October 23, 2023

Episode 43: Building Buzz:

Effective Pre-launch Strategies for Your Book

Tips and Ideas for Becoming the Fabergé egg in a Basket of Store-Bought White Eggs Using Pre-Launch Strategies

Episode 43: Building Buzz: Effective Pre-launch Strategies for Your Book

by Carma Spence | The Author Switch Podcast


Are you ready to hack your way to a killer book launch? Do you dream of your book being a Rolls-Royce among used sedans? Then check out this episode of The Author Switch in which I share some tried and true, as well as out-of-the-box ideas for building buzz about your book before you launch it.

Previous Episodes Mentioned

Boosting Book Sales: Unleashing the Power of Your Amazon Author Page
Celebration, Episode 41: Pages and Positivity: Celebrating Your Journey as an Author

Recap & Takeaways

  • 01:45 Why it is important to do pre-launch
  • 05:24 Build Your Audience of Buyers
  • 12:11 Build Overall Buzz

Videos Mentioned

Other Links Mentioned

Transcript for Episode 43: Building Buzz: Effective Pre-launch Strategies for Your Book

Hello and welcome to episode 43 of The Author Switch Podcast, in which I, Carma Spence your host will be talking about building buzz effective pre-launch strategies for your book.


So before I go into the meet in the matter, I’m gonna tell you a little bit about myself, just in case you are new to my world.


Again, my name is Carma Spence. I am the founder of The Author Switch, of Authorneering.com, BookMarketingClub.com and AuthorDiagnostics.com. I am an award winning and bestselling author. Two of my books have made it to bestseller and one of them won three awards. I’ve also contributed to numerous anthologies which have become international bestsellers.


And I am certified in author marketing and the StoryWay methodology, which helps people create their legacy books.


Tonight I’m going to be talking about how to build buzz, why it’s important, and I’m going to give you some tried and true tips as well as maybe some outside of the box tips that you haven’t thought about.


So first, let’s go into why it is important to do pre-launch? to build buzz before the book actually launches. Well, I’ve got a list of things here because some of them you may have thought of and some of you may not, so I’m gonna list them all. First, it’s to build momentum and anticipation. You want your ideal readers to be going, gosh, I can’t wait until this book comes out.


I want to buy it and that will encourage them. But once your book, your book goes on to pre order, people will start pre ordering your book, which actually helps your post launch numbers. This generates public interest and engagement ahead of the day. In fact, you can even do PR ahead of launching your book.


It’s amazing what this book is coming out in just a month can do for your PR cred, so to speak.


Doing pre-launch activities also gathers a loyal fandom. You may be starting off with a list, but why not grow it? Yes, in fact, I’m going to be launching some books starting in January and I’ve already started my pre buzz engine.


I start slow, I build up from there because what I want to do is get people to join my list so they know when my books are released and follow me on Amazon because I will go into reason why you want that to happen a little bit later in this episode. So stay, don’t change your dial. Another reason why you want to do pre-launch activities is to increase first week sales. When you have a large first week sale, that’s number one, it tells the Amazon algorithm that this is a book that people want and Amazon will actually join in on promoting your book, but you have to reach certain sales numbers in order for that to happen.


Also, if you happen to get enough first week sales, outside of Amazon, you actually are in the running for other bestseller lists.


Another reason why you want to do pre buzz work is because it helps you validate and pivot if needed. So maybe you’ve described your book this way, and it could be described a multiple different way.


You test out the first one. Are people responding? Is it getting positive response? No? Pivot. Go with another one. Or maybe, if you’re early enough in the process, maybe you can even change a chapter. Add a chapter. Take out a chapter. Doing your pre-launch buzz can help you find out what your audience really wants from you and help you make that book better, as well as your launch better.


Doing pre-launch work also boosts your visibility. It boosts your visibility in front of the people who are already following you, but because now you’re doing something new and interesting, new people are going to discover you as well. And therefore you grow in visibility, you grow your authority, you grow your audience.


And finally, it helps you establish credibility because a well-executed prelaunch program can position you as a go to authority in whatever your book is about. Because you’ve written the book, it’s coming out, right? That gives you credibility.


