Book Success Recipe

Have you ever made chili but didn’t add enough chili powder? It might have tasted okay, but it wasn’t, you know, chili. Creating a book is similar in that the ingredients are all necessary, and they must work together in order to achieve the final dish (book) that you want. A successful book is equal parts strong manuscript, professional editing and design, and appropriate marketing plan.

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Ebook Launch Recap Part II: Launch

Did you miss Part I: Writing? If so, check it out here.

While the manuscript was with the editor, and then with the designer, I kicked marketing into gear. I signed up for Angela Ford’s How to Plan a Book Launch course since this is something I haven’t done before. (I have published two other books, both traditionally and both more than 10 years ago, which meant my publisher handled marketing and promo, not to mention 10 years is a lifetime when it comes to marketing and promo.) From working in the publishing world for about 20 years, I felt pretty confident that I knew the basics, but I didn’t want to forget to do something obvious. (How embarrassing would that be?!)

To put together my plan, I started with the budget. I didn’t mind spending money but I wanted to be strategic about it since I see the book as a long-term source of income. Sure, there will be more sales during the initial launch than will drip in (aside from during future periods of promo), but this is a marathon in my mind, not a sprint. I’ll highlight a couple things I did here. | Jodi Brandon Editorial

To put together my plan, I started with the budget. I didn’t mind spending money but I wanted to be strategic about it since I see the book as a long-term source of income. Sure, there will be more sales during the initial launch than will drip in (aside from during future periods of promo), but this is a marathon in my mind, not a sprint. I’ll highlight a couple things I did here.

I started with Facebook ads. My wonderful VA handled the testing of two different Facebook ads so that we could use the better-performing ad during launch. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed in the results. Because it’s so hard to know what the issue was (the book? The image in the ad? Who knows?), I’m not going to drive myself batty trying to figure it out.

I also have a book sales page, which will remain active so that visitors to my website can learn about the book. It includes a look at the table of contents, reviews, a link to purchase, and more. The more detailed you can make this page, the better, in my opinion. I also have my photo, my bio, and information about the book.

For “free’ advertising, I did a countdown on social media with a cute countdown graphic coupled with pull quotes from the book text. These were well received and I would do them again.

All the while, I was lining up launch ambassadors, folks who would help me share the news of the launch with their own audiences. In the end, I had 43 people who had at some point offered to share the news of the book when the launch came. To make their “job” easier (always important when someone is doing you a favor!), I created copy and graphics that they could use and asked them to share it on whichever medium(s) they preferred. Some people used my copy, some added to it, and some created their own. I am 100% confident the book would not have launched as strongly without these ladies and their generosity.

Launch day itself was, as you know if you’ve ever launched a course or product before, exhausting and a blur. I had A LOT of support from my launch ambassadors, from my friends, and from the creative community in general. (In fact, it was a bit overwhelming and my husband could not understand why I ended the day in happy tears!) My only snafu, honestly, was an issue with Amazon that caused the paperback to not be available on launch day (even though it was there the day before!), but in the grand scheme of things, so what? The book still launched, most people bought an ebook rather than waiting for a paperback, and now the book is out there in the world. At the end of the day, I’m calling the day a success.


Have you ever launched a book? What’s your best book launch tip? I’m taking notes. You never know, I might write another book someday.

7 Ways to Market Your Book and Reach a New Audience

I’m thrilled to include a guest post this week from Angela J. Ford, marketing and book launch specialist. Angela is an author who’s followed these strategies, and she knows her stuff. I’m so glad she offered to share these book marketing tips with us! Her new course, "How to Plan a Book Launch," is worth a look if you’re launching a book soon (like I am!). 

Congratulations - you published a book! Now that the excitement is dying away, it’s time to focus on marketing it and keeping the book buzz strong. The question is, what should you be doing to spread the word about your book?

Now, writing may be your strong suit, and it’s likely marketing isn’t. No worries, here are the steps you can take to ensure you’re marketing your book every single day, and still reaching a new audience. Because let’s face it, your family and your best friends have already heard about your book a zillion times, you want to reach people who haven’t heard about your book, well, like, ever!

Go on a Blog Tour

What’s a blog tour? It’s like a virtual book tour where several book bloggers write about and promote your book. While there are some sites that offer blog tours, you can also do all the research and planning yourself. In fact, you could get more quality readers if you do plan it yourself. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Make a list of all the sites you’d like to promote your book or do a guest blog post about your work.
  • Contact the blogger with your pitch and the date you’d like the blog post to go live.
  • Offer to do a giveaway or provide them a free copy of the book if you’d like them to read and review it.
  • Offer to do a guest blog about the book or a character interview so they simply have to post it, instead of doing all the work. 

