There’s a lot of advice out there about how to use social media to promote your book launch. The challenge is to decide, out of everything you could do, what should you do?
What’s worked for other published Authors? What’s a waste of your time?
Most Authors ask themselves the first question, but they rarely ask the second. And because they’re unsure of what not to do, they end up making crucial mistakes like:
- Posting too much and spamming their audience.
- Shying away from posting enough.
- Creating content that isn’t engaging.
As a result, their social media promotion doesn’t generate enough excitement around their book launch. That means fewer book sales and fewer chances of making an impact on the people they want to help.
We’ve helped thousands of Authors write, publish, and promote their books. Through first-hand experience, we’ve learned what works (and what doesn’t) on social media.
In this post, I’ll cover:
The 3 Phases of a Successful Book Launch Social Media Campaign
Every book launch breaks down into the following 3 stages:
- Pre-launch: This stage is intended to generate awareness around your book and build initial excitement with your audience.
- Launch week: With the book now released, this phase focuses on promoting sales.
- Post-launch: This last stage helps you maintain momentum through engagement in a long-term and sustainable way.
Many new Authors mistakenly think they should approach each stage the same way.
In reality, the Authors that have the most success adapt their posting strategy to the launch phase they’re in. Below is a breakdown of how we advise Scribe Authors to approach each phase.
Pre-launch: Book Announcement and Content Strategy
The pre-launch phase is crucial for warming up your audience and letting them know that your book is coming. Without it, you’ll fail to create awareness or build excitement around your book.
At the start of this phase, it’s important to create a post announcing your book. We typically have Scribe Authors announce their launch 4 to 5 weeks in advance. This way, the release date is still fresh in their minds.
In your post, you should describe what your book is about, why it matters to your audience, and announce the day it launches. Make sure to include a visually appealing graphic or video. This helps grab your audience’s attention and increases the likelihood they’ll read your post.
If you’re struggling to decide what image to include with your announcement, the most basic option (and the bare minimum requirement) is to feature a shot of your book cover.
After you announce your book launch, create weekly touchpoints to remind your followers that your book is coming soon. This will keep them engaged and excited while also building momentum for the launch. We’ll give you some ideas on how to go about this below.
For every post you make, it’s important to include creative assets or rich text (i.e. using bold, italic, etc.) that help grab the attention of your audience and increase engagement.
Here are a few post types we’ve seen work well for Scribe Authors during the pre-launch phase:
- Offering a free chapter in exchange for an opt-in to their newsletter.
- A branded graphic that includes a short excerpt from their book.
- Content from your book that aligns with topical issues.
During pre-launch, it’s also important to prepare for your first week of promotions (aka the first week following your book’s publication date).
Most successful Authors reach out to 20 to 30 early readers, many of whom are influencers with fan bases of their own. This helps in 2 ways:
- Reaching out to this many early readers helps secure reviews for their book. That way, once the book is launched, there’s social proof for potential readers to see.
- Second, they can leverage these influencers’ audiences and reach a wider audience that may have an interest in their book.
They’ll usually start reaching out to these early readers about 4 to 5 weeks before launch. This is an ideal time frame because it gives people enough time to finish reading the book ahead of its release.
Launch Week: Day-of and First Week Promotions
Normally, we recommend posting in moderation during your book launch. Launch week is the exception. Your book launch only happens once—you should post every day during launch week to make the most of it.
Your first week of promotions should involve collecting as many book reviews as you can. Remember the early readers you identified during pre-launch? Follow up with them about leaving a review on Amazon. This can help you hit the retailer’s bestseller list.
On launch day, make the formal announcement that your book is live and for sale. You don’t need an elaborate storytelling format for the day that your book launches. Assuming that you’ve consistently promoted your book throughout the pre-launch phase, your audience should be primed and ready to take action.
The objective of your launch day announcement is simply to:
- Let your audience know your book is now for sale.
- Ask them to buy it.
- Ask them to leave a review.
You can use a picture of the book as your creative and link directly to your book’s Amazon page.
The best way to approach content strategy throughout your first week of sales is to let your audience know everything that’s happening around your book. Tell them about any interviews you’ve done or articles you’ve been featured in—anything that reminds them that the book is live.
Keep engaging with your community by liking and replying to any positive comments they make about you and your book. That will help continue to build excitement and make you more relatable in the minds of potential readers.
Since you’ll be posting every day during launch week, it pays to have a diverse mix of content to share. Here’s an example of how a content calendar might look during this stage:
|Tuesday||A graphic announcing the book is for sale. Posting about a special $0.99 discount sale for the eBook coming later in the week.|
|Wednesday||An interview you’re featured in that discusses the book.|
|Thursday||An adapted article from the book that you give away as a free sample.|
|Friday||Announcing the special $0.99 cent sale is live for a limited time only.|
Most Scribe Authors run a special $0.99 cent discount sale for their book in the first week of its release. This is powerful because it convinces people who are thinking about buying their book to do so right away. This has several benefits:
- The more readers you can get early on, the better your chances are of becoming an Amazon bestseller.
