Digital Marketing for Writers: Planning a Successful Book Release | Jenna Moreci | Skillshare

Digital Marketing for Writers: Planning a Successful Book Release

Jenna Moreci, Author • Vlogger • Cyborg

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
12 Lessons (45m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:23
    • 2. Setting Goals

      3:35
    • 3. Does Your Book Need a Presale?

      3:28
    • 4. Pre-Release Prep Work

      5:59
    • 5. Building Your Press Kit

      2:38
    • 6. Presale Giveaway

      4:34
    • 7. Your Project

      1:45
    • 8. ARC Reviews

      6:14
    • 9. Your Street Team

      5:49
    • 10. Release Day Blitz

      3:09
    • 11. Promotional Opportunities

      3:58
    • 12. Course Wrap Up

      1:22
16 students are watching this class

About This Class

You've written a book - now what? Join SFF author and Youtuber Jenna Moreci as she explains how to plan a successful book release without the help of an expensive marketing team. 

Everyone knows being an author is tough work, and releasing a novel can seem completely overwhelming - but it doesn't have to be that way. Each lesson will cover the various stages of a professional book launch in simplified, easily digestible terms. Whether you're a debut writer or a seasoned author looking to boost your sales, this class will give you the tools you need to engage your audience and turn your book release into a valuable marketing event.

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: 

Setting Goals. You can't just throw your book online and hope for the best. Jenna explains the importance of setting realistic, specific goals and how to gauge whether or not you're on the right track. 

Does Your Book Need a Presale? Presales are a great marketing opportunity, so why don't all authors utilize them? In this lesson, Jenna breaks down the pros and cons of a presale and why you should consider making the preorder process a top priority in your book release. 

Pre-Release Prep Work. It's tempting to save a lot of the publication details for the last second, but this is a BIG mistake. Jenna lists all the tasks you'll want to get done long before your book is available for presale. The last thing you want is to be proofreading your novel when you could be promoting it to the masses. 

Building Your Press Kit. Confession: a lot of authors don't know what a press kit is! If you're one of 'em, no worries, Jenna has you covered. In this lesson, she describes how to build a press kit and why they're infinitely valuable to your book launch. 

Presale Giveaway. Preorders are vital to the success of a book release; unfortunately, it's not easy to get readers to buy a book months in advance. This is where the presale giveaway comes into play. Jenna breaks down the tips and tricks to hosting a successful presale giveaway that'll entice your readers. 

ARC Reviews. Writers hate book reviews, but they're actually a great form of advertising. In this lesson, Jenna explains how to get people to read and review your book before it's launched, and why wrangling as many reviews as possible is a necessary sales tactic. 

Your Street Team. So much marketing, so little time! Fortunately, you don't have to do it alone. Allow Jenna to explain the purpose of a street team and how to enlist loyal fans and fellow writers to help promote the release of your novel.  

Release Day Blitz. You may want to kick back and relax on your release date, but unfortunately, that isn't an option. Jenna illustrates the importance of a release day blitz and the step-by-step process to conducting your own. Don't worry, it's easy!

