Recently, a startup called Double Life Press acquired and repackaged several of my previously self-published novels in a three volume anthology series called The Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection. I live in Seattle and my publisher is based in Arkansas, while my fellow authors under contract to this company are scattered literally around the globe.
So when it came time to formally announce the publication of Double Life Press’s first wave of titles, in both print and Kindle formats, the only way to go was an online book release party. This is something I’d never thought of myself, but which seems like an obvious option, especially for indie authors and publishers with limited marketing budgets.
For one thing, it’s a free social event for everyone – both hosts and attendees. You won't have to convince a brick-and-mortar store to provide the venue, either, like a traditional public meet-and-greet. And organizing it will be both fun and easy, without having to coordinate with a third party.
Use social media to get the buzz going
Generating word of mouth is the most cost effective form of advertising ever conceived, because consumers will trust their fellow shoppers more than the sellers themselves. But to get that ball rolling, you need to increase awareness, as quickly and expansively as possible.
You kick it off by doing what my publisher did – create a Facebook event page, and invite as many people as you can, while encouraging everyone on your guest list to bring along as many friends as possible, since travel expenses will be nil. The idea is to introduce total strangers to your book by creating an opportunity for like-minded readers to virtually mingle.
Announcing the event via Twitter, sharing the link to the Facebook event page, where the party will take place “live” at the designated time, is another way of reaching a wider audience.
My publisher further inspired people to join the party by offering free copies of the books being celebrated, conducting contests during the real time chatting. Nothing offers more incentive than the possibility of free schwag!
Mix and mingle, just like a live event
During the “party,” guests asked us authors questions about the books, and the publisher provided links to purchase them. We also posted music videos and other links that gave potential readers an idea of what to expect from our books, setting the proper “mood” via multi-media. The guests even shared what they were drinking and eating for the occasion! I didn't ask what they were wearing...
Once you have everyone’s attention, you keep the party going indefinitely with news of other upcoming events and publications, as well as special promotional deals. For instance, Double Life Press will be offering the Kindle editions of all three volumes of The Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection at a deep discounted price of only $1.99 apiece (keep in mind each volume contains two entire novels!) as a limited offer through this Father’s Day!
The main goal of cheap deals like this one, especially when it's for a holiday, is to ideally inspire satisfied readers to post reviews on Amazon. And many of these readers may already be enticed to purchase your book after chatting with you online at the party, since they are more familiar now with both the book and its author. Familiarity may breed contempt in some cases, but in many other instances, like this, it breeds comfort, too.
These are all ideas for your own virtual shindig, but the possibilities are as endless (and inexpensive) as the Internet itself.
What are some of your ideas for a successful online eBook release party?
PHOTO: ANYA GARRETT
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New Orleans, LA