It can be a challenge to spread the news about your book, especially once the thrill of the launch is done. It takes a bit of recalibration for authors to figure out how to develop a long term strategy to ensure continued success.
Our friend Mardine Perrins published Expiration Date, her dystopian medical thriller,this winter. Now, she is taking charge of her book’s post-launch marketing strategy by kicking off her very first book blog tour on June 21! If you love to read, or if you just want to find out more about how it’s done, check it out here.
What’s a book blog tour?
A blog tour is a set period of time where authors strategically partner with book bloggers to post about their work. The bloggers write about their real experience with the book, they’re not just using author swipe copy. The author provides a review copy (an ebook is okay!), and any images that they think might help.
The actual content is easy since you’re relying on expert book lovers to create it! So finding book bloggers can be the biggest challenge. You can research reviewers who work in your genre and who love books similar to yours. Spend time building a relationship with these folks. Comment on their posts. Share their work on socials and follow them. Sign up for their newsletter. This takes time, so start this research early.
Alternatively, you can employ a company that will organize your blog tour and connect to the right folks, if it’s not something you have the bandwidth to do.
What will you need for your tour?
You’ll need a few things in place before you begin your book blog tour.
A ready-to-go, formatted, well edited ebook or advance review copy – this can be as simple as a PDF, or you can provide a .mobi or .epub file, if you have one, to make it easier for your reviewers. If you want to have reviewers provide their own flat lay photos for social media and their page, you can also provide a physical copy of your book, if it’s in your budget. It’s good to splurge on a few physical copies for when a blogger is a big name or has a community that’s perfect for reaching your target reader.
It’s also best practice to offer bloggers a giveaway of your book. It helps them grow their own audience, which helps you, too, and offers you the chance to organically grow the profile of your blog tour. Mardine’s blog tour is using Rafflecopter for her giveaway – check it out here.
A clear email with all the info a blogger will need to be part of your blog tour. Include all your links – socials, website, places to buy – as well as information about you. A short bio, author photo and a cover image.
Clear goals: what do you want to ask the blogger to do? Be very clear on your ask, expectations and timetable. You can encourage content like an interview, a review, a guest blog post you provide, or even a link to your lead magnet!
Once your book blog tour is launched, be sure to promote it as the bloggers make their posts. Share links on social media and let your own newsletter readers know about all this great new content about your work happening. You’ll also want to send thank yous via email to everyone who took the time to promote your book – and express the hope that you’ll be able to work together again!
My friend Maria is into boxing and she was ranting on social media about the latest big boxing match. Floyd Mayweather was scheduled to fight some young social media star. They streamed it for $49.99, but the figure was a big bust. No one came out looking good. No knock-outs, somewhat of a snooze fest apparently.
Now I’m not into boxing, but I do know how much hype goes into those and how much MONEY they make.
It made me think: there is such a thing as too much hype.
And I’m seeing this in front of my own eyes right now. Many of you are probably having your emails blown up by a LOT of people in our industry talking about these two big bundles for writers right now. I’m assuming you’re probably on email lists of quite a few people who are promoting these.
These are two of our industry’s biggest annual deals, and they launched just ONE day apart. I’ve bought both of them for my own use since they’re a big savings on things I’d already planned to buy…but which one was really the CHAMPION of publishing deals? Is there substance behind the hype?
So today I present: the BATTLE OF THE BUNDLES!
This post contains affiliate links and we may earn a small commission when you use the links at no cost to you.
In this corner we have theWriter’s Toolkit bundle! Coming in at over $5k worth of writing resources for just $99, this bundle is a newcomer, but it’s come to compete!
In the other corner we have the reigning champ,Write Publish Profit 4.0! This heavyweight boasts more than $8k in publishing power for only $49. Can this longtime favorite overwhelm the challenger?
Let’s find out!
We asked 4 members of our team who are not just publishing experts, but also working writers, to weigh in on which bundle will deliver the knockout hit!
Nancy: As someone who writes for a living, theWriter’s Toolkit is right up my alley. The craft of writing courses will go a long way in sharpening my skills, and in the meantime, the freelance writing resources will help me pay the bills. Plus, let’s be real. I know the ecourses are probably amazing but I’m not going to be able to take all those courses fast enough, so those cheat sheets are a genius idea. I’m going to call this one for theWriter’s Toolkit. (Click here to purchase yours!)