Promotional Opportunities. The marketing doesn't end on your release day. In this lesson, Jenna lists the different promotional opportunities available to you year round, regardless of whether you're publicizing a presale, advertising a new release, or getting people excited about a book that has been out for years.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hello everybody. Thanks for stopping by, my name is Jenna Moreci. I am a science fiction and fantasy author, as well as the YouTuber and today we're talking about book releases. The book release is one of the most important events in an author's life. It's when you finally get to share your blood, sweat, and tears across the globe. It's also the biggest marketing opportunity at your disposal. More often than not, the success of a book release will dictate the performance and longevity of that book throughout its lifetime. That's why it's vital for authors to be thoughtful and strategic when planning their book release. You can't just ship your story off to a publisher or toss that book online and wait for the sales to roll in. No matter if you're traditionally published or self published, a book or the marketing responsibility is going to be on your shoulders. I know this sounds daunting, trust me, I've been there. But it is more than possible to plan a successful professional book release with limited to no assistance. After releasing two novels and turning my passion for writing into a lucrative career, I've developed a system for making the absolute most out of my book release without ever hiring a marketing team. This class is for writers who are about to release their debut novel or for experienced authors who have gone through the book release process once or twice, but maybe weren't happy with the results. Most of these steps are best suited for self-published authors. However, all of them are modifiable for other forms of publishing and to suit your personal preferences and needs. I'll be covering the first steps to planning your book release, like setting realistic goals and making your book available for pre-sale, as well as all the prep work that needs to get done along before the release approaches. Next, we'll cover your most important marketing assets including press kits, ARC reviews, and street teams and in closing, we'll discuss your release day itself, as well as the other promotional opportunities available to you. Your project for this class is all about one of the best and marketing tools at your disposal, and that's the pre-sale giveaway. I want you to be able to walk away from this class with a huge promotional asset already mapped out and ready to go. I've gone through the release process multiple times and I can vouch that it's stressful and overwhelming, but it can also be exciting and extremely rewarding, especially if handled with the proper organization and strategy. Once you're ready, I'll see you in our first lesson and we can take it from there. 2. Setting Goals: All right guys, I'm not here to waste any of your time, so let's get right into it and start talking about goals. Namely what you're looking to accomplish with this release. A lot others don't think about their goals and if they do, they're pretty vague and really lofty. Here's a pro tip when setting your goals, try to be two things: realistic and specific. Let's start with realism. A lot of people have a really ridiculous expectations when it comes to book sales. They think it's completely normal to sell tens of thousands of books a day or a million books in a year. But this kind of thing just doesn't happen. Generating sales is no easy task. Books are expensive in comparison to similar forms of media. Breaking into this industry is an uphill climb. When you launch your novel, it's important to face the reality of the climate you're entering, particularly when it comes to how novels typically performed. Now it's hard to nail down exact figures in the publishing industry because there are millions of books out there. But the number that I see the most often is 3,000. That is the average number of copies a traditionally published books sells in its lifetime and the average lifetime of a traditionally published book is two years, 3,000 books sold in two years. That's the norm. Not the numbers you were expecting I imagine, which brings me to my second point. Being specific or setting specific goals. Now that you know what the averages, it's time to set goals for your book launch. What exactly are you looking to accomplish? I would encourage you to set realistic goals based on the size of your audience. For example, if you have a smaller audience, let's say 1,000 readers, it would make more sense for you to set smaller goals. If you have a larger audience, you can be a bit bolder. Additionally, I would recommend that you set three goal, a pre-sale goal, a release week goal, and a review goal. Let's start with the pre-sale goal, which is how many books are you hoping to sell during the pre-sale. Again, the number you choose will depend on your reach. When I launched my first novel, I had a smaller audience at about 7,000 people. My pre-sale goal was only 100 copies. With my second novel, my audience was much larger at about 100,000 readers. My goal was 1,000 pre-orders. The second goal is a release week goal. How many copies are you looking to sell during your release week? Keep in mind, this figure includes pre-orders. Think of it as an overlapping goal. It's important to remember that not everyone who follows you is going to buy your book the week it comes out or ever. Only a fraction of your audience is going to translate into paying customers. Finally, we have the last goal, which is the review goal. Book reviews, especially Amazon reviews, are pivotal to the success of a novel. Amazon is easily the most popular platform for buying books. That's where your focus needs to be. Plus Amazon will boost exposure for your book based on its number of reviews. This is a huge asset for authors. So it's to your benefit to create some type of review goal. A number of reviews that you are hoping to have on Amazon, by the end of your release week. This again will vary depending on your reach. However, most authors feel that the magic number is somewhere between 50 and 100 reviews. I would recommend aiming for those figures. All right, now that you know the not so pretty truth about book releases, set some realistic and specific goals, write them down, and then I will meet you in our next lesson, which is all about pre-sales. 