Street Team: Your book launch’s secret weapon – Part 2

by Misty M. Beller, @MistyMBeller

Yesterday, we talked about how to build your launch team. If you missed it, you can read it HERE. Today, we’re going to build on that topic by covering some great ways to interact and inspire your team. Ready? Let’s jump in!

What should you give your launch team in return for their help?

Free ARCs (advance reader copies) are a given. (Sorry, couldn’t help the pun.)

Tip for traditionally published authors

Your publisher probably already has a standard format for distributing ARCs. Some larger publishers send paperback copies directly to those on your launch team, and only need you to provide names and addresses for each person.

Other publishers will provide you with a PDF or eBook files to distribute to your team. Still others use services like NetGalley to send out ARCs. Make sure you know what your publisher is planning and what they need from you, BEFORE you contact your launch team about a new release.

For indie authors

There are great FREE programs out there to help authors convert and distribute ARC files in formats that make it easy for your launch team members to read. Calibre is a useful (free) software to convert a Word document to mobi files (for Kindles) and epub files (for iBooks, Nook, and most other ereaders). Other options are Vellum (if you have a Mac) or Draft 2 Digital’s new ebook formatting options.

BookFunnel.com is a helpful resource to distribute the ereader files to your team. It makes the process to download the file onto their ereader as simple as possible, and BookFunnel’s customer service is top notch. Other options are Booksprout.co or Pronoun (if you use them to distribute your book to at least one retailer).

 

Beyond ARCs, have fun with it! Here are some fun freebies to share with your team, if you have the opportunity and/or means:

  • Insider info, such as the first opportunity to see cover art for your upcoming releases.
  • Let them help name characters or choose settings.
  • I like to give my team the choice to receive either eBook or paperback copies (signed with a note to them).
  • Book swag created for your author brand, such as bookmarks, mugs printed with your book cover, etc.
  • Christmas ornaments engraved with your author or book name. Etsy.com has some creative options here!
  • Generally speaking, the more you connect with your team, the more they’ll want to promote your books.

A word of caution above, Amazon’s review requirements are strict about giving gifts in exchange for reviews, so you’ll want to be careful to avoid any language about ‘requiring reviews’ in exchange for any of the benefits received by being on your launch team.

Make it easy to share your book on social media

 People are more likely to share your book when you make it easy for them! There are a couple of ways you can do this:

  • The simplest way is to create several Twitter and Facebook posts that people can copy and post to their respective accounts. (Make sure you include a buy link for your book!) You can simply include these in an email to your launch team, or paste them on a Word document you send out.
  • A more sophisticated method would be to create a share page on your website. Using a tool like com, you can create prewritten posts where people only need to click to post your message on any of the social media platforms you include. You can even add memes or other images for easy posting. People are more likely to share your message when you make it possible with only a click or two.

Tips on Interacting with your Launch Team

  • Know your goals for the team and be clear up front about expectations. Do you want them to focus on reviews only, or is social media sharing important to you?
  • Send ARCs to your team at least 2-3 months before release, or as early as possible.
  • Include links for where to post reviews in your emails to your list. Don’t forget Goodreads!
  • Even if you haven’t made a big deal about your team sharing on social media, make it easy for those who choose to do so!
  • Many authors like to create a Facebook Group for their launch team to interact with each other and spread the enthusiasm. If you do this, make your group privacy setting “Closed Group” so your members will be able to share meme’s directly from the group.

Book Marketing Group Coaching

If you’ve found this info helpful, take your book marketing to the next level with my marketing group coaching course.

Through this 10-week course, you’ll receive in-depth training in five critical areas, along with actionable feedback on how to apply what you’ve learned to your books. And don’t forget the built-in accountability to help you succeed!

Topics include:

•Find your Target Reader
•Grow Your Email List into a powerful tool
•Build an effective Launch Team
•How to get more Amazon Reviews
•How to find and work with Influencers in your target audience to widen your reach

Who is this for? If you have at least one book published or on preorder, and are ready to take the steps needed to move your book sales to the next level, this may be exactly the right course for you. Whether you’re traditionally published or an indie author, the concepts in this course will apply.

10-week course…6 students per group…Your chance to apply what you learn to your books and your life, then receive specific feedback to take your marketing to the next level. Get all the details HERE (http://the-ambitious-author.teachable.com/p/marketing-decoded-group-coaching).

