Most authors recognize that marketing their book is a huge factor in its success or failure. The number one driver of most book sales is still word of mouth and so many authors turn to recruit a launch team to help them kick start the process.
But how do you recruit your dream team that is going to help you to promote the book in those precious early days? What should you be asking them to do for you and how can you gather them into a group that actively helps share the marketing burden?
In this article, we give our top six tips on how to assemble your dream team:
1. Contact Existing Fans
Start your search with the people that have already shown interest in you and your book. You can find them by emailing those people that have signed up for your emails and are following you on social media. Ask your friends, colleagues, and family members too.
Write a few emails and social media posts that ask for their help or inviting them to read your book first. Try to avoid guilt tactics and allow space for people to volunteer willingly but accept anyone who offers to join. A minimum of fifty recruits is fantastic, but the more you can get the better.
2. Start Early
I usually recommend starting your search for a launch team at least four to six weeks before the book is due to be released for publication. Timing is vital in these things.
If you start the search too early, people will lose interest or forget, and this will stop them from joining in. However, if you wait too late, it will appear rude and as though you are having to beg for their help. Show some respect and allow people plenty of time to plan for the time they’ll need to read your book.
3. Tell Them What You Need
Be really clear with what you need from your team as you recruit them. Let them know the marketing activities that you are expecting of them before they start and let them know that there is work involved to be completed.
“As a minimum, you will want people to post a review of your book on many of the online websites and share posts about your book on their social media channels, websites, and emails,” suggests Andy Scott, a writer at Essay Help and AustralianHelp. “You may also want them to pre-order a copy of the book and let their friends know about your pre-order bonuses to encourage sales in the early days.”
Not everyone in your team will participate and you will be doing well if around 50% complete the tasks. This is why it’s important to get as many people involved as possible.
4. Send Them an Advance Reader Copy
Make sure to email a copy of your book to read in advance. This is known as an Advance Reader Copy or ARC. For self-publishing, there are some great inexpensive services that can help you send a digital copy to the team.
If you are using a publisher, you will need to get authorization from the publisher to give a full copy of the book to your launch team early. They may send you a link to read your ARC on a secure website to prevent piracy or give you a PDF with a watermark embedded for protection.
“Try to get the ARC to your team at least two to three weeks before the publication date,” says Amanda Clancy, a book blogger at Paper Fellows and Boomessays. “This gives them enough time to get familiar with your book to read it and write a review, but not too early that they forget about it.”
The key is to get ARC’s to your team around 2 – 3 weeks before your launch date. That way, they have time to get familiar enough with your book to write a review and maintain enthusiasm. If you send ARC’s too far in advance, people can forget about it and lose momentum before your campaign starts.
5. Keep in Touch
Many authors use a private Facebook group to stay in touch with their launch team, but this can be confusing and a bit unyielding. I would recommend instead adding your launch team into their own email list and use this to stay in touch with them during the campaign.
6. Thank Them
Offer them something to say thank you, say a free hardcopy of the book, a free webinar or live Q&A session, training videos, freebies, or early access to course materials that won’t be available publicly pre-publication.