3. Does Your Book Need a Presale?: Now that you've set your goals, it's time to tackle one of the most debated topics regarding book releases and that's whether or not to make your book available for presale. A presale is when your book is available for purchase before its launch date. If someone pre-orders an e-book, they'll receive it on the day of its release. If someone pre-orders a paperback or hardback book, it'll be shipped on the day of the release. Presales typically last three to six months before the official release date. I personally believe three to four months is the perfect amount of time. However, it's ultimately up to you how you proceed. If you're traditionally publishing a novel, the terms of your presale are not going to be decided by you. If your self publishing a novel, you have the option to make your book available for presale via your publishing platform. First you select the official launch date. Books typically launch on Tuesdays, so that's what I would suggest choosing. Then you have the option to make your book available for pre-order. That said, not all authors choose to make their book available for pre-order. Personally, I believe a presale is absolutely pivotal to the success of a novel. However, for the sake of clarity, I'm going to break down the pros and cons of a presale so you can make an informed decision. Let's start with pros. The first one is obvious and that's more sales. People who list their book for presale often have far more sales during the release week than those who don't list their book for presale. Second pro, marketing. A presale is an amazing marketing tactic to utilize for your book launch, especially if you launch a presale giveaway, which we'll discuss in a later lesson. Third pro, exposure. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other retailers pay attention to purchasing trends. That means if your book is reckoning in the preorders, they're going to take notice. In other words, you can potentially gain increased advertising on retailers websites or shelf space in bookstores. Fourth pro, best seller lists. If you're aiming to hit the USA Today, Wall Street Journal, or New York Times Best Seller lists, a presale will significantly better your odds. In fact, most people agree that you can't get onto these lists period without a presale. Then we move on to the cons and really there's only one which is the Amazon Best Seller List. Any preorders or novel generated on Amazon do not count toward release day sales in terms of the Amazon Best Seller List. A lot of writers want to become Amazon Best Sellers. The reason I don't think this con is important is because the Amazon Best Seller list isn't really meaningful. Amazon has countless Best Seller categories. Most of which are obscure and unheard of. Because of this, it's become ridiculously easy to be labeled a Best Seller. In fact, a lot of authors purposely cheat the system and label their book in an obscure category because it's a lot easier to beat the competition when there is no competition. Readers know how easy it is to become an Amazon Best Seller So the title doesn't hold a lot of weight anymore. My novel, The Saviors Champion, became an Amazon Best Seller on its release date, despite being available for presale. This is not something that I mention often because it's just not a big deal to people. Because of this I just don't think this con is valid enough to warrant mixing the presale process. All right. Now that you know the pros and cons, go ahead and make your decision. You already know where I stand on the topic. Once you're ready to go, I'll see you in the next lesson, which is all about setting up your pre-release prep. 4. Pre-Release Prep Work: The release of a novel is always the busiest time in an author's career. I'm not talking about the release day or even the release week. I'm talking about the months leading up to the release. As we've already covered, the pre-sale of a novel typically lasts for three to six months before the official launch date, and during this time, you are going to be marketing the crap out of your book. A lot of authors feel like they can use the pre-sale to finish up some last minute publishing details, but this is a big mistake. Do not for a second, think your pre-sale counts as free time. If you plan your book release properly, you are going to be overwhelmed with obligations, promotion, and unexpected problems. It's very common for publication issues to spring up right before a book release because life is hard and cruel, you want to make sure you have as much freedom as possible to tackle any hiccup. You also want to make sure you have the time to effectively promote your book. Because of this, I'm listing the things you should definitely get squared away before your book is available for pre-sale. Number 1, the first thing you want to nail down is your author platform. You should have established a platform long before your book was completed, let alone published. An author platform typically consists of a website, an active social media presence, and some type of podcasts, blog or YouTube channel, where the author can provide meaningful content to their fans. It takes years to establish a voice in the writing community, so this is something you'll want to get started when you're still drafting your novel. I have an entire class here on Skillshare all about how to effectively build an author platform. If you haven't checked it out yet, you totally should. Number 2, the professional edit. The professional edit can often take longer than writing the novel itself. So if you saved this for the three to six months of your pre-sale, God help you. This is something you can't rush. You need time to perfect your story with a credentialed professional. Number 3, cover art. Your book cover is your number one promotional image. You're going to need access to it during your pre-sale. How are you going to ingrain this cover in people's minds, if it doesn't exist yet? Have your cover ready before the pre-sale begins and make sure to create a spectacle around its reveal. A cover reveal is just one of many events an author can create in order to raise excitement about their book. Many authors revealed their cover on popular blog sites, others use YouTube. It's completely up to you, but I would recommend revealing your cover on as high traffic of a platform as possible. Number 4, the format. This is another thing authors typically save for the pre-sale. I've done it myself, and I learned my lesson. Formatting a novel seems like a simple process, but if you're going to experience hiccups anywhere, it'll be here. It's hard to get a novel