Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Helping an Author Launch a Book

So I want to share about something I feel passionate about today: launch teams.

We have some experts here on the blog. Angie has a business helping authors have facebook launch parties. Check it out here. Casey has created dream teams for authors.

As a blogger, I always enjoyed helping Christian fiction authors launch their books. As a former librarian, promoting winning titles is rewarding. Helping other writers is a bonus along the way!

A few years ago I began writing about Christian fiction for Library Journal. It became a bit of a conflict of interest to share about these titles in my mind. However, with some alterations I can still participate in promoting my favorite titles.

Currently, I love sharing books I am passionate about in the nonfiction categories. Dannah Gresh taught me how to talk to my preteen about sex and relationships, so I love sharing her releases with readers. Sally Clarkson has been a written mentor coming alongside my motherhood journey. My husband has a disorder that leaves us spending time in a cancer center so I've appreciated the opportunity to share a recent book for survivors who I regularly find myself in contact with. There are a variety of health problems in my family, so I was excited to share the news of an author who has been instrumental in changing the diets of Americans.

All of these books hold a personal place in my heart. Which when it comes down to it is the perfect reason for helping with launch!

Joining a launch team helps a writer in so many unique ways that a simple review on Amazon might not do (although we all know that is a great way to help out our favorite authors!).

Why join a launch team?

Quite simply to use your unique talents to support the writing community.

Here are some fantastic ideas I've seen for supporting other authors:

  • Make posters with your favorite quotes from the book.
Share a meaningful snippet along with attribution and a link to the author's Facebook page or a spot for purchase.

  • Create meaningful artwork based on the book.
I've seen abstract paintings of a story setting, computer generated artwork, hand lettering, photography, just about every medium.\

  • Consider writing a non-traditional blog post.
Instead of just a review or interview. how can you add interest to your site and promote another author at the same time?

What about an indepth post about one chapter that spoke to you?

How about a reflection on a favorite quote?

How did the character's journey mirror your own life journey? Or differ?

What spiritual lessons did you glean from the book?

What character can you most relate to and why?

  • Use multimedia.
Consider using YouTube or Periscope to create a short video reviewing the book.

With the author's permission create a book club on video and invite readers to share in the comments their thoughts on the book. An author who does this regularly is Crystal Paine (link to her katch feed).

  • Book clubs in all forms are a great way to generate interest in a favorite author.
For a launch team I was recently involved in many of the readers created home groups based on the principles in the book. They served tea in flowered cups with homemade scones and other snacks and shared about these gatherings on the internet.

Book clubs can be virtual or in person. Periscope, blogging, youtube, goodreads, facebook groups are all great vehicles for online clubs. Find a group of like-minded friends and join up to discuss the book for one session or multiple times.
  • Don't forget about IRL marketing.

I love sharing about great parenting and spiritual life finds with those at my church or in my homeschool group. Buy books for friends and co-workers. Also, purchase copies for your local library. Think about where the book might bless someone. I've recently helped launch a book about cancer and plan to give it to my local center.
I've seen wonderful bookmarks and other goodies readers have made in honor of their favorite books.

  • Don't bombard your audience.
Even though you're not promoting your own work, there can be too much of a good thing. Strike a balance between helping other authors and keeping your own feed uncluttered. We've all been irritated by the "loud" feed whether its about a political candidate or a celebrity. Find the balance between these types of posts and more personal posts.

  • Remember the "is it helpful" principle.
I personally chose to help launch books that I find meaningful. Books that have resulted in spiritual growth, taught me valuable parenting principles, changed the way I eat or exercise. What do you find meaningful? What has helped you grow? These things are natural and unforced to promote. If something benefited me, perhaps it would do the same for someone else.

As a reader, I've enjoyed participating in book launches. Many books have been life-impacting for me and its wonderful to be able to give back in a small way by helping  an author.

Have you participated in book launches?

Julia Reffner has a passion for writing both fiction and nonfiction. You can find her words at Wonderfully Woven biweekly and at Library Journal monthly. She lives in central Virginia with her husband, homeschools her two children, and spoils three ragdoll cats.


Robin E. Mason said...

YES PLEASE!!! two books into this crazy writer journey, and i need help! launching #3 in september, and regrouping my dream team (Robin's Little Flock)
will definitely save t his post and print for reference!!! thanks Julia!!!

kaybee said...

Thank you, Julia. Wow. I thought I was doing something by writing a review for my friends and going to their launch parties, but there is so much more I can do.
Kathy Bailey

Susan Anne Mason said...

Great ideas, Julia!! Thanks. Will keep in mind for my own books as well as my favorite authors!

Julia M. Reffner said...

ROBIN, Congrats on book #3!!! What an exciting milestone that we are happy to celebrate with you!! I'm sure your launch team efforts will go great!

KATHY, Writing a review IS a great thing to do for your fellow writers, these are just some other possibilities. I'm sure the reviews are appreciated, they are a BIG DEAL in helping authors!

SUSAN, Excited about your new releases!!

Anonymous said...

Great post, Julia. We're adding it to the Seekerville WE Edition!!! Thanks so much!

Debra E. Marvin said...

Some new and wonderful ideas. I hope Virginia is treating you well, Julia. Waving from the Finger Lakes!