Raewyn: I’m really into theWrite Publish Profit 1 year membership to the Novel Factory. As an experienced media and marketing expert, I’m starting to dabble in novel writing, and I’d love to take my skills to the next level. While the writing craft products in the Writer’s Toolkit go deep, I think the offerings inWrite Publish Profit will take me further. I’m calling it forWrite Publish Profit! (Click here to purchase yours!)
Mandi: As an indie author I am thrilled to have access to tools and techniques that are proven – not by untouchable famous authors – but by other indie authors like me in both product bundles. TheWriter’s Toolkit’s productivity courses sound like they’d energize my writing, which I’d love after this year of pandemic chaos. I also am SUPER interested in the 1 year membership to ProWritingAid Academy, which alone is a $499 value. I love the overall focus on craft. For me, it’s theWriter’s Toolkitcoming out on top! (Click hereto purchase yours!)
Sarah: I’ve been noodling around on 2 different novels in 2 different genres this year, and I want to step up and commit to finishing at least one of them! I never did grab my ProWritingAid membership during the Summit, and I regret it every time I open Scrivener! What I’d save on that subscription alone makesWrite Publish Profit more than worth it. I’ll be diving into the agent querying resources right away. And I’m also interested in the tool that helps authors develop secondary characters – my books are full of background characters I can’t quite pin down! Overall, I’m giving the win toWrite Publish Profit! (Click here to purchase yours!)
Looks like this battle is a draw – I trust my team to know a value when they see one! Both theWriter’s Toolkit andWrite Publish Profit are fantastic options for aspiring and working writers at any stage in their process! It’s our team’s official recommendation that you purchase BOTH resources! Combined you’d get more than $13k of writing, publishing and marketing courses, masterminds, tools, books and resources for less than $150.
(HOWEVER, IF YOU DO HAVE TO CHOOSE ONE, I’ll be tie breaker and say –WritePublishProfit 4.0! Why? Because my course bundles including Instagram for Authors and Goodreads for Authors are included, and well, I’ve been a part of this community since the very first launch of this bundle 4 years ago! I know and trust that it is exactly what they promise. But seriously, I bought both bundles!)
If you do decide to purchase both of these bundles, send us your receipts and we’ll enter you into a drawing to win a bundle of our own: a signed copy of my two bestselling books on publishing, Ditch the Fear and Just Write It! and Ditch the Fear and Just Market It!Just reply to this email with your proof of purchase to get a chance to win!
Whatever you decide to do, ACT NOW! TheWriter’s Toolkitis only available until June 11, andWrite Publish Profit 4.0is over on June 15! Don’t miss out on these once-a-year opportunities to knock out your book in 2021!
I always try to bring you the best writing and publishing deals out there. One of the reasons I do what I do is because I think publishing a book should be more accessible. I love running workshops and offering trainings for authors, and I always have my eye on that price point – I want to be sure that the lion’s share of my work is something I could have afforded when I was first starting out as a writer.
In that spirit, I wanted to share the latest InfoStack bundle of writing and publishing tools: Write Publish Profit 4.0. You might remember I shared this limited time, $49 flat price deal last year, too, and I really recommended it to both our clients and to my wider audience. It just simply backed up the low price tag with huge value, and I have heard from so many of you over the last year who were excited to be able to grow your author career thanks to what was inside.
And now it’s that time again! Today InfoStack is launching their Write Publish Profit 4.0 bundle, and it offers more than $8k worth of resources for writers in all genres, all for $49. So if you’ve contemplated buying even ONE of these products to further your writer’s life, you’ll already be saving money!
12 month subscription to ProWritingAid, our #1 choice for making all your writing better
12 month subscription to The Novel Factory, a step-by-step software specifically designed to help you write a better novel
12 month subscription to Bublish, a way to reach 800k+ readers with engaging content featuring your book
6 month subscription to StoryPlace Pro, a site where stories are optioned for film, TV and podcasts)
6 month subscription to The Author Success Mastermind Community, a place to stop feeling isolated in your writing career and start connecting with others
3 month subscription to Campfire Blaze, a tool to help you organize your writing
And much more!
