As I was watching the Bourne Identity the other night, I saw 6 ways to get readers lined up. I was seeing it for the umpteenth time and enjoying the commercial breaks for a change, because Matt Damon came on to talk about the soon-to-be-released movie Jason Bourne, and how the movies were made. He gave us some insights and behind-the-scenes looks into all Bourne movies, including the newest one.
It got me thinking about what a great job Hollywood does promoting movies and how there are lessons that can be applied to other products or services and particularly to selling books.
Here are 6 Ways to Get Readers Lined Up Before You Publish
Give a Sneak Preview
Create a preview and ‘coming soon’ content. Movies do this really well with trailers for upcoming features; we’re accustomed to seeing these before the main picture is shown in the theater. This starts to build interest and buzz for the upcoming movie. It let’s us know that it exists, and whets our appetite, so we start thinking about going to see it, before it even gets released.
This is something that many authors don’t take advantage of, and the results can be downright depressing. You work so hard to write your book, if you don’t offer some kind of preview, pre-announcement or information about your book to build buzz before it’s finished, you may publish and hear crickets. Not the way to go. You can take a page from Hollywood by giving away a sample chapter, making a video about your book, or talking about the writing process.
Create an Online Destination
A movie gets its own website and hashtag even before its released, so anyone interested in finding out more about it, can go to the site and find all the information in one place, making it easy for the interested audience to stay up to date, and plan to go see it.
Authors benefit from doing the same. Build an online home for the book; this can be a landing page, a free-standing website, or a page within your existing website where people can go to find out information about the book. You’ll want to include some information, preview content, when the book will be available for sale. You want to capture email addresses of the people who are interested in your book, so you can notify them of updates as well as when you actually publish. This is really key to making book sales right away on this book and future books.
Get in Front of Your Existing Audience
Hollywood knows where their existing audience is… in the movie houses! They show the coming attraction trailers in theaters, as they know they have an audience in those moviegoers – people who clearly like movies.
As a first time author, you won’t have the same type of existing audience of people you know read your books, but you do have friends, family, and anyone in your personal and business networks who most likely will be excited about your book, want to support you, and will buy a copy.
Find New Audiences
Hollywood gets in front of new audiences by taking out ads in publications, and they are now using social media more and more, including promoting a hashtag for a movie before it’s released.
You can do the same for your books. If you don’t know where your new audience lives, what you can do is find a lookalike audience. If you write erotic books then you could see where people are talking about Fifty Shades of Grey or some other book in that genre. You can assert yourself in the conversation – don’t just promote your books and spam the audience, but join the conversation and find out how to become part of that community By doing so, when your book is published, you can then engage those people, introduce your book, and turn them into raving fans for your book as well.
Share Social Proof
Social proof is really a key factor in building credibility. People don’t care what a Hollywood studio says about its own movie, but they care what the critics and public say. Movie trailers, posters and ads will features positive one line accolades from the media such as “The must see movie of the year- David Denby, The New Yorker”. Trailers created pre-release, are updated to include these quotes and any award nominations the movie receives after its released, to reinforce the positive buzz about a movie and entice you to see it.
The same is true for your book; just like moviegoers don’t care what the studio says about their own movie, they won’t care what you say about your book. So as an author what you can do for social proof is you can get pre-publication reviews for your book. Before you publish you can ask people to review it and give you a review or testimonial. You can get endorsements from influencers or well-known people in their field, or experts on the book’s topic. You can include these on your book landing page, in your book, or in your book’s promotional materials, as well as on social media to add credibility and positive buzz.
It’s very important to take advantage of social proof, as well as all the ways to build buzz for your book and to get people excited about it, and get them over to your book landing page, where they can optin to your list. Once you publish, you can get readers by directing all promotions right to your Amazon book page to make it easy for them to buy a copy.
A Promotional Tour
Before a movie release, the lead actors will make appearances on television talk shows to raise awareness and build buzz for the movies. A carefully selected clip is shown as a teaser for the audience. The release date and locations will be covered, acting as the audience’s call to action.
As an author, you can create a promotional tour before you publish, and without even leaving your home. There are many podcasts that will welcome you as a guest, before your book is published. Some blogs will also welcome you as a guest pre-publication. This is where your book landing page is key to capitalizing on the experience; when you create a call to action during your guest appearance, you’ll want to direct listeners or blog readers to your landing page, so they can sign up to be notified once you publish.
Do not make the mistake of waiting until your book is published before starting to put these initiatives in place. It’s very depressing to finish the hard work of writing a book and not see any results when you publish. Set yourself up for success by creating a book landing page that captures the email addresses of interested potential readers, so you can notify them as soon as the book is available for sale. You will get lots of sales that way.
You may not be thinking of turning your book into a series like the Bourne books that the movies are based on, but the studio has done something really smart by building a franchise or a series of movies; they’ve built a ready audience for the next one in the series!
You don’t have to write a series of books to benefit from a franchise. By building an email list you have a ready audience for when your next book comes out, even if it’s on an another topic.
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Related Post: Build a List of Book Buyers Before You Even Publish