The Most Effective Habits to Give You Momentum for Launching Your Book
Episode #4 of the course How to begin (and maintain) your career as a writer by John Robin
I mentioned yesterday that connecting with readers is something you should be doing long before publication. Today, I’m going to explore that further as we talk about building momentum.
Network with Authors
As you connect with other authors, be supportive and recommend their books. Many will return the favor and recommend your book to their readers if you ask them to. You can recommend their books on social media or on your blog. Think of any way you can begin developing a collaborative relationship with them, because there’s true power in this kind of networking!
You might connect with other people who might help with your book. These might be hosts or owners of an online hub—a high-traffic blog or popular podcast, for example. They are often called “influencers.”
Though you can approach anyone to ask for their support, you’re most likely to succeed if you offer something helpful to their hub. For instance, if you write about revision techniques for writers, you might approach a revision tips podcast and offer to share some of your strategies in an interview.
Connect with Reviewers Early
Reviewers are people who are willing to review and recommend your book. The best way to find them is to go through the reviews of similar books on Goodreads. You can also use Google to search for book reviewers of your genre. For example, “epic fantasy book reviewers” if you write epic fantasy.
Reviewers are very important to instill confidence in your book, and the good news is you can get reviews well before publication. Schedule your publication so that you have a window between when it is ready to be published and the actual publication date. This allows you to deliver an “advanced review copy” (called an ARC) to reviewers whom you approach ahead of time. They will then publish their review of your book on launch day to help you gain momentum.
It’s good practice to follow up with them on publication day. You can do this with an email thanking them for reviewing your book ahead of time and their willingness to share it. This serves both as an indirect reminder (since reviewers do get busy) and an expression of gratitude that fosters future positive interaction. Forming strong relationships with reviewers is just as important as forming strong relationships with readers!
The publishing process can be overwhelming. The best habit to develop is maintaining clear boundaries about what you will or will not be doing to build momentum leading up to your book launch. While you might want to approach 200 reviewers and bloggers, is this realistic? While you might want to connect with 10 new potential readers a day on Twitter, is this going to burn you out?
Set boundaries and expectations that allow you to maintain and grow over time. For example, try connecting with a certain number of reviewers and bloggers on a weekly basis instead of daily, since this allows you flexibility. And remember, these are goals, not hard set recipes.
Weigh your results against your expectations and adjust. If you set out to connect with 15 reviewers per week, but find you consistently connect with 3-5, then adjust your goal to reflect this.
Consistency is also key. Try to define a habit of showing up regularly. Before you begin spreading the word about your upcoming book, sit down for some time and think about exactly what your author brand and message is. You want to be sure you’re using your time in the best way possible.
Gain momentum for your book launch early by defining your strategy, and set clear boundaries. Focus on networking with authors and other influencers, and be sure to get early copies of your book out to reviewers to give you an extra kickoff on launch week.
Tomorrow, we’ll address the next issue: creating balance amid all this chaos.
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