So now that you know why you should be doing some pre-launch activities. Let’s go into some actual in the trenches, things that you can do to build the buzz and do your pre-launch.


So here are some activities that can help you build your audience and grow your list.


First, make sure that your Amazon author page is set up. If this is your first book, you can still do that. I believe you have to wait until you’re, have actually gotten your book in pre-launch. But once you set up your KDP account, which is the account that allows you to publish on Amazon through Amazon, then I believe you can also set up your Amazon author page and you want it to be including all the things that make it a good Amazon author page.


I’m not going to go into them. In this episode, because actually my last episode I talked about them, I will include a link in the show notes of this episode. So you can go back and because I actually went through the entire Amazon page and told you how to optimize each piece of that page.


Now the reason why you want to optimize your Amazon author page is because you want to send people there and have them follow you. 


Speaking of which, go now, follow me at Amazon.com/author/carmaspence. That’s Amazon.com/author/carmaspence.


Why? Why is it important for someone to follow you on Amazon? Well, guess what? As soon as your book launches, Amazon emails everyone who follows you and says, Guess what? This author that you’ve followed has just dropped a book.


Go check it out. So, if Oh, 2 percent of the people who are following you, let’s, I mean, we’ll just be really easy for math. 2 percent follow you, that means you, however many followers you have, 2 percent of them are going to probably buy. So right now I have a little over 2, 000. So at 10%, that’s 20 people. 2 percent is, I don’t know the math in my head, but it’s a nice number.


It’s a nice number. So the more people you have following you, the more people are going to get this email from Amazon and the more people are going to buy that first week, which is really, really important.


You want to grow your email list as well. So you’ve got, you, you want to grow your followers on Amazon, but you also want to grow your email list. And you do this by using relevant lead magnets that are related to your book, so that people who would want to read your book are joining your email list to get the list, this relevant.


freebie, but also because they know that you will let your email list know the moment it becomes available. And you want this because you want to be able to email these people and say, hey, my book is dropped. And again, two to 10 percent of everyone on your email list will probably go and buy your book, especially if you’re doing a Kindle version for 99 cents.


Heck, I buy books I know I will never read just to support authors. It’s 99 cents, it’s not a big deal, but every sale, even at 99 cents, it’s not about making the money. It’s about getting the algorithm to market your book so that it gets in front of more people and the more people it gets in front of the more people who know about you and might hire you for other things.


Another tip for growing your list is to use personalized video. Now there are systems out there like, uh, BombBomb and Bonjoro. I’ve used Bonjoro. They connect to your email thing, either by an integration or through Zapier. And what happens is you get notified when anybody joins your list, and then you create a video that says, Hi!


Listen, Hi Joan, how are you? Thank you for joining my list and do something and just say, Hey, I really want to welcome you. Something like that. Adding that personalized touch will help you build a more loyal fan base with the people who join your list, and therefore they will be more likely to buy your book and more likely to buy your stuff and more likely to become your client at some point in the probably near future, possibly.


You never know. It depends on their buying style, which I’m not going to go into in this episode, but that’s something I could go into in a later episode. Let me know if that’s of interest to you.


And finally, you want to interweave if you can do this, interweave user generated. content into your pre buzz and post buzz.


So how does someone do pre buzz that gets user generated content? Well, if you’ve got a beta launch team, maybe they could give a shout out about what they felt about reading your book in advance, or, Oh, it looks like I’ve got a cat here who wants to join the podcast. Hi, ignore the cat in the corner. So, you could have user generated content by inviting them to read an early version. You know, in the last episode, I talked about how to celebrate, and one was to have a manuscript reading party. Do that, get feedback on your manuscript. They post it to social media. Awesome. Hold contests. In fact, if you haven’t chosen all the details, maybe you can actually do a contest where you say, the lucky winners will get mentioned in my book.


That’s really cool stuff. People will do all sorts of things to be mentioned in a book. In fact, I know fiction authors who have said, Hey, join this competition, do this thing. Do this user generated content and you’ll be the first victim of the villain! You know that kind of stuff. It’s like, people do that because it’s so much fun.