Plus, there’s the included books, training and coursework that’s included, like:
A 5-day course on writing a great book proposal
A course on creating attention-getting agent queries
A course on marketing that’s soup-to-nuts: from just starting out to running your author career like the small business it is!
A course that explains how to use crowdfunding to bring your book to life
A course that gives all the secrets on writing marketing copy that sells books
A mindset course that will train your brain for writing success
A course on DIY book formatting
Writing courses for fiction, nonfiction and more
Courses on editing and revision for all genres of writing
And DOZENS more to give you the foundation you need to succeed!
And, of course, you’ll get MYBuild Your Reader Base bundle, a $125 value, that includes my bestselling courses on Instagram for Authors and Goodreads for Authors.
Professional development can be expensive, but this is packed with value! This small investment in your writing career will pay off big time, even if you only use one or two things that are included, so click here to grab yours now.
This is a limited time offer, though – purchase before June 15 to get in on this deal! Click here to get your bundle today!
In April, Amazon announced their new Kindle Vella program. This brand new opportunity is tailor made for indie authors and new voices in publishing. It also seems to be an interesting way to diversify your income as an author, always key to making a writing life work.
It’s open to US-based authors writing in English now, and it will be ready for readers this summer. Is it right for you? Let’s dig into it!
So what is the Kindle Vella?
First of all, let’s talk about what the Kindle Vella is: it’s a way to publish your work as “episodes,” sort of like the old fashioned serialized newspaper Charles Dickens famously wrote. And the benefit is pretty much the same one Dickens saw: being able to get paid for hooking your reader, even if you’re not already an established, bestselling author. All you need to bring to the table is new (never published or presented in another form) content that can be broken down into 600 to 5000 word sections.
If this sounds familiar, it should: we’ve written a few times about the potential of Wattpad, which you may have encountered already (and if you haven’t, ask a young person in your life – it’s a major player in fanfiction and more). But it’s not just the success of Wattpad (and Radish and others) that are spurring this investment from one of the world’s biggest companies. Serialized stories are HUGE outside the US market right now. It’s been a major force in publishing across Asia, so Amazon wanted to get in on the ground floor in the US market.
Should I try to put my work in the Kindle Vella program?
The big question you’re asking: Is this worth it? While we’ll need to see how it performs – it hasn’t launched to readers yet, first they need to populate the platform with stories upon launch – Amazon has gone all in on this. My wager is that, especially now, the answer is probably yes. Why?
It could be a great opportunity for strong earnings. (More on that in a minute.)
It’s a way to reach readers your new book might not be able to do. You’re competing in a much smaller pool than you’d typically get the chance to do.
The readers you will reach are more likely to be young and used to reading episodic writing on other platforms, and may not buy many traditional books, so you have an opportunity to market to a fresh audience with your work.
It also lets readers give you direct feedback as they’re reading, which is a fun twist for anyone who loves to spin a tale.
Show me the money.
About those potential earnings: the royalties are currently at 50% of the value of the “tokens” that each episode costs…but there’s a lot of “BUT” involved with this calculation.
Our initial calculations estimate you can probably earn between 1 to 25 cents per reader per episode. That’s a pretty huge variation, obviously, and there’s a lot of reasons behind that.
The tokens are sold to readers in bundles, and those bundles will vary in cost. The more readers buy, the lower the cost per token – a bulk discount, essentially. And you can expect Amazon to give away some tokens as incentives for other purchases, which means the cost of those particular tokens will be $0.
The length of your work will determine how many tokens it costs a reader to purchase each episode. Longer episodes will require more tokens.
Readers will be able to purchase these tokens in online stores – many of which charge a fee. So that fee will be deducted before the royalty rate is calculated.
Maybe it will be a better deal for writers than Kindle Unlimited. Maybe it won’t. But it is a kind of writing that is targeted to different readers than a typical book, so either way, it’s a good idea to try it.
Before you get back to writing your serial novel…
Right now Amazon is suggesting that you set up 5+ episodes before you make them available, so that readers can dig in and not lose interest waiting around for your next one. It makes sense in terms of managing the business side of your writing – and you can leave more episodes in the app in “draft” status to release down the road.
They also note that this is something that is only available on the website and through the iOS (Apple) Kindle app. If the platform gains traction, you’ll see it on other platforms quickly.
If you’re ready to take the dive, head on over to play around with the Kindle Vella platform on Amazon! We would love to hear about your success for a future blog post!
