Hopefully, you all had a nice Thanksgiving and are surviving Black Friday and ready to dive into the next segment of Worldcon Treasures: How to Build a Successful Book Launch Campaign.
This panel (featuring Gabrielle de Cuir, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Lou Antonelli, Gail Carriger, and Gini Koch) was a bit different than the other panels because there was a big mixup about which room it was supposed to be held in. For nearly the first half of the panel, we essentially had two panels, one led by Thomas, who simultaneously texted other panelists to figure out what was going on, and another held by the other panelists in another room, who had managed to gather less than half of the attendees. Everything eventually got sorted out, but it resulted in an interesting time and gave us a closer image of what Thomas had to present.
He has a very well done book trailer for his novel HEX, which was made entirely with friends and fans who came out for the chance to help. As he put it, fans will do just about anything for you, and in this case, that included hanging naked from chains covered in blood. I don’t think there’s a much better example of fan devotion.
However, the other panelists did join us and added their experiences and expertise. So, here are the notes I took that compiled their advice:
BOOK LAUNCH TIPS:
- Do what you’re good at.
- Everyone who helps in a book promo will share about it through their networks, which helps you reach more people.
- Book trailers do not necessarily translate into sales.
- Be careful comparing Europe and America. They’re different. In this sense, what was meant that, Thomas’s experience, while valuable, is based in a European market, which is different than what we have in America.
- In America, the book trailer market is flooded. It’s not as much so in Europe.
- A book trailer might be more successful at a festival, as Thomas’s was, but it might not be.
- An author’s attractiveness can be very helpful. In this instance, Thomas was a hot guy, and one of the other authors pointed out that, as he was standing at the booth at the fair promoting his book, his looks probably had a big part to play in his success.
- Do things that are free and duplicatable to promote.
- Build a brand.
- Stay on readers’ minds between books.
- Whatever else you’re doing needs to support your books.
- Keep in mind what your demographic is and what they’ll respond to.
- Show passion.
- Word of mouth is the best marketing.
- You first sell to an editor and agent.
- If you write YA, you next sell to libraries and schools.
- Make best friends with book review bloggers.
- Short stories can help grab attention for your other work.
- Aim for book review bloggers that review similar books to you.
- The more money a publisher spends on you, the more money they will spend on your promo.
- No matter what, you must control your brand.
- Do interviews.
- Do giveaways occasionally.
- Apart from an author, what is your skill set? What can you use of this to build your brand? What of this is unique to you?
- Try out a lot of things?
- Love your fans and treat them well.
On a side note, I’d also like to add that luck can have a big impact on the success of a book launch. For example, after Hex came out, there was a news report about a woman burning books she deigned evil. One of the books the report showed her burning was Hex. This launched Thomas’s book into the notice of a lot of people. He didn’t plan it. There was no way he could have seen it coming, but it worked out to his advantage.