The How-To: Build a Book Launch

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Christine Bierma learned the ins and outs of using social media by researching and doing. She learned to boost her own speaking platform, then began working with author Lynn Austin to build her social media platform.

“Lynn had limited reach on Facebook and an old-fashioned blog on which she was posting twice a month. But the blog had no way for readers to reply,” said Christine. “I told her the blog was like walking into a house that hadn’t been redecorated in 20 years.”

They hired a local web designer in Holland, Mich., where Lynn lives, to build a website reflecting her style (www.lynnaustin.org). A photographer took new headshots.

Christine (www.christinebierma.com) began planning the launch for Waves of Mercy (Bethany House, Oct), something Lynn had never done before. She set up an application process and announced it via Facebook and the email newsletter (see my next blog on how to build an email newsletter). Interested readers could link to a Google form and fill out the application.

By day four, 75 slots had been filled. They ended up with 140 members in the Facebook launch team. The publisher gave permission to put a PDF of the first three chapters of Waves of Mercy on the launch page, which amped up the excitement.

Christine did a number of things with that launch team. She asked them to take a selfie with their favorite Lynn Austin book and post it; asked them to introduce themselves to the group when they joined; asked them to post reviews; she used Canva to create graphics with quotes from the book that the team then posted on their own social media.

“We had ladies saying they were praying for each other and sharing personal stories,” said Christine. “And they begged me not to close the launch page after the book was out. Even now, weeks after the official launch, they are posting on the page 3-4 times a week.”

Here are Christine Bierma’s key ingredients for a successful book launch:

  1. Personal touch. “Treat them as special. They are going to work for you for pretty much free, so be grateful for that,” she said.
  2. Make it simple. Provide graphics or quotes users can cut and paste easily; make posting on social media simple; don’t overwhelm with too many posts.
  3. Know your audience. “I know Lynn’s audience is mostly female and mostly over 30 so I chose to make Facebook our main platform because that’s where her readers are,” said Christine.
  4. Pick one or two platforms. Go where readers spend their time and concentrate on those places.

“Some of the power of the team was that it was small enough we could manage it, get to know individuals and encourage them,” said Bierma.

Find more information on book launches and book marketing in general:

Classes in marketing offered at www.christianwritersinstitute.com.

Michael Hyatt’s website: https://michaelhyatt.com/bestseller-launch-formula.html#

Search “book launch” or “virtual book launch” and find hundreds of sites.

Please share your best advice and warnings about book launches. We’d all love to hear what works and what doesn’t.

 

 

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