After Your Book is on the Market
The final phase, “post-publication,” might also be known as liftoff, because your book is now officially launched and ready to soar. It is an exciting time, so make the most of it. As mentioned previously, successful marketing is the result of continuous effort, so there’s no pressure to do everything at once. This is why you have already established your goals, budget and schedule—to help you stay focused over time.
This is by no means a complete list, but it is a great starting point of actions you can take to raise awareness, build your platform and attract the following of readers and fans you want. Hold your book launch event.
Congratulations! You are a published author. It’s time to celebrate. In fact, this is one of the most important things to do once your book is live. It is a great way to recognize your hard work and share the joy of becoming a published author.
Schedule other events.
You laid the groundwork in the previous phase. Now follow through and finalize a calendar of events where you can promote your book and sign copies. Don’t just think locally. As you travel, plan ahead and look for bookstores or venues that might be interested in having you sign your book. Also, if you are part of a church, synagogue or other organization, consider asking the leadership if there are any other potential speaking opportunities.
It is critical that you communicate with your audience directly at these events. This will give you the opportunity to learn what they did and didn’t enjoy about your book, what parts of your book are resonating most with people, and other bits of information that can prove useful.
Beyond readings, book signings and speaking engagements, you can attend trade shows, festivals and workshops. Some of these events draw large crowds, giving you the opportunity to gain credibility, promote your book and your name, and possibly even make direct sales. Events where other authors and publishing professionals, such as editors, agents and publicists, congregate also present great learning opportunities.
Pitch to local and online media outlets.
Contact local reporters at newspapers and broadcast media (radio and TV) to try to get your book featured. The easier you can make it for them to understand why you and your book are newsworthy, the better shot you have of being featured. This is where the media hook you developed in the previous phase will come into play.
Identify websites and bloggers that might be interested in your topic, and make a pitch to them as well. Many online media outlets include writers’ e-mail addresses along with their names, making it easier to reach the right people. National coverage may be one of your goals, but the best place to start is locally. That way you can build upon your local success.
“You are trying to build a relationship with potential readers, so as in any relationship, sporadic or infrequent contact is not a good thing.”
Commit to a social media schedule.
One of the keys to social media is being clear on who your audience is and what message you will deliver. It is also important to be consistent. You are trying to build a relationship with potential readers, so as in any relationship, sporadic or infrequent contact is not a good thing. Plus, the more quality content you share with your audience members, the more they will have to share with their friends and followers on your behalf.
If you have a blog (and you should), encourage reader interaction with your posts. Comments allow for feedback from readers, offering you the chance to learn what they liked and disliked about a certain post or even a certain section of your book. Paying close attention to what your followers say can help you further understand your target audience and potentially identify new opportunities to market to them.
Participation is also very important to successful use of social media. Engage in conversations to keep people interested in you and the content you’re sharing. To attract a loyal following, be responsive to people’s comments and questions; thank them for sharing your content and comment on their content; and share if it makes sense for your audience.
“Remember: talk with people, not at them.”
Evaluate and revise your plan.
Even the best-laid plans will not go exactly as you expected or hoped. Be willing to evaluate results and make adjustments.
If something is working well, try to find a way to expand your efforts in that area. If something didn’t work, adapt or try something entirely new. To accomplish your goals, make changes learned from experience.
It’s always a good idea to start your marketing efforts locally. As you learn what works best, you can adapt and improve your plan appropriately while you gradually expand your efforts into larger markets and nontraditional venues.