could catalyze your current audience to support you.
Shoot me an email if you're interested and I can share more ideas for your particular book.
Another great post, dude!
1. What do you think of the early notification list, ambassador group, and influencers circle?
--> That's a slam dunk--totally necessary. But here's a great question: What's the BEST way to engage influencers? I honestly feel like kind of a schmuck approaching folks like this. Any great phrases or methods to get engagement with influencers?
How could this change the way you launch your book?
--> It would help me hit my 30K download launch!
We'll cover that in two lessons I believe (I'll show you my best techniques for hopefully coming off NOT spammy or like a schmuck...it's a fine line and you must tread carefully).
Glad you liked the lesson, George ;D
Ahh, the mythical list. This is where it all breaks down for me. It seems like all the ways to build your list basically works down to spamming people. My friends and family largely don't care that I'm writing a book. That leaves people who I don't already know and my first contact is asking for help?
There is an old Chinese proverb: the best time to plant a tree is 100 years ago. The second best time is now. What the proverb doesn't mention is that the tree you plant today isn't going to provide shade for a long time.
It's really not mythical!
If you have a compelling book idea, people will sign up to be notified when it launches. I've seen this time and time again.
Of course, you need to convince people it's worthwhile...which is where strategies like blogging / podcasting come in because it's an opportunity to build trust.
I am on the list of all my favorite authors. Why? Because I want to know when they come out with new stuff.
I also optin to new author lists if they have a compelling reason for me to sign up (interesting topic, opportunity for exclusive or bonus content....maybe a discount or freebie, etc).
I know it's tough - but anything worthwhile is tough.
And spamming is the last thing I'd recommend - doesn't work, first of all, and second - it's lazy.
Much better to start a conversation with people and build trust, in my opinion.
Which comes back down to my original comment on Facebook about guest blogging and how that is a much larger hurdle for fiction. I just don't think that the average fiction reader reads blogs about fiction, aside from fandom pages.
I don't see any other way to define cold calling/cold emailing other than spam.
There's a big difference between a cold call and spamming. If you don't see the difference, you're not looking hard enough.
I've been on quite a few early notification lists and 2 launch teams (ambassador groups) and I've seen them work extremely well. I'm working on my early notification list now, have a list of influencers, and need to work on an ambassador group. Oddly enough even though I've been a part of two ambassador groups I wasn't actively putting together my own. Thanks for the reminder to do that.
The way I started putting together my early notification list was copying something I saw another big name author do. I put together a survey asking people to help name my book and give suggestions for additional materials they thought would be helpful along with specific topics they were most interested in around the subject. I shared the survey with people I knew and on social media and I got some really good responses from a few dozen people. In return I did promise them a free copy of the book when it was ready to release.
My biggest takeaway is probably to keep them more informed and from that list to allow them to get involved more through my ambassador group.
Thanks for the step by step plan Tom!
That's a great idea Conrad. This is a true way of collaboration and creating something that is truly helpful to them. I used that once to create one of my books (but I didn't put too many efforts to it). I think for my upcoming book, I need to do more of that, coming from the heart of serving! =)
Thanks Tracy! Yes it really does help.
What a fab idea. Thanks for sharing.
This is awesome!
I'm stealing this idea - what a great way to start the collaborative journey together (and when I say collaborative...I really believe launch teams / ambassador groups are there to collaborate as part of what they do).
Appreciate the great input Conrad!
Perfect - well done Conrad!
I had to read this twice to fully digest all the content and put all the pieces in place. Feeling mind-refreshing. Thanks again Tom!
1. What do you think of the early notification list, ambassador group, and influencers circle?
----- The idea of "ambassador group" is totally new to me and I love the idea. This can be challenging since I am an aspiring author and I don't have "die-hard" fans just yet. What kind of charisma should I have in order to convince people to genuinely want to promote my work for me? I know the answer will be always overdelivering and being authentic. Any specific advice on helping a new author to carve out an "ambassador list" from the "early notification list", especially when people barely hear about this new author like me LOL?