Misty M. Beller writes Christian historical romance, and is a hybrid author of thirteen novels, as well as a non-fiction book for authors, How to Market a Book Release. With over thirteen years working in professional project management and marketing, Misty uses her experience in the corporate world to develop best practices in her writing and book marketing efforts. It is her passion to help other authors on this same journey. Misty teaches courses and workshops at writers’ conferences around the U.S., educating authors on effective book marketing approaches and helping them apply that knowledge to their own books. Get regular marketing tips and learn more about her marketing group coaching courses at https://TheAmbitiousAuthor.com.

Street Team: Your Book Launch’s Secret Weapon – Part 1

by Misty M. Beller, @MistyMBeller

Street Team, Launch Team, Fan Club—the name varies, but the idea is still a great one!

What am I talking about, you ask?

A launch team is basically a group of readers who are ready and willing (and eager!) to get the word out on the street about an author’s books. When I think of my launch team, I think of my first readers, my inside circle, my front lines, my most enthusiastic fans.

What does a launch team do?

Members are given ARC copies and asked to read the book before release. From there, the role may vary depending on the author and team members, but the common theme and single most important job of a launch team member is to post reviews—on Amazon, Goodreads, and anywhere else the book is available! Reviews help jump-start both Amazon’s algorithms and reader confidence in a book, so I work hard to help my books gain at least twenty-five reviews within the first few weeks.

Beyond reviews, some ideas for the launch team are to:

  • Talk about the books on social media sites.
  • Blog about the books.
  • Direct people to author’s website.
  • Write a review for their local newspaper.
  • Purchase copies to give away as Christmas and birthday gifts.
  • Pin the cover and book memes to Pinterest.
  • Share favorite quotes from the book on social media.
  • Suggest the book on reading forums, like those on Goodreads.
  • Like and share the book trailer on YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Request that their local library or church library order the book.
  • Suggest the book to their book club(s).
  • And the list can go on!

Who makes a great launch team member?

Readers who have read and are excited about the author’s books, and want to share that excitement within their sphere of influence. Enthusiasm trumps all. Time availability is important, too!

Often, authors tend to lean toward asking other authors to be on their launch team. After all, only a compatriot would understand the importance of the role, right? In my experience, though, readers tend to be more enthusiastic launch team members, eagerly reading the book and posting reviews as soon as possible. While it’s certainly fine to have both, when I open my launch team to new members, I try to post the memo where my readers will see it.

So how does an author find launch team members?

I recommend having a form on your website that asks basic questions, such as what genres the potential candidate likes to read, and whether they’ve read any of your books already. You could also go one step further and ask for the link to one of the reviews they’ve posted for your books. How much or how little is your choice!

You can see an example form at my website.  When I was actively seeking to grow my team, this page was front and center on my site menu. Now, I have it tucked in as part of the ‘About’ page so it can be found by readers who are really interested.

Once you have that form in place, you can direct people there from a variety of places:

  • Call-out on social media.
  • Post the request on your blog.
  • Send an email to your list. (Another advantage of growing your reader list! Just make sure you screen respondents to find those who really want to help with your launches, not just receive free books.)
  • A note in the back of your eBooks, if you’re feeling ambitious!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where we talk about what to give your launch team and tips on how to interact with them to make it easy for them to share your book!


Book Marketing Group Coaching

If you’ve found this info helpful, take your book marketing to the next level with my marketing group coaching course.

Through this 10-week course, you’ll receive in-depth training in five critical areas, along with actionable feedback on how to apply what you’ve learned to your books. And don’t forget the built-in accountability to help you succeed!

Topics include:

•Find your Target Reader
•Grow Your Email List into a powerful tool
•Build an effective Launch Team
•How to get more Amazon Reviews
•How to find and work with Influencers in your target audience to widen your reach

Who is this for? If you have at least one book published or on preorder, and are ready to take the steps needed to move your book sales to the next level, this may be exactly the right course for you. Whether you’re traditionally published or an indie author, the concepts in this course will apply.

10-week course…6 students per group…Your chance to apply what you learn to your books and your life, then receive specific feedback to take your marketing to the next level. Get all the details HERE (http://the-ambitious-author.teachable.com/p/marketing-decoded-group-coaching).

Misty M. Beller writes Christian historical romance, and is a hybrid author of thirteen novels, as well as a non-fiction book for authors, How to Market a Book Release. With over thirteen years working in professional project management and marketing, Misty uses her experience in the corporate world to develop best practices in her writing and book marketing efforts. It is her passion to help other authors on this same journey. Misty teaches courses and workshops at writers’ conferences around the U.S., educating authors on effective book marketing approaches and helping them apply that knowledge to their own books. Get regular marketing tips and learn more about her marketing group coaching courses at https://TheAmbitiousAuthor.com.

