When I consult with new nonfiction authors, one of the first homework tasks I assign is to build a list of influencers. This is important whether you already have a platform or not, because you might be surprised by how many people you know who can help support your book and your overall author-career goals.
You can begin to build your launch team months or even years in advance of your book launch. In fact, you should make it point to start forming these relationships now so you know who you can ask for support when your book is released.
Ways Your Launch Team Members Can Help
- Book Sales: Purchase copies of your book during your launch campaign.
- Endorsements: Well-known authors in your genre can provide testimonials for your book cover, or contribute a foreword.
- Reviews: Post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, BN.com, etc.
- Beta Reader Support: Provide editorial feedback, reviews, and promotion support.
- Industry Promotion: Recommend your book in an industry blog, newsletter, or print publication.
- Guest Blog Posts: Publish guest blog posts or book excerpts that you provide.
- Social Media: Share book promotion messages across social media platforms.
- Podcast: Feature you on an industry podcast, teleseminar, or webinar event.
- Speaking Opportunities: Invite you to speak at a meeting, event, or conference.
- Bulk Sales: Buy copies of your book in bulk to distribute to event attendees, staff, etc.
- Sponsorship: Contribute to your book tour or campaign by donating funds or in-kind items, such as printing services or banners, in exchange for promotion.
- Connections and Introductions: In addition to asking your tribe for the above support, you can also ask them, “Who do you know who can help?” Perhaps a former client has a great connection at a trade association, nonprofit, or an event planner for an upcoming conference. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!
How to Build Your List of Launch Team Members
Spend some quiet time at your desk brainstorming a list of people you can contact and ask for support. Create several spreadsheets to keep track, and organize them based on the opportunities listed above.
Next, think about who you know now and from your past and how each could potentially help. For example, do you have any former coworkers, clients or even college friends who are involved in your industry and could help with any of the opportunities listed above?
By the way, you don’t have to know everyone on your list yet. Your list can include people you’d like to know, such as influential authors in your industry or event planners for a big conference where you’d like to speak.
Consider the following people:
- Friends and family – These shouldn’t be your main review sources because you want your book reviews to come from objective readers. However, your closest family and friends may be able to connect you with people who can help you accomplish your goals.
- Fellow authors – Authors in your industry who have a large platform can have a big impact on book sales simply by recommending your book to their tribe via social media or their own email lists.
- Influencers in your target industry – This includes bloggers, podcast hosts, YouTubers, and social media stars.
- Trade association leaders and members – Trade associations that reach your target audience can be a powerful place to build your tribe. Do you know someone who can recommend you as a speaker at an annual conference or a monthly meeting? Or help you contribute guest content to the association blog or newsletter?
- Online groups – If you participate in groups that reach your target readers, ask the group owner if you can share book announcements or invite beta readers from the group. Facebook and LinkedIn groups that focus on your niche can be a fantastic place to build your readership.
- Current and past coworkers – Perhaps you worked with someone ten years ago who now organizes big corporate events or is a leader in your industry.
- Current and past clients – If someone has already enjoyed working with you in some way, they will likely be glad to support your new book launch.
- Past readers – Readers who liked your previous book(s), they will certainly be interested in your next one!
- Social media followers – This is one of the many reasons why authors should build a social media following. Think of this as a way to cultivate your author tribe and build relationships with raving fans.
- Email list subscribers – If you’re not yet building an email list, you should be. This is hands down one of the best marketing tools you can have. Social media is passive and time-based, but email lands in the recipients’ inboxes and is far more likely to be read.
- Corporate and nonprofit contacts – Who do you know at corporations or nonprofits that could connect you with speaking opportunities, consulting opportunities, or bulk book sales?
- Media pros – Build a list of journalists, reporters, editors, and producers who are either local or cover topics related to your book.
Once you have your lists created, your next step is to begin reaching out. Some people on your list should be contacted individually, while others can be contacted in groups. For example, you could reach out to members of an online forum you belong to and ask them to join your beta reader team. Or, you might reach out to a past client who works for a local nonprofit and ask for help getting booked as a speaker at their next meeting.
People who know you WANT to support you. Sometimes all you have to do is ask.