formatted perfectly. They're going to be spacing issues or punctuation errors. All of this is extremely time-consuming, so you're going to want to get this out of the way as soon as possible. Number 5, the proofread. Once your novel is formatted, you have to give it one last proofread. That way you can tackle any lingering mistakes that didn't get handled the first time around. Typically, authors hire a professional proofreader, which is a very smart choice, however, and I recommend that authors proofread the novel themselves as well. Two pairs of eyes are better than one, and three to four pairs of eyes are better than two. Be sure to take care of this before your book is available for pre-sale because proofreading is really time-consuming. You don't want to be stuck reading your book over and over again when you could be marketing it. Number 6, all publications steps. If you're self-publishing, most publishing platforms will not allow your book to be made available for pre-sale until you've gone through every single step and approval stage. Additionally, most platforms allow you the option to view a demo of your e-book and a proof of your physical book. Take advantage of this. I have never met an author whose book was perfect on the onset, most likely there are going to be changes that need to be made and you'll never know this, unless you order a proof copy. Number 7, promotional media. Authors use a lot of media to promote the releases, so you're going to want to get the setup before the pre-sale. Here are some of the most important things you'll want to have covered. First, we got teaser chapters. It's very common for authors to throw a couple of chapters on their website in order to attract readers. I personally recommend featuring enough chapters to showcase the inciting incident. Second, we have advertising images, GIFs, or videos. Most authors create teaser images, showcasing dramatic quotes or positive reviews or you can have artwork created of your characters, setting, or various scenes. Of course, you can also create promotional videos like book trailers, though bear in mind, most of the book trailers out there are pretty terrible. If you don't have the means to get a professional enticing trailer made, I'd skip this step entirely. Lastly, number 8, a schedule. The months leading up to your release are going to be crazy. So it's super important to create a detailed schedule that starts at the beginning of your pre-sale, and goes all the way to a few weeks or even a month after the book release. Nail down exactly what you're going to do promotion wise each day. The teasers you're going to share, the giveaways you're going to host. I even scheduled the different Instagram posts I was going to share each day, and trust me, it helped a lot. You have a few options for how you can create the schedule. Some people prefer a simple calendar. I prefer a digital calendar, that way the items are easier to modify. All right guys, so those are the things you should definitely get squared away before your pre-sale hits. I know it's a lot, but trust me when I say, you'll be so glad you've got this taken care of. 5. Building Your Press Kit: We've covered the laundry list of stuff you need to get done before the pre-sale. Now it's time to tackle the stuff you need to get done during the pre-sale. Let's start with the easiest item on the agenda and that's the press kit. A press kit also known as a media kit, is a document with relevant information about your book that you can distribute to members of the press or media, hence the name. Reviewers, news sites, bloggers, street team members. These are just some of the folks who are going to receive your press kit. Now a press kit can be made in a variety of ways. You can either create a Word document as well as a few folders of media images. Then compress it into a zip file and email it off to members of the press or you can create a digital press kit. Some people have their press kits on their websites. Others use platforms like story ad, which is a marketing hub for writers. Regardless of where you decide to host your press kit. Here is a list of the most pertinent information your press kit should include. Number one, your book title, for obvious reasons. Number two, your book cover. Again, this is the most important marketing tool you have. Number three, your genre, which will help you categorize your novel. Number four, your target audience, which will showcase which readers you're specifically targeting. Number five, your release date. People need to know when your book is launching. Number six, your back of the book synopsis, because obviously people need to know what your book is about. Number seven, trigger warnings. This is a list of any sensitive content in your book that way readers are prepared. Number eight, buy links. At this point, your book should be available for pre-order on one or multiple sites. List all the links you've got. Number nine, teaser chapters. If you've got a few sample chapters available on your website, definitely include a link to them in your press kit. Number 10, positive reviews. This isn't necessary, but it certainly doesn't hurt. Number 11, any marketing images, GIFS, or videos, if you have them. That way people have visuals they can use at their disposal if necessary. Once you make your press kit, hang onto it. It may not be relevant right away, but trust me, you're going to use it a lot at various points during the marketing phase. When you recruit art reviewers, you're going to send them your press kit. When you choose your street team, you're going to send them your press kit. When you participate in interviews, you're going to send them your press kit. Next, I'm going to talk about one of the most important parts of a successful book launch, and that is the pre-sale giveaway. I'll see you in the next lesson. 