4 Reasons to Update Your Headshot

by Emilie Hendryx, @eacreativephoto

If you are a writer or author building a platform (or with an existing one) you need an updated headshot. Some may not agree with this statement citing excuses about not being photogenic, that they have a good headshot (that is yeas old), or that they don’t like having their photo taken, but I don’t think these are good reasons.

You may be thinking: Emilie, are you just advocating for updating your headshots because you’re a photographer?

 The answer is no! Sure, I’m a professional photographer who does headshots, but that’s not a factor in this post. Instead, I’ve compiled four things a quality headshot will do and why you should make getting updated headshots a priority.

An updated, quality headshot will…

1)Put your best face forward

Don’t underestimate the benefits of having a professional headshot in this busy—and cluttered— world of social media. This doesn’t mean that your headshot has to be stiff or staged but it should be taken by a professional photographer with a quality camera. Why? Because this shows your level of commitment and dedication to professionalism on your platform. It will make you stand out. Readers (or potential readers) will be drawn to a professional headshot over a selfie because of the quality of the photo.I’m not saying that you can’t use selfies or non-professional photos on your platform (I encourage this), but your profile photo should be something of quality that best shows your personality.

2)Draw attention

A professional, updated headshot will draw attention to your platform. Not only can you update your profile images on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, and other social media sites, but you can also use the photos in blog posts and on your website to give a personal touch. In my own experience, as well as market research I’ve seen, personal images shared on social media tend to draw more attention than other posts. People want to see YOU.

3)Give a face to your brand

As writers, we are our brand. Yet another reason why it’s so important that our headshots are up to date. You wouldn’t expect your close friends to have a photo of you from five years ago and never see an updated photo, so you shouldn’t expect your followers/audience to be all right with an older photo. To build a genuine platform, you need to be genuine. Your audience will respond to honesty and transparency and that starts with showing the face behind the platform.

4)Make a personal connection

I believe that, since our society so heavily relies on social media, they are hungry for a personal connection that reaches beyond the sometimes-impersonal nature of online interaction. Why do they gravitate toward personal photos? They want to connect with us. They want to know us. And one way to do that is to show our faces. It’s not a trick or a ploy; it’s just another way to make a connection to those who interact with us.

What do you think? Have I convinced you yet? If not, here are a few additional excuses that I’ve heard. Some of these go deeper than just not wanting to have your picture taken.

  • Photos can be expensive.
    I completely understand this and would recommend taking advantage of specials (like what is offered at the ACWF Conference) or taking a chance on a new photographer whose prices are still low. Some photographers are also looking to enlarge their portfolio and, in exchange for letting them use your photos for promotion, may give free or discounted photos. Also consider the reality that this is part of your marketing budget.
  • You were hoping to lose weight or do something different with your hair etc.
    I get it—you want to look your best—but does that mean you aren’t embracing where you are right now? You must find the balance between understanding where you are, where you want to be, and embracing both.
  • You don’t like the way you look.
    This is probably the most common thing I hear from people as a reason why they don’t get new photos. They had one good photo taken ten years ago and that’s what they are sticking with because they liked themselves then. I think this is a mistake.
    It’s my belief that we must first seek our worth and identity in Christ before anything else. You may not love the way you look now due to age, weight, hair (or lack of), but guaranteed those who know and love you only see you. They don’t see what you could be, but who you are. Don’t let anyone (including yourself) tell you that you can’t get an updated headshot because you don’t look a certain way.

Build a genuine platform by showcasing who you are with an updated, quality headshot. Your audience will love seeing you!


Emilie Hendryx is a freelance writer, photographer, and graphic designer living in Northern California. She’s a member of ACFW, writes Young Adult fiction, and spends more time on Instagram than she probably should. With a heart for youth and a love of genuine social media connections, she’s built a thriving community around her Instagram platform and brand: CreateExploreRead. She’s got a soft spot in her heart for animals and a love for the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time, you can find her designing fun, bookish items for her Etsy and Society6 shops all while drinking too much coffee.

3 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Paid Ad

By Patty Smith Hall, @pattywrites

Whether traditional or self-published, every author is looking for the best way to market his/her book. Specifically, how do we attract new readers? One way that has grown in popularity are websites like Bookbub, E-Reader Café and My Book Cave who send out email blast with information on sale books.

Here’s how it works: When a reader registers on one of these sites, they are sent to a page with a list of genres they like to read. This is no short list—every genre you can think of is listed, all the way down to sub-genres. The reader is given anywhere from one to five choices that they can follow. Then every day like clockwork, a selection of books on sale from their chosen genre is emailed to the reader with links to the sale sites.
Continue reading “3 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Paid Ad”