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Don't Miss the Fun Stuff: The Post-Book Launch High

Many writers build up the writing experience, only to feel a bit lost once their story is published. Many feel the fun is over.

But the fun is not over! Oh, it could be. You could be happy to have finished the writing and publishing and ecstatic that your book is now available to the public and begin to focus on your next project. That is all understandable. But you are missing The Post-Launch High!

What is The Post-Launch High?

Three areas contribute to this "high." Everyone loves and deserves the first one, but many often find the second and especially third to be difficult, particularly for introverts or creatives who are just uber-focused on writing. However, I encourage everyone to stretch their comfort zone and give all three a try. It can change your life!

1. Celebrate

This sounds easy and fun, but often this is overlooked. Many ambitious writers immediately move on to the next project once launch day is complete. They've had these other writing ideas stewing in their head, parked during their project but tugging on their pen. Besides, big celebrations or launch parties can be cumbersome to arrange and too much to bear for many. It really doesn't matter what the celebration looks like. It can just be with your immediate family or closest friends or even just by yourself. But take some time. Look back on your writing journey, the obstacles and your perseverance, the publishing path, and finally realizing perhaps a lifelong goal of publishing your very own work. You are not just a writer, you are now an author! I would also encourage you to take at least a couple of weeks off from writing. Enjoy your success. Carry a notebook if ideas for the next book force their way out, but just jot them down and return to your "you" time.

2. Boost Book Sales

As discussed in our October blog, launch day sales are (hopefully) a very small percentage of your total sales. Think about how you can keep your book in front of your target audience. Here are some top ideas:

  1. Amazon ads: these get your book out there to people looking for good books to read (vs. Facebook or Google ads) and you can spend as little or as much as you wish. List out a lot of keywords or phrases and try them out. You can start with a $5/day budget. Be sure to monitor these closely at first. See what is creating sales and add more budget. See which get clicks (you pay) but don't translate into sales and cut them out. If you are getting lots of clicks but not lots of sales, consider your ad blurb and see if you need to tweak it a bit.

  2. Share a blog: if you aren't blogging already, start. If you have, continue. Share with your subscribers and also with Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media groups. New people will find you and then discover your book.

  3. Guest blog/podcast: this gets your energy and work in front of a completely new audience. Word of mouth spreads and new subscribers and book sales are created although it is often hard to prove that connection.

3. Engage with your Target Audience

This can be the scariest for many. I felt comfortable hiding behind my pen. Podcasts were a leap for me but it still felt like 1-on-1, mostly answering questions, but this step will indeed stretch many people's comfort zones.

I suggest starting slowly. Do your guest blogs and then guest podcasts. Then arrange a discussion with a small group of people, perhaps initially just with friends and family. Then start to pitch for other engagement opportunities with your target audience.

Hopefully, you identified your target audience way back in February. Take some time to consider where your target audience is - what do they like to do, where do they like to go? Perhaps they travel, are readers, listen to a lot of audiobooks, or are creative or business people. Once you answer this, you can focus your engagement efforts on those places (and podcasts).

My first two books were on introversion (In Search of Courage memoir and The Corporate Introvert leadership book). These have been more difficult to find the audience. I've actually identified them well, but often introverts just want to be left alone. They prefer to read the book more than to go listen to a talk much less an engaging workshop. This applies to the general public and college students, and even more so to company staff who often want to lay low and hide their introversion. Ironically, when I am able to have a discussion on campus or in the corporate world, it is well received and I believe helps make a difference, but breaking into those venues and building attendees is a challenge. I'm planning virtual webinars so people can join incognito if they wish (stay tuned).

My faith was renewed with my latest/third book, The Essential Guide for Families with Down Syndrome. The audience is quite identifiable and most are clamouring for information about how to raise their loved ones. They are desperately seeking guidance and resources so they don't get overwhelmed themselves. In addition to national Down syndrome conventions, most cities have a local Down syndrome association, so pitching to them has been quite successful. Thus, a great opportunity to sell more books but more importantly to engage and make a difference in others' lives.

So here is why you owe it to yourself to pursue these engagements:

When we go to these local Down syndrome (or broader Intellectual Disability) organizations or to colleges or work settings for my first 2 books, we finally get that direct interaction with our target audience that is so elusive during the writing and publishing phases. Although it takes some practice to prepare a speech or discussion points, having the opportunity to directly help others, to see their curiosity and appreciation for your efforts, to sense when perhaps life-changing light bulb moments go off, and to receive a sincere "thanks" and an occasional hug is worth it all.

I utilize a Thrival Plan (free guide and template when you subscribe) to not only survive these excursions from my comfort zone but to truly be in the moment and relish the feedback. I refer to my Thrival Plan often. It's like when a rock drops in a pond, we can enjoy the ripples for hours or days to come. Treat yourself to this thrill.

Here are some common engagements you may consider:

  1. Bookstore talks: these don't often lead to sales, but it's a great place to start and practice.

  2. Local community clubs like Kiwanis and Rotary: again, these may not be big sellers, but great practice and you may just meet that one person who loves your work and can bring you other readers, groups, or speaking engagements in your area.

  3. Book tour: I would suggest these tours focus on where you can find your target audience (schools, businesses, historical societies, art societies, libraries, etc) rather than the more generic bookstores so that you have a greater opportunity for engagement and sales. Thus far, we've had the great fortune to have completed/scheduled about 20 such stops. I get nervous before each and feel the love and the "ripple" starting midway through. But if you don't charge for your tours, you will not recoup your costs. Depending on your publishing route, you will net $5-$10 on the sale of every $20 book. So recouping hotel, gas mileage, or airplane fares $5-$10 at a time is very ambitious. Most of our trips are centered around a family trip or planned vacation so we can defer some of the costs. I just encourage you to have proper expectations. We are still scheduling these road trips because we love connecting with others and it is the source of great personal growth for me as well.

  4. Webinars/online classes: these can be the most lucrative. You can do a live talk or perhaps Q&A with a co-host and a structured webinar. Once you create them, much of the time and cost is sunk so paid participants can quickly recoup that cost. You may combine a canned webinar with some live sessions for your attendees or at least for a higher level of membership. There are lots of examples of these out there and many consultants that can help you, though you should approach them with a sense of skepticism.

Congratulations on publishing your "baby." You are now both a writer and an author! Many have gone down this path but few actually publish. Your story has now been preserved for posterity!

But don't stop there. Stretch yourself and try the ideas above. You may decide some of it is just not for you and that is quite alright. But if you adopt even one thing, your life and those of your readers will become richer. Don't deprive yourself of this thrill.

This is the last of my Writing series. You can certainly view/print/save/share any of the 11 articles here. I may be compiling and embellishing these 11 topics into a booklet in the future, so if you are interested, please subscribe to our website and stay tuned!

Keys to Success:

  1. Celebrate your success!

  2. Don't put your marketing on auto-pilot just yet.

  3. Consider other ideas to help get your book in front of your target audience and try one or two.

  4. Engagement can be the scariest and most electrifying path. No need to leap but take small steps, lean on your own Thrival Plan, and enjoy the ripples!


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