6. Presale Giveaway : We've already established that making your book available for pre-sale is a great way to boost your exposure. The thing is, getting people to buy your book long before it's released, isn't the easiest thing to do. People prefer instant gratification. So sometimes pre-ordering a book that they won't be able to read for months, doesn't sound like the best use of their money. However, pre-orders are a huge asset to an author and they often make the difference between a successful book launch and a total flop. Because of this, it's really important to encourage your readers to pre-order your book. The easiest way to incentivize them, is with a pre-sale giveaway. A pre-sale giveaway is a contest exclusively available to people who pre-order your book. All they got to do is place their order and they are entered. Now there are many different ways to host a pre-sale giveaway, but probably the easiest method is to create a sign-up sheet via google forms. When creating a sign-up sheet, you need to ask your readers for the following information on a minimum, their name, their email address, their proof of purchase, which is typically a screenshot of their order receipt and their mailing address so you can mail out prizes to the winners. You might need to ask for additional details depending on the prizes you're offering. For example, if you're going to be sending out merch, you might need to ask for their t-shirt size. Now that you've created your sign-up sheet, you've got to nail down the format of your giveaway. This is going to be a long giveaway. Pre-sales typically last between three to six months, which means your participants are going to be waiting a long time before they see any rewards. Additionally, depending on the size of your audience, there might be a lot of people entering this giveaway, which can diminish people's incentive. Because of this, I would recommend implementing at least one of the following options. First option, give out more than one grand prize. I tend to believe three grand prizes is the magic number. Second option handout smaller prizes throughout the duration of the giveaway, like mugs or candles. This serves to promote the giveaway and remind people that is going on while also playing into people's need for instant gratification. Speaking of prizes, you're going to need to nail that down as well, because it's a giveaway. For the grand prizes, I recommend at the very least, awarding each winner a signed copy of your novel. They're pre-ordering your book because they're interested in it and a signed copy is ten times better. It's something that no one else has access to. If you can afford additional prizes, great options include, swine related to your book, like bookmarks and stickers, or bookish goodies like t-shirts, mugs or candles, or even copies of other authors novels. If you want to include these types of prizes but can't really afford them, check with other authors to see if they'd be interested in donating a copy of their novel in return for promotion on your platform. You'd be surprised how many authors will jump at this opportunity. Now that you've nailed down your prices, you've got one more thing to figure out, the consolation prize. Even if you decide to hand out multiple grand prizes or various prizes throughout the giveaway, it's not enough. Some people are just not going to be incentivized. Because of this, I recommend creating a consolation prize that every single person will win just for pre-ordering your novel. A lot of authors make swag packs their consolation prize. They'll send out bookmarks and postcards, and this is a valid option, but it's really time consuming. It's not very practical, and it's not cheap. In my opinion, a much superior consolation prize is an extended teaser of your novel. The odds are people are pre-ordering your book because they read the teaser on your website and they want more. So give it to them. Send them a hefty teaser of your novel before the book comes out as a thank you for preordering. For example, when I released my novel, The Saviors Champion, everyone who pre-ordered a copy, you've received the first five chapters as a consolation prize. People were stoked about the teaser. Half of them pre-ordered just so they could receive it. This method from my experience is great for building excitement, plus It's completely free. Once you've figured out your prizes, you're ready to get your pre-sale giveaway going. Guys, I cannot emphasize it enough, unless you're a wildly famous author. A pre-sale giveaway is absolutely pivotal to the success of your book launch. Follow these simple steps and you will have much better odds of racking in pre-orders. 7. Your Project: Now that you've learned the importance of your pre-sale giveaway, it's time for your project. I want you to create your very own pre-sale giveaway. Step number one, pick your start date and end date. The start date should begin when the pre-sale begins, and the end date should be the release date of your novel. If you're not yet sure when your book will be available for pre-sale, use placeholder dates for now. Step number two, pick your system. Are you giving out one grand prize? Two? Three? Will you be giving out smaller prizes throughout the duration of your giveaway or exclusively at the end? Step number three, pick your prices. A signed copy of your novel should be given, but are you going to add anything else to the mugs? Are there any authors or companies you plan to contact in order to receive donations to your giveaway in return for promotion on your often platform? Step number four, pick a consolation prize. What automatic prize is every participant going to receive just for entering? I recommend a teaser of your novel that you've planned to send out to all participants before the launch of your book. Step number five, create your sign-up sheet. Again, I recommend using Google Forms, and please be sure to ask all participants for their name, email address, proof of purchase, and their mailing address at a minimum. In the description of your sign-up sheet, be sure to detail all giveaway information. List the start and end date, the setup, the prizes and consolation prize, and be sure to mention whether or not this giveaway is available internationally. Once you've finished, share your final pre-sale giveaway in the project section of this class. That way, everyone can marvel at your masterpiece and offer suggestions. I can't wait to see what you've come up with. 8. ARC Reviews: Now that you have your presale giveaway sorted out, it's time to move on to another extremely important aspect of your book release, and that's ARC reviews. ARC stands for Advance Reader Copy. It's an early copy of your book, either digital or physical, that is sent to readers of influence in return for an honest review. At the beginning of this class, I stressed the importance of reviews. They are pivotal to your success for a variety of reasons. Number 1, if a reviewer has a popular platform, they are exposing your book to hundreds or even thousands of readers. Number 2, the more views your book gets on platforms like Goodreads or Amazon, the more exposure it'll have to readers. Number 3, once your book gets between 50 and a 100 reviews on Amazon, Amazon will start featuring your book in spotlight positions like their