- The long-term success of your book comes from how many people are talking about it. The more people you can get talking about your book early on, the more people you’ll have talking about it later.
Post-launch: Long-term Awareness and Giveaways
After your book is launched, scale back posting. Limit your schedule to 2 posts a week to keep yourself top of mind with your audience. This is enough to keep momentum going without turning off your fan base.
One of those posts should showcase coverage your book has received. Again, these can be podcast interviews, articles written about you, as well as TV appearances or rankings on bestseller lists. Repurposing any coverage of your book provides people with social proof that you’re an expert worth paying attention to.
Your other post can be a visually appealing image featuring a passage from your book. To earn reshares from your audience, you should choose excerpts that are specific yet relatable.
Inevitably, buzz will die down after a new release. When that happens, a giveaway can be a nice touchpoint to run. Giveaways are effective at regenerating excitement around your book.
If you want to run a giveaway, here’s a simple process you can use:
- Announce on social media that you’re giving away a few free copies of your book.
- Include a call to action for followers to leave a comment sharing why they’d want your book and ask them to also tag a friend.
- Pick a winner from those that engaged with your post.
Another way to activate a social media giveaway is through partnerships. At Scribe, we’ll often help our Authors partner with a site like Goodreads to run giveaways to its huge audience.
Giveaways are a great way to foster engagement on your social channels as well as attract new followers. They can renew energy and attention surrounding your book after your launch has slowed.
7 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid in Your Next Book Launch
When planning a social media marketing campaign, it’s hard to know where to start. Most Authors don’t know what to post or how often to post.
This leads to the following mistakes:
Mistake #1: Posting without a Schedule
Many Authors are nervous when it comes to posting about their new book on social media. Some are afraid to post about their book before it’s ready. Others worry that they haven’t started posting soon enough.
As a result, they end up posting about their book launch when things “feel right.” But letting your impulses dictate when you should post is a recipe for an unsuccessful social media campaign.
Authors who are more strategic see the best results. They establish a regular posting schedule to consistently engage with their audience. And they post diverse content to avoid sounding repetitive.
One easy way to diversify your content is to use different calls to action. For example:
- Visit your Author website.
- Read an article you wrote.
- Listen to a podcast interview you were featured in.
- Watch a video you created.
Depending on the phase of your campaign (pre-launch, launch week, or post-launch), the recommended frequency varies. But you don’t need to share something every day. In fact, posting daily can lead to audience burnout.
Posting twice per week is typically a good cadence. And outside of launch week, you shouldn’t post more than 3 times per week.
If you’re struggling to hold yourself accountable, we recommend creating a content calendar that breaks down what you’ll post by month, week, or day.
Many Scribe Authors set aside time to batch create their content. They’ll pre-schedule posts using social media marketing tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social. Both of these tactics make posting on a schedule easier to manage.
Mistake #2: Forgetting to Engage with Their Audience
Many Authors think creating posts for their audience is enough, but it’s just as important to engage with your audience. In doing so, you come across as more relatable, approachable, and likeable—and you generate more support for your book as a result.
Aside from scheduling time to create and post content, you should also schedule time to like, comment, and chat with your followers. But don’t limit the conversation to only your audience. There are plenty of opportunities to engage with potential readers who haven’t heard of you or your book yet.
For example, you can follow people in your industry that you admire and jump into conversations they’re having. Or, you can track relevant hashtags on specific platforms to find conversations to engage in.
I’ve seen many Authors use the #Bookstagram hashtag on Instagram, which is dedicated to all things books. It allows them to find comparable books and connect with influencers who can help them promote their launch.
Mistake #3: Never Creating or Engaging with Timely Content
Many Authors don’t spend enough time creating topical content. They post about ideas and topics related to their book, but they never connect those ideas to what’s going on in the world.
This is a missed opportunity to communicate their book’s relevance to potential readers.
If you can connect the ideas in your book to real-world issues, you can grab the attention and interest of your audience—and better communicate why they should read your book.
There are 2 ways to approach this:
- Create content that specifically connects to current events. One of our clients wrote a book about organizational culture and change. So he created content about the masses of people leaving jobs and reevaluating careers in 2021. Then he connected these issues to ways his book helps address this problem.
- Jump in on conversations happening about the news. For example, you can watch trending stories on your LinkedIn home page. If you find an article that’s relevant to the topic of your book, you can leave a comment that sparks discussion with new potential readers.