--- I feel that there is overlap between "ambassador group" and "influencers cricle", because we should leverage both to promote our works to larger audience. Can I understand "ambassadors" as "die-hard fans", and "influencers circle" as "strategic partners"?
2. How could this change the way you launch your book?
----- I will have a plan for building these 3 groups over the weekend; and start working on my notification list over the weekend.
----- Conrad just reminded me the importance of working with my list to write a book together based on what they would like to know (by asking questions or doing surveys). I will work on that over the weekend as well. This is a "pre-launch" tactic recommended by Jeff Walker's , too. Love it.
An additional question: I tend to think in the long long term. If I create one Facebook group to promote one book for my ambassador, does that I have to create 10 groups if I produce 10 books? If yes, just from a project management's perspective, is there a more efficient way to manage my ambassadors (e.g. create only one group for all ambassadors for all my books)?
Look forward to your feedback!
1. If you're starting from scratch, the sole focus should be building your early notification list. Even if you only have 10 people on it, you can then ask if any of them would like insider access to your book (free copy, direct access to you, etc.).
You may need to get help from friends or family for the first launch. That's okay as a short term strategy until you get traction
1.5 - yes, you're right. Ambassadors are die-hard fans....Influencers are strategic partners (sorta...in a very loose way)
2. I would do a separate group for each. I've tried having one group for multiple books....it burns out the ambassadors which is not a good thing.
Every book should be done from scratch in this regard (going through the same process, but leveraging the platforms and connections you've used again to compound your results).
My take away... we all need photo's with Seth Godin!!! Awesome.
Biggest takeaway for me... Do something different for your Ambassadors and empower them. I think they are often overlooked.
Bam. Completely agree.
And yes, the photo w/ Seth is tops ;D
My biggest takeaway is the ambassador circle. My biggest concern is influencers. I am a very ordinary person with no big-name friends. The people I know who have the biggest names are people who will not want my book to succeed, because they completely disagree with me. I feel like David with his slingshot.
The ambassador circle may be just the ticket for me. I know people who write, people who publish, people who edit, people who simply go to church every week and grieve what is happening to our country. I think that when those people read my book, they are going to raise their fists in the air and say, “YES!” If they don’t do that, nobody will do that. I will have failed.
Every day I blog about the subject matter in my book. People don’t write a lot of comments, but about once a week someone will thank me for the encouragement in my writing. I get a few likes. My following is more like the 300 you mentioned in one of your case studies. I have close to 1500 Twitter followers, but I don’t think they are any more serious about me than I am about them. I plan to start recruiting ambassadors now. They won’t necessarily know that is my purpose. I will be scouting out prospects. I think that if my ambassadors have experienced the impact of my book, they will be vocal supporters for the launch day. I pray it goes forward from there.
I think you SHOULD let your ambassadors know the deal. Be open and transparent about your book. Why keep it a secret? That's self defeating. And that's a limiting belief - that big names will want you to fail. How many have you reached out to??
You are so right about the self-defeating attitude. I see it clearly. I guess it will be my biggest enemy. I read a book several years ago titled "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway." That is what I need to do with my marketing campaign.
Bingo. Excited for your breakthroughs here Katherine!!
This was extremely helpful. I appreciated that you shared not only your technical recommendations, but gave a sample email or two, as well.
I've published one book previously, and it pretty much was stillborn. For my next project, I'm hoping to involve more people on my side. It'll be tricky, because I'm publishing under a pen name, but I feel a lot better equipped now that I've read your suggestions.
Thank you so much for making this available. I'm getting a lot out of your series.
Pen names are a bit harder b/c it's harder to own your work that way (and those people who can own their work publicly have the greatest advantage in the marketplace).
That said, I'm excited to see you go through this course and to see how you apply it!
My biggest take away. Create a list and reach out to people. You never know who will support you until you ask. Ambassadors and Influencers will be my greatest challenge. Thanks for another great installment, Tom.
Love it Sharon ;D
Best takeaway is the part of the three groups. I also can see I needed to find the influencer group for Broken and did not do that, although I did have the person who started the division for the prevention of domestic violence read the book and write the intro. I need to do more connecting there. That book is too important to just let fall by the wayside. Note: I just met another counselor who told me he would recommend my book to any of his clients. So they are my influencers as well. Love your content.
