We welcome back Candee Fick to Thyme for Writers with Spicing Up a Book Launch!
As a writer seeking publication, there are a few dates that will stand out in your memory almost as much as the day you got married or when your children were born. There’s the day you got “the call” that you were being offered a contract. Then there’s the first day you hold that advanced reader copy in your hands and smell the ink (don’t pretend you didn’t!) And then there’s launch day…
A typical book launch revolves around spreading the word. “Hey, I’ve got a new book coming out and you should buy it.” (Which I do. And yes, you should. But that’s not the point of this post…) Authors roll up their sleeves, create memes and other graphics, schedule guest blog posts, email their list, plan a party, get some prizes, set up a few giveaways, and maybe even buy a few ads on Facebook to gain visibility.
Which is all good stuff to do as you generate buzz for your new book. After all, marketing experts say it takes seven exposures to your message before someone will act.
However, with the hundreds of books coming out this year and all those authors doing the same pre-launch tactics, how do you make your book stand out above the crowd? How do you attract a reader’s attention long enough for them to take those second, third, sixth, and seventh looks so you can make the sale?
It’s “thyme” to spice up your book launch with a theme that somehow ties into your book (or at least into the season). Perhaps the best way to make this point is with a few examples to spark your own creativity.
For my debut novel with a college football setting, I planned a virtual tailgate party to “kickoff” the book. During the event, we discussed topics like tailgating food, uniforms, mascots, and marching bands to capture the favor of a college football program. I also used words like pre-game, halftime, fourth quarter, and overtime in some of my marketing language.
My second novel was set in a dinner theater so, like in real show business, I encouraged folks to buy their “tickets” to Opening Day with a countdown until the curtain would rise. Backstage tours, glimpses at the costuming, plus lots of videos to capture the music and rhythm of dancing feet all helped pull readers into the story world and pique their interest.
One friend’s book was set around a fashion consignment store in Hollywood. Her online launch party held a “red carpet” theme where she actually introduced each character as if they were arriving to the party and even described what they were wearing.
In addition to finding inspiration from the book’s setting, you can also plan to build buzz around the title. To launch her book, Charming the Troublemaker, another friend had a bunch of fellow writers at a conference pose for pictures holding a Snicker’s candy bar with the word “troublemaker” on it. During the countdown to launch, she posted those pictures on Facebook and asked people to vote whether that particular person was sweet, salty, or both. Weekly votes narrowed the field until there was one winner of the troublemaker title…and everyone remembered the name of her book (or at least part of it!).
While brainstorming plans for my next release on Tuesday, I too found inspiration in the title, Focus On Love, along with the fact that both main characters in the book are photographers. In January, when everyone was focused on new resolutions and a word for the year, I blogged about that theme. But once the calendar turned to February and Valentine’s Day approached, everyone had “love” on the brain. That’s when I started a photo contest and asked people to share pictures of love in action or things that they love with the hashtag #FocusOnLove. (Winner gets an autographed book and a Shutterfly gift card…because it’s photography. The contest ends on the 17th so there’s still plenty of time to participate!)
It’s too soon to tell if I’ve made my launch unique enough to be memorable, but I certainly have done my best to make my book stand out from the rest.
What about you? How can you spice up your next book launch? Is there a unique element or feature in your book that would get readers interested long enough to take another look at your story? Maybe it’s the setting. Or a career /profession. A family recipe or historical tie-in. Is there a holiday to celebrate like Christmas? How can you weave that into the graphics, prizes, party plans, and even headlines?
P.S. In case you wanted to know more about Focus On Love, you can pre-order it here. In addition to the photo contest mentioned above, you can also enter to win autographed copies of all three of my novels as well as another Shutterfly gift card here.
BIO: Candee Fick is a multi-published author in both fiction and non-fiction. She is also the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job, writing, or coaching other authors, she can be found cheering on the home team at sporting events, exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.
BOOK BLURB: Free-spirited Elizabeth Foster turned her back on her father’s photography business to pursue musical theater, but with a one-show contract, she’s a few weeks from unemployment forcing her home. Meanwhile sought-after photographer Ryan Callahan has put his career on hold to help his sister’s family while her husband is deployed, but the promise of a bigger assignment could lure him away from building a family of his own. If given the choice, what dreams would develop? Or will they learn to focus on love instead?