newsletter or the people also bought category on their website, which is a huge boost. Number 4, simply put, readers don't trust books that don't have reviews or only have a few reviews. They'll wonder why that's the case. Assume the book sucks, and then probably not buy it. Because of this, it's essential to send out copies of your book to various ARC reviewers. Now first things first, how do you recruit ARC reviewers? There are two popular methods for recruiting ARC reviewers and I highly recommend you utilize both of them. The first is to create a Sign-Up sheet, and once again, I recommend using Google Forms. Here's everything you want to gather via your form: The reviewer's name, their e-mail address, the platforms on which they will be sharing the review, some options can be: YouTube, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, or a blog, links to their platforms, their overall follower count and the types of book formats they're willing to receive like: e-book, PDF, paperback or hardback. Give people a designated amount of time to sign up. I usually find that a week or two is sufficient. Then go through the applicants. Obviously, the larger your platform, the more applications you'll receive. If you've got a smaller platform, you might not have any at all. Additionally, you don't have to choose everyone who signs up. You're allowed to be selective. There'll be some people who sign up and they have absolutely 0 following, but they'll demand a signed hardback of your book. That's pretty unreasonable. Sift through the applications, go through these people and their past reviews. Choose ARC reviewers who you believe will enjoy your book, and will post their review to as many platforms as possible. Your second option, especially for finding ARC reviewers with a large audience, is to seek them out. Research bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, and bookstagrammers who meet the following criteria. Number 1, they have a decent following. Number 2, they accept books in your genre and publishing style. Number 3, they've enjoyed books in the past that share similarities to yours, and number 4, they accept ARCs. Once you've nailed down these specifics, contact these people. Be sure to individualize your messages so that they know that you took the time to research their content and you're excited about it. Ask them if they're interested in receiving an ARC of your novel and tell them all about your book. This would be the perfect time to send out your press kit. After that, all you got to do is wait for a response. I know the idea of contacting influencers is intimidating, but keep in mind, these people are popular, which means they have no incentive to contact you. They get free books all the time. They don't need to seek authors out, thus, your only option is to contact them. Onto the second order of business, what kind of books do you send ARC reviewers? It depends on the size of their audience. Some of your ARC reviewers may simply be friends, or fellow writers who only plan to share their reviews to Amazon and Goodreads. If that's the case, you can send them an e-book. Other ARC reviewers will be YouTubers, or bookstagrammers with tens of thousands of followers. If that's the case, you should probably send them a physical copy, either paperback or hardback. Yes, it can be expensive to send out physical copies, but consider it an investment in marketing. Third point. When should ARC reviewers post the reviews? I personally like to recruit ARC reviewers three months before the book releases. In my opinion, if you do it before then, you run the risk of your reviews coming out way too soon. Then people read these reviews and forget about your book by the time it comes out. With a three month window, reviewers have plenty of time to read and review the book without their comments becoming stale. Some reviewers will ask if you want them to post the review on the release date itself. Some will post it at their earliest convenience. Ultimately, it's up to them. But so long as many reviews are shared during the three months before your book launches, or even a month after your book launches, you should be good. Finally, how do you get Amazon reviews? If you're not familiar, Amazon does not allow books to be reviewed before their release date. That means that while your book can be reviewed on blogs, podcasts, Goodreads, or YouTube during the presale, you won't be able to get any reviews on Amazon. Because of this, it's important that authors remind their ARC reviewers to share the reviews to Amazon come the release date. What I like to do, is send a polite e-mail to all of my ARC reviewers the day before the release, just reminding them how much I appreciate their support, and asking them to please copy and paste the reviews to Amazon once the book launches. That way, at the very least, you will have some reviews available on the release date itself, and come the end of the release week, you'll be that much closer to reaching the 50 review mark. Ultimately, ARC reviews are a pivotal part of the process and not something you want to skip. Taking time to properly vet your reviewers, and send them your book, may result in a negative reviewer too, but overall, it will boost the exposure of your novel, which is exactly what you want. Next up, we'll be covering street teams, and what they can do to help promote your novel. 9. Your Street Team : Releasing a book is an overwhelming process and you can't do all the marketing alone, which is why you need to enlist a street team. A street team is a group of volunteers, typically fans, readers, and other writers who band together to help promote the release of a novel. Not only is this a huge asset to a writer, it can also be a lot of fun and a major stress relief during what will undoubtedly be one of the most hectic parts of your career. So let's go through the steps of creating a street team, starting with step number one, create another sign-up sheet. Do you guys know what I'm going to recommend? You do, don't you? Create your sign-up sheet via Google forums and ask for the following information at an absolute minimum. Number one, their name, number two, their e-mail address, number three, links to each person's online presence including Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, their blog, or any other platform they have online, number four their follower account on their most popular or most important platform. Number five, why they are interested in joining your street team and number six, any past experience with street teams. Once you've created your