Mistake #4: Never Leveraging Other People’s Audiences
Many Authors only post for their own followers. It’s the easiest and most convenient option.
The problem is, this significantly limits the number of potential readers they can reach.
To expand your promotion beyond your own audience, you should form partnerships with people whose audiences’ interests overlap with yours.
One way to approach this is to identify a group of influencers in your network. They don’t need to have Kardashian-level followings. But they should have a high level of engagement with people in your target audience.
Partnering with 5 influencers is a great place to start because it’s enough people to make an impact but takes minimal effort. What many successful Authors will do is give influencers an early PDF copy of their book so they can read and form an opinion about it. Then they’ll ask them for support spreading the word about their book release.
One channel we’ve seen work great for this is BookTok, the corner of TikTok that’s devoted to reading. According to The Guardian, BookTok has racked up 9.6 billion views so far, making it a valuable channel to search for relevant influencers.
We also see Authors successfully leverage influencer partnerships through Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and relevant email lists or newsletters.
Mistake #5: Using a “Set It and Forget It” Social Media Strategy
Many Authors take a set-it-and-forget-it approach to their social media strategy. And we get why this is tempting—most of our Authors are busy people. Many are running companies or working full time, and they don’t have much time or energy for social media marketing efforts.
But social media is constantly evolving. What works well for one month might not work well the next. So it’s important to pay attention to your audience and the types of content they engage with most—and adjust your strategy accordingly.
For example, it’s useful to note what times of day or days of the week your posts perform best. Then, update your posting schedule to match that.
Note: Remember that social media posts are short-lived. Don’t get bogged down obsessing over the perfection of your content. Focus on posting regularly, paying attention to what works, and adjusting your strategy accordingly.
Mistake #6: Promoting Pre-orders
Many Authors think getting pre-orders is a prerequisite for a successful book launch. But there’s a tradeoff that they often don’t consider.
By promoting pre-orders, Authors spread out the purchases of their book and reduce the number of people who will buy it during launch week. This limits their ability to become an Amazon bestseller because the algorithm is less likely to tag their book as trending.
Instead, we recommend Authors avoid taking pre-orders. This way, they can sell books during launch week and have a greater impact on the Amazon algorithm.
However, if becoming an Amazon bestseller isn’t a priority, then taking pre-orders can be a useful way to capture information from your audience. For example, to get their email address or book a consulting meeting.
To learn more about promoting pre-orders, check out our post on book pre-order campaigns.
Mistake #7: Posting Everywhere When They’re Strapped for Time
Many Authors assume that a good social media strategy means creating content for every platform that exists. But trying to post everywhere can become overwhelming because they have to reformat content for each network.
Don’t feel like you have to be active on every social media platform. If you’re a busy person, find and choose the channel that’s most relevant to you. This will make social media promotion less stressful and easier to manage.
Most Authors choose their platform based on a few key criteria, such as:
- Audience demographics
- Audience interests
- The types of content their audience consumes
- Where their audience hangs out online
Whatever you do, always pick the one that’s best for you (and the one you’re most likely to stick with for the long haul). Posting to one channel consistently and effectively is better than trying (and failing) to use them all.
How Scribe Helps Authors Launch and Promote Their Books
Scribe is a professional publishing company that helps nonfiction Authors write and publish books. Our primary services include ghostwriting, coaching, and self-publishing.
To help market their books, we offer our clients a variety of assets and resources that are included with each of these services. For example:
- First week book promotion to become an AmazonBestseller.
- Complete marketing strategy and templates to secure early Amazon reviews.
- A full set of social media banners and graphics for launch week.
- A scheduled podcast interview on Author Hour for you and your book.
- A published excerpt from your book released during launch week.
- Marketing strategy and templates for you to leverage your network.
- Access to our Book Marketing and Book Launch Blueprint Courses.
- A one-on-one call to review your marketing plan with one of our Author strategists.
We also offer a standalone book launch service called Scribe Author Impact.
It’s currently only available for Scribe Authors, but will open up to non-Scribe Authors in the near future. The service includes all of the above plus:
- A detailed review of your book to create a key ideas doc and custom media kit.
- Outreach to our 3,000+ media relationships to secure coverage of your book.
- Coordination of a $0.99 Amazon bestseller promotion to spur early sales and reviews.
- Email scripts to use for outreach to influencers and your network.
- Coordination of advanced copies to give to early readers.
- Paid promotion through Amazon ads, Goodreads, Bookbub, and other platforms.
- Complete analysis of your book launch results to determine a long-term plan for promoting your book.
Scribe Author Impact costs $18,000 for Scribe Authors and will cost $18,000 for non-Scribe Authors. If you need a strategy to promote your next book, schedule a consult with one of our Authors Strategists to learn more.