After the release of my novel I went on a month-long blog tour. This helped keep the book buzz strong because others were constantly talking about my book, the search engine optimization was fantastic, and my sales rank on Amazon stayed high because people were constantly checking it out. 

Make the Ebook Free and Promote it on Freebooksy

“Wait a second, a free book giveaway? Excuse me, I’m trying to make money over here!” 

I know. I know. But hear me out. 

I did a free book promotion that resulted in 30 sales, plus I made back the $100 I spent on promoting it. Here’s why you should do this -

When you make your book free on Amazon, you immediately get all the people who hunt for sales and deals, downloading your book. Yep, you get all the cheapos. But you also get the people who haven’t heard of your book, are seeing it for the first time and are genuinely interested in it. 

When you pay a company like Freebooksy to promote your free ebook for you, they shoot a message out to their massive email list. You should see downloads like crazy, which helps your sales rank and your book’s visibility. Then, when your book isn’t free anymore, since you gave it a boost, people will still buy it. 

Other sites that promote your free ebook for a cost include:
Riffle Books

Set up a Giveaway on Goodreads

As a reader, Goodreads is one of my favorite sites. If there’s a book to be read, it’s on my Goodreads list. There’s a dedicated fan base of readers and authors on Goodreads, and if you haven’t done so already, create your author profile and claim your books. From there, you can take your paperback and create a Goodreads Giveaway. 

So far I’ve done two giveaways, and each time over 700 people entered the giveaway. It introduces your book to a new audience and often times they add the book to their reading list as well. Could you stand to reach an additional 700 people? 

Join a Facebook Group Dedicated to Readers 

The goal of social media is to build relationships with others, which is why you need to be intentional about what you do on social media. It doesn’t have to be a huge time waster. In fact, if you need to, set a timer and dive in for 15 minutes, twice a day. Here are a few things to keep in mind when joining a Facebook group for authors and readers - 

  • Make sure people in the group are actually engaged. You can tell when a great is essentially dead because there will only be one or two people posting and carrying the conversation. 
  • The group has weekly or daily themes that encourage support, promos, and sharing each other’s work. Awesome groups have themes. Whether it’s Writing Wednesday or Promo Friday, themes help you know when to promote your book, or just be supportive and keep others accountable. 

Don’t Leave the House Without Book Swag

Recently I was at the bar with one of my business besties, taking a break from the hustle to have girl talk. A party came in and sat down next to us, and we ended up chatting about work, life, and what we did for fun. When I told them I write fantasy novels, they asked where they could find it. I whipped out my bookmarks and passed them out. As a result, one guy even bought the paperback version of my novel from Amazon while I was sitting right there! 

A book sale is a book sale, so make sure you always carry something you can hand out to others. Bookmarks, like business cards, are easy to carry and easy to hand out. I recommend including the name of the book, website, and maybe even a review or two if you have the space. 

Set up an Interactive Quiz or Game on Your Website

Ever found yourself on BuzzFeed for hours, taking quizzes and discovering which Disney character you’re most like? (If you haven’t discovered BuzzFeed yet, I apologize in advance.) Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you can still put together a quiz to give readers a preview of what they can find in the book. 

During the release of my novel, The Five Warriors, I put together a brief quiz: Which of The Five Warriors are you? People took it and shared their answer on social media. It is also a fun way to keep people engaged during virtual book events. 

Need a tool to help you create quizzes? Check out Qzzr.

Join Local Author Groups and Get Involved in Their Events

I currently reside in Nashville, Tennessee, and in spring 2016, I was able to read a selection from my novel out loud at Barnes and Noble. As an indie author, that was a fantastic achievement. How did that happen? 

Have you heard of It’s a site to connect locals with each other so they can connect and do what they do best. I joined the writer’s meetup and started attending their bi-weekly and monthly events. This gave me the opportunity to meet other local authors and take advantage of the events the group put on in the Nashville community. 

What happens in your local community? If there isn’t a scheduled Meetup, go to your local bookstores or library and take a look at the upcoming events. Go to them, get involved, and meet people who can help share your book with a new audience!

What tips will you use to help your book reach a new audience? 

About the Author


Angela J. Ford is the author of the The Four Worlds Series and a digital marketing strategist. She’s passionate about helping authors and bloggers do more work they love by helping them with marketing. You’re most likely to find her with her nose in a book and a cup of coffee in hand.

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