sign-up sheet, make it live and give people about a week or two to respond. As always, the larger your platform is, the more responses you'll get, which is why you want to start building your author platform as soon as possible. Step number two, pick a street team size. Some authors add everyone who applies for their street team. Others are a bit more selective, only choosing about 20-30 members. The direction you go in will depend on your personal goals and priorities. If you have a larger street team, for example, 100 members that means a larger reach, you've got more people to potentially market you. However, with larger street teams it's really easy to get lost in the shuffle, there's not as much individual attention, there's no real sense of community, which means it's really easy to slack off and not participate altogether. With a smaller street team, for instance, 20 members, you've got a much smaller reach. However, since there are less people involved, everyone gets to know one another. There's a genuine bond formed and people are a lot more enthusiastic about their participation. Number three, choose your members, now you've got to comb through your applicants and pick the best members for your street team. I personally would choose people based on the following criteria. Number one, what is their reach? Are these people, bloggers or bookstagrammers or YouTubers? Do they have a following? If so, that's great news. Number two, have they interacted with you? Is this person a loyal fan of your work? If so they will likely be a loyal and active street team member. Numbers three, personal interests. Does this person enjoy books similar to yours? If so, they'll probably enjoy your book and thus be more apt to promote it. Number four, enthusiasm. Is this person really excited to join your group? Enthusiasm is contagious and you want that energy in your team. Keep in mind, the smaller your audience, the slimmer you're picking. If not many people apply, you got to take what you can get. Step number four, setting up your street team page. Most street teams are hosted via private groups on Facebook. You can easily create a group and then invite your street team members to join it. Once you've created your group, its important to give your street team access to the following items. Number one, street team guidelines, create a general code of conduct such as no bullying allowed or people can leave at any time. This lets people know that your street team is a safe and comfortable place. Number two, your press kit, make this available to your street team so they can send it up to members of the press if you give them permission to do so. Number three, book links, list all applicable by and review links to your book that way your street team can share them if need be. Number four, social media links, provide a document where street team members can list their personal social media links that way everyone can follow one another and develop a sense of community. All of these items can be posted in the file section of your Facebook group. I would also recommend creating a photo album filled with teaser images and promotional images of your book, that way your street team can share them if need be. Step number five, create a challenge. The way a street team works is super simple. Each week you provide a challenge, some type of promotional opportunity that they need to get done within the allotted week. Once the timeline has ended, one random participant wins a prize. The first challenge of any street team is typically to read the book itself and the second challenge is usually to write a review on Goodreads as well as their personal reviewing platform. From that point forward, you can choose a variety of challenges. For example, you can challenge them to advertise your pre-sale giveaway. You can challenge them to contact bloggers about your book. Your street team members could contact their local libraries and ask them to pre-order your book, they could contact various news sources, it's entirely up to you. Each week you produce a new challenge, and each week you choose a winner. Which brings me to the last step. Prizes, within each winner you select your going to have to deliver some prize. It's common for street team prizes to be $10 gift cards to Amazon.com, but you can also give out signed copies of your novel or mugs, candles, other bookish goodies. Remember, these people are promoting your book for free so the least you can do is give them gifts every now and then. Once your street team is prepared, you can start planning the most exciting part of your book release, which is the Release Day Blitz and we'll talk about that in the next lesson. 10. Release Day Blitz: Fast forward to the end of your pre-sale. You created an amazing giveaway, you sent out ARCs, you created your street team. Now it's time to plan for the release itself. A lot of writers think, "Look, I worked super hard during this pre-sale. I marketed the crap out of my book. So I'm just going to relax on my release day. I've earned it." You have earned nothing. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but readers really expect you to make a big stink on your release date. This is an important event, so they want to see you treat it as such. Because of this, lots of authors hold what is often referred to as a "Release Day Blitz". This is where you recruit a bunch of people to celebrate the release of your novel with you, get a bunch of people to post about your book release on your book release. Simple. The first step to creating a Release Day Blitz is, you guessed it, making another sign-up sheet via Google forms. This sign up sheet doesn't have to be as lengthy as the others. All you need to ask for is each person's name, e-mail address, and the various platforms they intend to promote your release including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or their blogging platform. I usually give people about a week or two to sign up before moving on to step two, choosing participants. Some people choose participants in a similar manner to choosing ARC reviewers. They look for people with a large reach. However, I don't really think this is necessary. These people aren't receiving ARCs. They're not asking to join your street team. They just want to celebrate your book release. So why not let all of them participate. Personally, everyone who signs up for my release day blitz is chosen, the more the merrier, which brings us to step three. Send them your press kit. As a refresher, your press kit should include all relevant information about your book, such