Years ago music fans promoted musicians by sharing their demo tapes and word of mouth in exchange for concert tickets. Many authors today are taking a page from that playbook and asking family members, close friends, and fans to join their author launch team and help with a few promotional bits here and there. Some bigger name authors may hire someone to manage their street team and even interview potential members. This post is not for those authors. This post is for the author who is still building their fan base and looking for creative ways to launch their next book. If a launch team plan is well plotted it can be a cost-effective method for gaining significant exposure.
- Who To Ask: Start early. About a year from your launch date identify your target customers. Maybe that’s teachers or teen girls or K-2 parents. Next make a list of folks you can ask to help you focus on each of your markets, especially if they overlap markets. Perhaps your neighbor can introduce you to parents with school-aged children and teachers. Maybe a friend knows local business owners where you can set up events.
Tip: Support is a two way street – how will you support the people on your list?
- What To Ask: Review your book launch marketing plan and come up with simple ways each group could help you reach your markets. Anyone on social media could help you by reposting your news on their networks. Offer a free author visit for a school librarian in exchange for introducing you to five other librarians or helping you garner reviews. Ask a teacher to shout about your book on her colleague network in exchange for a free book and a video chat with her class. Invite everyone to your events and so on. There are endless ways you could ask a launch team to help but don’t overdo it. If someone is willing to do even one or two tasks that’s fantastic, it’s more exposure than you had before, and it all adds up.
Tip: Create a calendar of requests you can send out every few weeks that ties in with your overall marketing strategy.
- Ask: About 3 months before your book launch send a personal email to each person on the list asking for their support. Be reassuring you won’t be offended if they don’t have the time to help, but if they are willing to support you let them know you’ll send an occasional email over the next few months with ideas of ways they can assist. Reinforce they don’t need to spend any money or participate every time. You are grateful for anything they can do.
- Gratitude: A heartfelt thank you will go a long way, but it never hurts to send a little something, especially for those folks who go above and beyond. You could send a signed copy of your book. Maybe something thematic like a bookmark. Perhaps a live group video chat or gift certificate for dinner for two for your biggest fans.
- A List: Everyone likes lists here here are 10 ways you can ask your Launch Team to help for FREE!
- Reposting your announcements and mentions on social media.
- Share your hashtags with them and let them create their own post on social media and tag you and your book.
- Create a variety of professional looking images for social media (Canva is a great resource) and let your team to choose their favorite to post.
- Leave honest reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and anywhere else that has your book and a review platform such as Target.com and libraries.
- Add the book to their Goodreads “want to read” list.
- Request your book at their local library.
- Host an event and ask them to bring a friend or two.
- Shout out about an event you are hosting on social media.
- Find out the correct contact for you to follow up with their local library, bookstore, school librarian, ect.
- Host a playdate or gathering in a public place like a park for a private reading.