By Lee Constantine, Head of Growth at Publishizer
A book campaign that has potential to obtain thousands of preorders and capture the interest of major publishing imprints.
Creating this holy grail of a campaign is quite the simple task. Of course, the execution during launch is what takes a bit of strategy. More on that here.
Let’s get into it.
*Remember, the quality of your campaign says a lot about the quality of the book.
Step 1: Create an author bio that shouts credibility
This section will impact sales greatly.
The media you’ve received and the reputation you’ve developed matters. It also determines what media you get.
Have you been featured in Inc. Magazine? Written for the Huffington Post? Founded a company? Been a bestselling author? Met Queen Elizabeth? Stayed in Richard Branson’s villa? Put that stuff at the top. People respond to those — in the form of book preorders.
Okay, now what?
Add your background, but keep everything short and to the point. People want to know about you, but not as much as you want to share it with them. When you start talking about your life’s mission and an anecdote from 2015, people move on.
- E.g. Jeremiah Gardner, The Lean Brand, published with Market By Numbers Press
Step 2: Hire a professional designer for your cover art
People judge your book by it’s cover. That’s a fact.
Authors have unique ideas and know how to articulate those ideas into compelling word structures. That’s a skill. Be proud of that. 99% of authors are not good at design. Be proud of that also.
Designers don’t go around claiming they can write a bestselling novel. They leave that to the authors. So leave design to those who can bring beauty and style to a cover that represents the importance and relevance of the words you wrote inside.
I’m a fan of 99designs.com. So is Tim Ferriss. They’ve grown a huge network of great book cover designers who produce simple and contemporary art for both fiction and nonfiction titles.
Spend a few hundred dollars here.
You’ll get heaps of quality options to choose from. This is very cheap compared to average price and given the increase in book sales a quality cover will bring you.
Not ready to spend a few hundred dollars on a book cover? Then you’re not ready to become a bestselling author.
- E.g. Stu Krieger, That One Cigarette, published with Harvard Square Editions
Step 3: Record a short intro video or book trailer
This is much easier than authors make it out to be.
I’ve seen hundreds of these in action and I’ll tell you what makes them effective: personality.
60 seconds in front of a camera is all you need. Here is a script plus examples.
As long as you hit the right talking points you’ll increase preorders: what is the book about, why did you write it, why should your readers read it. And then ask them to support you and make a preorder. Short and sweet wins the day.
The most important part of any book trailer is your [the author’s] face. It inspires trust and makes a personal connection from anywhere in the world.
- E.g. Kasper van der Muelen, Mindlift, published with Lifestyle Entrepreneur’s Press
Step 4: Write a compelling book proposal
Your proposal needs to create an instant and constant connection.
Let readers (and publishers) know what to expect. They want to know where this book will take them and what kind of journey they’ll have — without spoiling all the good stuff.
There are five key sections that acquiring editors at major imprints want to see: the overview, the outline, the audience, promotions and competition. Make each section at least 200 words (that’s 1,000 words total) and go deep, especially in the audience section.
This is your duty as an author, to discover and pitch a well-rounded proposal.
Here is a step-by-step guide.
- E.g. Ayelet Baron, Our Journey to Business Common Sense, published with Param Media
Step 5: Decide on book price and then add value
Think of your preorder campaign as a means to an end.
That end goal is to land a major publisher — who will then scale your book to the masses. The funds you get are just a bonus. Which means this is not like putting your book on Amazon and seeing how well it sells.
Ideally, you want to hit a niche market.
And before you hit those readers, you’re going to sell to your immediate network. And then your extended network. And then, if you land a speaking gig, or get a guest spot on a popular podcast, or get shared on a relevant blog, then you’re just starting to touch that niche market.
So think about what bonuses, or value add, you can sell to your immediate network with greatest effect. The more copies you can presell with only one or two buyers the better.
i.e. Workshops for corporates and startups, keynote speaking, coaching sessions, friendship packages, retreat packages with 50+ copies of your book attached.
Here’s more on pricing your book.
- E.g. Sangeet Paul, Platform Scale, published with W.W. Norton & Company
Fun fact: Guy Vincent once used the term Amazeballs to describe an author’s book campaign and it became the reason I joined his lit agency.