as bylinks and a synopsis. But it should also include media like teaser images, quotes, or your book trailer. This is the point of a Release Day Blitz. You are sending these people a ton of imagery and asking them to spread it around as soon as the release hits. You want to flood the internet with marketing of your book. Let everyone know that it's finally here. Planning a Release Day Blitz is probably the easiest part of your book release; however, the work doesn't stop here. It's not enough that you have other people celebrating your book release. You need to celebrate with them. Typically, the best course of action is to hold some kind of event on your most popular page or platform. Some authors will host an event on Facebook, others will hold one on their blog. I personally hosted a live stream on my YouTube channel. Whatever you choose, be sure to inform your audience weeks in advance so that they can prepare for it, and make it fun, play games, answer questions, and if you can, dish out prizes. All right, guys, that's it for the most important day of the book launch process. In our next lesson, I'm going to cover some of the other promotional opportunities at your disposal before, during, and after the book release. 11. Promotional Opportunities: Now that we've covered the release date late, you might be thinking that we are done, well you're wrong. The reason it's important to plan a proper book release is because you want to get it launched on the right foot, but you still have to promote it even after it's been released. With that said here are some of the marketing opportunities that you can pursue before the book release, during the release week itself, or after the release. This are opportunities that are available to you at any time, I would encourage you to actively seek them out. That way you are constantly engaging with your audience and you keep your book relevant. Number one, Facebook events. It's very common for authors to host events on Facebook, especially if they have an adult audience. Typically the author hosting the event will ask other authors to participate. Each author will claim an hour to play games, answer questions, and give out prices. Think of it as digital meet and greet with a bunch of authors, these events can get really packed. People go nuts over them. Authors typically hold them to promote the release of a novel or some other milestone. If you're not sure how to proceed with a Facebook event, I recommend researching other authors on Facebook, especially self-published authors and participate in one of their events, see how it's done. Number two, book signings and readings. Book signings or readings can be nerve wracking, but they are a great way to get your audience involved. Signings and readings are typically held at bookstores, libraries, coffee shops, and festivals. You need to get in touch with the manager of the location in order to gain permission and organize the details. Number three, interviews. Interviews are extremely easy to come by because these days everyone has a podcast or a blog or a YouTube channel. The keys to learn interviews with websites that attract a larger audience. If you are a smaller author, you might have to work your way up to this point. Interviews will give you exposure to a wider range of people who probably haven't heard of you yet. Plus it gives you the chance to work on your elevator page. Number four, giveaways. Giveaways are a great way to give back to your audience while also encouraging interaction. People love free stuff. So incentivizing them in this way in order to get them to buy your book, follow your platform, or participate in one of your events is a great option. I tried to hold a giveaway once a month depending on what I'm looking to accomplish. For example, I may ask people to join my newsletter or follow me on social media and in return they could win a prize. Giveaways are a really fun way to get people excited, even during marketing rules. Number five, discounts. If you're a self-published author, you have the freedom to manipulate the price of your novel, which means you can put it on sale. If you list your novel particularly your e-book at a discount and then advertise the crap out of it, this could be a huge sales boost for you. There are also a variety of platforms that promote books during their discounted periods, some of them are free, others not so much. I definitely recommend that you research these platforms and see if any of them could be of use to you. Lastly, number six, your author platform, you created an author platform for a reason, to promote your books, so when it comes time to release a novel, now's the time to promote the crap out of it, boost your content on your platform to celebrate this milestone. If you're a blogger, that means more posts than usual and make sure they revolve around your book. If you're a YouTuber like myself, that means even more videos. During the pre-sale of The Savior's Champion, I posted at two videos a week instead of my usual one video a week. During the release week itself, I posted a video every single day. Guys this is what your platform is here for, don't be afraid to take advantage of it. Utilize your platform to the fullest and let the sales roll in. 12. Course Wrap Up: So there you have it. That's my book release process from start to finish. It's a lot of information, but you have the tools at your disposal. These steps are time consuming, but they're trackable, they're doable, and most of them are completely free. Set some realistic goals for yourself, create a thorough, organized schedule, and don't forget to participate in the class project. How awesome would it be to go into your book release process with the pre-sale giveaway already mapped out? All you got to do is make it live. Even better, you can share your project with your classmates. I definitely recommend that you do just that, that way everyone can help one another improve. If you get anything out of this class, I hope it's the confidence that you can take control of your book release and make it work to your benefit. I know the process is scary. I released two novels all on my own, but I was able to turn them into a career. It can be done. Approach your release with a solid business strategy. Don't be afraid to be hyper-organized or detail-oriented. Those are good things at this stage. Milk your release for all it's worth so you can set your book on the right path and help ensure its longevity. Thanks so much for joining me. I'm super excited to see your project, and I'm even more excited to see your book launch.