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We live in an amazing digital age where everyone has the opportunity to share their creativity and potentially turn it into a career. There are less and less gatekeepers and barriers in the way of you getting your story to your fans. With that being said, a book will only succeed if you put the right marketing tools in place and find as many opportunities to use them as possible.
So let’s look at what you need to do 60–90 days before your book is launched, and then what you need to do for the 30 days after your book has launched (and thereafter).
Is this even possible to do in 60 days? Absolutely. If your book won’t be released for more than 60 days, you should still jump in and start promoting it and growing your influence as an author and creator as soon as possible.Start Growing Your Social Media Following
If you don’t use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Youtube, then you need to start using them immediately. This is how you grow your fan base and create a following for your book. Start adding friends and family to your page, but also start being part of communities that have similar content as your book. For example: if your book is a Regency romance, then you should join groups and communities on social media that like Regency romances. Don’t promote your book on every post. Just engage in and with the community. Talk about the love you have for your genre and the books that fall into that category.
A great tactic is to be the “host of the party,” which is to say that you create a group that LOVES the genre of your book. We’ll use Regency romance as an example again. You could create a group on Facebook, Youtube, or a blog on your website where you consistently produce content and engage with fans and authors of Regency romance. You could do reviews of other Regency romance books, while also creating interesting conversation topics that engage with this community. Once your book is on the verge of launching, let people know about it, and start slowly promoting it while also engaging others in the community you’ve built. Choose something you love. This will take time to produce and to grow, but if you love doing it, then it won’t be drudgery.
For nonfiction, keep joining groups on Facebook, commenting on blogs, commenting on relevant videos, and finding ways to engage your audience through speaking and sharing your message. Become an influencer and expert in your subject and share that expertise and experience with your new friends.Spread the Word
Being an author isn’t just about writing a book. It’s also SELLING your book. Selling is storytelling! It’s who you are. Start talking about your book with EVERYONE! Talk about what makes you want to write and how you love to write. Don’t dive deep into how amazing your story is and overwhelm them with every plot point, but talk about the book’s most engaging hooks. This way people come to know you as an author, and they know that your story is interesting because of the short premise you’ve shared. Make it a natural part of your life. Start an email list and get contact info from people you talk with. Ask, “Hey, can I get your number or email so that when my book launches I can let you know?” This will be amazingly helpful when your book is launchedResearch News Media and Outlets
Friends, family, and the others you’ve gathered on social media won’t be enough to grow the audience you want. You’ll need to tap into other people’s audiences. Try to get your book onto local news and radio shows. Start researching social media influencers who will be able to review your book and showcase it. Their reach will greatly help you in tapping into their community.
That being said, don’t go in and just ask them for a review out of nowhere. That is unprofessional and will likely be ineffective. Start engaging in the community. Start popping into their notifications. If you direct message them, start with complimenting them on the content they are producing. At this point, you aren’t a salesperson; you are a fan. After a month or so of being an active community member, try addressing the fact that you are an author as well. But once again, you’re not there to sell, you’re there to engage and be part of the community. If they choose to review your work, be sure to thank them and offer some form of return favor (even if your audience is still small)Assemble Your Review Crew
When your book comes out, you’ll want it ranked on Goodreads and Amazon. To do this, you’ll need to assemble a review crew. We recommend getting 20–40 people to dedicate themselves to buying on Amazon and afterward leaving a review for the product within the first two weeks of launch. To leave a review on Amazon, they must have bought your book on Amazon. Goodreads and Google Books do not necessitate purchase, but they also do not affect your Amazon ranking.
Please talk with the Cedar Fort marketing team to give you a discount code for sales on cedarfort.com (our website) for your friends and family who want to purchase your book at a discount (and are uninterested in writing a review on Amazon). You should aim to garner 80–100 preorders on cedarfort.com from your efforts. It would be wise to begin sharing your code with people two or so months beforehand to accomplish this. The length of time the discount code stays active is flexible but usually ends a couple of weeks after launch, so work with the marketing team to strategize on how long your code should last.Contact News Media Outlets and Influencers
Remember all of the influencers and communities that you researched in step 3? Now it’s time to enlist their aid. When your book is coming out in 4–8 weeks, remembering the etiquette we mentioned above, contact these outlets, set up interviews on podcasts, and get influencers and bloggers to post about you. Also let us know at Cedar Fort what places you schedule so we can give each outlet their own unique promo code for preorders on our website as well as launch orders. If you can’t get them to promote during the prerelease, then try to schedule as soon after the book launch as possible. If you’re waiting on copies of your book, you can bring printed pages of your cover or a selection of pages. Don’t wait to let people know your book is coming!Create Author Pages on Amazon and Goodreads
Just before your book officially launches, it’s time to connect who you are with the book that is going to be launched. This is crucial to your success. Remember, being an author is a lifestyle for you now. You are an author with an incredible book. Sell yourself and you will sell your book. Nowadays, people often buy a book based on their feelings about the author, not necessarily about the book’s subject matter or contents. Use this mentality as a strength in your marketing tactics. That’s why you have been doing the steps beforehand to increase your online personality and why you must continue once your book has launched. People often buy your book because of your influence, and then when they read it, they realize how great it is.Mobilize Your Review Crew
Have everyone ready to buy your book and leave a review the moment it’s launched. This will look great on Amazon. Remember—reviews will be removed if the reviewer did not buy the book on Amazon.
