Wondering how to promote your book, achieve best-seller status, and reach your target audience? Would you like to know what’s working for others?
Spoiler alert: you need a book launch plan.
Book launch might seem like a time-consuming and energy-draining process. We also thought so until we followed Jenna Moreci on YouTube.
Jenna is a self-published author and a YouTube sensation. She has an informative and amusing YouTube channel where you can learn everything about self-publishing, book marketing, writing tips, creativity boosts, and so much more. Not to mention Jenna’s outstanding sense of humor, so if you want to laugh and learn, “Writing with Jenna Moreci” is the right place to go.
Besides, with a background in business, Jenna has turned her writing into a successful career. She is a best-selling author of dark fantasy and science fiction. The Savior’s Champion, her first novel in The Savior’s Series, was voted one of the Best Books of All Time by Book Depository. A second book of the series, The Savior’s Sister is coming soon and is already available for pre-order. Trust us: you don’t want to miss this!
Keep reading this interview and learn about book launch tips and strategies, book pre-sales marketing techniques, book marketing ideas, and book cover design.
Let’s get this show on the road.
Jenna, we’ve enjoyed watching your YouTube video “Does my Book Need a Pre-sale?”, where you talk about the pros and cons of running the pre-order book campaign. What are your favorite marketing techniques and strategies that you think are great for book pre-sales?
My absolute favorite marketing technique for a pre-sale is hosting a pre-sale giveaway. Pre-sales are a great sales strategy, but they’re also a hard sell. It’s not easy to convince readers to part with their cash for a book they won’t be able to read for another three to six months. Tack on a giveaway, however, and this completely changes. Sure, they’ve got to spend a little money now, but they’re paying for extra goodies: teaser chapters, signed merch, or the chance to win huge prize packages. Pre-sale giveaways definitely boost pre-orders, plus they’re super fun.
Another great tactic, particularly for those in the midst of a series, is incentivizing entry point. This means discounting your first book in the series in order to encourage new readers to hop aboard. For example, I’m currently releasing The Savior’s Sister, the second book in my dark fantasy series. I can offer a temporary discount for book 1 of the series, The Savior’s Champion, which will create a rush in sales and drive new readers to pre-order The Savior’s Sister once they’ve finished TSC.
I think the most important thing to consider if you plan to launch a pre-sale is to never let your audience get bored. Find ways to consistently remind them about your book release. No, I don’t mean endless social media spamming – that’s just annoying. I mean events, Q&As, contests, interviews, etc. Keep things fresh and engaging. Once a week, I host #TSSTuesday on Instagram (@JennaMoreci), where I answer any and all spoiler-free questions people have about The Savior’s Sister. I give away a prize from my pre-sale giveaway roughly once a week on my YouTube channel as well. These are easy ways to entertain my audience while also saying, “Say, guys, don’t forget to pre-order!”
What are the common mistakes authors make during the book launch campaign?
The most costly mistake is waiting until after the book is released to begin marketing. I’ve lost track of the number of writers who have said to me, “I’ve published a book. How do I start marketing it?” Sorry to tell you, but you missed your biggest marketing opportunity yet. Now you have to play catch up, and it won’t be easy. Readers will wonder why your book has such a low rank, why there are no reviews, and why they hadn’t heard of it. Save yourself the trouble and market the book before it’s released.
Another mistake is reading and subsequently complaining about poor reviews. Negative reviews are inevitable. It doesn’t matter how brilliant you are – someone somewhere isn’t going to like your story. Even worse, sometimes they’re going to be a douche about it. Of course, you’ll be annoyed and offended. Feel free to rant to one of your close friends over a glass of wine or a pint of ice cream. But complaining on your author platform or your social media page is not the way to go about it. Not only are you making yourself look supremely unprofessional, you’re also drawing attention to the exact thing you want to go unnoticed: your bad reviews!
You use many activities for your books promotion, like giveaways, audiobook voice teasers, etc. Which ones, based on your experience, work best to engage the target audience?
I personally believe a combo is needed in order to keep things interesting. Think of it like cooking: I love salt, but it’ll spoil the dish if I skip all other seasonings and dump a pound of salt into the pot.
It’s also important to experiment and see what works for you. I’ve had great success with pre-sale giveaways, whereas a close friend of mine got practically no engagement from hers. On the flip side, she’s made a killing implementing Facebook ads, whereas the last Facebook ad campaign I ran resulted in pitiful sales.
Different platforms have different audiences and, thus, different expectations. Don’t be afraid to try new tactics amid the ones that have been working well for you. If the new stuff fails, big deal. It’s a learning experience. Now you know what not to do in the future.
What is the hardest part of the book launch process for you?
I’ve been down this road before, so I’ve gotten used to a lot of the facets most writers find tricky. However, being a control freak, I loathe the parts that are out of my control: When my paperback distributor experiences delays. When a particular publishing platform is down. The bumps in the road I’m helpless to fix. I went with the self-publishing route because I wanted the complete authority of my publishing process, so it’s always frustrating when that authority is taken away, even briefly.
Could you please share 2-3 creative book marketing ideas with our readers?
#1: Make an event of it. It’s not enough to hop online and say, “Uh, okay, so… here’s my main character, I guess…” Share bookish goodies, and share them with confidence. I have character portraits made of the main cast from The Savior’s Sister. I do not shyly share these portraits “in case anyone is interested.” I showcase them proudly each #TSSTuesday. The fact that I’ve tied these portrait reveals to a specific day of the week means my audience has an event to look forward to. Plus, excitement is contagious; if you’re excited about your work – and you should be excited–readers will be too!
#2: Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. Do you know what an easy (and completely free) way to promote an upcoming book is? Share some teaser chapters. The first one to three should work. GASP–but Jenna! That sounds so nerve-racking! Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but people are going to read your book eventually. And it’s a lot easier to sell a book when readers are already hooked and desperate for more. A well-written teaser will do that for ya.
#3: Don’t forget about the power of a street team. A street team is a group of volunteers who come together to help promote something–in this case, a book release. Your street team can be made up of friends, fellow writers, fans, readers, influencers; you name it. I create weekly challenges in my street team, and I choose one winner among those who participated to win a prize (merch, signed books, gift cards, etc.). Challenges can include reviewing the book on Amazon or GoodReads, promoting my pre-sale giveaway, requesting my book at their local library, or recommending me as a guest on various bookish podcasts. It’s a great way to spread the word about your release, plus it’s a fun way to make new friends.
It was a huge delight to see that you dedicated a few videos to book covers. In your opinion, what makes a great book cover?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I certainly have my own cover preferences. However, I think it’s most important to understand reader expectations within your genre. Readers are going to judge your book by its cover, and you need to make sure that judgment is correct. Shirtless man on the cover? Probably erotica. Dark silhouette holding a weapon? Sounds like an action/adventure. Young girl in a ballgown running through the woods? Young adult fiction for sure. Pay attention to trends within your genre, not so you can copy them, but so you can understand your target audience and create something that will capture their attention.
I’m personally fond of dark covers, but as a dark fantasy author, that should surprise no one.
It was a huge pleasure to have a chat with Jenna Moreci and get tons of useful information about book marketing and book launch tips and strategies.
As we mentioned before, if you’d like to get to know Jenna better, subscribe to her YouTube channel. You won’t regret it.
Got questions regarding book launch ideas? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to help.