They feel like they are part of the process. Um, another way is you can have a cover contest and have people vote for their favorite con their cover. And if you, when you choose their cover, you could do something with them, give them a shout out and have them shout back. It, there’s all different ways that you can get your audience involved in the pre-launch process.


So now I want to go over some tips that are both traditional and a little outside of the box for helping build overall buzz.


So I’ve alluded to this one, and that is a cover reveal mini campaign. This is basically two posts. The first post is having a cover voting contest that says, Hey, I have these three covers and I’m not sure which one I want to go with. Vote for your favorite. Then you have a, a, actually it’s going to be a three post, uh, campaign.


So that’s post number one. Vote for your favorite cover. Post number two is I’ll be re revealing the winning cover soon. And what’s really cool is if you have a MockUp Shots account, and I’ll put a link in the show notes. So you can look into that, but if you have a MockUp Shots account, one of the, well, basically what, what, what MockUp Shots does is you upload your cover and then it puts your cover into all these different images.


Well, a couple of the images are cover reveals where it only shows a piece of the cover. In fact, probably next week or the week after, I’m going to be doing a cover reveal of my book too. Because I’ve got a book coming up in January, I’m going to do a cover reveal soon-ish. Haven’t decided yet when I’m going to do that.


And then, post number three, ta da! Here’s the winning cover! And then, you know, people must say, Hey, I voted for that cover! I’m so glad you chose it! And some of the people are like, Oh, I really like this other cover better. You know, who knows? Who knows what we’ll say? But you’ll get engagement. So that builds overall buzz because people are now getting excited because they feel like they participated in the creation of that book, because they did, they voted on your, on the cover.


You want to do some pre-launch public relations, pre-launch PR, and there are different things you, you can do a press release to relevant media that says this book is coming out and it’s about this. You can pitch stories to relevant media.


Now the difference, the difference here is one is you’ve just got this press release. It’s already written saying, Hey, this is happening. Are you interested in covering it? Are you interested in talking to me about it? Something like that. But if you really want to get the media to cover you, what you want to do is learn about it.


that particular writer’s beat. What is specific? What about you and your story and your book would they be interested in? And then create a pitch email to that specific person for that specific story. That’s more likely to get coverage. You also want to pitch bloggers and other online media and say, Hey, would you like me to write this story that’s related to my upcoming book?


And make sure that these are bespoke to the media outlet. Do not pitch the same story to multiple publications unless either A, you’re saying you’re doing that and being upfront, and then that will reduce your chances of actually getting your story published. Or B, you pitch this article to blog number one.


Blog number one says, no, thank you. I’m not interested. I’ll take a pass. Then you can take that story to blog number two. Do it one at a time. And then once it’s published in one, it’s exclusive to that one. Do not use it again. You can spin the same idea into a different story, but don’t use that particular story.


Start getting yourself as a guest on podcasts. Hey, my book’s coming up in a month. I’m going to be on this podcast talking about my topic. I’m going to be talking on this podcast about my topic. Get this ball rolling beforehand and it’s even better if the episodes come out after your book is already available for pre order because then you can tell your, the people who are listening to the podcast, Hey, you can pre order it now on Amazon. They go to Amazon, they pre order it. Bang! helps you get to bestseller.


You can host webinars, Facebook lives, YouTube lives, whatever lives, and online challenges related to your book to help build the buzz and get people interested. It grows your list. It builds buzz. It gets people interested. It gets people aware of your general topic as well.


Book trailers, book trailers are a lot of fun. If you’ve got the, the skills to do it. Be creative. There’s lots of, what do you call it? Royalty free images that you can use. Get, get someone to, either you can do the voiceover or get your, get someone else who does it. The voiceover. I often have my husband do voiceovers for me ’cause I love his voice.


I really do. It’s one of the many things I love about my husband his voice. And he’s able to do these. He does great. I did a trailer for Public Speaking Super Powers. I was doing an event. And so it was the next thing in the event was coming up on Monday. And so I wrote a script that was based on one of those old You know, Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, you know, the monster truck rally, and he’s able to do that voice so well.


