A Successful Book Launch
You want your book to be successful, to sell, and you know that a strong launch is one of the most important aspects of the whole process.
If a tree falls undetected, yes, it has still fallen – but if no one hears about it — or in your case about the book you spent the last year or two writing, then you’re in trouble.
Maybe you think your publisher will do all the marketing?
Well, they can definitely open doors, but they will only put the resources in if you have a decent platform they can leverage.
The Author Publicity Game
Chances are, whether you self-publish, or go the traditional route, you’re going to have to do your own marketing (whether you realise it or not).
When you’re strategising ways to create publicity for your book’s release, whether it’s self-published or you’ve gone the traditional route, finding your ‘hook’ makes marketing a lot easier, and – if it’s done well – a lot more more effective.
Your book’s hook is basically the answer to the all-important question:
Why should I read this book?
It’s the thing that engages the reader, makes them pick it up, take it to the counter, or click ‘buy’ online.
It’s also the talking point at your book launches, when you speak, and when you get your chance in the media spotlight.
Find Your ‘Hook’
Finding a hook is not always easy, and sometimes you’re too close to your content to see it.
So, we bring you five different ways you can find that hook, and get more success when you market your book.
1. Hook into a yearly promotional calendar
Each and every year, the same seasonal events, holidays and celebrations come round again and again.
And jumping onto the back of one of these is an easy way to find your promotional hook. Attach your book to something relevant to the seasons and you have your hook.
New Year, for example, is a great time for anything to do with self-improvement, diets, and lifestyle change. Your book is highly promotable at this time of year so take advantage of it, even if it’s been out for a few months.
In the lead-up to Christmas, however, you’ll do better with a coffee table book, or something that is ‘gift-able’; something that looks good in stores and online.
This calendar by Valerie Peterson, gives a rundown, month by month, of promotable events. Although it’s specific to North America, you can easily adapt it to the holidays and annual events in your country, or the country of your target audience quite easily.
2. Hook up to a current event
‘Newsjacking’, or the practice of injecting your brand and marketing into a current hot topic in order to both become part of the news, and generate more news, is a great way to find a hook.
It’s immediate, and you need to act fast, but it can generate a huge surge in attention (and hopefully sales).
Popularised by marketing strategist David Meerman Scott, Newsjacking can be a combination or one or more of real-time PR campaigns, social media, or content marketing. Anything where you can react at a moment’s notice.
The aim is to capitalise on the popularity of a news story or a current event immediately after it breaks. Comment, or add your own angles, information, or insights to get attention for what you have to say n the trending topic.
Recent inappropriate remarks about Women in Science by a leading UK scientist resulted in a huge twitter campaign. #distractinglysexy. If you’ve written a book on Women in Science, or Gender Relations in the Workplace, you could easily find yourself being interviewed on radio or TV, IF you get your tweets and your press releases out there quickly enough.
Of course, you can’t wait around for the perfect current event to find that hook for your book. But you can draw attention to your book and your brand by hijacking a completely unrelated event, and capitalising on it in a way that draws the attention back to you.
This is exactly what Oreo (the cookie company) did during the American Superbowl in 2013, in response to a power blackout.
Power out? No problem.
Attached to a graphic with the words:
You can still dunk in the dark.
The tweet was retweeted over 15,000 times and ‘favourited’ over 6000 times.
Not bad for a cookie.
3. Hook to a problem
A hook tactic that is the common practice of PR agencies and established personalities is to hook to a problem. Create a new problem, or draw attention to an existing problem – and then fix it with their solution.
Think about Jamie Oliver in his 30 Minute Meals, and 15 Minute Cookbook.
He created a whole brand around the problem that working families don’t have enough time to cook nutritious and healthy meals for their children.
He then fixed the problem, by publishing two cookbooks, and a series of TV shows, on how to cook quick, healthy meals.
A great hook — so long as it really does tie in to a problem that people care about.
If you’re not Jamie Oliver, though, creating a new problem is a bit of a gamble. So it’s usually better to hook your book onto a problem that already exists.
This could be anything.
Look out for issues that could relate to your book, no matter how tangential: health, working hours, education, etc, etc.
Whatever the topic of your book, try to link it to something that you know is a problem for someone. Heck, you might even have written about it — now just find a real-life person or event you can hook it to.
4. Hook Yourself
If you are identifiable as an expert in your field, then you become your book’s promotional hook.
This works in two ways.
- Firstly, your name itself might be promotable — if you are a known expert, then that is enough to hook an audience who wants to know more about your topic. You have no problem getting publicity when your book comes out.
- Alternatively, you can cultivate and promote other areas of expertise in the run-up to your book launch. You are then ‘hooking’ yourself to a broader market to sell your book.
Sound a little complicated?
This article by Marianne Richmond advises that you cultivate an expertise that is bigger than your book.
Not difficult for most of us in business, I hope.
You then use this broader expertise as a springboard to move into larger networks, speak at seminars, and connect with audiences whose interests go beyond the topic of your book.
What’s Your Hook?
All good marketing campaigns require a hook to capture attention and entice readers in, and the promotion and launch of your book is no different.
You don’t write in a vacuum, so why should you promote in one?
The world is full of issues, ideas, and events to hook your book to and make its launch as successful as it can be.
Choose one and go for it.
You might find this author publicity lark is not as complicated as you first thought.
Do you know anyone who might find these ideas useful? Why not forward to them, or share on social media?