The best way to launch your book always comes down to what you’re trying to accomplish. If you wrote your book to introduce new clients to the way you work or to share your personal story with your family, you might not need a big marketing push.
But if you’re trying to spread your ideas, engage a community, or do anything else that needs a wider audience, one of the best ways to do that is to get people talking about your book.
In that case, hyping your book on your own will only get you so far. To get the word out about your launch, you have to get other people to help you—and you have to get them excited about doing things to make that happen.
- Keeping them motivated (by making sure they know how vital their role is)
- Helping them support you (by making it easy to do what you’re asking)
Remember, everyone has their own goals they’re trying to accomplish. You’re asking people to fit your book launch requests into their busy schedule.
The key is to get people excited about helping you and then provide them with the resources they need to promote your book for you.
This guide will walk you through 12 creative ways to engage your audience and spread the word about your book launch.
12 Ways to Engage Your Audience for a Book Launch
1. Gather a street team
When you’re launching a book, one of your best resources is your personal list of contacts:
- Enthusiastic clients
- The people you interact with most often on LinkedIn or other social media
- Anyone you can reach directly who would be willing to help
Offer these people an advance copy of the book and ask them to do two things:
- Buy a copy on Amazon on launch day
- Leave a review that same day
We usually recommend reducing your book price to just $0.99 for launch week, and the review doesn’t need to be more than two or three sentences. So neither of these is a big ask.
But they’re both important.
You need your contacts to buy a copy on launch day because Amazon’s algorithm promotes books based on how well they sell, especially during the week they’re released. The more people buy it, the more Amazon will show it to other people.
And you need them to leave a review because new customers base their book-buying decisions at least in part on what other people have said about your book.
Make sure you explain both of those things when you make the request. You want people to understand how much of a difference they can make so they know how much they’re helping you.
The people who agree to help are your street team. Send them an advance review copy of your book, stay in touch with them about it, and remind them when it’s launch day.
What you can send them to help:
- A copy of the book in their preferred format
- A reminder before launch day, and another reminder on launch day
- An example of a simple, helpful review (make sure each sample you send is different, just in case they don’t change it)
2. Choose some brand ambassadors
Signing people up to be brand ambassadors for your book takes the idea of a street team to a whole new level. Brand ambassadors continually hype your book, doing things like:
- Posting about it in their own social media and/or newsletters
- Talking about it on Reddit, LinkedIn, and other platforms
- Moderating your Reddit and/or Facebook groups
- Monitoring your social media mentions and engaging in those conversations
- Reviewing your book on different retail platforms
- Signing people up for your related courses, virtual appearances, etc.
And really anything else you need. A brand ambassador is a legitimate, compensated position that can be included on a resume, but that compensation can be just about anything that works for your unique situation:
- An autographed copy of your book
- A guaranteed reference or referral from you
- Lifetime discounts on your courses, products, services, etc.
- A logo they can display on their website or social media, indicating their role as your brand ambassador
- Free access to your personal time, your courses, your private groups, your exclusive content, etc.
These are just examples. You can offer them anything that makes sense for your own author brand and marketing goals.
Just remember that even though brand ambassadors are technically compensated, they’re not getting paid nearly as much as their work is worth. To make up for the difference, you need to do 2 things to maintain these relationships:
- Give them what they need to make the job easy
- Stay in close contact with them and make sure they know how much they mean to you
What you can send them to help:
- A copy of the book in their preferred format
- A guide laying out what they get and what you’re asking them to do
- Sample newsletter articles and email templates to use with their own contacts
- A regular stream of graphics they can use to promote your book, products, and services
- Exclusive access to you (for example, through a private Facebook group)
- A logo they can display on their website and social media as your brand ambassador
3. Create a private Facebook group
A private Facebook group is a group on Facebook that people can only join by invitation or application. In other words, access to the group is gated—you decide who to let in.