Would you suggest all this for children's books as well?
Exactly right Anne - this is the way to move LOTS of books through word of mouth.
Childrens books are a whole other story to be honest...but I believe the fundamentals would be the same...although I would think influencers would be teachers / principals - so starting local would be a good idea to get comfortable with who likes what you've created (so you can scale)
I like the strategy. I'm really conflicted about the balance between niching it down and trying to have a broader appeal. It seems like the more specific the niche, the more premium content you have to provide in order to get decent revenue. People won't pay more the ten bucks or so for a paperback, so maybe use the book to drive readers to the site and then sell premium training/coaching services? Or go with a $30 or $50 e-book to generate more revenue from the get go? In the case of my junior officer finance book, we aren't talking about a huge willingness to spend large amounts of money. After a successful launch, do I branch out to field-grade officers and NCOs, or keep working with the committed few?
Niche down at first so you can own your market. Then expand from there. If you can be everywhere in a small niche, people won't be able to help but reference / talk about your book. Getting 100 people in a 1,000 person circle to read your book is more powerful then 1,000 people in a 1,000,000 person circle (for more in depth reading on this topic, I recommend Crossing the Chasm)
Great stuff, Tom!
The biggest take away from today's lesson for me was that launching a book is hard work!
I love it though because writing this book has been a dream I've had for over 10 years, and it's worth the hard work.
The early notification list is where I'm at right now. I gotta get my EMS going ASAP going on my site.
Question: I see in your example of your early optin page for Collaborate that you have your title and cover art already designed. I have a working title and no cover art yet. Should I get these things settled first before launching my early optin campaign?
Bingo - good stuff Robert!
This is really Motivating. But i have a Working Titel, i am still not finished with my First Book , Autobiographie of a Young African German based Lady ,,who did not study Artwork , But has Turned a GREAT Artist.
How Can i build up my audience.What Do i Tell them at this Stage.
Perhaps this is lost in translation. Are you writing in German?
Questions that will help:
Who would want to read this in the first place?
Where do they hang out?
Can you share your book idea with them before you write it to gauge interest?
This is excellent material, Tom. Thank you. I'm wondering if having both a lead magnet opt-in and an early notification opt-in might be too much opting-in in some cases. What do you think? In my case, once folks opt-in to my blog and get a free ebook they'll then hear about the book I'm working on through blog posts and other emails.
Good question. I like to segment lists as much as possible. Hence, multiple optins. Some people might want to read your book and that's it. Others might want to be a part of the process and share it with others and help you out in other ways. That's why I create multiple lists - main list, early notification, and ambassador/launch team. It's not mandatory by any means, but allows you to interact w/ different groups differently 🙂
Awesome content yet again! Love, love, love how you break it down into actionable steps to implement - the nitty gritty how to, rather than the 10,000 foot overview that you usually get.
Awesome idea to segment the list so you can really target them with appropriate marketing material. It makes so much sense!
I am going to build my opt-in pages today!
My goal is to use my book to drive traffic to my website and then upsell people onto online courses (that are still in development). I'm then going to use my earning from that to join your Publisher's Empire. If this is what you give away for free, I can't even begin to imagine what your insiders get!!
My question - once people have opted-in to the Ambassador list, do you then go through and manually remove them from the original opt-in list?
re: ambassador list
It depends. I use Convertkit (you can get access to my exclusive bonuses using my affiliate link if you're interested: http://www.tommorkes.com/converkit) which allows me to TAG ambassadors and send ONLY to them, or ONLY to early notification list, or ONLY my main list...or exclude any of the above. Really powerful, really easy. I couldn't do this before Mailchimp which is why I switched.
Looking forward to seeing you inside http://www.publishersempire.com - and I promise, it's even better than this 🙂
My question is about serials. I am writing serialized fiction, which is a story released in episodes. The entire book is 6 episodes. Word count wise this equates to two normal sized novels. I am releasing the third episode on Monday.