So he did Monday, Monday, Monday. It was great. It was so much fun doing that video. Do something creative like that. And that gets people going and make them short. You want them to be a minute or less so that you can all and do them in tall and landscape and portrait so that you can post them on YouTube.


You can put them on YouTube shorts. You can put them on Reels, Pinterest, everywhere that really short videos can be posted. And there you go. Get the buzz going. People are like, oh, what an interesting video. I can’t wait to see the book.


And finally, for pre-launch PR, you can secure pre-launch reviews of your book by credible sources.


So, if you do it far enough in advance, you can actually get it done in Publishers Weekly. Publishers Weekly has a, I think it’s Book Life. They do reviews, but, but you have to, you have to tell them about it several months in advance. So, if you’re doing it far enough in advance, you can get your reviews actually published in publications. Or you can work with bloggers, podcasters, book TikTok, BookTokers on TikTok, BookTok, um, get, get these mini, they’re like micro influencers to start talking about your book in advance and about how it’s going to be pre-launched.


Talking about influencers, partner with them to do, uh, shout outs, to provide prerelease reviews, to do Q and A sessions. Or you could do a social media takeover.


So, for example, you know somebody who has a group, and inside that group are people who might want to read your book. You can offer to do, like, a social media takeover, which is where, like, you do a Facebook Live on a relevant topic to your book and to that audience. It helps, but as long as you’re not too promotional.


Talk with the person who owns a group saying, Hey, I’d like to offer this value to your group and make them aware of my book at the same time. Would that be okay with you? And some of them are going to say yes, because they’re always hungry for content that’s a value to their group members.


You can host AMAs. An AMA is an ask me anything event. Reddit hosts these fairly often. They’re very common there. Twitter, which is now X. You can do one there. You can do them on Instagram, and you want them to be on topics that are relevant to your book, and it allows people to engage directly with you and your content.


Another idea, create a viral challenge for folks to participate in that is relevant to your book topic. Think ice bucket challenge. But tailored to your book’s content. So for Public Speaking Super Powers, I could have done like a table topic or like Insta topic challenge where someone like you have a little wheel with topic ideas. They have to push the button, have the wheel around, around it goes where it stops Nobody knows. And it comes up with this topic. Now talk for two minutes about that topic. It’s related to my book and it’s a challenge. And there are going to be people who will take you up on your challenge.


If you can come up with a creative and fun challenge that people can videotape and post on their TikTok and post on their Instagram Reels, post on Facebook Reels, you’ve got people who are enjoying themselves and spreading the news about your book at the same time. It’s a win-win for everybody.


You can create interactive quizzes and or assessments that are related to your book.


So, for example, again, with Public Speaking Super Powers I created a quiz that helped you find out what your public speaking superhero archetype was, and people really enjoyed taking that quiz. So that was something that you, it was related.


I also am developing a quiz for one of my upcoming books. It’s, right now, it’s, it’s the writer’s block assessment, but since I am changing things up, I am no longer going to be talking about writer’s block per se.


I’m going to be talking about how to un-glitch your Author Switch. Same thing, different name. I’m going to be rebranding that quiz and making it more robust, so that it’s more helpful to the people who take the quiz.


Another thing you can do is have limited time offers and bonuses for people who pre order.


That’s a very standard one. It’s like, okay, if you pre order and then actually buy, don’t just pre order, get the bonus, and then go away and renege on your offer, obviously. So you have people who are on the pre order list, they’ve pre ordered. Once you know that they’ve actually bought, you give them this bonus, and it can be something that you create specifically like a, a worksheet or a workbook or a, a mini eBook or something like that that’s related to your book. Or it could be a mini event, like maybe it’s a special training webinar that’s exclusively for people who pre-order the book.


You can, oh, this one’s a fun one. This one’s a fun one. A digital scavenger hunt with clues that tie to your book’s content.  And the winners could get an advanced copy. So remember you’ve already got the manuscript.


