The end is nigh: my launch plan for Resolutions

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800px-BookshelfThe time has almost arrived for Resolutions, my science fiction short story collection, to hit digital bookshelves. I don’t want to be too specific at this point, as a spanner could easily enter the works, but I am hoping to have the collection available to purchase and download by the end of next week (Friday 26th Sept). I’ve never electronically published a book before, so there could be some unknown hurdles still in my pathway, but I’ll keep you posted if there is a delay.

I’ve tried to be methodical with the preparations for publishing, and thought you might find it interesting and useful to see my plan for how I have gone about this.

Phase one – create content

Draft text meta-data – anything that the retail site(s) need to create a profile for your texts, generally a short description, an optional long description, and content tags. Follow guidelines precisely (character limits, etc) and take advantage of the opportunity to sell the product.

Draft launch blog post – this will be the foundation of the promotion, as it’s the place where the most data can be shared about the text. Make sure to include (and make prominent) links to the retailer(s) where the text can be purchased, a clear description of the text (can be reworked from meta-data), and a call for readers to feedback on their experience of the text in a variety of ways.

Draft press release – this will be useful to send out to any mailing lists you have for supporters or other contacts (work, church, hobbies, etc), and for any relevant media contacts who might be willing to promote your text. For a guide to creating an effective press release, see the free Smashwords Marketing Guide.

Draft social media content – don’t assume you’ll know exactly what to say on the day. You’ll have various links that you’ll be wanting to drive traffic towards (retail sites, your blog, launch reviews, etc) and you need a plan for how to manage these links. You’ll also have a variety of networks to utilise (Facebook, Twitter, email, message boards, etc) which all demand a specific method of engagement. One size doesn’t fit all so work on the style, timing, and frequency of messages.

Phase two – publish!

Upload your text – even if this isn’t your first time publishing online, block out some time to get your text uploaded. Who knows what kinds of technical gremlins will pop up at this point, so it’s good to have some time to deal with them. If possible, ‘soft launch’ your text prior to full promotion, so that you can test that everything works as it should.

Phase three – promote!

Change your online profiles – add the appropriate links to your text, upload any promotional images you may have. Don’t forget the simple updates like your email signature!

Send promotional/supporter emails.

Put your social media plan into action.

Phase four – PROMOTE!!!

Once you are certain that the process of purchasing your text is working smoothly and buzz from your initial launch has died down (even if it is a small buzz with just a few sales and reviews), work on innovative ways to promote your text. Here are some ideas:

  • Write a blog post detailing all the ways you can obtain and read the text – some supporters may not have the technical understanding how to use the retailer sites you’ve chosen, so guide them on how to do this.
  • Organise ‘interview swaps’ with other authors
  • Arrange a competition to drive sales – source a tasty prize, write an engaging press release, draft the rules of your competition
  • Plan a discount promotion – or give your text away for free for a limited time

I hope these tips are helpful – I’m currently at the end of phase one, not long to go now! If you have any suggestions of your own, questions about my plan, or if you downright disagree with my ideas (you’re allowed to!), please comment below.

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