What would your suggestions be for marketing a launch in a serial?
Please note that I have already established everything mentioned here. I do not have many subscribers at this time.
Check out "Wool" - I absolutely love his marketing. Give away the first in the series free - promote the hell out of it. Then sell the rest for $1.99 or more, with the bundle being under $4.99...if I like the first one, I'm going to buy all at once for a discount.
Appreciate the advice. I have a few influencers whom I've already approached, a well-established author who recently returned from Harvard, two editors of national newspapers, a journalist who works for a major publication in the UK and two judges locally. With the ambassadors I thought I'd approach my biggest fans on social media. The newsletter idea is brilliant. I love art and receiving electronic newsletters is always a pleasure. Emailing my contacts is a no-no as there is no real relationship with them and I don't want to come across as pushy.
Biggest Takeaway: That this is going to take at least triple the amount of effort I thought it would going in.
"What do you think of the early notification list, ambassador group, and influencers circle?"
It all makes sense to me! Obviously you want those early adopters, because they're what gets the ball rolling, and I was familiar with the idea of Influencer marketing, but the idea of having Ambassadors helping out with book promotion never occurred to me before.
"How could this change the way you launch your book?"
Well...it'll make me start WAY earlier. I already wrote and published one book. I did it as part of a 10-day challenge, and got the whole thing done - writing, cover design, editing, landing page, launch - within that 10 day span. This was back in June. The book has generated about $1,300 over the past 5 months, which I consider to be a HUGE failure. I'm hoping to get more of a running start this time, with a better fit to my primary audience, and with more help creating more visibility.
"Also, let me know what questions you have about this stuff!"
Tom, I want to know more about traffic and opt-ins. I want to know how to get enough traffic and how to provide enough of an incentive to opt-in to do some serious list-building between now and March.
It seems to me that this is ALL about getting enough traffic and enough opt-ins. Reading between the lines, it seems like you could do a pretty successful book launch off of a strong list alone, even if all your other publicity - the podcast tour, the guest posts, the blogging - fell flat.
Am I right, Tom?
re: traffic + list building...
Think in terms of your marketing channels - there are ways to create content in and around your book topic that should generate interest in your target audience.
Even if you have a list of 100 people, you can generate a decent launch and leverage it into new marketing channels - that's the beauty of a good book and making sure you give the launch enough time and effort to get it right.
As usual - so many takeaways. But one of the biggest ones for me was the influencer concept. I hadn't thought of taking the ambassadors one more step. And you make such a great point of not pushing them but letting them come to you!
awesome - thanks for sharing Amy!
I love this concept and can see how it would dramatically increase exposure for me as an author and any book that I wanted to publish. Our Caring Bridge site already has amazing readership, so I think that using that as a place to add links to get onto my mailing list as well as signing up for early notification for my books would be a good fit.
I love the idea of ambassadors, but am hoping that my facebook friends aren't the only ones who sign up. I want reviews as well and Amazon does not let your friends review your books.
But I am doing it anyway and I am gonna nail this one!
I've come across similar stuff in other courses and most of it seems to be aimed at non-fiction authors. I'm trying to market fiction and unfortunately it's difficult to motivate people to become fans of a book they haven't read yet. For book two, three, four in a series sure, this would be really cool, but if they don't know you? I've tried posting stories set in the worlds of my books on my blog, making cool graphics including quotes from the books to share on social media, and I've even asked the people who HAVE read my books if they'll review them, but had nothing back. I don't know where these magical, rabid fans live on the internet that you can mobilise into action.
There are of course lots of variables. Assuming your books are not poorly written and people have loved them, then you should be able to get someone to leave a review. Often this starts by emailing individuals in particular and simply asking. If that's where you are in your publishing career, that's okay.
If you've never written anything, it's tough to get people excited about a fiction book. The only way is to leverage existing platforms. That means building relationships.
These are all things few fiction authors do, and more nonfiction authors do, thus the seemingly greater success of the former versus the latter.
That said - it's all the same.
A bad nonfiction book will sell just as little as a bad fiction book.
