Book Launch Teams
Publishers don’t sell books. A common misconception many new authors have is that all they need to do is write a book and have a good publisher behind them. Then they can sit back, their work done. But even with a big publisher the one often doing the most marketing for a book, is the book’s author. So whether you’re publishing your book traditionally or self-pubbing it, you are going to need to do some marketing for your book if you want it to sell.
I have been doing a lot of research on book marketing over the past few weeks as I gear up for my own book launch. One of the reoccurring themes across the gamut of book marketing advice out there was to have Launch Teams also known as Street Teams. So I thought this would be a great time to talk about Launch Teams.
These teams are made up of family, friends, and hopefully people who you have connected with as a result of building your author platform. If you haven’t started to do so, HERE is some help with starting that. It’s never too soon to start building your author platform but I have heard from far too many published authors about how late to the game they felt when they didn’t start building their platforms until after their books were out there for sale to the public. So please, please, please start working on yours now if you haven’t already.
Ok, now back to Launch Teams. This team will be the kindling that starts the inferno (fingers crossed) of your word-of-mouth campaign. Still to this day, WOM is how most books get sold. We don’t want to spend our hard earned money on books we aren’t sure are any good. We might occasionally pick up a book because the cover is so intriguing. But we mostly rely on recommendations from others when we exchange our dough for a new book from an author we’ve never read.
You should think of your Team as royalty and treat them as such. Unless you can afford to pay them all (in which case where do I sign up to be on your team) then they are doing this out of the kindness of their hearts and/or because they really believe in you and your writing. Never, ever, ever take them for granted. Time is a very valuable commodity and they are giving theirs to you. Treat their time and efforts with the respect they deserve!
Ok, now that I have climbed down off my soapbox, here are the things I will be personally doing for my LT for The Maladroit. First I will be calling them my Lt.’s (or lieutenants) because not only is it the abbreviation for Launch Team but I also happen to think it’s even cooler. If you join my team and don’t like it though let me know because I value you and your opinion. J Ok, now for the specifics that you can apply to your own Lts. Here’s what I’ll be giving to my Lts.
- An electronic copy of the book, before its release date. (My book will happen to include changes I’ve made at the suggestion of those who beta read my book as an added show of appreciation for those who took the time to read it before it was polished. Hopefully it will be an incentive for them to read it again to see the changes I’ve made. Hehe)
- A chance to read the sequel well before the general public can get their hands on it. (If your book doesn’t have a sequel then maybe you could do something like a signature sticker to put in their book if/when they purchase it. This will give them an added incentive to purchase a physical copy of your book too, score!)
- A special thank you shout-out on my blog. (I will be posting this as a “sticky-note” on my blog so it will be at the top of all my other posts whenever anyone visits my site for a long time to come.)
- Access to a private/closed Facebook group just for my Lts. (This will give them personal access to me that others don’t have. It will also be a place to keep lines of communication open and keep the energy level up. Here, I will be offering special giveaways and content to my Lts. that no one else will have, as a thank you to them for all they have done and will do.)
- I’ll be doing a giftcard giveaway drawing as part of the book launch. Everyone who fills out a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads will get an entry into the drawing for a $50 Amazon giftcard. If they do a review on both sites, they will get two entries. If they do a blog post about the book during the first week of the launch, they will get an extra entry for that as well. (I will be opening this giveaway to anyone who emails proof of their review but I won’t require my Lts. to show proof, I will be taking their word for it if they tell me they did it.)
- If they recruit a friend to join my Lts. they will get an extra TWO entries, into my giveaway, for that.
Now that I’ve mentioned all the amazing things I’m going to offer to those who join my Launch Team, let’s talk about what I will expect from said team. The more clearly you define the role you wish your team to play, the better results you will see. So I have laid out a few (hopefully) easy tasks I would like for them to accomplish.
- Read my book. (Remember, I’m giving them a free PDF version of the book some authors might ask that their Launch Teams purchase the book but as my own personal preference, I will be supplying an electronic version of the book. I still encourage them to buy a physical copy and I might use a signature sticker and maybe a bookmark as an incentive to do so, but I won’t force them to buy it in order to complete the rest of the tasks. *Be sure to put a disclaimer on there that the file you send them may not be shared or distributed to anyone else without the author’s express permission. You know the lawyer in me needed to tell you that.)
- Blog about or promote the book to friends, family, acquaintances on social media and/or in person, recommending my book in as an enthusiastic a manner as they can muster. (You will want to suggest they do this on the date of my book launch and especially during that first week. That’s when you have the best chance to get on some best-seller lists which helps future sales.)
- Write a review for the book on Amazon and/or Goodreads.
- And help shape the launch and how the book is promoted by working with me and my other Lts. to brainstorm ways to get the word out about my book.
Notice that the number of my expectations is less than the number of perks. This is intentional and this guideline should be followed if you choose to do a LT. In fact I will continue to try to come up with more perks that I can give to my Lts. because they absolutely deserve it. You want to make their decision to join your Team a no-brainer.
I will also keep my expectations in check and I will remember that life happens. People will sign up to be on your Launch Team and not all of them will be able to live up to the expectations you have for them. It will happen. But be cool baby, it will all be alright. Just let it make you all the more thankful for the people on your team who are meeting (and even exceeding) the hopes and dreams you have for them.
Writers are the creators of superheroes that readers look up to. The people who support the author in their time of need are the superheroes writers look up to. If you would like to be one of my superheroes, you can sign up to be a Maladroit Lt. by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be sure to get you your cape and other necessary superhero gear.
Until we meet again.