You give them, everyone who wins the scavenger hunt. Which means they found all the things on the scavenger hunt. They get a, an advanced copy of her book, or maybe they get a physical copy of her book that’s signed. Do something that’s fun, that’s something that people would wanna do and make the scavenger hunt fun and related to your book.


I’m thinking about doing that one. I haven’t, I haven’t decided yet, but that one sounds like a lot of fun.


Next one, create a Spotify playlist that sets the mood for your book. and share it. So, this is for people who are music lovers, and they have songs that are related to their books. So, for example, and this, uh, fiction is what came to mind for me.


So, let’s say you’ve written a book about witches. Do you know how many songs there are that are about magic and witches? I could sing some for you right now. I think it’s like, oh, oh. Oh, it’s magic. There’s one and there’s witchy woman and you just create a Spotify list of all these like songs about magic and witches and say, Hey, here’s a Spotify list that you can listen to while you wait for my next book about witches.


Why not? And I bet as a nonfiction author, you could probably come up with some creative ways to find songs that are related to your book. In fact, I might do that. I’m going to do that. I think I’m going to do that one too. Anyway, moving on.


Okay, so I’m talking to nonfiction authors now. Add an element of fiction to your pre buzz campaign.


And now how do you do this? Now this is for the people who are creative and willing to kind of stretch out of the nonfiction mold. But if your book has a unique angle of research, why not create a mock interview? With an expert in that field. I mean, let people know it’s fiction, obviously, or let’s say you talk about archetypes in your book.


In fact, one of the books I’m coming up with that’s going to be launched right now. It looks like it’s going to be launched in June. It’s called The Author Switch. And I will be talking about the six monsters that are at the root cause of glitches in your Author Switch. Well. I could interview each of the monsters.


Now there’s an idea. I just came up with that idea right now, live on the podcast. How exciting is that? So that’s another idea.


You could do an archetype quiz like I did with the superpowers.  And you could do the archetype quiz and then interview the archetypes. And you could do that two ways. You could interview the fictional archetypes.


And, and help and give those to like, here’s an interview with your archetype or the people who show up as that archetype. You could interview them and that starts creating user generated content. They like the visibility. It’s a lot of fun and you can, as you talk to them, you can actually validate your archetypes at the same time.


That is multifaceted. I mean if you can capture two birds with one net. Do so.


Next idea, behind the scenes. Offer insights into your writing process, your pre-launch process, all those little things. Can you take a picture of the desk that you wrote at? Share that. Maybe you’ve got snippets of your manuscript you can share.


Again, sharing the, you know, the process of going through the, the cover design, the editing, share your author’s journey. This helps build buzz.


You can share a series of personal stories that directly tie to your book’s content, keeping readers hooked for the next email or post. So, for example, with Public Speaking Super Powers, I could have, I mean, I didn’t think of this idea before then, but I could have told stories about the people I was interviewing.


I could have been sharing a little bit, I mean, I did share their interviews in podcasts, but maybe I could have created stories about, I could have taken some stuff and did more with that information. And created more posts, more stories about who they were and what they did. I mean because everything they told me on the interviews didn’t make it into the book.


Anyway, so think of, think of ways you can do that. And my last tip here, I don’t know how to do this myself, but escape rooms are really, they’re a thing right now. They’re hot. If you can come up with a way to create an escape room that’s related to your book, you can get, you can have an escape room party.


You could do a virtual escape room party. You could host a live escape room party. You could do both at the same time, have it live, and stream it. But, in fact, I just recently saw someone’s written a guidebook on how to create escape rooms. So, this is a hot item. This could be a really cool way to market your book.


So those are all the ideas I have for you this evening. In this episode, I hope that you found at least one nugget. that you could use to promote your book moving forward. In fact, I’m kind of hoping you have multiple nuggets. Definitely look if you are on my Author Switch website page for this episode, look below for the transcript because you can print it out and highlight all the ideas that you liked. Or if you’re listening to this on any of the podcast platforms or on YouTube, there should be a link to that page that you can follow. Definitely make use of the transcript of this episode because It is a goldmine, even though I say so myself.


This is Carma Spence, your host of The Author Switch Podcast, saying ciao for now.

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