Private Facebook groups can serve any audience you want to interact with in an exclusive way. For example:
- Your street team
- Your brand ambassadors
- An exclusive group of customers or clients
- A specific group of readers who are perfect client leads
Being invited to join an exclusive group shows people that they’re important to you. It also lets you:
- Interact with the entire group at once
- Convey information you only want this group of people to have
- Communicate in a way that’s more frequent, immediate, and exclusive than a newsletter
What you can do with a private Facebook group:
How you interact with your private Facebook group depends entirely on who its members are. Some examples include:
- Offering exclusive coupons
- Assigning pop-up tasks with short-term deadlines
- Providing early, exclusive information about your book
- Inviting members to be beta testers or an ad-hoc focus group for various elements of your marketing campaigns
- Allowing access as a paid monthly subscription, for which people get direct access to your time as an Author, leader, coach, mentor, etc.
4. Create a public Facebook group
Public Facebook groups are open to anyone to join. Use them to gather and communicate with readers and potential readers who are interested in your book’s message.
To start building a public Facebook group:
- Invite your email list to join it
- Include the link in your book’s website or landing page
- Mention it any time you write a blog post or appear on other media
Even though it isn’t private, a public Facebook group will still make people feel important. It gives them a way to communicate with you far more directly than a newsletter, and it provides a place where they can interact with a like-minded community.
What you can do with a public Facebook group:
- Invite members to take your free mini-course
- Offer regular insights, stories, and tips that relate to the content of your book
- Let them know about new posts on your website
- Celebrate your book’s launch day when it goes live
This is just a small list of ideas. Use your public Facebook group for anything that offers its members consistent value, keeping you top-of-mind with your core audience.
5. Give your team a checklist
No matter what community you’re working with—from an exclusive team of brand ambassadors to a public Facebook group—giving people specific tasks to complete is much more effective than just asking them to do what they can.
Lay out exactly what you want people to do, and let them know what they’ll get once they complete everything on the list. This can be a list of things to do as soon as they can, or it can be a list of dates and tasks to complete throughout the month.
Attaching a special reward for completing your checklist, even for brand ambassadors, will add increased energy to the cause.
If you’re working with a Facebook group or other social platform, posting your checklist to the group can add even more energy by turning it into a group activity.
What you can send them to help:
- Anything they need to accomplish each task in the checklist (a template, graphics, sample copy, etc.)
- Progress goals and ongoing encouragement from you
- Communication showing them what their efforts are accomplishing
- Enticing reminders of their reward for completing the checklist
6. Send an email drip campaign
An email drip is a set of emails that gets sent out automatically on preset dates or at preset intervals. They’re easy to set up in MailChimp, and you can use them in many different ways. For example:
- Send your brand ambassadors new tasks to complete
- Send potential readers who join your newsletter an automatic welcome campaign
- Send different campaigns to different segments of your email list based on their interests
Like Facebook groups, email drip campaigns can be used in different ways for different groups, from your brand ambassadors to your general email list.
Special tip for email drip campaigns:
- Brand ambassadors can also send drip campaigns to their own lists for you. Send them pre-drafted emails to make this easy.
7. Invite people to vote on your cover
Inviting any group of engaged people to get involved in choosing or creating your cover can be a great way to get them excited about your upcoming book.
You can do this with any group that works best for your own situation:
- Your street team
- Your brand ambassadors
- Your private Facebook group
- Your public Facebook group
- Your email list
- Your social media followers
This can take several different directions based on what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, you could show them different cover options to choose from, ask them for feedback on a specific cover direction, or create a simple Thumbs-up/Thumbs-down poll on social media.
Important tips for inviting people to vote on your cover:
- Always keep full creative control (don’t turn your cover design process over to the masses)
- Make sure you have the rights you need under your artist agreement to share your cover art publicly at this stage in the process
8. Host live video sessions
Whether you choose Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, or any other video-enabled platform, appearing on live video is an incredibly powerful way to interact with your audience.
They can ask you questions and get immediate answers—providing them with timely, relevant, and valuable information.