Similarly, start posting more on social media. A couple of weeks before, create a Facebook Book Launch event and invite ALL of your friends! Around 30 days before launch, a marketer will give you a link to your book and a promo code to share with your friends and family. Share this immediately! Give them the special promo code that they can use on cedarfort.com to get a discount. The first two weeks of your book being launched is crucial to its success, as well as is the next 30 days. The work doesn’t end here.
The first 14 days of your book launching is crucial to its continued success.Your Book Has Launched
It is hoped that your review team came through on Amazon and your friends and family have used the codes you provided to buy the books on our website. If they haven’t yet, remind them kindly. This is a favor they are doing for you, not an obligation. Also let people know on Facebook and Instagram that your book has gone live. Do a live video on Facebook and get your face behind the camera to let everyone know your book is here!Share Cedar Fort Content
We have carefully crafted personalized content just for you. Please share it with your friends.Continue Sharing Your Story
Continue to actively engage in the communities that you are a part of. Let them know your book has launched and that there is a promo code for them to use to get a discount on the book. Continue to schedule podcasts, radio interviews, and other social media influencers’ pages. Constantly be reaching out to more and more spaces to get your book in front of more eyes and into more hands. Do speaking engagements or readings when possible, and call bookstores and schedule book signings.
You may even consider holding a book launch party. The first 14 days of your book launching needs to be special. You did all of this work, and it’s time to celebrate. You may also consider a giveaway using some of your author copies. Whatever you do, be sure to capture photos and memories to create amazing content on social media. This way, every effort has the added benefit of highlighting how awesome your book is to your fans, friends, and family who weren’t there to see it live.
30 Days After Launch
It’s been two weeks since your book launched. What now? If you feel there is fire still to be stoked, then continue to stoke it. Continue to promote your book, schedule speaking engagements, get on podcasts and influencer posts, and continue to drive traffic to the website for people to buy your book. Similarly, continue building your own personal brand and community.
If you followed step 2 of the Prelaunch Plan in its entirety, then you should have a small community that you’ve built around the particular genre of your book, or just books in general. Continue to engage in this community and build it. Be a spokesperson and a leader to help others learn about other authors’ books. Remember, you need to be the “host of the party” if you want to be a long-term author and continually grow your success.
Continue to be interesting and contribute to your community. This will engage and build your audience. Being an author is a lifestyle not just a job. Don’t forget to do what you love and keep writing.
Try new things! Also, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help you out!
Now that your book is in the process of publication, it’s time to set up a presence on Amazon. Putting together your account will provide the readers with another way (apart from your author’s website) to get information on you as well as your book.
Amazon will allow you to choose two categories and seven keywords to help place your book where you think is most relevant and marketable for its success.
Just as important as knowing your audience, your audience needs to know you. Goodreads and Amazon Author Central are some of your strongest tools to accomplish that. Goodreads was created to bridge the gap between authors and readers to give them a space where they can come together to talk about their favorite books and genres and liberally share their insights. Author Central was created for your audience to truly get to know you and attach your personality to your book.
The following suggestions are strategies for engaging that community meaningfully.
Set up a profile with Author Central on Amazon. Get started here: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help, but then consider getting best tips and practices from Google searches like “how to optimize author central,” “best practices for author central,” or “tips to improve your author central page.” Author Central was created to promote you as an author and connect people to your other books. It can be used to add or fix your bio, photos, and videos; link a blog; and announce your upcoming events.
Click "Help" on the Author Central page to go through everything step by step.
Keywords and categories are important. Amazon edits them to make sure they are relevant to your product, so be specific and on topic with your selections.
The Amazon team spends advertising dollars on keyword searches to help other categories pick up your book. This is a service for authors that publish with us at no cost to you, but is under our sole discretion. Occasionally the Amazon team will reach out for more information or clarification, but they mostly operate behind the scenes without your involvement.
Learn about Goodreads Author Profile, Author Dashboard, and Widgets here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/how_to. This link will also be useful for other strategies you might consider, including giveaways.
Whenever someone purchases your book on Amazon, your book’s ranking will jump up into the hundred thousands, but if the book’s sales are inconsistent, its rank will usually fall back into the millions. Continuing to promote book purchases and receiving verified purchase reviews helps raise your ranking for the long run.
Family and friends should be people who want to invest in your success. Getting at least twenty people to buy and review your book on Amazon will give it a much bigger jump-start.
If you choose to use a free book promo, it should be for at least twenty people who are not friends and family and will volunteer to give a review in exchange for a free book.
This should be accomplished by reaching out personally to specific people and not through random social media shout-outs. If possible, choose people who are likely to talk about your book or post about it outside of their Amazon review and will follow through on writing the review they promised. Finding forums that revolve around your book’s genre on Goodreads is an excellent space to find these people. The Community Dropdown offers several groups and places of discussion that you can get involved in. Most of these people are already active readers and love to jump on the opportunity for a free book. Beyond simply getting people to read your book and give honest reviews, it also allows for a follow-up discussion to get better insights.
*Please be aware that though reaching people outside of your circle is effective and important, there will be people who may simply not enjoy your book. Remember that though your book is important to you and Cedar Fort, not everyone will see the vision we do. Don’t let that stop you from getting involved! Many of these criticisms can open up book opportunities for future titles, as well as collectively and appropriately give you a chance to get more insight and context from their feedback. The top authors in the industry consistently get 5- and 1-star ratings and respect that not everyone will love their work. Also remember that your critics did read your book, so they might have had a spark of interest in the subject matter that maybe your book didn’t address that you now have the opportunity to address.