By Lee Constantine
Here are some email ideas to get your book out there.
If you follow the advice below, it essentially boils down to empowering people and making it easy for them to contribute to a worthy cause. Not just your book, but also the purpose behind your book. Always try to empathize with other people. And take the time to say, “Thank you.” It goes a long way.
A few days before her book campaign, we walked an author through the process of creating groups of contacts in Gmail. She and her co-authors added all of their contacts to two groups — a group that was close and very familiar with each of them vs. a group that was less familiar or hadn’t heard of them directly. We wrote a sample email (see template below), though we really emphasized making the messages personalized.
Here are some tips for these emails:
Make it personal. These people are closest to you and, thus, to your book or company. They’re friends — so write to them like they are!
This is for friends, not press. If you send your preorder campaign to friends who are part of the press, make sure they know it’s the time to “break news” about your new book. You want press when your book campaign is actually live, but you also want to stir some buzz before that.
Encourage your recipients to spread the word. Make that ask explicitly — don’t be shy! You won’t get what you don’t ask for.
As a rule of thumb, assume the email will be forwarded, and craft your message accordingly.
Set up email signatures — with links back to the preorder campaign page and social channels — before emailing the world.
Consider appending a visual asset. We included a simple shot of the book cover with the subtitle and the pitch “Preorder your copy Nov 1 and get cool perks,” hoping to pique interest. Check out this free training to do this with Canva.
Title: “My Book is Coming!”
Friends and Family,
After months of writing, outlining and creating a proposal that will find tracition in the market, we are really excited to only be days away from launching my new book, Book Title.
You’re important to me and I wanted you to be the first to know about our plans for launch. We have just put up our preorder page, you can check it out at www.publishizer.com/book-title.
We go live in less than a week and I’ll be sure let you know when it’s live!
In the meantime, I’d love your help in spreading the word! Here’s how:
1) Go to our page publishizer.com/book-title
2) On the first page of the site, enter your email to join our perks mailing list
3) On the second page, refer friends using our handy Share buttons, which track which of our subscribers shares and how many times — and as a bonus you will get a free copy of our ebook and an exclusive invite to our launch party with some more free SWAG.
Thank you so much for all of your help and support. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it. Look forward to getting my new book in your hands and appreciate you telling the world!
All the best,
Hope you’re great and everything is going really well at [Company].
I wanted to drop you a quick note and let you know that we just put up prelaunch site for my new book, Book Title — check it out and sign up at publishizer.com/book-title. We plan to launch in less than a week. Super excited. Would love for you to pass the prelaunch site on to the [company] team and anyone else who you think might appreciate it.
Thanks for your help. You’re the best. Hope to see you soon.
Activating our networks to create buzz on Facebook, Twitter, and email, largely people who were close to us with large followings or access to companies that sent out blasts on our behalf had the biggest impact on book sales.
Create a group that’s solely about your book topic, or your book campaign, and invite all your friends. Not all your friends will like the page, but ones that do, you know are paying attention. You can now message each of them personally and ask them to preorder your book. Suggest a specific package that you think is right for them and the chances of them going through with it are high.
Telling people on Facebook that you have some ‘nice perks if you preorder’ isn’t enough. You need to be specific. And you need to personal message them.
And then follow up. And then follow up some more.
Activating relationships, especially bloggers and influencers who are friends or friends of friends has exponential impact — do you know at least one person who can make a strong introduction?
Someone recently asked us, “How did Natalie Sisson raised $8,000 and get 574 preorders in just 30 days?” Or “How Lydia Lee reached her goal so quickly, or how Stu Krieger got 250 in less than 10 days. Our answer: friends. The secret to our success was leveraging our personal networks. Our friends introduced us to bloggers and podcasters, who were the first to back their projects, and promoted them to their personal networks via email, social media, and word of mouth. Your friends are super heroes. Treat them as such.
The way to activate your network of friends is to give them a sense of ownership. Let them know they are part of the team. That way, they are working with you, rather than doing you favors.
Our group of co-authors were a launch team and included a full-time assistant, and an army of friends. Our network of friends had a strong sense of ownership because we engaged them months before their book on Publishizer launched. Here’s how.
Ask for (and listen to) your friends’ advice. We asked for feedback on everything from our book title, to our blurb, and even our bonuses.
Offer them “sneak peaks” that no one else gets. We showed our friends limited perks, pictures, proposal snippets, sample chapters, and our book video before we released them to the public.
Throw a launch party. Having a large group of people in one room, all excited about your project, creates a united energy you can’t create through emails, phone calls, or one-on-one meetings. Invite over 50 motivated and influential friends, show them your book video on Publishizer and make a speech telling them why you need their help and exactly what you need them to do. The people who attended our launch party ended up being our first backers and our most passionate evangelists.
Each of these three groups received a different email when we launched, which you can see here. The acquaintances received a mass email sent via our Google group. The influencers and in-the-know friends each received a personalized email, everyone was slightly different.
Personalized emails require much more time than one mass email, but we put in the extra hours to honor our friends and reinforce that they’re part of the team. One tool proved to be a huge time saver. TextExpander allows you to paste any saved message — whether it’s a phone number or a 2-page email — into any document or text field, simply by typing an abbreviation. For example, when I type “ppush”, a basic form of the email above appears with fields for me to fill in the name, in this case “Joe”. It’s a must have app that probably saved us 1–2 hours a day in typing.
One tool that we did not use, but should have, is Boomerang, a Gmail plug-in that allows you to schedule emails. We crafted emails to our influencers and in-the-know friends the day of our launch, using TextExpander, then slightly customized each one. What we should have done is write and save these personalized emails a few days before we launched. That way, we could have scheduled them to be automatically sent by Boomerang the second we launched. This would have freed up many valuable hours on launch day. You can schedule on MailChimp or another ESP, but it’s far from personal.