Sometimes authors get tunnel vision. They (understandably) only concentrate on getting their book written. And while I’m not saying that’s unimportant, it’s a bit mad to write a book and expect everyone to immediately flock to it. You need to put in the groundwork to make your book a success. This is true especially if you’re planning to self-publish: since you’re responsible for your own book marketing, you want to ensure that your book reaches the right eyes on (and after) release day. To this end, a successful book launch is all about generating book sales and book reviews with different retailers over the first few weeks. Luckily, there are plenty of ways for you to achieve this.
Part 1: How to Generate Book Reviews Pre-Release
Here’s a quandary many indie authors run into: book reviews are generally a result of people buying and reading the book. How can you get them before you publish your book?
Enter the independent book blogger, who’s going to be your new best friend. Plenty of them are open to reviewing indie books nowadays, too.
Let’s first get a common perception out of the way: this isn’t a waiting game. Instead, reviews are earned through persistence and research. So if you’re ready to jumpstart your book review campaign, follow these steps.
- First, set down your author goals. How many reviews do you want by the time you release your book? Book bloggers need time to read the book and write the review. Usually, you want to start prepping 4-6 weeks before your release date.
- Locate indie book bloggers who review books in your genre. To save you a couple days (or weeks) of research, our team at Reedsy HQ created a vetted directory of the best book review blogs. Take advantage of its nifty filters! Its metadata-rich entries allow you to sort through indie-friendly book review blogs by genre, traffic size, and domain authority.
- Once you’ve secured people who’ve agreed to review your book, send out your advance review copies (ARCs). Since every blog’s got its own set of submission rules, you should take care. Some blogs are open to digital ARCs, while others may only want to read physical copies. Take note of their preferences before mailing them the ARC.
- Keep track of your book reviews and progress on a spreadsheet.
Now that you’ve gotten your reviews, we’re nearing release day, which takes us to...
Part 2: How to Generate Book Sales at Release
So, now that you’ve published your book and secured your book reviews, you can sit back, pour yourself a glass of wine, and wait for the sales to start pouring in, right?
Wrong. Having reviews on a book's page only means people are more likely to purchase it. You need people to find your book first, which is where price promotions come in. The idea behind a price promotion is to attract new readers’ attention (and get even more reviews) by putting your book on sale. For example, if I were to use a price promotion, I’d discount my book to $0.99 cents—or I’d make it free.
At this point, the big question that an author will run into is: “How do I publicize my price promotion?”
Enter the book promotion service. This sort of service (you might already know Bookbub) boasts massive newsletters. And these readers all signed up to find exactly what you’re selling: a good cheap or free read.
Getting your book featured on a book promotion site gets the ball rolling on your sales and downloads. Be careful to avoid the scam services who only want your money. To find reputable book promotion sites in the industry, use our vetted Book Promo Sites directory. The tier system gives you an idea of a site’s reputation in the writing community.
Launching a book isn’t a cakewalk. If thinking about it makes you dizzy, you can get a professional book marketer. Otherwise, follow the above tips to ensure a successful release day. It’s worth it—especially when you start acquiring all those new fans.