A good nonfiction book will sell as little or many as a good fiction book based on how much the author has hustled to connect, promote, and share.
It's not easy but I never said it would be 🙂
Love this step-by-step approach. I have a checklist of concrete, measurable tasks to complete. It's great!
Question - what other options are there for an Opt-In besides LeadPages? I have a blog and I'd like to just put a box on the side for them to subscribe to my blog (then I can update them that way, and probably do a LeadPages closer to Launch date). How do I add that box/form to my blog? It's a blogspot.com. Thanks!
What do you think of the early notification list, ambassador group, and influencers circle?
I like the concepts. I need to reread to understand the unique difference of each category. But it makes sense.
How could this change the way you launch your book?
Lots of work to do, might be ambitious to launch by May 15, 2016. But honestly it's not like work for me I'm so excited about the idea.
I like the idea of giving away to the first 100 and putting on Amazon for three days for free. The Ambassador list sounds great too!
Feeling overwhelmed!! But biggest take away is realising that actually my fear of being visible, 'out there' drives my feeling of overwhelment. And that I can and I will do what I need to do... thanks Tom - awesome content.
don't feel overwhelmed Angela - it just means you're learning 🙂
keep it up!
Biggest takeaway: "The goal of social media shouldn’t be to sell books, but to connect with your fans and build relationships with readers…" -- I totally agree. In fact, if you focus wholeheartedly on connecting and building relationships with your readers, the sales will probably come naturally, without you having to "sell" very much at all.
Tom, to be honest, this makes me feel very frustrated. Why? Because I have tried to do all of this (learned from studying this for the last six months but it has resulted in one sale so far -- after six days. My group is much smaller but still, it should be bringing in something!
I have created two optin's. I have advertised on FB with those optins. This resulted my list growing to an impressive number of 55. Woohoo! I had a six people who agreed to read the book in advance. Not one wrote me back to give comments.
When I wrote them, they said they liked it but still, no review. I advertised the free book on Facebook and put some links up. I got about 100 free downloads but stil only one sale (my friend) and one review (my friend)
I know your method works because I have seen it for many others but something just doesn't work for me. I have had confirmation that the book is good from people in the genre but so far, one sale and one review.
Salute again, Tom
I know my biggest takeaway today was about setting up my influencers circle. As I have been doing the MindsetSummit.org event and already have a network of speakers 👌🏻
The other one is the opt-in page, which I know we talked about branding fully as a separate concept on a new domain.
Thanks Tom! Such helpful information, and has been bubbling around in my mind as "too complicated, too much work" and "I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and I'll have a great launch without studying all of this book launch strategy stuff" though now I see so clearly how important and essential these ideas are.
I've tried starting a list before (a few months back) but got stuck at the beginning, so I gave up and just went back to focusing only on my book figuring "it'll all work itself out in the end."
These 3 lists, well, this changes everything.
My biggest takeaway is that I need to get a lot of the smaller details of my book and its launch finalized so that I can really begin to build an email list and seek out influencers.
What do you think of the early notification list, ambassador group, and influencers circle?
Good to think about before getting to the launch. I feel like i I missed the boat on this and now trying to build it.
How could this change the way you launch your book?
As a platform is created it's important to prepare for the next book or interaction and think how to open communication with others that can be part of the future.
I need to exploe MailChimp and understand how it works, and how to set up and activate an acount.
For me the biggest takeaway was how engaged we should be with our ambassador group. I never thought to have an ambassador group, as by nature I'm not a team player kind of guy. Also before, I just doubted if someone would be just as committed as I am to my book's success.
Another takeaway was the influencer circle. I almost viewed influencers of any level just untouchable or just too busy to work with a new author. But now, I'm willing to use my following on facebook as leverage to work with them.
This was an awesome exercise to build my ambassador group and influencer circle. This is definitely a game changer for launching my book... Thank you!
Thanks Tom for all your help. Ready to build the sales page for: COVID19 Through The Eyes of Children. Also sending a copy to few people that would do a great review and have a huge influence with the right audiencde.