– day 4 –
How to Guarantee Sales and Reviews on Launch Day
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!!).
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