How To Promote and Sell Your Self Published Book
Hot dog! You made it.
You’ve written your damn book now comes the fun part — telling the world about it! This is both exciting and scary. It can also be the most overwhelming part of the book writing process, as there tends to be a lot to get done beyond just hitting a mythical “sell my book and put money in my bank account” button.
We’ll walk you through your book launch checklist, additional things you may want to write in advance, as well as specific example of how to do outreach.
Book launch checklist for self-publishing
These are all the things you’re going to want to do way ahead of time. And by way ahead of time, we do mean days before you launch your book (not the night before!)
- Test your sales/checkout process
- Make sure the book is showing up on Amazon (this takes hours to days)
- Ensure your launch emails are queued up
- Remind everyone who said they’d help promote it
- Have guest posts/articles ready to launch
- Have your own blog posts/articles ready to be published
- Make the landing page live shortly before so you can test it, or have a friend test it as well
- Can you ask your audience for help with promotion? Can you feed them scripts for sharing on Twitter, Facebook, etc.? Are there incentives for sharing?
- Are you able to run a contest?
- Is there a launch day/week discount?
Additional things a self-published author needs to write
We know, we know. You just wrote an entire book, how could you possibly write another damn thing? Well, we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but your writing is what people are paying for. The more places they read your words, the better chance you have of people buying your book.
- Book sales page copy
- Launch blog post (plus at least three posts that deal with content relevant to your book, scheduled to come out before or after launch)
- Launch email blast (more below)
- Guest posts timed with launch (more info below)
- Book details/back jacket
- Personalized emails to inner circle/friends (more info below)
- Any social share prompts (like click to tweet posts)
Give yourself enough time to make sure you’ve got all of the above locked and loaded for launch. That way on launch day it’s simply a matter of queuing up emails, publishing blog posts, and letting your audience know that the time is finally here to buy your book!
Launch email sequence that works for self-published writers
Too often we see people send one email about the launch of their book. Then a few weeks later they wonder why their bank account isn’t overflowing with book sales money.
We live in a very busy and over-stimulated time. Sure, the Internet has made it immensely easier to get your book out into the world, but it’s also done the same thing for 100,000s of other authors. Yes, you’re a special flower who is very unique, but there are a crap-load of special flowers in the Garden of Amazon (or wherever you choose to sell your book).
With all that being said, let us help guide you into create an email launch sequence that works, drives the attention and sales your book deserves.
Related: We walk you through building an audience for your book in this article. If you haven’t done that yet, you’ll want to start immediately.
Email #1: One month before your book launch date
The purpose of this email is to build some excitement! Some buzz! Some intrigue!
Don’t be afraid to share a sample chapter at this point. This is a great way to get your future book readers hooked and ready to buy once you’re book launches.
Important: mention your book launch date in this email.
Email #2: One week before your book launch date
Aren’t you excited your awesome book is launching in just a week? Share that excitement with your email list.
This is a great time to also share the why of your book. Why did you write it? Why will it help your readers? What impact will it make on their lives by getting their money ready next week?
Email #3: Launch day!
Today’s the day! Remind your email subscribers what your book is about. Tell them why you wrote it. Link to the sample chapter again (because people will have missed it).
And most important: Have a nice big button where people click to purchase your book.
Email #4: 2–3 days after launch
What are people saying about the book who’ve purchased? Can you share some early reviews, even if they’re just from friends and family who’ve read the book?
Encourage people to leave reviews (especially on Amazon!) It’s helpful to record a quick screen-share video of how to leave a review too. Make it easy for people to do the thing that will help your discoverability on Amazon.
Don’t forget to link to where people should buy the book again.
Email #5: 1 week after launch
At this point it may feel like a lot of emails about your book, but trust us, we’ve done this five separate times, and you’d be shocked at how many people miss 90% of the emails you send.
This email is a great opportunity to tell a story about how your book has impacted someone already. This is assuming you’ve been getting emails or outreach from people who’ve purchased your book and read it. Remember: You can do this with friends and family way in advance so you have this story ready!
Add another reminder of where people should purchase your book and how to leave a review for it.
Let’s talk about pitching people your book
Whether you were asking for a book blurb from an industry A-lister, making an introduction to a beta reader, or wanting an influencer to promote your book, we’ve all cold-emailed people we didn’t know to ask for something.
These people are incredibly busy, and sometimes seem out of reach or entirely untouchable. And, unless you write your email properly, they’ll continue to be those three things.
- Brevity. You don’t need to write a novel or your life story as an introduction email. Keep it short and to the point. If you receive a reply, then you should get into more detail.
- Genuine & specific flattery. You don’t need to brown-nose, but ensure they know that you’ve appreciated their specific work.
- A clear purpose. If you want a response, ask for something specific. Don’t use open-ended questions or pussyfoot around what you’re asking because you’re too scared to ask it. Never ask for something that you could find on Google or their website in a minute.
- Easy yes. Make it easy for them to say yes. Don’t ask for something massive right out of the gate. Be considerate of their time and of the fact that you don’t have any rapport with them yet. Show them why they should help you. If responding doesn’t benefit them, make sure it’s at least quick for them to respond.
- Read it out loud. Seriously, before you hit send, read it to yourself out loud. This will force you to proofread it slowly and see if there are any typos. If it takes longer than a minute to read out loud, cut it down.
Don’t take it personally if you don’t hear back from someone. For every person that doesn’t respond, you can probably find three more people with similar skills or reputation you should try reaching out to.
But before you send another email, make sure the way you’re writing your emails isn’t the reason people aren’t responding (aka: circle back to the 5 points above).
How to get guest article opportunities for your self-published book
Do your homework — ensure your writing style and expertise fits the site. Also make sure they accept guest posts and if they have a process, follow it to the letter. It also helps to be commenting on and sharing other articles on their site before you pitch.
Come up with 3 pitches — once you know their site inside and out, come up with 3 related topics you could write about.
Just write out the potential headline and a one sentence blurb about it.
Send the email — now that you’ve done your homework and come up with great post pitches, send the email. Make sure every single guest post pitch is 100% personalized to the site owner you’re pitching. You also don’t need to be formal, you’re pitching other blogs. Let your personality shine.
Sample outreach email:
SUBJECT LINE: Have you written about [best pitch topic]?
I’ve been an avid reader of [Blog Name] for ages, and I would love to read about [best pitch topic], [second best pitch topic], [third best pitch topic]. I think your readers would as well.
I know you’re probably busy being [awesome/exceptional/a great writer] and writing more, so how about if I write one of those articles for you? Don’t worry, I’m good at what I do and have been featured on [link to other guest post] and [other guest post].
Let me know if we can make this happen. I already know the style and format of [Blog Name] because
I’ve been a reader for so long.
Follow up — the last thing you need to do is check in with that blogger, if you haven’t heard back. Send them a quick email a week later if you haven’t got a response.
We recommend replying directly to your first email so they don’t have to go digging to find what you wrote them before.
Sample outreach follow-up email:
SUBJECT LINE: Re: Have you written about [best pitch topic]?
[Their name] — just wanted to check in to see if you were into publishing any of the guest post ideas I sent you last week.
Pick and choose your self-publishing launch battles
You can’t do everything. Well, you can if you plan accordingly and have done this before. But for first time authors, this can be a daunting list.
Pick the things that make the most sense for your book launch strategy. Just remember one extremely important fact:
If you put in part-time effort, expect part-time results.
The more effort you can put in, and plan to put in ahead of time, the better chance you’ll have of landing guest articles, getting people to talk about your book, getting the book blurbs you want, and having sales numbers that make you proud.
Originally published at Finish your damn book.