Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Failure to Launch...your book by Diana Flegal

I spoke with a publisher the other day about the disappointing sales of a few titles recently released. He used an analogy as an example of what went wrong and gave me permission to share it with our readers here.

At the starting line of the Boston Marathon, everyone is fully committed to running the race with the hopes of finishing, but eventually only a fraction remain and one wins. Their intentions were good yet for one reason or another, they didn't finish. The serious runner builds his or her endurance by running smaller courses throughout the year, works out in the gym and eats a special diet. That days race began months or years before.
So many authors picture their book launch as a 'sprint' when instead it is a marathon. They celebrate their books sale by telling their family and friends and set to work on their editing process.They piddle around with social media, start and stop blogging, open a Goodreads account but fail to add friends. They mean to begin the preparation for their books launch, but keep putting it off until later.

Later never arrives and when their book is released, it makes a tiny splash, then sinks.

Their book failed to launch.

And down the drain goes all their hopes and dreams.

What happened? Wishing your book were a New York times bestseller will not make it one. Hoping alone doesn't produce results. It takes a focused plan and lots of hard work and then you have to do it all over again and again, month after month. 

Launching a book begins 6 months to a year before your book hits the virtual shelf. And the best way to do that is to make genuine connections with readers of your genre through social media outlets. FB, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads are key. Blog once a week and write articles for magazines.

Maintaining a steady and consistent online presence is vital but be genuine about it.
Do not SPAM your followers.

Condition yourself and soon you will find social media can be done effectively with minimal time and the bonus of making real life long friends.

Let this be the nudge or kick in the pants you needed. Get started and ready, set, LAUNCH!


Anonymous said...

Hi Diana, You say "Launching a book begins 6 months to a year before your book hits the virtual shelf." How true and the first thing I'd do over if I had the chance is set everything up early. The learning curve on social media is steep - it took me four tries to Pin something the way I wanted it on Pinterest this morning (I thought I'd wait till I had something to post about - a book - before setting anything up). It took about 6 months to really get things up and running and only then did I see some sales. Especially you fellow old guys - learn from my mistake and AT LEAST set up the mechanisms of social media way before your contract and launch. Then build on that.
Max Lewis

Rick Barry said...

Good suggestions, Diana. Right now I'm reading a book on book marketing, although it is slanted more toward non-fiction rather than novels. Do you--or anyone else reading this--have a particularly helpful book to suggest on marketing novels. (Yes, I realize there are many out there, but rather than reading all of them to find the best ones, I'd like to hear people's recommendations.)

Diana said...

Rick, the book I am recommending the most is Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World by Kristen Lamb. It seems to be the most practical.

Rick Barry said...

Thanks, Diana! I will order a copy.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Excellent advice, Diana. I would especially stress the importance of building that base before self-publishing. It's easy to throw a self-published book out without getting all your ducks in a row (reviews ready to go from early readers on Amazon, guest blogposts, etc), but things will fizzle fast if you don't have a long-term strategy in mind. The nice thing about self-published books is that we do have the freedom to market them as long as we want, so it doesn't all have to happen immediately at launch. It can be an extended effort, even as we write our next books and get those ready to go.

Diana said...

Heather, yes, very good point. :-)