Book launches used to be crowded, public events, often with lavish budgets to match the lengthy guest list. But the way we look at launch day activities has really changed, thanks to new technology and the real need to lock down during the pandemic. And there’s every indication that these new “slipper-friendly” online book events are sticking around.
But how do those of us who don’t have big publishers and teams of PR flacks behind us make online events work? I’m going to be getting deep into just these topics (and so much more) in June’s Book Launch in a Box, a newly-revised-for-2021, one month course that gives you everything you need to have a great launch for your book, no matter how or when you plan to do it. (Click here to learn more about this great course!) Until then, though, here’s a sneak peek with some thoughts on how to reach your goals through a virtual book launch.
We’re all Zoom-ed out after last year, right? I get it. But online events are far from dead and there are ways to energize them to engage as many people as possible. Here’s some tips.
Energize your cheerleaders.
Add advance readers of your book to a Facebook Group that’s all about supporting the launch. These are your FANS – what a great place to spend time online in the weeks leading up to your launch! While Facebook isn’t for everyone, these private groups are great ways to share information like giveaways happening on GoodReads and elsewhere, offer suggested copy to accompany posting about your book, and share your success! Authors who make themselves present in this group and engage with advance readers reap the benefits when those readers turn into cheerleaders for your book at launch time! The more they feel invested in your success, the more they’ll share your work with their trusted network.
Show up all day during your virtual book launch.
I tell our clients that when you have a real, concrete plan, a virtual book launch shouldn’t take over your life. But on launch day, it’s a good idea to take the day off work, or at least carve out multiple times during the day to connect with your readers on social media. Consider creating a schedule with multiple live mini-events to connect with readers all over the globe, and share that info with your launch group and on social media. Going live on Facebook or Instagram on launch day also creates long-lasting, quality content you can repurpose as you continue to market your book! You can also have a live event on Zoom, if social media isn’t your thing, or you want to host an event with guests.
Be yourself when during your virtual book launch.
Even if you’re camera shy, spending time prepping and then going live is just smart marketing. You don’t need to spend an hour talking about why you want people to buy your book. You can make your live sessions fun! We’ve worked with authors who have…
…gone live at her job as a nurse to talk about her medical thriller, complete with scrubs! What a great setting that grabbed potential readers straight away!
…invited the inspiration behind her book – her young son! – to read the book aloud on Facebook. A totally sweet and engaging session that kept people watching through the end!
…hosted a Zoom call with a nonprofit and other invited experts to talk about the real world issues the book brought up. Tons of great questions from the audience, thanks to the interesting speakers who enhanced the story and brought new perspectives!
…shared craft tutorials and other art inspired by the book’s illustrations on Instagram. This engaged so many people and got replays well beyond launch day!
…had a music-filled Zoom chat with editors and others, answering questions about character inspirations and living a writer’s life. A great spin on the more traditional launch event, but using art from the book and music to bring the viewers in, instead of just the usual Zoom squares.
…taught readers how to mix an “official cocktail” for the book in a sweetly funny, very personal Instagram live. This is probably one of our most memorable launch events because even as things went a bit wrong with the cocktail, the author was so present and charming that she won over dozens of new fans in the moment – all of whom are lining up to read her next book!
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel – a heartfelt toast, a reading, a Q&A session can all succeed if you’re showing up as YOU.
Give your book away to get more sales.
There’s nothing like the thrill of a giveaway. For all of our clients, we do some form of giveaway on launch days. You have a lot of options to do one on Instagram or in partnership with influencers or your launch team. But doing a LIVE giveaway is also an exciting way to put some pep in your live event. You can share your screen during a live event and use Wheel of Names or a similar online tool to pick a winner. It’s a great way to cap any online event, by thanking those who attend with a chance to win!
The through-line to these events is all about being YOU and SHOWING UP for your readers. By choosing a launch activity that is authentic to your book and your story as an author, you’ll be turning your readers into fans.
If you’re ready to supercharge your launch, whether you plan something online or in-person, be sure to join us for our latest session of Book Launch in a Box, a 4 week program that gives you everything you need to launch your book right the first time.
And no, you don’t need to be done with your book to get started.
And yes, you can do this program and re-energize your book sales, even if you have already launched!
Click here to learn more about our next session right here.