Planning Your eBook’s Pre-Launch Campaign
By Karen Dikson
Let’s take a moment to think about something: what’s the biggest difference between best-selling eBook authors and those who struggle to sell few?
Nigella Donovan, a marketing expert from Best Essays, has an answer for us: “Talent? Of course, there’s some of that. Great eBooks have huge potential to sell. Still, some of them remain unknown to the greater audience, while average pieces are making a huge breakthrough. Marketing is the X factor. I’m not talking about writing an eBook, making it available for sale and then promoting it all over the place. I’m talking about a smart pre-launch campaign that makes people excited about the edition before they can even get it.”
It’s not about your writing talent that much. People write below-average eBooks that sell brilliantly; others write brilliant eBooks that don’t sell. It’s certainly not about luck. It’s about successful promotion, and that’s a fact.
If you have a great eBook, you make a successful pre-launch campaign and continue with the promotional activities after the launch; you have the recipe for success.
Let’s focus on the pre-launch. How do you make it successful?
The Ultimate Guide to Successful Ebook Pre-Launch
1. Find Out Where the Money Is
You have a great idea for an eBook. How do you know it will sell for sure? – You check before you start writing it. One of the crucial steps of the pre-launch campaign is testing the market itself. You need to check what kind of content your target audience wants to buy.
Explore the relevant categories on Amazon and Goodreads.
If, for example, you’re writing an eBook related to yoga, check what kind of content is already available. You don’t want to launch the same book the audience has seen dozens of times before.
Check the most popular books in the category. What makes them different? Is it the author’s Instagram activity? Is it the wit and humor? Is it all about the headline?
Scan the market to find out what’s missing. You want to combine the factor of popularity with the factor of uniqueness. That’s a tricky thing to do. You’ll have to turn your unique topic into something that most of the audience will be interested to read.
2. Start Building Your Audience
Who will buy your book? People who like you as an author. If you’re completely anonymous, you’ll have tiny chances of making the eBook a success.
Before you announce the launch of the book, you have to build an audience to make that announcement to.
Do you have an active social media presence? If yes, you’re already ahead of the game. If not, you might delay the launch for a bit longer. The point is to build an audience that follows you on social media and likes your posts. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and especially Goodreads – all these matter.
What do you attract that audience with? You’ll have to post unique visual content and witty status updates. You’ll engage them with questions and calls to action. You’ve seen how social media influencers do it. Analyze that behavior and implement it into your own practice. Remember: you may get inspired, but you must never be a copycat.
Blogging is a crucial aspect of your social media activity. A blog gives you much more space to express opinions, analyze the work of other authors, and engage your audience at a whole other level. When you post links to high-quality blog posts on social media, you’ll get your followers at your website. There, you can introduce them to your work as an author.
Build and Maintain an E-Mail List
You want to do this way before your book is available for purchase. The main question is: how do you collect emails for your list? You can do that through your blog and social media channels. If you write great posts and you promote them to a large audience, you’ll have them hooked. People will want to subscribe, so they will be among the first ones to access that content.
If you maintain your blogging activity, that email list will keep growing.
You can use MailChimp or a similar service to design beautiful email newsletters. The service will automatically send the messages to your subscribers.
Send messages whenever you’re promoting an important blog post, but don’t spam the recipients on a daily basis. Each mail has to be action-provoking. You’re asking them to visit your blog to read more. When the time comes, you’ll introduce the eBook you’re about to launch to this audience.
4. Treat the Book as a Business
If you started a small business today, how would you promote it? Yes, you would post some information on your personal blog. However, you’d invite your audience to visit the official website of your new business. That’s exactly what you should do for the eBook pre-launch campaign.
Get a stand-alone site URL for this book.
Start posting information about the launch. Make them excited about the date.
Your subscribers should be able to pre-order the book. Introduce a link to Amazon, where they can pre-order the eBook to make sure they will get it on the very first day of the launch.
Get the feedback flowing! You can send the eBook to few beta-testers. The best way to pick them is through a contest. Promote the contest on social media and invite your followers to sign up. Then, pick few lucky winners who will get the book. Invite them to give you feedback and use it to improve the content as much as possible before the launch.
5. Involve the Audience
You attracted enough social media followers? You have subscribers to your blog? You already have some pre-orders and excited readers? That’s great! Now, it’s time to involve that audience in the launch process.
Invite them to give you ideas for the cover. The ones with the best ideas will get your eBook for free. Think of a special prize for the one whose idea you pick.
Better yet, let your followers pick the winning design. When someone appreciates you as an author and eagerly expects your work, they will love making contributions.
On top of all these steps, you should do one other thing: keep reminding them about the launch date. Feature the link to pre-orders in your Instagram profile description. Mention the launch in the descriptions of your photos, too. Make use of all other channels, so the potential readers will remember that date. When they are ready for you, your eBook will definitely sell.
Karen Dikson is an entrepreneur and writer from New Jersey. She is an intuitive and creative thinker who is able to connect various thoughts into a single theme. Karen enjoys traveling and stay up-to-date on the latest digital marketing trends. Follow her on Twitter.