Friday, September 28, 2012

Promoting Book Launches in Stages by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Not only have e-books brought a whole new dimension to the publishing world, but now books can be released in stages. It used to be that a book was published in print, and that first print run was the first initial launch. You only got one chance to launch your book and that was it. Now things are changing and books are being released in stages, and so our book launches will need to reflect the same timing scale. 

For instance, there are several small publishers who might first release a book as an e-book, and later if the sales do well, they will release it as a print book. My first two books were released as print, then e-books, and most recently as audio books through iTunes. With these changes, we need to begin thinking differently about our promotional strategies.

Those who are clinging to traditional promotional strategies that were strong when print books were King in the market will soon find themselves behind the times and losing ground, if they aren't already experiencing it.  Don't get me wrong, traditional promotion will always be necessary and prominent, but it will come to hold a different place in the scheme of things. 

A perfect example of this is traditional book tours where authors host book signings versus online book tours. More authors are hosting online book tours, Facebook and Twitter parties, blog scavenger hunts, and video conferencing. They are cutting back on the expense of traveling around to physical book stores, readings excerpts, and signing books. Online book stores are easier on both the author and the readers. 

It can be attended right from the comfort of their home, doesn't require expensive lodging, flights or gas mileage. The online attendance is often much better than a physical book store because readers are also in the comfort of their home where their children can continue to play, spouses can take over a other duties for dinner and baby sit while readers take a few moments to participate in the online book launch party. It isn't necessary for them to get the kids dressed, miss a church or school PTA function, and drag themselves across town or to the nearest town with a book store. 

It's perfectly acceptable for the author to plan an e-book launch, then when the book comes out in print, plan  a traditional book launch. If you know the dates ahead of time you can create a book launch campaign that includes these various stages. In my case I had no idea my book was about to come out on iTunes. My publisher sent an email out on the loop. In that case, I couldn't pre-plan so I simply tweeted and posted the news on Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. 

My advice is to begin planning as soon as you can, jot down some ideas, do some research on cost, timing and the logistics on carrying out the plan. Form a realistic budget and stick to it. Be reasonable about the amount of time and energy you will be able to devote to it. If you need to hire a publicist to do a few things that you cannot do yourself or you don't have time to do, create a plan for what you CAN do and a different plan for what you expect your publicist to do. Then research publicists, talk to a few and find someone that you feel comfortable doing business with. 

Remember, think of your book launch campaign as something that will happen in stages. Times have changed.


Heather Day Gilbert said...

Very interesting, Jennifer. I've seen some authors doing blog tours and I can imagine it's a more realistic method of reaching the greatest number of people for the least cost. Still, I love those small-bookstore signings.

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Authors are still doing both, but are being more selective at stores that are closer to home or located some place where they are already going to be for other activities.

Most of my book signings are in my home state of NC, and some SC, VA or GA stores.