Plus, hosting a Q&A session automatically positions you as an expert. They’re asking you for advice!
Live video also humanizes you in a way that no other media can. It gives your audience an actual person to connect to. That connection will make them want to buy your book even more.
As with everything else, how you use live video sessions depends on who you’re using those sessions to connect with.
What you can do with live video sessions:
- Inspire your brand ambassadors and answer their questions
- Provide a live mini-course based on your book to your social media followers
- Host a live Q&A session on a regular schedule for all your readers, followers, etc. to keep you top-of-mind with your core audience
Using a video platform that asks people to register for your free video appearances with their email address will build your email list.
9. Start a book club
A book club is one specific way to use live video sessions. How you set it up will depend on what you’re using it for.
For example, you can create a video book club for your brand ambassadors as an exclusive perk, giving them a chance to discuss the book with you chapter by chapter leading up to the launch.
Or you can promote your book club during launch week and kick it off soon afterward. This encourages readers to buy the book right away, and it hypes the book even more as you walk through the book one chapter at a time, week by week.
Either way, a book club is a structured way to interact with your audience and stay top-of-mind (without having to create a lot of new content). You can simply talk about your book—which is exactly what you want your audience to do.
Special tips for a great video book club:
- Ask questions to engage your audience, such as how many of them have ever had a similar experience to one you describe in the book.
- Be ready with a few interesting stories that aren’t in the book itself.
- Provide additional details for any stories or anecdotes included in each chapter (“Now, what you didn’t read in the book is what happened next!”)
- Use teasers of these additional stories and details in promoting your book club—people love feeling like they’re getting information that isn’t available anywhere else.
10. Make the audience a character in the book
How can you make your audience a character in a book you already wrote? By giving them a nickname as a group.
For example, Dr. Stephanie Estima, Author of The Betty Body, describes a “Betty” as a “modern-day queen”—someone who feels “beautiful on the inside and out.” Her book helps people achieve that in their lives, becoming their own Betties.
She refers to her audience directly as Betties to help them see themselves that way—the best, happiest, most confident version of themselves—drawing them into her Author ecosystem.
How to choose a name for your audience:
- Use the same attributes you used in creating your book title
- Make it catchy
- Make it fit your Author brand
- Make it fit your book’s messaging
- Make it attractive to your target audience
11. Create a free-plus-shipping offer
If you’re using your book as a lead generation tool, a free-plus-shipping offer is a great way to do that. The basic idea is to offer your book for free, asking your audience only to pay the cost of printing and shipping the book.
If you include the right upsells, the promotion will pay for its own advertising. Thus, you can use your book to generate new leads automatically, 24/7, essentially for free.
How to create a free-plus-shipping offer:
- Read our free guide: What is a Free Plus Shipping Offer? (& How to Set it Up)
12. Align your other ventures with your book launch
Each of these ideas is already powerful, but they become even more powerful when you combine them. For example:
- Use email drip campaigns to send checklists to your brand ambassadors
- Use your public Facebook group to promote your book club
- Use the name you create for your audience in every live video session
- Use your email list to promote your free Q&A sessions, which you should also use to promote your email list
In every single place where your potential audience might see or hear about you or your book, make sure you’re presenting consistent branding and messaging.
Align all your Author assets with consistent branding:
- Your website
- Your blog
- Your newsletter
- Your live video appearances
- Your Facebook groups
- Your LinkedIn profile
- Your email signature
This isn’t meant to be a complete list of every creative thing you could possibly do for your book launch. Far from it. It’s only intended to help you generate ideas.
You can always add your own twists or create your own approach—and in fact, you should do that. Come up with engaging ways to communicate your brand and your messaging to your potential audience and get people talking.
Whatever you come up with, remember that anything you use to engage your audience for your book launch can also be used to build momentum after your launch week is over.
For more information about putting together a great book launch, check out our free on-demand video course: How to Launch a Book.